It’s no good having chicken dinners every night…

Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie-5Do you ever struggle to come up with ideas for main meals? It’s especially difficult when you have a family to feed and you have to please everyone! Daughter 1 doesn’t like peas, daughter 2 doesn’t like potatoes, son 1 doesn’t like broccoli!!!

I know you want to stay healthy and want to eat the right foods but what do you do? I guess it’s no good having a ‘chicken dinner’ every night! I remember as a child, when each day had a set meal and that was repeated the following week and so on. Mondays were always sausage and chips (sometimes with baked beans), Tuesdays were salads, Wednesdays were (that said) chicken dinners – you get the idea! Oh, and Fridays, we couldn’t eat meat so had fish and chips! I suppose we knew what to expect so there were no surprises.

Sometimes I get stuck for ideas but then I have to be a little adventurous. There are plenty of shops other than supermarkets. For example, in Gateshead, Coatsworth Road has a number of European shops selling many different herbs and spices and obscure vegetables. Try the Chinese supermarkets in Newcastle and you can choose any number of unusual noodles and rice dishes. They even have lovely desserts!

What I’m saying is don’t stick to Tesco or Asda – look elsewhere and also try local grocers, butchers etc.

What I made recently was this – I hope you like the idea and you get to make it.

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie – From what I can remember (as I usually just chuck things in a pan!):

Beef mince
Red onion
Chickpeas (tin)
Sweet potatoes
Plum tomatoes (tin)
Harissa paste
Olive oil
Lime juice

1. Peel the potatoes and cut into small chunks – parboil for about 10 minutes or until soft.
2. In the meantime, fry the beef with the spices (cumin/paprika) in a little olive oil.
3. Then add chopped red onion, chopped courgette, chopped garlic and chickpeas and continue to stir fry.
4. Add the harissa paste (1/2 tsp) and plum tomatoes.
5. Add the lime juice, salt and pepper and stir well.
6. After about 5-6 minutes, add the spinach.
7. When the spinach has wilted, continue to simmer for a further 5 minutes.
8. Drain the potatoes and mash (with a little butter if you prefer).
9. Scoop the stir fry mix into a casserole dish then top with the mashed potatoes.
10. Leave in the oven for 15 minutes (gas mark 5). Brown on the top shelf for 2 minutes before serving.

If you’re a vegetarian, replace the beef mince with soya mince. It will still taste delicious.
Let me know if you make it.