Rebecca Cox tells us about 5 easy dinners that you can prepare in your baby's morning nap and eat whenever they decide to go to bed.
Let us introduce you to the magical slow cooker. It is not just a cooking appliance; it is the magical road to eating hot dinners that didn’t come out of a plastic microwavable packet again. The following five slow cooker dinners take five minutes to prepare, so you can chop and drop in the morning while your baby snoozes and then eat whenever they go down in the evening. And once they’ve dropped that glorious morning nap, pop them in a high chair and let them ‘help’ you with the prep (ie, watch you chop while they throw plastic objects at you). All the following recipes should make enough for two days’ dinners.
1. Beef and carrots in red wine sauce
Ingredients: 600g – 1kg Beef brisket. 6 Carrots, peeled and chopped. 1 red onion, peeled and chopped. Red wine vinegar or red wine, or a combination of both (one cup) Thick beef stock or bisto (one cup)
Method: Add everything to the pot. Turn on the slow cooker to low. Cook for 8-10 hours and enjoy with either rice (hello microwave rice our favourite meal companion), a chunk of fresh bread or a baked potato you remembered to stick in an hour before baby bedtime.
2. Chicken curry
Ingredients: 400 g Diced chicken. 1 can chopped tomatoes. 1 can coconut milk. 1 onion, chopped. 3 tbsp curry powder of your choice.
Method: Add everything to the pot and cook for 6-8 hours on low. Add a dash of honey an hour or two before serving and throw in any fresh veg you want to use up – spinach or a cup of frozen peas will go nicely. Serve with our old friend microwaveable rice.
3. Chicken casserole
Ingredients: 2 potatoes. 400g diced chicken breast. 1 leek, chopped. 4 carrots, chopped. 1 pint chicken stock
Throw it all in, cook on low for roughly 8 hours. Season before serving. Yum.
4. Lentil curry (Ok, there are a couple more than 5 ingredients here, but we use frozen onion, garlic and ginger so they only count as one…)
Ingredients: 2 cups lentils. 3 potatoes, chopped. 2 cloves garlic, chopped (or a handful of frozen). 1 onion, chopped (or a handful of frozen). 1 small piece of fresh ginger, chopped (or one square, frozen). 5 cups vegetable stock. 3 teaspoons curry powder
You guessed it, bung it in, turn on the cooker. We’d recommend 6-8 hours on low, just keep an eye on the lentils and add a little more stock at the end if you need it. Serve with poppadums and mango chutney or plain yoghurt.
5. Chilli chicken wraps
Ingredients: 400g diced chicken (or beef or pork if you prefer). 1 red onion, chopped. 1 can chopped tomatoes. 3 tsp chipotle seasoning (or jar of premade sauce if unavailable). 3 peppers of varying colours, chopped
Add everything but the peppers to your pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Throw in the peppers about an hour before serving and enjoy in tortilla wraps with a dash of yoghurt and maybe a little (or a lot-a) cheese.