Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

I love soup season. This soup, with it’s seasonal veg, warms my very soul. ‘It is absolutely yum’ (the Master of Mischief, age 4) and when served up with warm and buttery crusty bread it is always a hit with the kiddies. Even my husband (Mr ‘I’m not bloody eating that’ gave it a thumbs up) Enjoy!

You Will Need

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (I prefer to use 1 tbsp of garlic granules)

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp tomato puree

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and diced

3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

600ml chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock if you want, I prefer to use chicken)

1 can coconut milk

Chilli flakes to garnish, if preferred

Method

Over a medium heat, start by cooking the onion for 1-2 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin and oregano and continue to fry for a few seconds while stirring.

Add the tomato puree, butternut squash and sweet potato chunks and fry for a further 2 minutes.

After this, add the stock and bring the whole pot to the boil.

Reduce to a medium heat and simmer until the butternut squash and sweet potato are cooked. (I usually give it 30 minutes; you may wish to leave it longer or less depending on the size of your chunks)

I also like to give it a stir halfway through.

Once the squash and sweet potato are cooked, add the coconut milk and simmer again for a few minutes.

Using a hand blender (or food processor) whizz the soup until smooth.

Serve with a sprinkle of chilli flakes and a side of warm crusty bread.

Other Ideas

I love the flavours of this soup. I serve it with a sprinkle of chilli flakes to add a dash of heat, but not too much, as I usually serve it up for the kids. If you wanted to add extra kick you could add a deseeded and chopped red chilli at the same time you add the garlic and herbs. If you’re really brave, bung a second one in there.

If you want to bulk up the soup and add some extra hidden veggies (its all getting blended so why not eh?) you could add things such as mushrooms, peppers, carrots and celery with the onions to create a veggie base for the soup.

Roasted Red Pepper and Goats Cheese Soup

Roasted Red Pepper and Goats Cheese Soup

This is a soup-er dish to make. It is easy to do and is packed with hidden veggies which is great for the kids. We served ours at tea time with a big salad and homemade crusty bread. We had the leftovers for lunch the next day. This dish is definitely a household favourite!

You Will Need

4 red peppers (halved and de-seeded)

1 white onion

2 sticks celery

2 carrots

1 courgette

450ml vegetable stock

2tbsp olive oil

2 tsp garlic granules

½ pack goats cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Rub the chopped and de-seeded peppers with the olive oil and roast in the oven on a medium heat for 30 minutes (or until they are tender)

Dice the onion, celery carrot and courgette and in a large pan lightly fry all of the chopped vegetables with the garlic.

Once the veg is softening add the vegetable stock and simmer.

Remove the peppers from the oven and add to the pan, stirring well.

Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and using a hand blender, blend the soup until it is smooth.

Add the goats cheese and stir well (until the cheese is mixed through)

Return the soup to a low heat and simmer until it reaches a suitable eating temperature. Make sure not to boil the soup.

Season to taste and serve.

Other Ideas

If you don’t want to include the cheese, try adding some tomato puree to the soup for extra flavour.

If you don’t have a hand blended, simply allow to cool slightly and add to a smoothie maker or large blender to whizz into a soup. Return to the pan after and heat to a suitable temperature.

Soup is a great way to sneak extra veggies into your child’s diet without them ever knowing. Add as much or as little as you want to your soup base. If you feel you are veering into veg soup territory, increase your pepper count accordingly to balance the mix and keep your pepper flavours nice and strong.

Rocky Road

Rocky Road

This is a great recipe if you’re in need of a sweet treat or a rainy day activity. It requires few ingredients and is easy enough that you can get the kids involved.

You Will Need

200g plain digestive biscuits (you can use rich tea if you prefer)

200g milk chocolate

100g mini marshmallows (you can chop normal sized marshmallows into smaller chunks if you can’t find mini marshmallows)

100g raisins (optional)

Method

Break the digestive biscuits into small chunks. To do this place the biscuits into a food bag and bash with a rolling pin (this is great for if you’re having a stressful day). You’re looking for your biscuits to be anywhere between dust and chunks that are about the size of a 2p.

Break the chocolate into small pieces in a heat proof dish and melt over a pan of boiling hot water. Stir the chocolate continuously until there are no lumps. Set aside and leave to cool slightly. If you prefer you can microwave your chocolate at 10-30 second intervals, however I prefer to use the boiling water method as I have had a few bad luck moments where my chocolate has burnt in the microwave.

Once the chocolate has cooled slightly, add all of the remaining ingredients and mix until everything is coated in the chocolate.

Pour the mixture into a lined baking tin and sprinkle with a few extra marshmallows. Allow to cool for at least 3 hours.

Once the chocolate has set, cut into squares or slices.

Other Ideas

You could mix up the flavours by adding ½ tsp peppermint essence to the melted chocolate and crushing some mint aero on the top before you allow it to set.

Another alternative is to use white chocolate instead of milk chocolate and substitute the raisins for dried raspberries or cranberries.

Breakfast Sundae

Breakfast Sundae

Dress your breakfast up and make it fancy! This is a really tasty twist on a simple yogurt and granola breakfast. Pack it with fruit or keep it simple, either way it is delicious! The great thing about this dish is that you can easily tailor it to any taste preference.

You Will Need

All quantities of these ingredients will differ depending on how much or how little you want to include in your dish.

Fruit yogurt (whichever flavour is preferred) I used a smooth low fat strawberry yogurt.

Granola (whichever flavour is preferred) I used a low sugar apple and blueberry granola.

Chopped fruit (whichever flavour is preferred) I used bananas on this occasion.

Method

Make sure that the fruit you have chosen is chopped into small bitesize pieces.

You will need either a tall glass, clear plastic cup or if you have them, an ice cream sundae glass.

To layer the ingredients, start with the granola. On top of this put a spoonful of yogurt, followed by a sprinkle of the chopped fruit.

Repeat the layering process until you have reached your desired number of layers.

Finish off with a final scoop of yogurt and a raspberry (or any berry of your choice)

ENJOY!

Other Ideas

You could go as big or as small as you want on this dish.

Make it tropical by using chunks of pineapple or mango and a coconut yogurt.

You could also make this dish with porridge oats or muesli instead of granola for a slightly less crunchy texture.

Cinnamon Swirls

Cinnamon Swirls

These are a great as a weekend breakfast treat or as an addition to your morning cuppa. With only a few ingredients, they are really cheap to produce and so easy to make. An added bonus is that as they bake, they make your house smell AMAZING!

You Will Need

1 packet ready rolled puff pastry

2 tbsp soft brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp Icing sugar

2-3 tsp water to mix

Method

Mix the soft brown sugar and cinnamon together.

Lay the sheet of pastry onto a flat surface lined with parchment paper.

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mix onto the pastry.

Roll up the pastry lengthways until you have a long sausage shape.

Cut the party into 2-3cm thick slices and lay each piece onto a lined baking tray.

Bake in the oven at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 10-15 minutes or until golden in colour.

Mix the icing sugar with the water until you have icing with a consistency that you can drizzle.

Once the pastries have cooled, drizzle with the icing and leave to set for 10 minutes.

Other Ideas

If cinnamon isn’t your thing, try substituting the cinnamon sugar for Nutella for a whole new flavour!

Alien Fish Cakes

Alien Fish Cakes

This is the kind of meal you can really get creative with. Mix it up with different vegetables or prep the ingredients and let your little ones create their own alien faces. Whichever way you choose to do it, aliens are always a hit in our house.

You Will Need

1 Packet Round Fishcakes

1 Pepper (whichever colour is preferred)

1 Stick Celery

Babybel Cheese (or similar)

½ Cucumber

Cocktail Sausages (Sliced)

Handful Salad Leaves

Method

Cook the fishcakes as per the packet instructions.

Chop the celery and cucumber into thick chunks. Slice the pepper into crudités.

Slice the babybel down the centre so you have 2 circles. Cut one of the circles in half and the other into quarters.

Slice the cocktail sausages.

To construct the alien start by placing the fishcake in the centre of the plate. Use the cheese quarters as teeth, the celery as feet and the pepper as arms. Lay the babybel halves on top of halved cucumber slices and then position a slice of cocktail sausage on the babybel to make eyes. Finish off with a cucumber chunk nose and a handful of salad leaves for hair.

Other Ideas

This is the kind of meal you can really get creative with. Replace any of the vegetables with alternatives for a different kind of alien. You may choose to substitute cucumber for carrot, or pepper for green beans, you could use cherry tomatoes or radish for eyes. You may also wish to use sugar snap peas as a mouth instead of cheese quarters. Be as imaginative as you like.

Another option is to give your children the ingredients and see what they can come up with.   

Also, if your children are not fans of fish, you could use any kind of savoury or vegetarian bake. Aldi do a selection of Crispbakes including cheese & onion and corned beef. Last time I went shopping, there were priced at £1.09 for a pack of 2. They are always well received and are my go to for mixing it up at lunchtime.

Chicken Fajita Tagliatelle

Chicken Fajita Tagliatelle

A delicious meal for all the family that is cheap and easy to make and always goes down a treat with the kids.

You Will Need

4 Chicken Breasts (cook from frozen) I use ‘cook from frozen chicken breasts’ simply because they are cheap to buy, easy to cook, and great for making sure I only use what I need. If you prefer to use fresh chicken, that is fine, just make sure you adjust your cooking time accordingly.

1 tsp Olive Oil

1 Red Pepper (finely sliced)

1 Courgette (finely sliced and quartered)

1 Red Onion (finely sliced)

1 Tbsp Tomato Puree

110ml Chicken Stock (made from a stock cube is fine)

30g pack fajita seasoning mix

400g Dried Tagliatelle (roughly 100g for each person)

Method

Lay chicken breasts onto baking tray and brush lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle 1/3 of the fajita mix onto the chicken and then oven cook the chicken according to the baking instructions on the packaging.  

Slice, chop and fry the red pepper, courgette, and red onion in a large pan. Sprinkle the remaining fajita mix onto the vegetables and continue to fry until soft.

Add the chicken stock and the tomato puree. Bring to the boil and then simmer until you have a nice thick sauce.  

While the sauce is simmering and the chicken is baking, boil the tagliatelle as per the packet instructions.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain, and stir into the sauce.

Serve the pasta with the cooked chicken sliced on top.

Other Ideas

You can serve this on its own, with a salad, or a side of mixed veg!

You can also add a sprinkle of cheese and some sour cream to really indulge the fajita portion of the dish.

If you don’t want to slice the chicken for the top, once your chicken is cooked, dice it up and throw it in with the sauce.

Also, if you don’t want to splash out on tagliatelle (I only did because Aldi had an Italian event on) do the exact same recipe and replace 400g of tagliatelle with 400g of penne pasta which you can pick up for a matter of pence!