As a busy mum, I usually hate reading articles that begin "as a busy mum." But I love food, and I love finding recipes that I actually might have time to cook and eat. So I thought I'd share my favourites.
These aren't particularly child-friendly - they're more for the days when you can't face yet another fish finger yourself, but have five minutes to spare while they're in the oven. Nor are they super nutritious - I am breastfeeding and I want fat and carbs. JUDGE AWAY. But they are all suitable for eating with one hand, leaving the other free for holding babies / wiping noses / checking Facebook / pouring yet more wine.
All serve one greedy person.
Two big handfuls of gnocchi
1 thick slice butter
1 giant slice blue cheese, e.g. Dolcelatte, St Agur
Handful spinach / rocket (optional)
Boil the kettle and cook the gnocchi according to the packet instructions - Sainsbury's takes two minutes. Stick the butter and cheese in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, or as long as it takes to go all melty. Mix with the drained gnocchi. You can stir in a handful of spinach or rocket at this point for HEALTH, but you know.
This is nicked from Nigella's How to Eat. See, even Nigella eats out of tins.
1 can beans (cannellini, butter, whatever)
1 can tuna
Drain the beans and rinse if you can be arsed. (Nigel always says rinse, doesn't he? But he lives in a land of empty shelves and oak worktops and has time to go to the butcher.) Tip onto a plate and top with the tuna. Thinly slice the onion and spread over the top. Squeeze over lemon juice and finish with lots of black pepper. Eat, then try not to breathe on anyone. Not even Nigella can make tuna and raw onion sexy.
1 glug red wine
2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp plum jam
Small knob fresh ginger
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 packet straight-to-wok noodles
Assorted meat and veg (see below)
Tip the wine, teriyaki sauce and jam into a small saucepan. Grate in the ginger and add the chilli flakes. Bring to the boil then let it bubble and reduce.
Heat the wok oil in a frying pan and tank in whatever you have in the fridge - leftover roast chicken, limp spring onions etc. (I have been known to use streaky bacon and frozen soya beans.) Add the noodles and cook for however long it says on the packet. Taste the sauce to see if it needs a bit more of anything, then toss with the noodles.
Drink all of the rest of the wine. (Do not skip this step. It is key to improving the taste of three-day-old chicken and dead courgettes.)
I love carbonara but honestly, who can wait 12 minutes for pasta to cook?
Two small knobs (hahaha) of butter
Handful of cubed pancetta
Small knob (OK stop it now) of parmesan
Fry the pancetta in one knob of butter. Split the muffin and stick it in the toaster. Grate the cheese. Beat the eggs then tip into the pancetta and scramble about. When it's cooked how you want (I like it runny and laugh in the face of salmonella), throw in the cheese and the remaining butter. Tip onto the muffin and add black pepper.
Garlic Pork and Spinach Salad
This is adapted from the Cook Yourself Thin book. I like the book but I have failed to take
1 pork steak
2 handfuls spinach salad
4 anchovy fillets
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Half a tsp dijon mustard
Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces and fry in olive oil till cooked through. Finely chop the garlic and anchovies. Mix with the oil, lemon juice, mustard and loads of black pepper. (I did not realise how much I like black pepper until I wrote this article.) Toss everything together. Like the tuna bean salad, this is ideal partner deterrent if they're looking hopeful and you just want an
So there you go. Obviously there are times when even these recipes seem like too much hard work. Meals I have eaten on these days include:
Four packets of Skips
A ball of mozzarella, eaten like an apple
Cream crackers smeared with Philadelphia and Patak's lime pickle (actually this is
We would love to hear your own recipe suggestions - please do share in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Thanks!
A new episode of The Scummy Mummies Podcast is released every fortnight - listen free via scummymummies.com or download via iTunes. We're on Twitter - @scummymummies.