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Feed your family for £12

From curried cottage pie to please-all macaroni cheese and aromatic prawn curry, discover chef Chris Baber’s delicious (and budget-friendly) family favourites
Chef Chris Baber in the kitchen

Meet Chris

“I’ve always loved food,” says Chris, who’s been cooking up a storm in the M&S kitchen to create some family-friendly recipes for you to enjoy. “Growing up in Hexham, Northumberland, I used to cook dinner for my mum and dad every day. I trained with Atul Kochhar at his Michelin-starred London restaurant, but my real passion is inspiring others and making home cooking accessible for everyone.”

 

Fish and chips with minty peas

Fish and chips with minty peas

“If you’re looking for a lighter alternative to your Friday night fish and chips, try my healthier homemade alternative starring bread-crumbed cod and crispy sweet potato fries”
See the recipe


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes

    • 1kg sweet potatoes, cut into 1cm thick fries
    • 1 tsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
    • Pinch paprika or Cajun spice (optional)
    • 4 M&S frozen Icelandic cod fillets, defrosted
    • 75g breadcrumbs
    • 1 bottle M&S Sicilian lemon mayo
    • 320g frozen peas
    • Handful fresh mint, chopped
    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.
    2. Put the sweet potato fries on a baking tray, drizzle over 1 tsp olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. If you like, here you can add a pinch of paprika or Cajun spice for extra flavour and spice. Toss together to evenly coat the chips in the oil and seasoning. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and cooked through.
    3. Meanwhile, pat the fish as dry as possible with kitchen roll. Spread the breadcrumbs out on a large plate. Add 1-2 tsp of lemon mayo to each fish fillet, and spread evenly using a spoon. Next dip both sides of each fillet in the breadcrumbs to coat evenly.
    4. Lay the coated fish on a baking tray and cook in the oven for around 15-18 minutes until the crumb is golden and the fish is cooked.
    5. While the fish is cooking, cook and drain the peas according to packet instructions, then pop them back in the pan with the mint, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil or knob of butter, and lightly crush with a fork.
    6. Serve the fries, fish and peas with some lemon mayo on the side.

 

 

Veg-packed mac and cheese

Veg-packed mac and cheese

“Not only is this dish cheesy and delicious, it’s also filled with vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli and peas – perfect for getting your little ones to pack in some extra green goodness!”  
See the recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes

    • 1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
    • 1 broccoli, cut into florets
    • 6 sundried tomatoes, plus 1 tbsp of reserved oil
    • 100g breadcrumbs
    • 250g macaroni pasta (or any shapes)
    • 100g frozen peas
    • 75g butter
    • 75g flour
    • 750ml milk
    • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 250g lighter cheddar cheese, grated
    1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7.
    2. Place the cauliflower and broccoli on to a baking tray, drizzle over 1 tbsp of the oil from the sundried tomatoes, toss together, and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the veggies begin to char and are cooked through.
    3. Meanwhile, to make the crumb topping, finely chop the sundried tomatoes and mix in a bowl with the breadcrumbs.
    4. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water according to packet instructions. Add the peas for the final 3 minutes, before draining and setting aside.
    5. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes until you have a paste. Then gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly until you have a smooth sauce.
    6. Once all the milk is added, add the mustard and salt and pepper, simmer for a few minutes, still stirring, then add the cheese and stir until melted.
    7. Remove the sauce from the heat, add the cooked pasta, peas, cauliflower and broccoli and stir until everything is evenly coated.
    8. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, evenly scatter over the crumb topping and pop under a hot, preheated grill for a few minutes until golden and bubbling.
Curried cottage pie

Curried cottage pie

“This twist on a classic winter warmer packs a punch of spice and flavour from our Cook With M&S hot madras paste.” 
See the recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes

    • 750g Maris Piper potatoes, cut into 2cm chunks
    • 20g butter
    • 500g M&S 5% fat beef mince
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 carrots, diced
    • 1 jar Cook With M&S hot madras paste
    • 1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
    • 1 beef stock cube
    • 150g frozen peas
    1. Cook the potatoes in a large pan of salted boiling water for about 12 minutes, or until tender. Drain, allow to steam-dry in the pan for a couple of minutes, then mash until smooth with salt, pepper and butter. Set aside.
    2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat.
    3. Add the mince to the hot pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until brown then set aside.
    4. Add a splash of oil to the pan and reduce the heat to medium before adding the diced onion and carrots. Season, then fry for 5-8 minutes until the onion is lightly golden.
    5. Add the mince back to the pan along with ¾ jar of Cook With M&S hot madras paste (use it all if you like things extra spicy). Mix well and cook for 2 minutes.
    6. Add the chopped tomatoes, crumble in the beef stock cube, then add 300ml boiling water, bring to the boil, and cook on a medium heat uncovered for around 20 minutes, until you have a rich, thick sauce. Add the peas for the final few minutes.
    7. Transfer the mince mix to an ovenproof dish. Add mash to the top and fluff up with a fork. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden on top.

 

Chinese-style clay pot chicken rice

Chinese-style clay pot chicken rice

“Looking for a homemade alternative to your family-favourite Chinese takeaway? Try my take on clay pot chicken.”
See the recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes

    • 100ml oyster sauce
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1½ tbsp sesame oil
    • 2 tsp caster sugar
    • 300g basmati rice
    • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
    • 500g M&S Oakham skinless boneless chicken thighs, each thigh diced into 6 pieces
    • 45g pack Cook With M&S prepared chilli, ginger and garlic
    • 300g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
    • 4 spring onions, sliced
    • 250g pak choi, steamed
    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.
    2. Mix together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar, and set aside.
    3. Rinse the rice under cold running water. Place the rice in a saucepan, along with 600ml cold water and bring to a steady simmer. Lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook for 8 minutes.
    4. Place the rice in a casserole dish or, if the saucepan is ovenproof, leave in the pan, and set aside.
    5. Heat a wok or large frying pan, add the sunflower oil and fry the chicken for 5 minutes, until lightly golden.
    6. Add the Cook With M&S prepared chilli, ginger and garlic to the chicken, and cook for a minute before adding the mushrooms. Cook for a further 4 minutes, pour in the sauce mixture and stir through, then add to the dish containing the rice.
    7. Put the dish in the preheated oven and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
    8. Remove from the oven and top with sliced spring onions. Serve with steamed pak choi.

 

Smoky no-chorizo Cajun-style rice

Smoky no-chorizo Cajun-style rice

“Whether you’re vegan, cutting back on meat, or want a full-on-flavour dinner idea, look no further than this epically delicious plant-based rice that stars Plant Kitchen no-chorizo posh puppies.”
See the recipe
    • 250g long grain rice
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 8 Plant Kitchen no-chorizo posh puppies, roughly chopped
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 peppers, roughly diced
    • 2 sticks celery, sliced
    • 200g jar Cook With M&S Cajun paste
    • 650ml boiling water
    • 3 spring onions, chopped
    • 1 bunch (25g) parsley, chopped
    • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
    • 1 bag (65g) sweet baby leaf salad, to serve
    1. Rinse the rice with cold water until the water runs clear, then set aside.
    2. Add the olive oil to a large non-stick pan over a medium to medium-high heat and fry the no-chorizo posh puppies for 2-3 minutes until they begin to take on some colour.
    3. Add all the chopped veg, season and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Then stir in the whole jar of Cook With M&S Cajun paste and cook for another minute.
    4. Add the rice and stir to ensure it is evenly coated in the paste before adding the boiling water.
    5. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover loosely and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the water is fully absorbed, stirring occasionally. If the pan becomes too dry, add a splash more water.
    6. When the rice is cooked, fluff it up with a fork, scatter over the spring onions and parsley, and then squeeze over the lemon. Serve with the sweet baby leaf salad.

 

The very veggie pasta bake

The very veggie pasta bake

“Switch up your mid-week pasta bake by trying my tasty idea that’s full of vibrant veggies, Italian flavour and, of course, deliciously melty mozzarella.”
See the recipe
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 aubergine, cut into 1cm cubes
    • 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
    • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
    • 1 bunch (25g) basil, leaves picked and stalks chopped
    • 300g wholewheat penne pasta
    • 250g Piccolini vine tomatoes
    • 80g spinach
    • 1 ball (125g) lighter mozzarella, torn into small pieces
    • 1 bag (120g) sweet baby leaf salad, to serve
    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat and fry the aubergine cubes for 3-5 minutes until they take on some colour. Add the garlic, cooking for a further 2 minutes.
    3. Next, add the chopped tomatoes and basil stalks, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes until you have a thick sauce.
    4. While the sauce is simmering, cook the wholewheat penne pasta for 1 minute less than the packet instructions in a large pan of boiling salted water.
    5. Remove the tomatoes from the vine, add half of the pack to the sauce whole, then stir in the spinach and most of the basil leaves, saving a little to garnish.
    6. Mix in the cooked pasta with the sauce, transfer to an ovenproof dish, sprinkle over the torn mozzarella and bake for 15 minutes until golden and bubbly.
    7. Add the remaining basil leaves to the top of the bake and serve with the remaining tomatoes and salad leaves.
Top-notch turkey burgers

Top-notch turkey burgers with baked sweet potato fries

“Eating healthier doesn’t mean missing out on your favourite foods – simple swaps make a big difference. My turkey burgers are high in protein and are served with a fresh salad and crispy sweet potato fries – YUM!”
See the recipe
    • 400g M&S pre-cut sweet potato fries
    • 500g M&S British turkey thigh mince
    • 230g jar Cook With M&S easy cooked onions
    • 1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
    • Olive oil, for frying
    • 4 wholemeal burger buns
    • 4 rosa vine large tomatoes, thinly sliced
    • ½ iceberg lettuce, shredded
    • 1 avocado, flesh removed, mashed and seasoned
    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.
    2. Cook the sweet potato fries according to the packet instructions.
    3. Meanwhile, add the turkey thigh mince to a bowl with 1 tbsp Cook With M&S easy cooked onions, and smoked paprika if you wish, and season with salt and pepper. Use your hands to mash the mixture together then divide it into 4 equal-sized balls. Form the balls into patties roughly the same size as the burger buns.
    4. Heat a frying or griddle pan to a medium-high heat and drizzle each burger with a small amount of olive oil. Fry on each side for a couple of minutes until golden.
    5. Then add the burgers to the baking tray with the sweet potato fries to finish cooking for around 8-10 minutes, until there is no pink meat remaining.
    6. Lightly toast the burger buns, then add a layer of Cook With M&S easy cooked onions, tomato slices and lettuce. Place the burger on top and then add the smashed avocado.
    7. Plate up with the fries and the remaining lettuce and tomatoes for a healthy family dinner that feels like a treat.