5 quick meals
Cottage pie, baked pasta, fish pie, lasagne, and chicken nuggets for the whole family.

You don’t have to get take-aways when you don’t have time to cook. You also don’t have to spend your life in the kitchen to make sure your toddler eats well, make these easy toddler meals on the weekend – and you’ll have supper ready in no time each day of the week.

Cottage Pie


  • 4 tbps olive oil
  • 500g minced beef or lamb
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp thyme, chopped
  • ½ tsp Allspice
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsps (60g) butter
  • 100ml milk
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions and carrot until lightly browned. Add the meat and fry until it starts to brown.
  2. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, parsley, thyme and allspice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Fill the empty tin of tomatoes with water and add to the pot. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, then add the peas.
  3. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes and sweet potatoes in salted water until soft. Drain, add the butter and milk and mash. Check seasoning.
  4. Butter a large ovenproof dish (or 6 individual ramekins), spoon in the meat sauce and top with the mash, sprinkle with cheese (if using) and bake for 30 minutes.

Yummy baked pasta


  • 400g noodles
  • 1 packet (250g) bacon, cut into strips
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 eggs
  • 500ml cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 200g white cheddar or mozzarella cheese or a mixture of both, cut into cubes
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Bring a big pot of water and 5ml salt to a rolling boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
  2. While the pasta is boiling, fry the onion and bacon in a non-stick pan until lightly browned. The bacon will release enough fat for frying. (If you’re not using bacon, you may need to add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.) Add the peas and set aside.
  3. Whisk the eggs, cream, thyme and lemon zest together and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Drain the pasta, place in an ovenproof dish. Stir in the onion and bacon mixture as well as the cheese, then pour the egg mixture over it.
  5. Bake for 30-45 minutes until the egg is set and the top is golden brown.


This is a very versatile dish. You can tailor-make it to your toddler’s tastes. You can easily turn it into a vegetarian dish by leaving out the bacon and using mushrooms instead. Or you could replace the bacon with ham or tuna.

Fish pie


For the topping:

  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsps (60g) butter
  • 60ml milk, warmed

For the filling:

  • 300g frozen smoked haddock fillets
  • 300g frozen hake fillets
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 450ml milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn (or fresh, cut off the cob)
  • 2 tbsps (60g) butter
  • 2 tbsps (40g) flour
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon, juice of half


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Make the mash for the topping while the oven heats up. Boil the potatoes and carrots in plenty of salted water for about 15 minutes or until very tender. Drain well and mash with the butter and milk.
  2. Now place the fish, milk, lemon zest and bay leaf in an oven-proof pie dish. Pop in the oven and bake for 20 minutes (or microwave on high for 4-6 minutes). Lift the fish out and reserve the milk for use in the white sauce.
  3. Break the fish into chunks, removing any skin and bones and return to the pie dish. Sprinkle peas and corn over.
  4. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir in the flour then add the reserved milk. Let it gently bubble for about 15 minutes, whisking from time to time.
  5. Stir in the parsley and season with salt. Allow the sauce to cool slightly, add the juice of half a lemon, then pour it over the fish mixture.
  6. Cover the fish with the mash by spooning it on in large dollops. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden on top.



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
  • 250ml white wine (or chicken stock)
  • 1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small bunch parsley, chopped
  • 250g lasagne sheets
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the white sauce:

  • 60g butter
  • 60g flour
  • 700ml milk
  • 60g parmesan cheese, grated
  • freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. To make the meat sauce, heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the onions till translucent. Add the garlic, celery and carrots and fry for another minute or two.
  3. Remove the vegetable mixture from the pot and keep aside. Now fry the mince for about ten minutes or until it starts to brown. Return the veggies to the pot and add the bay leaf, cinnamon, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the wine (or stock) and tomatoes, bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for an hour. Add the parsley and stir through.
  5. To make the white sauce: melt the butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Then begin adding the milk, a little at a time. It will eventually turn into a smooth, thick sauce. Season with salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg.
  6. Grease a deep baking dish or individual dishes. Spoon a little of the white sauce into the dish to form a thin layer on the bottom. Put a layer of lasagne sheets on top, followed by a layer of the meat sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Continue layering, ending with a layer of white sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the grated parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 30-40 minutes.

Chicken nuggets


  • ½ cup wholewheat breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup oat bran
  • 4 tbsp (40g) parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 chicken breast fillets, cut into strips
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  1. In a shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, oat bran, parmesan and paprika. Put the eggs in another shallow bowl next to the bowl of crumbs.
  2. Sprinkle salt over the chicken strips, dip in the egg and then toss in the crumbs until completely coated.
  3. Put the butter and oil in a large non-stick frying pan. When hot, place the chicken nuggets in a single layer in the pan and cook until crisp and golden on one side (3-4 minutes). Turn and cook until the chicken is cooked through, golden and crisp all over (another 3-4 minutes). Cut through a piece to check that it’s cooked through.

Shopping list


  • 1kg beef mince
  • 4 chicken breast fillets
  • 1 packet (250g) bacon or ham


  • 240g butter
  • 1 310ml milk
  • 500ml cream
  • 200g Mozzarella
  • 80g Parmesan
  • 100g Cheddar cheese (optional)


  • 8 potatoes
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 4 onions
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 5 carrots
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 small bunches parsley
  • 1 small bunch thyme


  • 6 eggs
  • 400g noodles
  • 250g lasagne sheets
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 250ml white wine
  • 1 wholewheat bread (for crumbs)
  • 1 packet oat bran

From the freezer section:

  • 300g smoked haddock
  • 300g hake fillets
  • 1 packet frozen peas
  • 1 packet frozen sweetcorn

Check your store cupboard for:

  • Flour
  • Bay leaves
  • Chicken stock cubes
  • Olive oil
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Paprika
  • All spice

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