Tag Archives: quick food


Healthier 15 minute Mac and Cheese

My kids adore macaroni cheese and as a mother I love it- it’s a meal that’s done in the time it takes to cook the pasta. But it’s a bit stodgy and lacking in greenery isn’t it? I’ve used a Jamie Oliver variant of this recipe, but this one’s a lot easier and you can use most vegetables that are lying around. I find that the vegetables that work best with creamy, cheesy sauces are:

courgette/small squashes

Basically vegetables that cook quickly and according to the list above, don’t have strong flavours.
I use broccoli a lot as I’ve always got it in the fridge and everyone likes it. Here’s what you need for 4 big eaters with at least leftovers for the kids the next day.

500g pasta – (we use rigatoni, but macaroni, fusili etc would all work)
250g Veg
50g butter
a desert spoon of flour
300 ml milk
50-100g grated cheddar (maybe a bit more for the top?)

Get the kettle on and pour boiling water over the pasta (I usually need 2 kettlefuls for 500g- add a tsp salt and allow to boil gently.

Meanwhile chop the broccoli/cauliflower/spinach/courgette into small chunks so they cook quickly. Set aside.

When the pasta is a few minutes away from being ready- throw the veg- it will only take minutes to cook.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. You’re looking for a mixture that is not a liquid. but not a dough either- somewhere in between! Cook very gently, stirring constantly for a minute until the roux is lighter in colour and changes texture. Add the milk a third at a time and keep stirring- use a whisk if it gets lumpy (it always does!) Bring slowly to the boil- the sauce should be thicker now. Turn off heat and add grated cheese.

Drain the pasta and veg and pour over the cheese sauce. Serve straight from the pan or tip into a serving dish, scatter over more grated cheese and bung under the grill for a few minutes until bubbling and golden.

Always a winner.

Cheaty Tuesday: Creamy Spinach Spaghetti with Tomato and Sausage

It is really one of those OMGWFT? days. Busy, busy busy and need something quick to cook, quick to eat and quick to clean.

This is the original 15 minute meal. Two pans, 5 ingredients.
Serves 2 big and 2 small people with leftovers.

You’ll need:

Sausages- I’m partial to a skinny chipolata: they are so quick to cook. 2 or 3 per person. For veggie sausages, I think Sainsbury’s are the nicest.

300g wholewheat spaghetti (my preference but any would do)
Half to a whole carton of passata (depending on your level of sauciness)
2 tbsp double cream
Frozen, chopped spinach (again, I can only find this in Sainso’s)
OR, peas, courgettes, broccoli.

Cook the spaghetti as per instructions and get the sausages frying nicely in a pan.
If you’re using peas, courgettes or broccoli, chop the latter two into bitesize chunks/florets and add to the boiling pasta a minute before the end of cooking time. (A naughtier but tastier method would be adding the veg to the frying sausages….)
Drain the pasta and veggies, keeping everything in the pot. Slice the sausages thinly and add to the pasta. Pour in the passata and cream. Season well with salt and pepper and serve with parmesan shavings.

Enjoy, safe in the knowledge that a clean kitchen is but a couple of dirty pans away.