I may cook the vast majority of our meals from scratch but I’m not tied to the stove. When it comes to meals for the children I like things to move swiftly as small tummies don’t play the waiting game in this family.
One of my favourite store cupboard standby meals is this pizza which is ready for the oven in under 15 minutes (10 if you’re super speedy). No proving, just kneading, rolling and topping. You are going to love this dough as it is so quick and makes a nice crisp base.
As I’m allergic to tomatoes we always have pesto on our pizza (here’s my homemade pesto recipe). You can load it up with whichever toppings take your fancy, we’re big on veggies and I’ll use whatever I have to hand.
Five Minute Pizza Dough
275g light brown self-raising flour (white is ok or a 50/50 mix of white & wholemeal)
60ml olive oil
Small pinch of salt (optional and not for under twos)
Veggie Pizza Toppings
Enough pesto to cover the dough, about 2 – 3 spoons
Half a courgette, either grated or sliced into wafer thin rounds
Cheddar cheese, grated
A handful of black olives, sliced
Half a red pepper, sliced
Three artichoke hearts, sliced
Five or so mushrooms, sliced and fried in a little oil
Any other vegetables you fancy!
Preheat oven to 180°C
Makes enough for six children (or three with leftovers)
- Mix your ingredients together in a bowl until they come together in a dough.
- Either pop it in your mixer and let the dough hook work its magic for five to ten minutes or turn out onto a floured worktop and knead by hand.
- When you have an elastic dough roll out to about 5mm and place on a baking tray.
- Spread your pesto (or tomato sauce) over the dough.
- Layer your courgette (grated or sliced) over the base sauce then grate the cheddar over the pizza. Only using enough to cover in a layer.
- Then lay out your toppings, Milla did the pizza above.
- Cook in the oven for 20 minutes checking after 15 minutes and turning if needed.
I’m a late comer to the wonder of a white cheese sauce. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with Monty and craved cauliflower cheese that it crept into my repertoire. I love whipping up a pasta bake for a rainy day, it’s a warming dish without being time consuming.
For this pasta bake I use the same sauce I would for cauliflower cheese and whichever vegetables I have to hand. I start the white sauce whilst the pasta is cooking and chop the vegetables in between whiskings to save time on the prep. Preparation is no more than about 15 minutes and it bakes in 25 – 30 minutes. I’ve done quantities for about six people.
Vegetable Pasta Bake
For the cheddar cheese sauce:
25g plain flour
1 pint (568ml) milk
150g grated cheddar cheese (50g is reserved for pasta bake topping)
1tbsp Dijon mustard (can substitute with 1 tsp English mustard)
Nutmeg – freshly grated
- Over a medium heat melt the butter then whisk in flour a spoon at a time for one minute.
- Remove from heat and add the milk slowly at first whisking in with each addition.
- Return to the heat and simmer gently (or you end up with a crust on the bottom of the pan) whisking regularly until you have a thick and creamy sauce.
- Remove from heat. Grate in the nutmeg (to your taste, I like lots) and add the mustard – whisk through the sauce.
- Stir in 100g of the cheese until it has all melted.
For the pasta bake:
500g dried pasta (I like rigatoni but penne or even fusilli work just as well)
1 batch of cheddar cheese sauce as above.
1 – 2 courgettes – 5mm dice
1/2 red and 1/2 orange pepper – 5mm dice
A couple of handfuls of spinach leaves
(alternatives: broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, turnip etc lightly steamed before use)
- Cook the pasta for about a minute or two less than the packet instructions so it is nicely al dente. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- Dice the vegetables and mix together.
- In an oven proof dish, layer the pasta and vegetables starting and finishing with a layer of pasta.
- Pour over the sauce – I don’t mix it through but you can if you want.
- Sprinkle over the remaining 50g of cheese and grate a little Parmesan over as well if you like it really cheesy.
- Bake in an oven at 180°C for 25 – 30 minutes until the top is golden brown.