Small steps food series


Quick dinners

Today - let's go sloooooow…..

Whether you want it available to eat as soon as you get home or you don’t want to spend hours preparing dinner - we all need a few basic quick wholefood dinner ideas.

When I ask women what their major challenge is with getting wholefoods on the table for their family - it’s almost always TIME. I wonder if there’s anything simpler than getting a roast on - it takes about two minutes and then cooks away - we don’t need to overcomplicate food!

So let’s make it easy.

I always have frozen bolognese on stand-by and use it in a stack of different ways.

Currently our favourite way to eat bolognese is to spread it out over a large piece of butter puff pastry (the Careme brand in Australia is amazing), and then sprinkle with feta and chopped tomato. Turn the edges up and cook in the oven until the base is cooked through. So good!

Sometimes I just cook up sausages and eggs and cut up raw veggies.

Pasta is a go-to quick dinner (obvs!) and a favourite quick way with pasta for us is cooking up a box of spelt Spelt pasta and adding tinned tuna, lemon juice, rocket, diced tomato and olive oil. So fresh!
Now, here's a little idea for you, that works for me. I have a list of quick dinners that I look to in those moments when I'm seriously considering take-away! I can usually always can pull something quick together with pantry staples.

Can you write a list of those dinner and stick it on your fridge? I promise it will help your over-worked brain!

Recipes to try
Sausage and Veggies

Put all ingredients in an oven dish, cook and serve. Couldn’t be easier! A firm weeknight favourite in this house.


  • - Enough sausages to feed your family
  • - Vegetables for roasting any of these work beautifully – sweet potato, potato, beetroot, broccoli, zucchini, tomato, onion, pumpkin, parsnip. Add enough portions to pack the plates of your family!
  • - Olive Oil/tallow/bacon fat/duck fat
  • - Salt or Herbamare



  1. 1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. 2. Cut vegetables into cubes – make sure they are cut in a similar size for even cooking.
  3. 3. Add vegetables to a baking tray or roasting pan. Coat with the olive oil, or animal fat, and sprinkle with salt or herbamare (herb and salt sprinkle found at supermarket).
  4. 4. Place into oven for half an hour for ‘just cooked’ as in photo, or 45 minutes to one hour for a crispy and caramelised effect.
  5. 5. While the vegetables are cooking away, there are two ways you can cook your sausages. You can either add them to a baking tray and cook in the oven along with the vegetables or cook on a pan on the stovetop over a moderate temperature. I use a little olive oil to coat the pan but ensure that it doesn’t get too hot.There you go. It was that hard. Dinner – done!

Here’s the thing. I know that sneaking veggies into our kids meals is the ‘thing to do’. My Easy As Pie mince recipe does a great job at that.

But sometimes, let’s face it. I just want a bolognese that tastes like bolognese – in all its meaty glory!

If you are looking for a rich, flavoursome and super simple bolognese recipe, I bring you this, dear friends.

An Italian neighbour from years ago taught me that all tomato based sauces need a little sweetness. Who am I to argue with an Italian about authenticity.

So this is my wholefoods version.

You could use soy sauce instead of tamari and any old sugar – but this is what sits in my pantry.

I hope you enjoy it.


- 1 tbls olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves thinly diced
- 1 onion diced
- 500 g beef mince
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups tomato passata
- 2 tbls tamari
- 2 tsp Italian herbs
- 1 tbls rapadura sugar


1. Warm the oil over medium heat in a pan
2. Add the onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent – don’t burn the garlic! Then add mince to pan.
3. Once cooked through add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes (turn down the heat if you need to). You want a really good reduction.
4. Serve on top of your pasta of choice with a little parmesan cheese (buy the block and grate yourself – the pre-grated variety has weird stuff added)

A Short Watch
Kristin Cosgrove

Kristin Cosgrove on Quick Meals for families

Nat Kringoudis on the role food plays in happy hormones.

View the full interview in the Vault here.

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