I try and cook healthy food for the family – and it’s especially important to do so when you have young children. But sometimes, when you’re feeling tired, there’s nothing better than a KFC Bargain Bucket or a couple of burgers. The trouble is, too much fast food really is bad for you – remember the 2004 documentary Super Size Me, when the film-maker ate only McDonald’s for 30 days?
I’ve come up with some healthy alternatives to my favourite fast foods. Here they are – tasty, convenient, home-cooked fast food recipes.
5-minute pitta pizzas
If you like Domino’s then these pitta pizzas are the ones for you. Of course, you can buy ready-made pizza bases, too, but they don’t always taste great, and take far longer to cook. What’s more, pitta pizzas can be customised for each family member – kids can make their own, according to their tastes.
1-2 pitta breads per person
Ready-made tomato sauce (pizza or pasta)
Cheese, such as mozzarella, ricotta, Cheddar or feta
Toppings of your choice – ham, olives, sweetcorn, cooked spinach, mushrooms, pepperoni
- Place pitta bread on grill tray. Smear top with tomato sauce
- Scatter with toppings. Olive, mushroom and ham is one of my favourite combos
- Top with cheese (mozzarella works best)
- Place under grill until cheese is melted and bubbling (3-5 minutes)
I’ve seen recipes for beefburgers which involve all sorts of ingredients – breadcrumbs, egg, chopped onions and loads of other flavourings. But you can make a delicious burger with just a few ingredients – minced beef, salt and pepper. The trick to the perfect burger lies in the quality of the beef. For the best results, get your butcher to coarsely mince some beef chuck for you.
The best accompaniment to burgers is a plate of crinkle cut home chips from McCain. Buy some oven fries and cook them in the oven while you’re making your burgers.
700g ground beef mince
4 brioche buns
4 cheese slices
Toppings of your choice – bacon, fried onions, pickled gherkins
Sauces of your choice – tomato ketchup, burger sauce, mustard, mayonnaise
Lettuce and tomato slices
- Season the beef mince with salt and pepper. Shape into patties, being careful not to overwork the beef (it’ll get tough if you do).
- Use the back of a spoon to make a shallow indentation in the burger – it stops the patty shrinking.
- Fry for 5-10 minutes, depending on how you like your burger. Once the burger is almost ready, place a slice of cheese on top, allowing it to melt.
- Some toppings, bacon and onions, can be fried in the same pan.
- Toast your burger buns lightly in a different pan.
- Put your burger together. I start off with lettuce and tomato, then add the beef patty. I top it with burger sauce, bacon, onions, and a gherkin slice. Yum!
Quick breaded chicken nuggets
If you love KFC or McDonald’s chicken nuggets, here is a quick alternative. These are wrapped in breadcrumbs, rather than batter, as it’s quicker and healthier. Making them can be a messy process, but if your kids are old enough, get them to help – it’s the type of cooking they’ll love.
Like the burgers, these nuggets pair well with some thin and crispy fries. You can also serve a salad on the side, so the kids are getting some of their five a day.
4 chicken breasts
2 eggs, beaten
Around 1½ cup breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the chicken breasts into small, bite-sized pieces
- Put the flour in one bowl and the beaten egg in another. In a third bowl, mix breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
- Coat each piece in flour, then beaten egg, and then roll in breadcrumbs
- Fry the pieces on a medium heat until well cooked
I hope you enjoy trying out these recipes. They’re firm favourites with my family. It goes to show that cooking delicious meals doesn’t need to be a time-consuming, difficult process. Cooking healthy fast food at home is far easier than you think.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post with McCains.