Now that we're all at home, coming up with ideas for dinner that are quick, easy, and cater to everyone can be stressful. Sometimes it’s just not realistic to come up with a new complex recipe for every meal, so here at Kidadl we have come up with a range of quick and easy family meals that only require three (yes, THREE) ingredients! They can all be dressed up or down and adapted to fit your family’s needs. These dinner ideas are designed to be low-stress, low-cost and time-efficient, so you have time to relax post-dinner. For more fun recipe ideas and activities, visit our Food and Cookery page!
Hearty Beef Chilli
This dish is the perfect comfort food and can be stretched to accompany several meals. Why not double up measurements and freeze some for future dinners? Serves 4.
You will need:
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of chopped tomatoes
500g minced beef- can be substituted with Quorn mince for a veggie twist
- Empty all the ingredients into a large saucepan
- Mix the beans, tomatoes and beef, and bring to the boil. Then, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper if using.
- Enjoy! This simple chilli can be enjoyed by itself, or with rice, tortilla chips or wraps. If you're feeling fancy, top it off with extra toppings- sour cream, avocado, cheddar cheese, chopped spring onions and salsa all make great additions. You can also try adding veggies such as bell peppers, carrot or finely sliced cabbage to add an extra boost of fibre!
Homemade Tomato Soup
This simple dish is one of those meal ideas you just can't go wrong with and is a great warmer for those cool evenings.
You will need:
100g unsalted butter
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 cans tomatoes. Whole ones are great, but chopped tomatoes also work.
750ml water or vegetable stock.
Optional extras: Garlic, 2 cloves, roughly chopped
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter. If using, add the garlic and sauteé for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the onion and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and water/ stock- make sure to include the extra tomato sauce from the tin. Once simmering, leave uncovered to cook for around 45 minutes.
- Now, using a hand blender, blend all the soup. It's up to you how chunky or smooth you like your soup- add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy.
Baked Avocado Eggs
A quick and easy, toddler-(and grown-up!) friendly meal that comes in its own bowl.
You will need (per person):
Cheese to grate on top (cheddar is perfect).
Optional extras: Chopped spring onion, sea salt.
- Preheat oven to 200°c.
- Carefully cut the avocado in two. Remove the pit and, using a teaspoon, scoop out some of the flesh to accommodate your egg (don't throw the extra avocado away! Collect in a bowl and sprinkle a little lemon juice on it. It will keep for a day or two in the fridge and can be spread on toast or used to make guacamole, yum!)
- Crack one egg into each half of the avocado. Don't worry if it overflows, it will still bake nicely.
- Place the avocado halves on a baking tray. Add grated cheese on top, and place into the oven.
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Make sure the egg is fully cooked before serving.
- If using, sprinkle spring onion, sea salt and pepper on top.
Perfect Jacket Potatoes
Not only can this classic meal be adapted to be veggie and vegan, but it's also suitable for nut and gluten allergies!
You will need (per person):
1 baking potato (this recipe is great if you have a bag of potatoes, as you can use smaller potatoes for the kids and larger ones for the grown-ups)
1tsp olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 200°c.
- Scrub the potatoes clean and dry. Rub each potato with olive oil and salt. Using a fork, prick each potato about 3 or 4 times.
- Place the potatoes on a baking tray and put them in the oven.
- Bake for at least an hour, until perfect- the skin should be nice and crispy while the flesh is soft.
- Carefully (it's hot!) cut open the potato. Use a fork to fluff up the insides a little and there you have it!
- Enjoy as-is or add toppings of your choice.
Some easy topping ideas:
- Beans and cheese
- Sour cream and chopped spring onion
- Tuna and mayonnaise
- If you're feeling Mediterranean, try mixing it up with some feta, tomatoes and olives!
Pesto Parmesan Gnocchi
We love this indulgent and delicious meal. All the family will adore this pasta dish, and it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare! We've included the measurements per person so you can easily multiply or divide depending on the size of your family. Serves 4.
You will need:
500g gnocchi (125g per person)
4 tbsp pesto (1 tbsp per person)
120g parmesan, grated (around 30g per person)
- Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil.
- Add the gnocchi, and cook until it rises to the surface (this generally takes around 2-3 minutes).
- Drain the gnocchi, return to the pan and stir in the pesto and parmesan.
- Add salt and black pepper to taste, divide into bowls and serve!
Baked Salmon Protein Salad
It can be difficult to provide quick, healthy meals that are also easy enough to make during the busy week. This surprisingly simple salad is a great tasty gluten-free option, made up of whole foods. There are healthy fats from the fish and protein from the spinach and eggs! Serves 4.
You will need:
4 salmon fillets
500g bag of fresh spinach
Optional extras: Lemon juice, dill or parsley, salt and pepper, cherry tomatoes, avocado and olive oil.
- Preheat the oven to 190°c (or 170°c for fan).
- Loosely wrap the fish in tin foil and place on a baking tray. Add some lemon juice and salt and pepper if using and bake for 18-20 minutes. Alternatively, if you like crispy skin, fry in a pan with a little olive oil for 8-10 minutes, turning regularly.
- While the salmon is cooking, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the eggs and boil for 7 minutes for a medium-runny yolk, and 10 minutes for hard-boiled. Once done, place the eggs in a bowl of cold water. Once slightly cooled, you can peel the shell off the eggs.
- Arrange the spinach on plates (approx. quarter of a bag per person). If you like, whisk together some lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper for a simple salad dressing.
- Slice up the eggs and arrange on top of the salad. If you have any lying around, you could add some salad extras like cherry tomato or avocado.
- Check the salmon is cooked through, and remove from the oven. Take the fillets off the foil, add salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle on chopped parsley/dill (if using) and plate up!
Easy Peasy Quesadillas
As family meals go, you can't beat a cheesy quesadilla to tick all the boxes. Serves 4, but parents might want to double up on their portions.
You will need:
1 can of refried beans
4 tortilla wraps
100g cheddar cheese (grated)
Optional extras: Sliced jalapeño peppers, salsa, guacamole or sour cream.
- Heat a large saucepan on low.
- Spread refried beans over half a tortilla, and sprinkle a layer of cheese on top. Add in some sliced jalapeños here if you like a bit of a kick!
- Now, fold the tortilla in half and gently press down to make sure it sticks together.
- Place the tortilla in the pan and cook on low heat until the cheese is melted- about 3 minutes on each side should do.
- Repeat for the next 4 tortillas.
- Cut each tortilla into 3 wedges and serve! This dish goes well with sour cream dip, or salsa and guacamole too if you're pushing the boat out!
And for dessert...
Okay, so it's not technically a meal, but we couldn't let you miss out on this recipe for delicious 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies! Makes around 20 cookies.
You will need:
200g peanut butter
170g caster sugar
for 25 cookies
- Preheat oven to 180ºC.
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Take a small ball of dough and roll into a ball. Press down on it with a fork, once horizontally and once vertically, to flatten it down and create a ridged design.
- Repeat until all the dough is used, and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, let cool and dig in!
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
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