With children starting or heading back to school, September can be a tricky time for preparing homemade meals in the evenings. By the time the homework is done, bedtime is near, and school lunches must be ready for the morning.

This makes it more difficult to find enough time to make a healthy dinner, and even more difficult to get everyone around the table at the same time. However, it’s important at this busy time for everyone to get enough nutrition in their diet.

Below are some simple recipes from Mash Direct that are packed full of nutrition, and make for a filling evening meal to satisfy the whole family.

Broccoli and chicken pasta bake


1 packet of Mash Direct Broccoli with a Cheese Sauce

450g dried penne pasta (use gluten free if desired)

350g diced chicken pieces

2 tbsp olive oil

200g cream cheese with garlic and herbs

50g red pesto

100g mature cheddar cheese, grated

1 slice white bread, processed into crumbs (use gluten-free if desired)


1 Preheat oven to 175°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4.

2 Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add all the pasta. Return to the boil. Cook the pasta until 'al dente' for seven to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.

3 Meantime, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the chicken pieces until they are lightly browned and are cooked through to the middle.

4 Once the chicken is cooked, combine with the pasta in the pot.

5 Add the cream cheese, red pesto and Mash Direct Broccoli with a Cheese Sauce. Stir the ingredients gently so as not to break up the broccoli florets until well combined.

6 Pour the mixture into a deep casserole dish (roughly 30cm x 23cm). Top with grated cheese and the breadcrumbs.

7 Place in the oven for 20 minutes until golden and crisp on top.

Cottage pie with cheesy mash top.

Cottage pie with cheesy mash top


2 packets of Mash Direct Cheesy Mash

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

2 carrots, peeled and finely diced

1 celery stick, finely diced

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

1 pack (400g) lean steak/lamb mince

1 tbsp plain flour

1 tbsp tomato purée

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

450ml beef stock


1 Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4-5, 180°C, 350°F.

2 In an ovenproof casserole dish on the hob, heat the oil and add the finely diced onion, carrots and celery. Cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, until softened and lightly brown.

3 Add the crushed garlic and thyme, cooking until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes) before adding the mince. Turn up the heat to medium and cook, stirring periodically until the mince is browned all over and juices caramelise on the bottom of the casserole dish.

4 Stir in the flour, tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce to the mince for a minute or so to combine. Immediately add the chicken stock, bringing to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened.

5 Leave the mixture to cool for a few minutes and prepare the Mash Direct Cheesy Mash as directed. Top the mince mixture with the mash and smooth to create an even layer using the back of a large metal spoon.

6 Transfer the dish to the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes, until the mash is a bubbling golden brown.

Cauliflower, pancetta and macaroni cheese.

Cauliflower, pancetta and macaroni cheese


2 packs Mash Direct Cauliflower Cheese Gratin

250g dried macaroni

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 red onion, finely sliced

100g smoked pancetta cubes

100ml cream

150g Mozzarella, grated

60g breadcrumbs

30g Parmesan, grated

Freshly milled salt and black pepper


1 Preheat the oven to 200°C (Fan 180°C), Gas Mark 6 and grease a 35 x 20cm oven-proof dish.

2 Heat the Mash Direct Cauliflower Cheese Gratin in a hot oven for 10 minutes.

3 Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and stir in the macaroni. Cook for 10 minutes, or until al dente, drain well.

4 Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion until soft, then add the pancetta and cook until crisp. Stir in cream and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir in mozzarella, macaroni and Cauliflower Cheese Gratin and pour into the oven-proof dish.

5 Mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan and scatter over the top.

6 Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.

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