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Posts tagged ‘family meal recipes’

Simple Chicken Paella

chicken paellaAaliyah is a massive fan of chicken and rice. When I say chicken and rice, I mean chicken curry with rice. It’s her staple. I know if I’m serving this up for dinner, there will be no complaints – no little fussy pointy fingers coming out – ‘mummy what’s that?’, she’ll gobble it down and will have a full satisfied little belly. Not just Aaliyah’s though – the hubby’s too.

Whilst this is great, I’m not overly keen on feeding Aaliyah the same meals; I don’t want her to get ‘comfortable’ with what she knows. I’m trying my best to keep meals interesting for her so I decided to cook up a variation of chicken and rice.

Introducing my BIG FAT FAMILY PAELLA! This is delicious! It includes two of Aaliyah’s favourite ingredients – chicken and rice, but it’s a totally different cuisine. And the fact that paella’s are so bright and colourful is really appealing to kids. I’m not going to lie – this does create some extra washing but it is totally worth it.

Aaliyah’s verdict – well initially she looked at her bowl and said ‘where’s the REAL chicken and rice’ but as you know Aaliyah is not a fussy eater; she’ll happily try new things. She ate, scoffed and loved! Another one to add to the list!

Chicken Paella 2
Total preparation and cooking time: 35-40mins
Serves family of 4


425g (15oz) white basmati rice
1 litre (1¾ pints) chicken stock – reduced salt variety
½ tsp ground turmeric
Pinch of saffron
30ml (1fl oz) vegetable oil
700g (1lb 9oz) chicken breast fillets – skinless, boneless, cubed
6 cloves of garlic – peeled, minced
Salt to taste (optional)
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 chillies – red and green (optional) – stems chopped, pounded to paste
2 bell peppers (green and red) – washed, deseeded, chopped
Fresh coriander (cilantro) or parsley for garnish – chopped


Add the rice, stock, turmeric, saffron and oil to a large pot and stir. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) on low heat for 10-12mins until the rice is tender.

Whilst the rice is cooking, stir-fry the chicken cubes with garlic, salt to taste (if you wish), black pepper and chillies (if you like a little heat). Stir-fry until tender and set aside.

Finally, grill the peppers on a griddle pan for a few minutes to give them a lovely smoky flavour. I like to do this at the same time as stir-frying the chicken to save time.

Combine everything and garnish with a little chopped parsley or coriander. Serve immediately.


Sweet Red Pepper Chicken Curry

I realise it’s been a while since I’ve last blogged about any family meals. So here you go! I created this curry because my little one absolutely LOVES bell peppers! She’ll quite happily eat them raw (washed and deseeded), and frequently munches on a whole pack of three whilst watching her favourite show – Peppa Pig. In fact, one of the best ways I’ve found to keep her occupied is to literally whack a bell pepper in her hand and let her munch on it. It’s fresh, colourful enough for the kids and is rich in vitamins A and C, and B vitamins. Winners all around!

Red Pepper Chicken Curry_low

In this curry I’ve used a red bell pepper to form the main base of the curry sauce. It still contains all of those lovely aromatic Indian spices, but this curry has a unique taste that is loved by our whole family so I thought I’d share it with you.

Try it for dinner tonight… it only takes half an hour.

Total preparation and cooking time: 30mins
Serves a family of 4

50ml (2fl oz) olive oil
1 onion – peeled, chopped
3 whole cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods – green
4 black peppercorns
1 red bell pepper/ capsicum – washed, roughly chopped, deseeded
6 garlic cloves
Ginger root – 1” piece, peeled
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp ground coriander
200g (7oz) tinned peeled plum tomatoes – crushed
1 tsp dark brown sugar
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder to taste
500g (1lb 2oz) chicken thighs – cubed, fat-trimmed

Heat the oil in a pot and add the onion, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and peppercorns. Stir-fry until the onions are browning.

Whilst the onions are browning, place the red pepper, garlic cloves and ginger into a blender and blend into a paste. Once the onions have browned, add the red pepper paste, turmeric, cumin and coriander and lightly cook the spices for 1-2mins stirring continuously.

Then add the tomatoes by gently crushing them with your hands and dropping them in, followed by the brown sugar, salt and red chilli powder. Then let the sauce simmer on medium-low heat for about 5mins.

Add the chicken to the sauce and cook covered for 15-20mins or until the chicken is tender. Stirring occasionally.

Garnish with freshly chopped coriander/ cilantro and serve with freshly cooked rice, naan or roti.

Note: If you don’t want to include salt or chillies in your little ones serving, cook the entire curry as described above but without adding these two items. Add them at the end when you have removed a serving for your little one.

YHardcover front coverou can find more tasty family recipes in Easy Indian SuperMeals for Babies, Toddlers and the Family. Available to buy now from Amazon UK.

Almond Satay Chicken


Sat 10th May is International Blog Swap Day! And to mark the occasion I have swapped blogs with a fabulous food blogger from down under – Karen, who is author of Food, Glorious Friendly Food

Karen lives in Newcastle, Australia, just north of Sydney, close to both the beach and the vineyards.  She lives with her family on a small acreage with their dog, two goats, a sheep, a veggie garden and some fruit trees.  She is a photographer by profession, and loves taking tantalisingly good photos of her food, to entice you with!

Food, Glorious Friendly Food is a blog full of recipes that cater to families who want (or need) to eat free from wheat, dairy products, refined sugars and additives.  The focus is on Wholefoods, made from scratch, that are nourishing and oh, so tasty!  Karen has two boys, aged 11 and 8 , who have been eating this way since they were little.  Karen’s motto for eating is “It’s ok to love food, just love food that loves you back”.

Karen has created a delicious recipe which offers a great substitute to peanuts, for those of you whose little ones suffer from peanut allergy. This recipe is great for family meal time and includes some of my favourite ingredients, including the superspice turmeric.

Enjoy x


Almond Satay Chicken – author, Karen – Food, Glorious Friendly Food



We found out my first born was allergic to peanuts when he was one.  Satay was one of my most favourite dishes, and I grieved the loss of it in our household!  I would often order it when eating out to get my ‘fix’.  It took me a few years to realise that there are other nuts that make a really fine replacement for peanuts in a Satay Sauce.  I have tried making it with both cashews and almonds, and have played around with my favourite recipe a lot, and here is the final product that we all love!  Kids and adults alike wolf it down!  Of course if you can eat peanuts, and prefer them to almonds, go ahead and use peanut butter to replace the almond butter.  Almond butter is just like peanut butter- made from ground almonds, sometimes with a little added oil and salt.  It’s wonderful for spreading on toast too, and it’s very high in calcium.


If you’re not familiar with coconut sugar, it is a wonderful alternative to refined sugar.  It is made by tapping the stems of the coconut palm, extracting the sap, and then dehydrating it at very low temperatures. This minimal amount of processing produces a nutrient and mineral-rich product with a great toffee-like taste. It has a low GI (about 35) so provides a slow energy release for your body. It’s also a very sustainable product- once a stem is tapped, it flows for the next 20 years. It’s great for when brown sugar is called for in a recipe, and I love baking with it. You can use it measure-for-measure to replace sugar in baking.


The other great thing about this recipe is that the cooked marinated chicken has the most wonderful, rich flavour, without even needing to add the sauce.  So, it would make a great finger food for toddlers, or a tasty addition to a fried rice dish.  Enjoy!


Serves 4 adults, or 6 with kids eating.



For the marinade:

  • 500g / about 1 pound chicken thighs (or breasts if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or other oil)


For the sauce:

  • Oil or ghee for frying
  • ½ cup / 130g almond butter (or crunchy peanut butter)
  • one brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons coconut sugar (or palm sugar or brown sugar)
  • small amount of fresh chilli, or chilli powder, to your own tastes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated or minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 cup / 250ml coconut milk or cream (needs a high coconut content, not much water added)
  • up to 1 cup water
  • Plus:
  • vegetables of choice (e.g. red capsicum, carrot, green leafy vegetables)
  • optional rice or noodles for serving
  • fresh coriander for garnish


Note: If possible, marinate the chicken overnight, or for at least 2 hours to develop the beautiful flavours.

  • Cut the chicken into bite sized cubes or strips.
  • Stir all the marinade ingredients together in a glass or ceramic dish, then stir in the chicken until completely coated.  Cover, and place in the fridge to marinate.
  • When ready to cook, stir together in a bowl or small jug the vinegar, sugar, chilli, ginger, tamari, fish sauce and coconut milk.  Set aside.
  • Heat about 2 tablespoons oil (I prefer coconut oil) or ghee in a large pan over medium to high heat.  Add the chicken and toss regularly so it browns completely.  You may need to do this in two batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
  • Remove the chicken, setting aside for later.
  • Add another tablespoon of ghee/ coconut oil to the pan and fry off the onions until they are soft, stirring regularly.
  • Add the almond/ peanut butter to the pan with the onions, and  HALF a cup of water.  Stir vigorously until the mixture is thick, like custard.
  • Add the jug of pre-mixed ingredients, stir, and allow to come to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and return the chicken to the pan.
  • Simmer for a minute, and add vegetables to the dish.  If it is becoming too dry, add the extra half cup of water to the pan and stir it in.  Cover the pan to help the vegetables steam.
  • When the vegetables are cooked to your liking, turn off heat and serve over rice or noodles if desired, and garnish with coriander.



Thai Lamb Masala Curry


thai lamb masala curry

This curry was a bit of an experiment gone right! I was getting ready to cook one of my ‘bog-standard’ lamb curries and as I opened the cupboard to pull out my tinned tomatoes, some new ingredients were staring at me in the face and shone out like they had a halo around them. I think my subconscious was begging me to try something new!

I find that even for me, it is very easy to slip into the habit of cooking the same things again and again. Dinners can almost become formulaic. You find a recipe the family enjoys, you know how long it will take to prepare, and you stick to it. But I’m glad I didn’t ignore the halos because this is a fab curry!

It is also one of my favourite types of no-hassle curries as the meat ‘marinates on-the-job’ as I like to call it. The acid in the fresh lemon juice acts as a meat tenderiser and the delicious aromatic spices add masses of flavour to the meat, all whilst the meat is cooking. The best part is the lamb still continues to marinate even after the curry has finished cooking. The longer it sits, the better it tastes!

SuperFoods included – olive oil, red onion, garlic, ginger, lemon, green beans
SuperSpices included – cloves, cardamom, turmeric, coriander

This is an iron-rich and protein-rich curry, perfect for growing active children.

Total cooking and preparation time: 2 hours
Serves a family of 4

50ml (2fl oz/ ¼ cup) olive oil
1 medium red onion – peeled, chopped
4 whole cloves
2 whole cardamom pods – black
725g (1lb 10 oz) lamb – boneless, cubed, fat trimmed
3 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
Half a lemon – squeezed, no seeds
200ml (7fl oz/ just under 1 cup) water
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 ½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dark soft brown sugar
120g (1 ½ cup) green beans – frozen, washed
Salt/ red chilli powder to taste (optional)

Heat the oil in a pot on medium heat and add the onion, cloves, cardamom and layer the lamb cubes over the top.

Then throw in the garlic, ginger, and sprinkle the turmeric and fresh lemon evenly over the lamb. Cover and cook on low heat.

After 10 mins stir, pour in the water and leave to simmer for 1h 45 mins. If at any point the curry looks a little dry, add some extra water.

By the end of the cooking time the lamb will be beautifully tender and when it is, add the soy sauce, coriander, brown sugar and stir delicately to avoid breaking the meat chunks. Switch off the heat.

Steam the green beans in a steamer or in the microwave for 2 mins to preserve the nutrients. To steam in the microwave place the green beans in a microwavable dish, add 1 tablespoon of water, cover (leaving a small vent) and cook on full power.

Add the freshly steamed green beans to the curry, and stir coating them in the delicious spices.

Remove a serving for your little one ensuring there are NO cloves or cardamom pods included and set aside.

Add salt and chilli powder to the main pot and stir (if you wish).

Tastes delicious served with egg fried rice.


This curry is meant to be a little dry but you can vary it if you like. Try adding a little coconut milk to create a more saucy curry, or try substituting the lemon for lime instead.

Hardcover front coverYou can find more tasty recipes in Easy Indian SuperMeals for Babies, Toddlers and the Family.  Available to buy now from Amazon.