Making week night family dinners fuss free and fun

Meal preparation is fun when the kids join in.
Meal preparation is fun when the kids join in. Photo: Chad Springer

In our busy two-working-parents family, shopping for dinner ingredients often involves a last minute rush to the supermarket to "grab something quick" before picking up the kids and heading home.

So opening our front door on the morning of the Marley Spoon delivery to find beautifully packaged and quality ingredients for our dinners for the next three nights was more than a little bit exciting.

Both my boys, aged 7 and 4, were keen to see what was inside the delivery and spent time perusing the menus and choosing which meal they wanted that night.

When the kids arrived home from school and childcare, rather than the usual Minecraft or Pokemon, it was dinner preparation that was on their mind.

This is where Marley Spoon's simply designed recipe cards came in handy. As my eldest son enjoyed reading the instructions, my youngest was happy looking at the photos of what should be happening each step along the way. Meanwhile, the ingredients provided in perfect measurements meant a quick and mess free meal preparation - obviously a winning point with mum.

Meal One: Tortilla cannelloni

Tortilla Canelloni

Tortilla cannelloni Photo: Marley Spoon

Having enjoyed traditional cannelloni before, this dish was my eldest boy's choice for the first dinner and it didn't disappoint.

The instructions were straightforward and easy to follow and within half an hour of starting to prepare the meal, the kitchen smelt amazing and my kids were keen to sit down to dinner. Tomato based dishes are usually a winner with my family and the mix of ricotta and basil worked to make this meal super tasty. 

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My husband did decide to whip up a green salad to serve with the cannelloni, which was nice. However the dish on its own would have been filling enough to keep the whole family happy.

Meal Two: Chicken and vegetable pie

Chicken and vegetable pie

Chicken and vegetable pie Photo: Marley Spoon

This delicious, and easy to make, pie was the winner of the three dishes when it came to pleasing my whole family. Not only did everyone love the flavours, but the recipe was so simple that my seven-year-old son did most of the preparation and cooking himself with just a bit of adult supervision.
The combination of chicken, vegetables and polenta made for a light yet filling meal. The meal was so simple to prepare and such a hit with the the family that we have kept the recipe card on hand and cooked it again several times since.
Meal Three: Vegetable tikka curry
Vegetable Tikka curry

Vegetable tikka curry Photo: Marley Spoon

As huge curry fans, this was the dish my husband and I were most looking forward to. I was a little late home this night and my husband was preparing dinner by the time I arrived and the kitchen smelt amazing. 

While we would normally add meat to our curries, the crisp beans and tasty tofu made a pleasant change and was enjoyed by the grown ups and my eldest boy.

Our only problem with this dish was that my youngest son declared it "too spicy" for him. That was okay though as there were enough leftovers from last night's chicken and vegetable pie to keep him happy - which meant more curry for the rest of us to enjoy!

So, after enjoying the three dinners we selected from Marley Spoon, I can definitely say the service got a thumbs up from both the young and old members of my family.

Not only were the dishes a hit, but the ingredients are all very high quality. All the meals were ready within the timeframe promised and then exact portion sizes meant clean up was minimal. 

Subscribers can choose to order two, three or four meals a week and family meal prices range from $84 for two meals, to $143.20 for four meals. For more information visit the Marley Spoon website

Marley Spoon currently delivers to Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Wollongong, Newcastle and the NSW Central Coast.

Marley Spoon is offering Essential Kids readers $40 off their first box of  food and recipes. Type in ESSENTIAL at checkout or click on this link to receive the discount.

Throughout October, Marley Spoon is focusing on all things family with the most popular family meals and information and blogs about family eating. They are also giving away 'A Month of Perfect Dinners'. Click here to enter.