There's so much more to the festive season than just one big lunch. We've got recipe collections a-plenty for the food-centred celebrations on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Eve – but what to do in between?


Amid friends and family dropping in and routines going off course, children still need their three meals a day – and you need time to entertain them.

Help is at hand! We've put together 10 simple recipes that'll keep your family on track with make-ahead dishes, batch and slow cook time-savers, plus a crafty kitchen activity to keep kids entertained while you crack on.

1. Slow cooker pork shoulder

Pork shoulder on plate with cutlery

A two-step recipe that feeds up to eight, this pork joint couldn't be easier if you're catering for a crowd, and the simple flavours will be popular with kids and adults alike. Slow cooking the meat makes it succulently tender. Try serving with warm new potatoes tossed in mayo, a green salad and fresh rolls. Tuck into more family slow cooker recipes.

2. Garlic prawn rice

Garlic prawn rice in two bowls

Get dinner on the table quickly with this flavourful rice dish that takes less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish. Everyone will love the stir-fried juicy prawns with citrus and fresh parsley. If you have some leftover rice already, this dish is even faster to prepare.

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3. Slow cooker chicken tikka masala

plate of tikka masala next to a bowl of white rice

Heading out for a winter walk with your family? Get this chicken curry on the go so you have a meal to greet you on your return. There are instructions for the hob or oven, too, and it's freezable as well. This flexible dish tastes just as good if you go easy on the spice.Try more slow cooker curry recipes.

4. Turkey minestrone

Turkey minestrone in a bowl

In the days following Christmas, a little simplicity is all we crave – lighter food, less washing up and some way of getting through all the leftovers. Turkey minestrone can be adapted to use up the veg you have (or the veg you know your little ones will eat!). Add beans and orzo pasta to ensure it's filling enough for a complete meal for six expectant mouths. Clever ways to use up Christmas leftovers.

5. Campfire smoky bean brekkie

Wide pan of smoky beans, chorizo and egg stew with cup of tea

Don't let the name fool you – we love this scrumptious one-pan winter warmer when we're cooking for eight to 10 people. Chorizo, chipolatas, beans and eggs make for a comforting brunch, lunch or supper that works for all ages. Bring it to the table in the pan, serve with a stack of plates and chunks of crusty bread and let the family dig in. Avoid the washing up with these one-pan recipes.

6. Rainbow pizzas

Pizza topped with green vegetables

There's a halfway house between takeaway pizza and making your own dough, which may be exactly what you need when you've got a house full of children and not much time to spare. Have shop-bought pizza bases at the ready, get out a selection of toppings (you can raid the fridge for ham, peppers and anything else the family might like), then let the kids top their pizzas. That's dinner taken care of. More recipes kids can help with.

7. Teriyaki tofu

Teriyaki tofu in two bowls

An easy vegan option for all the family. Marinate tofu in umami-rich teriyaki sauce, then fry until golden and mix with broccoli and noodles or rice, plus sliced spring onions to garnish. Simple, easy and delicious. Discover our favourite ways with tofu.

8. Creamy lentil & veggie curry

A pan and bowl of lentil and vegetable curry with rice and naan breads

Christmas can topple even the most committed of carnivores, making this vegetarian curry a welcome respite for your stomach. Choosing meat-free meals with filling ingredients like lentils can save the pennies at an expensive time of year. Swap Madras for mild curry powder to please delicate palates. The recipe is easily doubled and it's freezable, too. Find more family-friendly vegetarian recipes.

9. Butternut squash & cherry tomato crumble

Oval dish of butternut squash and cherry tomato crumble with a chunk missing

This savoury crumble is as comforting as it is easy to prepare. Your family will love the savoury squash filling with a crunchy parmesan, cheddar and walnut topping. Still room for something sweet? Now try our most popular sweet crumbles.

10. Baked pork, apple & cheddar meatballs

Baked pork, apple & cheddar meatballs in a serving pan

Meatballs will go down a storm with kids and adults alike. These pork mince and grated apple meatballs can even be made ahead and frozen for up to three months. For more inspiration, take a look at our Christmas for kids recipe collection.

Love these recipes? Try other family meal ideas:

Easy winter family meals
Quick & healthy family meals
The best freezable family meals


What are your favourite family recipes at Christmas? Leave a comment below.

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