Easy cooking for the knackered working mum

I’m a busy mum with a full time job, a husband, one dog and three chickens.  They all want feeding at the same time every day (how selfish of them!).

I get home from work at roughly 6.30pm every evening – the animals are easy to feed, a bit of mixed scratch thrown into the chicken run for their supper, some dried dog food and a tickle behind the ear for the dog and they’re all happy.  The husband and the teenager need something a bit more involved.

Let me just explain this – my husband and daughter are not lazy, Chris is a chef so spends all day cooking for other people, Ellie is a college student and both are members of Hayle Pilot Gig Rowing Club so what with practices and training I’m usually the first person home.  If Chris is home earlier than me, he will cook the dinner.

As Chris is a chef, he quietly chuckles (and sometimes out and out guffaws) at my attempts to cook.  I have no patients for it and certainly no inclination to wade into time-wasting preparation for a meal that will be consumed within minutes of touching the kitchen table.  So for me, the quicker and easier the better.

The other night I got home and Chris had left some meatballs in the fridge.  I really couldn’t bare the thought of standing over a frying pan, staring at meatballs – willing them to brown over quicker, chopping onion and messing around with other ingredients.  So I grabbed an oven dish and thought “I’ll chuck all the ingredients in that all in one go and whack it in the oven – what on earth can go wrong?!” And for once, it worked out ok!  I was so pleased with the result that I thought I would share it:

YOU WILL NEED (oooh, it’s like being back at school!)

  • 1 pack of meat balls
  • 2 tins of chopped toms
  • 1 jar pitted olives
  • some tom puree
  • tricolor pasta shapes (about 75g per person)
  • a sprinkle of basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a bit of gravy browing powder
  • water (just enough so the bake doesn’t dry out)
  • grated cheese
  • 2 eggs (optional)

METHOD: Chuck all of the above into the oven dish (except cheese and eggs, add them 5 minutes before serving), cover with some foil.  Put dish in a pre-heated oven (about 185º) and leave it for about an hour. Bish – Bash – Bosh!

If you’re veggie – leave out the meat.  If you don’t like meat balls, replace with any other meat.  If you have small kids and can’t wait an hour for it to cook – stick it all in a slow cooker in the morning and leave to cook all day. Why the eggs?  We put eggs on more or less anything (when you have chickens, you need to come up with inventive ways to use them up!)  They are particularly good on pizzas! TTFN! x


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