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Winter Warmers: Quick and easy after school dinners

14th October 2015

Winter Warmers: Quick and easy after school dinners  

By now, you’re all probably getting back into the swing of the weekday school routine, and with this routine comes the chore of having to decide and make dinner every night for your little ones. Preparation and forward planning will make it much easier for your child to maintain a healthy diet full of nutritious meals, and now the kids are back at school and regular meal times have resumed, we recommend creating a menu planner at the start of every week to help keep you on track.  

So let us take care of the dinnertime menu for you this week with some of our tasty, autumnal recipes that are quick and easy for after school dinners.


Baked mac and cheese – the ultimate comfort food

For convenience and ease, this dish can be cooked in a slow cooker.


  • 150g macaroni
  • 1 jar of white sauce
  • 150g cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 50ml milk


  • Simply add the macaroni pasta and the sauce to the slow cooker, put the lid on and cook on a low setting for 2-3 hours
  • Once it is ready, remove the lid and give a stir. If the sauce is too thick, add 50ml of milk
  • Stir in half the amount of grated cheese and sprinkle the rest on top
  • If your slow cooker is flameproof, place the dish under the grill to brown the cheese until it is bubbling and ready to eat


Sausage casserole – the winter warmer


  • 8 sausages
  • 3 potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of sweetcorn
  • 1 tin of cannellini beans
  • Mixed herbs


  • Grill the sausages until cooked and then cut into chunks
  • Peel, cut into chunks and par boil the potatoes
  • Fry the onions slightly until translucent
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, sweetcorn and cannellini beans to the onions
  • Then add the potatoes and sausages
  • Add some mixed herbs and stir in
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes


Burgers and chips – Every child’s favourite!


  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • Garlic, chilli and mixed herbs
  • Pitta breads
  • 2 large potatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper


The burgers (get the kids involved in this bit- the messy bit!)

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the mince, egg, garlic, chilli and mixed herbs
  • Using your fingers, mix all the ingredients until it combines together
  • Break off small amounts of the mixture and shape into patties. If the mixture is falling apart, add a teaspoon of flour bit by bit until it sticks together more
  • Place the patties on a baking tray, cover over with cling film and leave in the fridge for roughly 20 minutes

The chips

  • Pre-heat the oven to 250°C
  • It is optional whether you peel your potatoes or not. If you want a more rustic chip, leave the skin on
  • Slice the potatoes in half first, and then into wedges
  • Lay on a baking tray and thinly coat in olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Place on the top shelf of the oven and cook for 30-45 minutes until golden brown and soft through the middle

Back to the burgers

  • Put a tiny blob of olive oil into a non-stick frying pan and place on full heat
  • Once the oil is hot, turn the heat down slightly, lay the burgers in the pan and allow to slowly cook
  • Using a spatula, turn the burgers over every now and then so they can cook evenly
  • Once they have turned brown on both sides, they should be cooked. However, if you are unsure, place a fork through the middle and touch the end of the fork. If it is hot then the meat is cooked, if not they should be cooked for a little longer

Serving (the kids can help dish out the food!)

  • Chop some lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes onto a plate for a side salad
  • Evenly serve the chips
  • Place the pitta breads into the toaster and slice in half once toasted
  • Place the burger inside the pitta bread



Homemade pizza – Fun and child-friendly!



  • 1 pizza base
  • Tomato puree
  • Cheese (grated)
  • and whatever toppings you’d like i.e. peppers, onion, sweetcorn, ham, chicken etc.


  • Spread a layer of tomato puree onto the pizza base
  • Add on the rest of your chosen toppings i.e. sweetcorn, pepper, chicken.
  • Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes


Chicken stew in the slow cooker – extremely quick and easy!


  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 potatoes, chopped
  • Frozen peas
  • Mixed herbs
  • 400 ml chicken stock


  • Peel and chop the carrots and potatoes
  • Dice the onion
  • Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker, including the frozen peas, chicken and chicken stock
  • Allow to cook on a low setting for 8 hours (put it on in the morning and it should be ready to eat when you get in from work and the kids are home from school)


Other all-time favourite winter warmers to try out:

  • Pasta bake
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Toad-in-the-hole


If your children are younger, they can help you with the easier tasks such as making the salad, serving the food or laying the table. Similarly, if you have older children in the family, with your guidance they can help with peeling and chopping the vegetables, stirring the dishes and timing them too.

All of our recommended dishes are perfect for families to enjoy this autumn, so why not give them a go!

Tiny World in Nottingham and Mansfield offers excellent after-school club facilities which includes giving your child a healthy dinner, as well as somewhere they can relax and play with their friends. To learn more about our after-school clubs, please get in touch with us today and our team will be more than happy to help!