If you think this sounds implausible, we’re just about to prove to you that you can feed a family a healthy and tasty diet for just £4 a day! Rebecca Wilson aka What Mummy Makes is the Sunday Times bestselling author and expert family recipe developer. She is currently on a mission to provide parents with ‘one meal fits all’ recipes to make family life simpler. Here, Rebecca shares her plan to feed a family of four – nutritiously and deliciously – on a tight budget.
A take on a Danish cinnamon swirl pastry, this version is packed with naturally sweet apples and banana. Whip up a batch for breakfast and pop the rest in the freezer to enjoy another day.
Makes 12 pinwheels
Takes 25 minutes
1 large banana
1 red eating apple
1 heaped tbsp ground almonds
1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 x 375g (13oz) sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry*
Preheat the oven to 200ºC fan (220ºC/425ºF/Gas 7) and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Put the banana in a flat-bottomed bowl and mash well with the back of a fork. Grate the apple: no need to remove the skin, but grate around the central core and discard it. Add the apple pulp to the banana, along with the ground almonds, cinnamon and vanilla extract and give it all a good stir.
Unroll the puff pastry and spoon on the banana mix. Using the back of a tablespoon, evenly spread the mixture from edge to edge. Starting at one of the short ends, roll up the pastry into a sausage shape. Use a serrated knife to cut the roll into 12 slices.
Lay each pinwheel onto the lined baking tray, cut side down, so that you see the lovely spiral pattern on top. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed up and golden.
These pinwheels will keep for 3 days in the fridge; reheat for 5 minutes in a hot oven. Or freeze for up to 3 months and cook them from frozen at 180ºC fan (200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6) for 10 minutes, or until piping hot all the way through.
Recipe comes in at approximately £1.50 to make 12 plus store cupboard cinnamon and vanilla.
If you have a nut allergy, you can omit the ground almonds, but ensure you squeeze out the juice from the grated apples before mixing with the rest of the ingredients, otherwise it’ll result in soggy pastry.
CHEESY COURGETTE PIZZA
This tasty finger food can be enjoyed by babies from 6 months, and for older children it can be popped into packed lunches. Prep your pizza base in just 15 minutes with only two ingredients – no kneading and no need to let the dough rise.
Serves 2 x 18cm (7in) pizzas (1 adult and 2 children)
Takes 15 minutes
8 heaped tbsp self-raising flour, plus extra if needed
4 heaped tbsp plain full-fat Greek-style yogurt
1 tsp baking powder
70g (2 ½ oz) Cheddar, grated
2 heaped tbsp full-fat cream cheese
Preheat the oven to 220°C fan (240°C/475°F/Gas 9).
Coarsely grate the courgette using a box grater, then squeeze the strands in your hands to release the juices. Add the pulp to a bowl with the grated cheese, then separate the courgette using your fingers, mixing it well with the cheese. Set aside while you make the dough.
Add the flour to a large bowl, along with the yogurt and baking powder. Stir until it starts to come together, then tip the entire contents onto a clean work surface, scraping out any yogurt left in the bowl. Gently bring the dough together, adding an extra sprinkling of flour if it feels too sticky. Within a minute or so, the dough should form into a ball. Cut in half to make two pizzas.
Take one ball of dough and dust with a little extra flour. Then, using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a circular shape around 1cm (1/2 in) thick, moving and rotating as you go so it doesn’t stick to the surface.
Lightly dust a non-stick baking tray with flour. Transfer the pizza base to the baking tray and spoon over 1 tbsp of the cream cheese, using the back of the spoon to spread the cheese evenly over the base. Sprinkle over half the courgette and cheese mixture.
Repeat with the other ball of dough and the remaining toppings. Pop both pizzas into the preheated oven and cook for about 10–15 minutes until the base has puffed up and the cheese is golden and crispy.
Recipe comes in at approximately £1.18.
HULK MAC ’N’ CHEESE
Egg-free, Vegetarian, Vegan*, Dairy-free*
Pimp up your macaroni cheese with nutritious spinach – a great way to get extra veggies into your fussy eater. This can be whipped up in under 10 minutes – a speedy light lunch.
Serves 2 adults and 2 children
Takes 10 minutes
250g (9oz) dried macaroni (or any pasta shape will work)
100g (31/2oz) grated Cheddar or 2 tbsp nutritional yeast*
1 tbsp unsalted butter or dairy free spread or coconut oil*
2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
freshly ground black pepper
NB. Please take care and look for the substitutions in the ingredients list. This is especially important for parents looking to introduce cow’s milk and other milk products like oat or soya (soy) milk.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the pasta. Cook according to the packet instructions.
To a microwaveable jug, add the frozen spinach and milk. Cook for 3 minutes until the spinach is nearly defrosted and the milk slightly warmed.
In a hot frying pan, melt the butter then add cornflour. Stir and cook for a minute, then add the spinach milk gradually, whisking continuously. Stir until the sauce is thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and add a good grinding of black pepper and the grated cheese. Stir to melt the cheese into the sauce then set aside until the pasta is cooked.
Add the drained, cooked pasta to the sauce, stir and serve with an extra grating of cheese on top, if you like.
Any leftovers will keep for a couple of days. Spoon them into an ovenproof dish, top with more cheese and bake for 15–20 minutes for a delicious pasta bake. Alternatively, if you’re thinking ahead, make extra sauce and reserve some of it before mixing with the pasta. Freeze in portions for up to 3 months for a quick pasta sauce on busy days when you’re feeling rushed. Defrost in the microwave with an extra splash of milk until piping hot, before stirring through freshly cooked pasta.
Recipe comes in at approximately £1.09 plus store cupboard corn flour and black pepper.
* Indicates that the recipe can be adapted to suit this dietary requirement. Look for the substitutions listed in the ingredients.
What Mummy Makes: Cook just once for you and your baby (DK, £14.99) andWhat Mummy Makes: Family Meal Planner (DK, £9.99) by Rebecca Wilson, are both available at good bookshops or visit www.dk.com