16 Jan 2018

50+ Family Meal Ideas to Help You Meal Plan

I have learnt to cook from scratch only in the last decade or so. My cooking stems from a variety of influences. There are certain types of food I grew up eating as a child. There are some traditional dishes from India. And then there is cuisine from the rest of the world that M and I have loved, experimented with and can now cook in our kitchen.

J is only nearly seven, but loves to help his parents with the meal prep whenever possible. He will try most things at least once, and eats pretty much everything that is served at our dinner table. 

The idea of a meal plan is to strike the right balance between home-cooking and shop-bought, so that on the whole, the family is eating good, nutritious food. Meal planning is important to me because it helps me plan my weekly shop. That way, I know exactly what I need to buy and how much. And I don’t end up wasting food or money. Here are 50+ family meal ideas to help you meal plan.


We are non-vegetarians, but restrict the fish and meat to one, maybe two meals a week. It’s vegetarian fare most other days.

Not everything we eat is cooked from scratch. We love eating out every so often, be it a cheeky Nandos, a lovely meal at Bella Italia or the local pub. We are also notorious for take-aways and ready-to-eat supermarket meals.

The idea of a meal plan is to strike the right balance between home-cooking and shop-bought, so that on the whole, the family is eating good, nutritious food. Meal planning is important to me because it helps me plan my weekly shop. That way, I know exactly what I need to buy and how much. And I don’t end up wasting food or money. 

Here are all the things that I know we love to eat as a family. They are an eclectic mix of different cuisines. Any one of these will be a winner come meal-time in our home.
  1. Plain Toor Dhal (split pigeon peas or Toor Dal served on steaming hot rice, with a dollop of homemade ghee and a squeeze of lemon)
  2. Amti (split pigeon peas tempered with spices)
  3. Dhal fry (split pigeon peas or Mung Dal tempered with a different bunch of spices)
  4. Sambaar (split pigeon peas and red lentils tempered with another set of spices)
  5. Dal Makhani (whole black gram lentils in a creamy sauce)
  6. Misal (a hot medley of pulses tempered with spice)
  7. Rajma (red kidney beans)
  8. Chana masala (spiced whole chickpeas)
  9. Aloo gobi (Potato and cauliflower curry)
  10. Aloo mutter (Potato and peas curry)
  11. Aloo palak (Potatoes in a spinach gravy)
  12. Bombay Aloo
  13. Paneer mutter (Paneer and peas curry)
  14. Paneer makhani (Paneer in a rich creamy tomato and onion sauce)
  15. Mushroom mutter (Mushroom and peas curry)
  16. Aloo paratha (wholemeal unleavened bread stuffed with a spiced potato filling)
  17. Stuffed baby aubergines
  18. Baigan bharta (grilled aubergine)
  19. Okra curry – dry
  20. Sweetheart cabbage curry – dry
  21. Beans curry – dry
  22. Lightly spiced stir-fried peppers and onions
  23. Spiced stir-fried curly kale
  24. Fenugreek and onion dry curry
  25. Ragda patties (spiced potato patties topped with whole yellow peas)
  26. Kheema (Spiced lamb mince with peas)
  27. Lamb Biryani
  28. Corn and cumin rice
  29. Masale Bhat (traditionally spiced rice)
  30. Khichadi (Mung dal and rice with vegetables, lightly spiced)
  31. Methi thepla (fenugreek in unleavened bread)
  32. Chicken kolhapuri (chicken in a spicy sauce)
  33. Chicken kadhai (chicken with peppers and onions)
  34. Thai green chicken curry
  35. Stir-fried chicken noodles
  36. Pizza (homemade or shop-bought)
  37. Green pesto pasta
  38. Pasta in a creamy mushroom sauce
  39. Mac and cheese
  40. Mushroom risotto
  41. Tacos filled with quorn mince
  42. Veg chilli
  43. Paella
  44. Leek and potato soup
  45. Minestrone soup
  46. Mushroom soup
  47. Humus served with pitta and crudités
  48. Baked salmon
  49. Pan-fried fish
  50. Breaded fish (shop-bought)
  51. Breaded chicken (shop-bought)
  52. Veggie burgers (home-made or shop-bought)
  53. Spicy roast chicken
  54. Lamb stew


This list is by no means exhaustive. I am planning to experiment more with my slow cooker and with cooking in general. If any of my new meals meet with approval, they will be added to the list.

In the meantime, I hope this list of 50+ meal ideas will see me breeze through meal planning for the foreseeable future.






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