LIKE all busy mums, the Loose Women star and former Saturdays singer Frankie Bridge sometimes struggles to find time to cook.
But keen to keep herself, husband Wayne, 42, and their sons Parker, eight, and Carter, six, happy and healthy, she has created some speedy meals that are perfect for time-strapped working parents.
Frankie, 33, says: “I’ve never been the world’s best cook, but that’s the beauty of these recipes. They are really quick and easy. If I can cook these, so can you!
“Plus, they all use cheap, supermarket ingredients.
“I was so annoyed with picking up recipe books and realizing I hadn’t heard of half the ingredients or couldn’t get a spice locally.
“It made me think, ‘There must be loads of mums like me who want to stay healthy, cook for their family, but not spend half their day doing it’.”
Frankie, who has teamed up with fitness app Results Wellness Lifestyle to launch her recipes, says it was only when she vowed never to spend more than 30 minutes preparing a meal, that she realized she could enjoy home cooking.
She says: “I’m just not the sort of girl who wants to spend a long time in the kitchen.
“Wayne does most of the cooking at home. But when lockdown hit, I knew I needed to take care of my health and knew that cooking more had to be a part of that.”
Frankie — who opened up about her mental health battles during her stint on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity last year — says the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic forced her to re-evaluate.
She says: “I’m in a completely different place now. But I know my mental health will always be something I have to take care of, and there are still times when I struggle to function, or really have to work hard to keep myself healthy.
“Lifestyle choices are so important and exercise and diet are such a huge part of that.
“It sounds such a cliché but being able to cook up a meal from scratch in 15 minutes for me and the boys, and see them love it, is the best thing ever.
“I know how important it is as a working mum to get kids involved in cooking, especially during the school holidays.
“Not only is it an activity we can all do together that stops the ‘Mum, I’m bored’ nagging, it also means I’m getting a nutritious meal, and so are they.”
Halloumi burgers with tangy slaw
Serves 2, 12 minutes
- 1 halloumi block
- 4 brioche buns
- 2 tbsp hummus
- Handful of lettuce
- 2 large tomatoes, sliced
- ½ red cabbage, grated
- 1 carrot, grated
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- Handful fresh coriander, chopped
- Juice or 2 limes
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
METHOD: In a large bowl, combine all the slaw ingredients and set aside. Then slice the halloumi block into eight slices.
Place a large frying pan over a medium to high heat and fry the halloumi for a few minutes on each side until golden. Then remove from the pan.
Slice the buns in half, then place them cut side down into the pan to lightly toast.
Remove from pan and spread with hummus, add halloumi, salad and tangy slaw.
Chicken and spinach parmigiana
Serves 2, 20 minutes
- 2 large chicken breasts
- Cup of plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 70g Panko breadcrumbs
- 50g Parmesan, grated
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 500ml passata
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 100g spinach
- 60g mozzarella
- Pinch of salt and black pepper, to season
METHOD: Slice the chicken breast in half through the middle.
Then lay them inside a sandwich bag, and flatten using a rolling pin until each piece is about the thickness of a pound coin.
Transfer the chicken into a dish. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, then sprinkle over the flour and pat to coat the chicken evenly.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk. Then pour the Panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan on to a plate or large bowl.
Dip the chicken into the egg, then into the Panko/Parmesan mix, ensuring each piece is coated well.
Then place onto an ovenproof dish, and put under the grill on a high heat, for five to seven minutes on each side.
Make sure the chicken is cooked through, golden and crispy.
Meanwhile, prepare your tomato sauce by heating the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
Once hot, add in the garlic and fry lightly. Then pour in the passata, followed by the sugar, dried oregano and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Stir then leave to simmer and thicken for ten minutes.
Once thickened, add in the spinach and stir through. Then transfer to a large dish and lay the chicken in the sauce.
Tear over the mozzarella, and pop under the grill for about five minutes, until the mozzarella has melted. Serve with side salad.
Soy salmon tray bake
Serves 4, 20 minutes
- 200g tender stem broccoli
- 100g asparagus
- 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- Juice or 1 lime
- 4 salmon fillets
- 1 red chilli, sliced
- Handful spring onion, chopped
- 200g Jasmine rice
- 1 tbsp crushed peanuts, to serve
METHOD: Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large oven dish, lay out the broccoli, asparagus and peppers.
If the broccoli stems are quite thick, you may need to slice them in half lengthways. Then using a peeler, make the carrot into ribbons, and add to the dish.
Drizzle over the sesame oil and toss the vegetables to coat.
In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, honey, fresh ginger and lime juice.
Then lay the salmon fillets on top of the vegetables, and drizzle over half of the sauce.
Sprinkle over half the chili and spring onions. Then place into the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through.
Meanwhile, cook the rice as per the packet instructions. Once cooked, serve the veg and salmon alongside the rice.
Finish with a sprinkle of crushed peanuts, the remaining chilli, spring onions and a final drizzle of the sauce.
Bacon, spinach and feta frittata
Serves 2, 14 minutes
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 bacon rashers
- 100g spinach
- 6 eggs
- 50g feta
- pinch salt and pepper
METHOD: Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
Cut the bacon into pieces, then add to the pan. Fry for a few minutes, until cooked then add in the spinach.
Crack the eggs into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk.
Once the spinach has wilted, crumble in half the feta then pour in the eggs.
Crumble the remaining feta over the top, then place under the grill for five minutes until the frittata is cooked through.
Remove from the grill, slice and serve.
Sticky chicken rice bowl
Serves 2, 15 minutes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts
- 3 tbsp cornflour
- 2 tsp chinese 5 spice
- 1 tsp garlic puree
- 1 tsp ginger puree
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp honey
- 100g spinach
- 100g tender stem broccoli
- 2 carrots, grated
- ½ Cucumber
- 1 spring onion, sliced
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- pinch salt & pepper
- 60g rice (dry weight) – use microwavable sachet rice, for a speedy alternative
METHOD: Prepare the rice, as per pack instructions. In a bowl, combine the cornflour, 5 spice and a pinch of salt & pepper.
Slice the chicken into strips, then toss in the flour mix to coat. Heat tbsp oil in a frying pan. Add the chicken. Fry until cooked through and golden.
Combine the soy sauce, honey and garlic and ginger puree. Once the chicken is cooked, pour over the sauce.
Leave to simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce has reduced down to create a sticky coating.
Meanwhile, heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan, fry the broccoli until cooked and slightly browned. Add in the spinach, and fry until it’s wilted.
Then serve, alongside the grated carrot and cucumber. Finish by sprinkling over the spring onion and sesame seeds.
Banana and chocolate chunk pancakes
Serves 2-3, 15 minutes
- 2 eggs
- 150ml oat milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 ripe bananas
- 50g dark chocolate chunks
- 1 tbsp butter (for frying)
METHOD: Whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and cinnamon.
Then gradually whisk the wet mixture into the dry.
Mash the bananas into a puree then fold it into your mixture along with the chocolate chunks.
Heat a little butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
Once the butter is melted and bubbling, spoon in 1-2 tbsp of batter per pancake.
Depending on the size of your pan you should be able to fry two to three pancakes at a time, just ensure you leave plenty of space between each pancake as the batter will spread.
Fry for one to two minutes, or until the tops of the pancakes start to bubble.
Then flip and fry for a further minute, until the pancakes are cooked through.
Repeat the process until all the batter has been used. Then serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy.
- Frankie’s recipes and home workouts are available on ResultswellnessLifestyle.com. Get a seven-day free trial or full access for £14.99 a month.