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Easy Plan Ahead Meals for Mums

When it comes to the modern mum, looking after a family can be tough, especially when there are endless baskets of clothes to wash, pages of homework to check, as well as a full time job to juggle – not to mention the constant needs of growing children. With so many lifestyle demands, it’s not surprising that cooking is the last thing that some parents feel like doing after a long day at work and some need a little helping hand. Enter Sarah Flower! She has written a book that allows mums to plan ahead with money saving recipes that will not only taste great, but help to reduce waste. Her book uncovers a number of ways you can plan ahead meals. So whether it be following freezer recipes (so you can stock up on the spag bol), batch cooking recipes (so you can be sure your family won’t go hungry whatever day of the week), easy weeknight family meals (so there’s no danger you’ll miss your Monday night Corrie), all the meals are quick, easy and finger licking good.

Still not convinced? Check out the toad in the hole recipe and easy fish pie recipe below, which can be made in batches and stored in the freezer, ready for when you need them. So the next time you’re stuck in the office working late, you’ll know there’s a tasty dinner already made for the family…all that’s needed is to heat it up. Result!

Toad in the Hole Top Tip:

Invest in good quality sausages to enhance the flavour.

Plan Ahead: Prepare the batter the day before and leave in the fridge.

Double up and freeze any extra.


100g plain flour

300ml milk

1 egg

1 onion, chopped

8 sausages

Olive Oil

A handful of thyme, oregano or rosemary


–  Preheat your oven to gas mark 6 (200 degrees).

–  Using a blender, blend the flour, milk and egg together to form a batter. Mix thoroughly and leave to the side to settle.

–  Place the onion, sausages and olive oil in a deep, oven-proof dish.

–  Place in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

–  Just before the 15 minutes are up, quickly whizz up your batter mix in the blender again and add the herbs and seasoning, before mixing it all together.

–  Remove the sausages from the oven and immediately pour over the batter, making sure that all sausages are covered.

–  Return to the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown.

–  Serve with gravy and steamed vegetables.

Creamy Fish Pie 

Top Tip: Make a batch portion, as well as several single portions and ask your fishmonger if they sell fish mix (a selection of fish). They may have some odd bits they can put together for you.

Plan ahead: Double up and freeze any extra.


1 kg potatoes

A little butter for mashing

500g fish (either fish fillets or chunks, such as haddock, cod, Pollock and salmon)

50g prawns

250ml milk

25g flour

1 tsp mustard

A little grated cheese for topping


–  Preheat your oven to gas mark 6 (200 degrees).

–  Boil or steam the potatoes until tender.

–  Once cooked, mash with a little butter and place to one side.

–  Place the fish, prawns and milk in a pan and gently bring the milk to the boil.

–  Reduce the heat and cook gently for 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

–  Drain the fish, reserving the liquid to make the sauce.

–  Dice the fish if it has not already been cut into chunks and place in a pie dish.

–  To make the creamy sauce, melt the butter into a pan and add the flour.

–  Stir in the reserved milk stock and heat gently until the sauce thickens.

–  Add the mustard and season to taste once the sauce is the right consistency, then pour this over the fish.

–  Cover the fish with the mashed potato and top with a small amount of grated cheese.

For loads more money-saving recipes to help you plan your week ahead, read: The Busy Mum’s Plan-Ahead Cookbook (£9.99, Robinson) by Sarah Flower