Life may be full of stressors but getting dinner on the table shouldn’t be one of them. If your goal is to make family meals your crew will enjoy, look for simple recipes that can be made with a combination of fresh ingredients and hard-working pantry staples.
A lot of recipes rely on canned tomatoes for flavour, acidity, liquid and an added vegetable component, especially when the fresh variety is out of season (read: tasteless). From whole tomatoes to diced tomatoes to crushed tomatoes, Hunt’s Heirloom Tomatoes boast a superior bite, no preservatives and artificial flavours, and are a packaged in a non-BPA-lined can for maximum freshness. These tomatoes are your secret weapon when it comes to making family-friendly weeknight meals. Here’s a look at 5 recipes you can make using quality canned tomatoes – or in other words, a week’s worth of delicious dinner ideas.
Weeknight meals should always be easy, so definitely start with something simple on Monday. Slow cooker meals are perfect for the start of the week. Choose a recipe with a long cook time if you’re going to be out of the house all day and give yourself a helping hand by making a meal that guaranteed to yield leftovers for lunchbox the next day. Our slow cooker pork ragu fits the bill perfectly, and if you aren’t into searing a piece of meat first thing in the morning, do it on Sunday instead. Follow the recipe through to Step 3, covering the seared pork with the tomato mixture, and store the covered insert in the refrigerator until needed. A make-ahead, hands-off, slow-cooked meal that makes leftovers? Sign us up!
Chicken Taco Soup Pretty much every kid we know is a fan of tacos and tortillas, and luckily for us Mexican-inspired meals are a cinch to prepare at home. The ingredients are often inexpensive and adaptable, and the recipes quick-cooking, making them perfect for families. This clever twist on a taco is a one-pot soup that requires no sautéing of vegetables or browning of meat. Just toss ingredients—chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, chicken, beans, corn, veg and spices—into the pot at once, and simmer for an hour or so, or until the meat is tender and the broth thickened. If you aren’t going to be home during the day, you can place the ingredients in a slow cooker instead, cooking on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Chickpea Curry with Rice
This quick-cooking curry can be spooned over rice or quinoa. To make it, warm a tablespoon of olive oil in Dutch oven and sauté two cans of rinsed and drained chickpeas until lightly golden brown. Add one (398 mL) can of Hunt’s Heirloom crushed tomatoes, one (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk and 2 tablespoons red curry paste. Stir, bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes (but the longer the better) or until the sauce has reduced by a third and thickened. Spoon over rice and garnish with cilantro and a squeeze of lime. This mild curry is an excellent starter recipe for introducing new flavours to your kids.
Usually by Thursday, the grocery supply is looking a little sad, making it a good day to turn to the pantry (beans, crushed tomatoes) and freezer (sausages) for dinner inspiration. Like most soups, stews and chili, this one tastes better if made a day or two in advance, so if you have time, prep it the night before. Feel free to play around with the vegetables, if desired. If butternut squash is not your family’s favourite, you can replace it with sweet potato, or just omit altogether.
One-pot cooking was originally relegated to the kitchens of bachelors and college kids everywhere. This method of meal preparation was designed to be simple, straightforward, and generally came right out of a box, resulting in a casserole-like dish often loaded with canned cream-of-something soup, and other mysterious ingredients. They were popular for a reason, though, and quickly become a mainstay of most mothers looking to get a hearty meal on the table with minimum effort and very little clean up.
Modern one-pan meals are healthier and far more delicious, due to the use of fresh produce and pantry staples like canned tomatoes. This fun twist on pizza is wholesome thanks to the chicken, kale and pizza sauce made with tomatoes, and can be turned into a sandwich by stuffing a serving into a bun. Note: Making the sauce up to five days in advance will make this dinner even easier to dish up.
This post is brought to you by Hunts Heirloom Tomatoes but the images and opinions are our own.