These delicious mini pot pies are super simple to make and a great way to get the kids off their screens and into the kitchen to help you make dinner. Little cooking projects like this can be a lifesaver if you’re struggling to keep them busy over the summer. I know Scotland’s schools have already gone back, but it’s these last two weeks of the holidays that seem to drag the most!
I’ve been challenged by Iceland to use the #PowerOfFrozen to entertain the kids this summer, so I took a stroll into the local Whitley Bay branch to see what ingredients might inspire me. I have to admit i’ve never been in there, snobbily thinking it would just be frozen pizzas, chicken drumsticks and ice lollies, but I was very pleasantly surprised by what I found.
After studiously looking in every freezer for ideas and probably irritating the heck out of my fellow customers, I grabbed a bag of frozen sweet potato mash (£1.00) to top the pot pies, and then some frozen Swedish meatballs (£3.75 – you only need about half of the bag though as it’s HUGE) and a frozen pack of mediterranean vegetables (£1.50) for the filling.
I was impressed both by the prices and range of imaginative foods, and will definitely be going back to help inspire me to come up with some term-time meal ideas for the boys. I’m well known for my love of corner-cutting and these kinds of products are perfect for this approach.
I also wanted to mention how decent the quality of this food is, which might challenge any preconceptions about Iceland. There are absolutely no nasties on the list of ingredients for the products I bought for this recipe.
I’ve never used frozen mash before, but it comes in little pellets which you pop in a pan with a little water and stir over a gentle heat until it becomes smooth and creamy. It took about 10 minutes and is the perfect activity for a child, because they just have to stir it.
Naturally you’ll need to lecture them pretty firmly about hot pans and hobs, but they’ll soon get the hang of it and will love watching the frozen pellets transform into yummy mash. Of course we can all make mash from scratch, but sometimes we don’t have the time, and children often will not have the patience.
The mediterranean vegetables come in a foil tray ready to cook in a basil seasoning. They’re a mixture of grilled courgette, red onion, grilled yellow and red pepper, cherry tomatoes and garlic. I turned them out into a larger dish to roast for 35 minutes, and then added the Swedish meatballs for the last 15 minutes of cooking so the flavours could mingle.
Counting out 24 meatballs is a fun educational activity with children – you could even slip in some sums and ask them to work out how many meatballs you’ll get if the dish serves four people. It’s time to get them thinking about going back to school after all 😉
If your kids are freaked out by big chunks of roasted vegetables, and mine definitely are, then it’s simply a case of lifting out the meatballs into the mini pot pie dishes, and then getting your child to spoon the offending vegetables into a blender and blitzing them into a smooth sauce. Then they can spoon the sauce over the top of the meatballs, before adding the sweet potato mash topping.
You can then just flash the pies under the grill after you’ve assembled them, and then they’re ready to serve. I told you it was simple. Mini pot pies are a big hit in our house, as is anything involving meatballs so this recipe is a win/win. It’s a one-pot easy-to-eat meal, that contains ingredients that might challenge kids, but I think ultimately getting them to help make it will make them far more likely to try it.
I think getting kids involved with cooking savoury dishes, rather than wall to wall baking is one of the best life lessons you can teach them. More than just filling a bit of time, you’re equipping them with the skills to look after themselves and make nutritious meals. I’m passionate that my boys will be able to put something decent on the table when they leave home.
But let’s be real here, cooking with kids requires patience and preparation though, so get my top tips here before you start…
Sweet Potato and Meatball Mini Pot Pies
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
1 x 500g pack Iceland Mediterranean Vegetables
24 Kottbullar Swedish Meatballs
1 x 600g pack Iceland Sweet Potato Mash
Fresh basil leaves, to garnish
VEGETARIAN OPTION: Frozen meat-free meatballs are the perfect switch if you’re a veggie
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C fan/gas 7. Spread the frozen vegetables out in a large baking dish and roast for 20 minutes. Add the frozen Swedish meatballs to the dish and cook for a further 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile empty the frozen sweet potato pellets into a saucepan with a 6 table spoons of water and stir over a gentle heat for around 10 minutes until smooth and creamy, then set aside to cool a little.
- Take 4 mini pie pots and place 6 cooked meatballs in the bottom of each one. Spoon the remaining roasted vegetables into a blender and blitz until smooth, then divide the sauce between each pie dish covering the meatballs.
- Finally add a layer of mashed sweet potato, swirling it with a fork to create a little pattern, then cover each with a grating of Parmesan cheese. Flash the pot pies under the grill for a few minutes until golden and then serve with a sprinkling of torn basil leaves.
Check out Iceland’s website Power of Frozen for facts and ideas about frozen food. You can follow the conversation on social media with #PowerOfFrozen
Disclosure: I have developed this recipe for Iceland. All opinions, images and recipe are my own.