Food & Drink: Family favourite cooking

There is much written about the importance of sitting down and eating with our children. I am lucky as on the whole this is something I am able to do most nights, but something I’m a stickler for at weekends. However I won’t pretend that family dining is always harmonious. There is nothing more frustrating than cooking a meal, placing it in front of the family and then to face a barrage of questions. There are many occasions over the years when I’ve had to explain that “nobody gets to eat their favourite food every night”. There is always compromise, take the simple sausage – I love mine with loads of buttery mash and an onion gravy, my husband and eldest prefer chips and beans!

We all have those dishes in our repertoire that fall under the heading family favourite meals. Those dishes that you know all the family will sit down and eat, without complaint. That’s the great thing about a family favourite dishes, everyone likes them. You serve it up, sit down and everyone eats without comment.

family favourite collage

Family Favourite Recipes

So what makes a recipe a family favourite. I asked a few of our friends in the blogging community to share their ideas and recipes. Here’s what they came up with, a lovely mix of comfort with a touch of spice.

Peri Peri Chicken like Nandos

 For Eb from Easy Peasy Foodie it has to be her Peri Peri Chicken (Nando’s Copycat) 

“My Peri Peri Chicken is a real family favourite. It came about because I wanted to recreate the flavours from one of our family’s favourite restaurants: Nandos! I wanted to make a homemade version of Nandos that was quick and easy to prepare, healthy and delicious. I spent quite a bit of time perfecting my spice blend and testing it out on my family (They have a hard life!). I coat the chicken pieces in the spice blend and then roast in a hot oven, along with some corn on the cobs. Meanwhile I create a delicious coconut and lime rice to go with it all. I serve the chicken pieces and corn on the cobs on top of the rice on a large platter for that ‘WOW’ factor. We love it because it evokes such happy memories of eating out at Nandos together and because it’s the kind of meal that feels like a real treat, even though it’s actually pretty healthy and much cheaper than going out to eat. I love recipes that look impressive, but are actually super easy, and this is definitely one of those!”

Easy-Slow-Cooker-Beef-Casserole

Helen from Fuss Free Flavours family love her Simplest Beef Casserole

“A classic simple beef casserole or stew is one of my favourite dishes, and something my mother frequently would make on a Saturday night for supper. Only 6 simple ingredients but once cooked they are so much more than their individual parts. This dish can be made in the oven, or in a slow cooker or Instant Pot, and of course is better made in bulk ahead and reheated. Serve at a dinner party – or with a comforting blob of mash for a Saturday night telly supper on the sofa!”

Pork & Peanut Stirfry

The recipe that Michelle my fellow Lost in Food Blogger falls back on is actually my recipe for Pork & Peanut Stir-fry  It was our first recipe on the blog and Michelle says her kids will eat anything if they believe I cooked it or had some involvement in it’s creation. Kids are fickle like that, but to be fair it’s a quick recipe that I cook for my own family regularly, a great mid-week staple.

Bacon-Potato-Layer-Bake-

Camilla from FabFood4All shares with us a family recipe for Bacon & Potato Layer Bake

“Our favourite family meal is one that I also grew up with, a Bacon & Potato Layer Bake. It’s layers of potato, bacon, tomato, onion and cheese baked in a dish with chicken stock, true comfort food! I adapted the recipe by parboiling the the potatoes. My mum’s version had raw potato slices in it and I remember that the potatoes didn’t always cook in time so the dish had to go back in the oven for a bit longer quite often. I say this is our favourite but my daughter became a vegetarian recently so we need to find a new “favourite” that is also vegetarian – a work in progress!

A-spoonful-of-fish-pie

Growing up beside the coast, Janice from Farmers Girl Kitchen shares her recipe for Low Calorie Fish Pie

“I was brought up on the east coast of Scotland and fish was featured on our menu at least once a week, and one of the recipes that my Mum made regularly was fish pie. My Mum always made the white sauce with cornflour which has many fewer calories than if made with a standard bechamel sauce. I’ve updated the fish pie recipe making it really easy by using a frozen fish pie mix and I added some spinach for extra vitamins and minerals.”

Ras el hanout chicken

My own family favourite meal is Ras-el-hanout Chicken with Spicy Couscous. My youngest daughter was a notoriously fussy eater, she approached every plate of food with suspicion! However I discovered fairly early on that she liked strong flavours, anything with garlic and a hit of spice. In fact we are a family of spice lovers which is why this recipe works for us as there is a good hit of spice in the chicken, but also in the accompanying couscous. I will often serve this with pickled red onions and a spiced yogurt on the side. 

Funnily enough I wrote this post in the early evening, before I had my own dinner. It was one of those manic days we all have where time was in short supply. One of those days in fact where you buy pizza to shove in the oven. By the time I’d finished writing this post I was ravenous and I wanted to eat every one of these dishes far more than the meal I had planned!

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About Lesley Garden

Lesley (foodie; cook; spice loving; gardener; city breaker) born and
brought up in the North East of Scotland and has settled there with her
family. With a background in Organisational & Business Development, she
has worked across the globe including: China; India; and Singapore,
fuelling her love of cooking and all things spicy. Lesley seeks out good
food wherever she goes and is rarely seen without her notebook. With a
palette many envy, she is able to pick out the key elements of most dishes which she then likes to recreate at home. Lesley’s guilty secret is her addiction to cookbooks, although she does claim to “read them like
novels!”

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