There's homework to do, laundry to put away, swimming kit to get ready, and grumpy grumpy tiny people who need your undivided attention otherwise they'll riot and start trashing the kitchen (insert your latest toddler anarchy anecdote here) ... but there'll also be hell to pay if you can 't get some sort of tea on the table for 5pm... It's just a fact of life when you're a busy parent - you've got to multitask.  So, my happy suggestion is... a TRAYBAKE! Why not let the oven do the work, so you can keep control of tinies. You may even have some lovely magical bonding time with them. At the very least, you'll have got some other jobs sorted whilst dinner makes itself.

Anyone who has met me or attended one of my workshops will know that I really love a traybake. Not only is it a quick low maintenance cook, but there's hardly any washing up too - winner!

So, what's a traybake?

For those of you unfamiliar with a traybake it's a simple concept: stick all the components of a meal in the oven at about 180°C. Give it a shake up every 15 mins, it's usually a 30-45 minute bake.

Here's a link to loads of traybake recipes at my favourite recipes resource - GoodFood.com, of course:)

And here's my Traybake Tuppence-worth:

  • If you don't have a specific recipe, start off with chicken thighs, salmon fillets or sausages as your base and then include veg that goes well with your meat of choice.
  • When chopping up veg, consider the cooking time in order for everything to cook evenly - chop big potatoes down smaller, keep onion chunks bigger etc. otherwise you could end up with some elements raw, whilst others are burnt.
  • Herbs and spices bring it to life: I often adapt my favourite meals into a traybake concept - fajitas, ratatouille, curry, roast etc. It's easy, and once you're confident with which herbs and spices go with what, you'll never have a dull traybake.
  • If you're a veggie/vegan serving meat for the family, make a vegetarian traybake and add meat on the side.
  • Orzo pasta, new pots, rice - all can be added raw (with additional liquid) to bulk out and carb up.

Happy Traybaking!