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Family Meals Ciara Attwell shares three recipes from her new book

The My Fussy Eater author has some simple recipes that might help boost the fun at family mealtime.

ANYONE LOCKED IN daily negotiations with fussy eaters will know that the struggle is real. I’ve been sharing my story online for many years about how challenging I found it trying to keep my own children interested in good food and eating well. 

From the daily grind of making lunches that they’ll actually eat to keeping tabs on the nutritional value (and cost!) of the dinners every evening, the struggle is real. Luckily, in the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve picked up so many handy tricks and tips that make that daily challenge a little easier. 

Batch cooking, for starters, is a game-changer if you can incorporate it into your routine. And never be afraid of leftovers.

For today, why not give one of these simple recipes a go and see if the little people in your life approve. Enjoy!

Chicken caesar pasta salad

caesar CHICKEN CAESAR PASTA SALAD My Fussy Eater My Fussy Eater

Allergy information: nut free.
Makes: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Calories: 485 per portion

All the delicious flavours of a Caesar Salad bulked out with pasta for a filling, family-friendly lunch.


For the salad:

1 small bread roll (70g)
1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper
300g pasta
1 little gem lettuce, chopped
240g cooked chicken pieces
For the sauce:
100g fat-free Greek yogurt
50ml semi-skimmed milk
50g Lighter than Light mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
50g grated parmesan
salt & pepper


If your children prefer food to be separated on the plate, portion out some pasta before you mix it with the chicken and sauce. You could leave out the lettuce and replace with some chopped crudités.


Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Store croutons at room temperature (they will go soft if left in the salad).


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C Fan/220°C/Gas Mark 7.
2. Cut the bread into small pieces to make croutons and place on a baking tray.
3. Drizzle on the oil, add the garlic powder and a little salt and pepper and mix well.
4. Bake for 8–10 minutes until the croutons are crispy.
5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package instructions. When cooked, drain and rinse under cold water to cool it down.
6. Add all the sauce ingredients to a large bowl. Mix in the chicken pieces until they are fully coated in the sauce.
7. Add the drained pasta and lettuce and mix again.
8. Divide the mixture between four bowls to serve, with the croutons on top

French toast crumpets

crumpets FRENCH TOAST CRUMPETS My Fussy Eater My Fussy Eater

Allergy information: nut free, vegetarian.
Serves: 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Calories: 310 per portion

Upgrade basic crumpets to a more exciting breakfast! These are great to serve up to children who don’t usually eat eggs.


6 crumpets
2 medium eggs
100ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp butter
To serve:
500g fat-free Greek yoghurt
150g mixed fresh berries


Serve with Greek yoghurt and mixed fresh berries, or spread on some Nutella, jam or peanut butter for little mouths.


These crumpets are best eaten immediately after cooking.


1. Cut the crumpets in half.
2. Add the eggs, milk, honey and vanilla extract to a wide bowl and mix well.
3. Dip six of the crumpet halves into the egg mixture, first bottom side down then turn them over and leave them to soak up the mixture for 30 seconds.
4. Melt the butter in a frying pan on the hob.
5. Add the six crumpet halves, top side down and cook for 3 minutes.
6. Turn them over and cook for another 2 minutes.
7. In the meantime, repeat the process with the remaining six halves.
8. When the first batch of crumpets are cooked, remove from the pan and set aside and cook the remaining six.

Vegetable Biryani with Raita

raita VEGETABLE BIRYANI WITH RAITA My Fussy Eater My Fussy Eater

Biryani is a great meal to make for children who don’t like foods with a lot of sauce.
It’s still bursting with Indian flavours and is all made in one pot.

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 23 minutes | Calories: 360 per portion


For the biryani:

250g basmati rice
1/2 tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1cm piece of ginger, chopped
3 tbsp mild curry paste
1 tbsp tomato purée
250g cauliflower, cut into small florets
150g fresh green beans
1 carrot, very finely diced
800ml vegetable stock

For the raita:

150g fat-free yoghurt
50g cucumber, finely chopped
1 tsp mint sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
salt & pepper

To serve: chopped fresh coriander


1. Soak the rice in a large saucepan or bowl for about 10 minutes, rinsing out the water a couple of times and rinsing it a final time through a sieve.
2. Add the oil and onions to a large frying pan or shallow casserole dish on the hob and cook on low for 4 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 1 minute. Then add the curry paste and tomato purée and mix well.
4. Add the soaked rice, cauliflower, green beans, carrot and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid or a tight layer of tin foil and simmer on
low for 12 minutes.
5. Turn the heat off but leave the lid/tin foil on for another 5 minutes. Don’t be tempted to take it off yet as the rice will continue to cook.
6. In the meantime, make the raita by mixing together the yoghurt, cucumber, mint sauce, garlic powder and garam masala. Season with a little salt and
7. After 5 minutes, remove the lid from the biryani and divide between four plates or bowls.
8. Serve the raita on top or on the side and garnish with a little fresh coriander.


Leftover biryani can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. It can be frozen for up to two months and defrosted in the fridge overnight.

Ciara Attwell is an author, mum of two and autism advocate. Her new book, ‘We’re Hungry!’ is published by Bonnier Books and available online from all Irish Bookshops. See My Fussy Eater on Instagram for more. Her new book, The Fuss-Free Family Cookbook is out now. 


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