Back to school sanity saver #2


As a busy parent there is nothing worse than getting to the end of the day and having to think about what’s for dinner. At this point you are tired, overwhelmed, under pressure, have nagging hungry children and are out of imagination. Deciding what to cook is often a bridge too far. 

To avoid this trap, reduce the stress and the temptation to resort to convenience foods, I have found it best to plan my family’s meals for the week ahead on a weekend so that I know what I am cooking, I know what ingredients need to be bought and I can do the shopping before the week even begins. 

In addition, why not double up while you are about it? Cook a double portion of a dish so that you can eat one and freeze one. You don’t have to do this with everything but it really is great to have something in the freezer for those days that just don’t work out as planned, which does happen from time-to-time in busy family life. 

Here are two fantastic favourites of ours that are easy and quick to prepare and freeze perfectly. 



This one is an old family recipe that has been a favourite of ours since our sons were little.  If you have teenagers, this quantity is good for a family of four or five.  If you have littlies, you can freeze half of this. 

  • 10 chicken breasts (boneless chicken fillets are easier for kids to cut up) 
  • 3tbl flour (use Maizena/cornflour if you are wheat/gluten intolerant) 
  • 1 1/2 tbl curry powder (it provides taste but no heat – add more if desired) 
  • 50g butter 
  • 8tbl smooth apricot jam 
  • 3tbl soy sauce (use Japanese Tamari if gluten/wheat intolerant) 
  • 2tbl vinegar 
  • 2 chicken stock cubes 
  • 2 cups water 


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. 
  2. Cut chicken breasts into two or three pieces. 
  3. Mix curry powder and flour together and pour into a plastic bag (a supermarket packet works well). Add chicken pieces and coat with the mixture by shaking them in the bag. 
  4. Melt butter in heavy saucepan and brown chicken pieces. 
  5. Remove chicken pieces and place in casserole dish (sprayed with Spray & Cook). 
  6. Add rest of ingredients to saucepan. Bring to the boil and pour over chicken pieces. 
  7. Bake for one hour uncovered. Thicken sauce with more flour/cornflour if necessary just before serving as there should be a lot of sauce. 
  8. Serve with rice and salad or steamed brocolli. 
  9. This dish freezes perfectly. 



From Your Family magazine, May 1994 with some minor adaptations.  It’s delicious, filling, quick and easy to make. Also works well as a lunchbox filler.

  • 15g butter melted 
  • 1 extra-large egg, beaten 
  • 750ml cooked brown rice (approx 200g raw) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 250ml cheddar cheese, grated 
  • 4 rashers of rindless bacon, chopped 
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced / ¼ normal onion 
  • 125ml chopped celery 
  • 15ml oil 
  • 2 x 185g cans tuna, drained and flaked 
  • 30ml mayonnaise 
  • 250ml milk 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 30ml cornflour 
  • Grated lemon rind of half a lemon 
  • 3 tbl lemon juice
  • Sliced celery and spring onions curls to garnish if desired


  1. Cook the brown rice (prepare beforehand as it takes time and a lot of top ups with water to get the rice to pop open) 
  2. Combine melted butter, egg, rice and seasoning in a bowl and blend well. 
  3. Press onto base and up sides of a well-greased 300mm diameter pie dish. 
  4. Sprinkle three-quarters of cheese over rice. 
  5. Fry bacon, spring onion and celery in oil, add tuna, stir well. 
  6. Spoon into prepared crust and level the surface. 
  7. Beat together extra eggs, mayonnaise, milk, lemon juice and rind, cornflour and seasoning. 
  8. Pour over tuna mixture, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake at 180 degrees C, 35 – 40 minutes, or until filling has set. 
  9. Garnish with sliced celery and spring onion curls if desired.
  10. Serve hot or cold, with a mixed salad.
  11. The pie freezes brilliantly.

Click here for Sanity Saver #1