3 easy family dinner recipes MAIN

3 easy family dinner recipes

School nights are back and so is the need for easy family dinner recipes. Here are three simple recipes from Simply Good For You by best selling author Amelia Freer

The evenings are drawing in, which means our need for simple and delicious comfort food recipes is inevitable.

With the kids back to school, hectic school nights are back too. So, if you don’t have the time or inclination to spend hours in the kitchen (who does?) but still want some healthy, wholesome recipes, look no further than Simply Good For You by best selling author Amelia Freer.

our need for simple and delicious comfort food recipes is inevitable

With over a hundred delicious, quick and no-nonsense recipes that are as healthy as they are tasty, you’re bound to find a few recipes to see you through the colder months.

Healthista have chosen three of our favourite, quick and easy recipes that are perfect for a healthy family dinner.

Easy family dinner recipe #1 Butternut, Cashew & Sage Pasta

Cashews, once soaked, blend really well into sauces to add creaminess (as well as healthy fats, protein and various essential minerals) and so are a useful ingredient if you are wishing to be more plant based or avoid dairy.

Here I’ve blended them with roasted butternut squash and caramelized onions. It’s a winning recipe to have up your sleeve and a few portions stored in the freezer for busy days.

Plus it looks pretty impressive too…


Serves 4


– 60g cashews

– 400ml hot water

– 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into bite-size pieces

– 1 onion, peeled and cut into wedges

– Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– 5 fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage (plus extra to garnish)

– 400g pasta of choice

– a grating of Pecorino Romano or Parmesan (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan.
  • Pour the hot water over the cashews and leave to soak for 20 minutes.
  • Prepare your butternut squash and place in a roasting tray along with the onion wedges and a little salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until soft.
  • When cooked, allow to cool slightly, then take a third of the roasted vegetable mixture and blend in a high-speed blender with the sage leaves and the cashew/water mixture.
  • Add a little more water if it is looking too thick to blend. You are aiming for a sauce consistency.
  • Transfer to a pan and warm through gently.
  • Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to the packet instructions and drain. Stir the sauce into your cooked pasta of choice and add the rest of the vegetables and a sprinkling of fresh sage leaves.
  • Top with grated Parmesan or Pecorino or vegan alternative (optional).

Easy family dinner recipe #2 Garlic Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

Perfect for Autumn/Winter comfort food and much faster to cook than rice-based risotto.

If you are strapped for time, use pre-cooked quinoa from a packet, but reduce the amount of stock you use – just a splash is all you’ll need to prevent the mixture from tasting dry.

Serves 2 


– 25g dried porcini mushrooms

– 1 onion, peeled and diced

– Olive oil

– 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

– ½ a punnet (approx. 175g of chestnut mushrooms, diced (or wild mushrooms if you can get them)

– 150g quinoa, dried (or a 250g pouch of pre-cooked quinoa)

– 2 handfuls of baby leaf spinach

– 2 tablespoons coconut

– Yoghurt/natural yoghurt

– Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Soak the porcini mushrooms in 700ml of boiling water.
  • In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft.
  • Drain the porcini mushrooms, retaining the soaking liquid, and add the rehydrated mushrooms to the pan together with the garlic and the fresh mushrooms. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Add the quinoa, and stir well. Pour over enough of the mushroom soaking liquid to just cover the quinoa. Bring to a gentle simmer. (If using pre-cooked quinoa, add 250ml of the mushroom soaking liquid, bring to a simmer, add the spinach and wilt for a minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the yoghurt.)
  • Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked through, but still has some bite. You might need to add some more of the mushroom ‘stock’ if it is starting to look dry.
  • Right at the end of cooking, stir in the spinach and finally the yoghurt.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste before serving.

Easy family dinner recipe #3 Instant Tomato & Cannellini Bean Soup

 This is an ‘instant’ soup. Simply blend the raw ingredients together in a decent blender, and it’s ready. No cooking required.

With this particular one, you can even make it when the fridge is looking decidedly bare, as it is mainly composed of tinned ingredients.

Enjoy it gently warmed through, or chilled like a gazpacho. If you have any left over, it freezes well (although heat it through thoroughly before serving).


Serves 3


– 2 x 400g tins of good-quality chopped tomatoes, plus ½ a tin (200ml) of cold water to rinse them out

– 1 x 400g tin or jar of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

– 1 spring onion, roughly chopped

– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle

– ½ teaspoon sea salt

– 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

– a handful of fresh basil leaves

– freshly ground black pepper

  • Put all the ingredients (including the cold water) into the blender, and blend until completely smooth.
  • Add a little more water to adjust the consistency if needed.
  • Either chill or heat to serve.
  • Serve with a good grind of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Simply good for you easy family dinner recipes

Amelia Freer is a Qualified Nutritional Therapist.

Author of No.1 bestselling books: Eat. Nourish. Glow (2015), Cook. Nourish. Glow (2016) and Nourish & Glow: The 10 Day Plan (March 2017, which was an instant Amazon #No1 Best Seller).

Amelia’s fourth book, Simply Good For You, is out now and available to buy on Amazon in the US and in the UK.

In this beautiful cookbook, discover 100 quick and easy recipes for varied and tempting dishes that are, quite simply, good for you and your family.

Visit ameliafreer.com for nutrition tips and advice, in-depth health articles and much more. Amelia also posts regular tips and meal inspiration to her social channels:

Instagram: @ameliafreer
Facebook: Amelia Freer Nutrition

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