10 nostalgic childhood recipes you forgot about

When it comes to Australian dinners, there's a few signature dishes most of us grew up with, from spaghetti bolognese to shepherd's pie. Brace yourself for a trip down memory lane!
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While a few of us have continued to make these tasty meals for ourselves and our families, there’s several recipes that seem to have slipped away from the menus.

We’ve rounded up ten of our favourite family dinner recipes we ate as children, in an attempt to bring them back into our mind and remember how delicious hearty, home-cooked meals can be.

Mac n’ cheese

While this was all the rage when we were little, Aussies we generally don’t eat much of this hearty dish anymore, unless we’re eating out or visiting American-style diners. It seems a lot of the magic died when packaged, microwaveable options took over, and people forgot how delicious the real thing could be.

On that note, honour your inner child and whip up a batch of this authentic buttermilk mac n’ cheese at home.

Homemade rissoles

Whatever flavour combination you preferred, rissoles are pretty hard not to love. There’s just something utterly comforting about ground beef rolled into little balls and served with mashed potato or tomato sauce. If you got really experimental with rissoles at home, you probably tried all the flavour variations, from turkey, brie and cranberry, to curried beef and chickpea.

Why not whip up these classic beef and bacon rissoles with gravy and cabbage mash?

beef and bacon rissoles with gravy and cabbage mash

Pasta bake

We’re not sure what it was that inspired our parents to bake everything in a casserole dish, but we are certainly not complaining. Pasta bakes were one of the most comforting, flavoursome and textural dishes from childhood. From the crisp, hot layer of grilled cheese on top, to the caramelised onions, tomatoes and olives that were tossed through the penne or rigatoni, this dish is one that definitely deserves to be resurfaced.

We love this creamy bolognese pasta bake recipe.

Creamy bolognese pasta bake


Also known as the lazy man’s dinner, jaffles are basically a sealed toasted sandwich stuffed with any fillings your heart desires. Some of the classic combinations included ham, cheese and tomato and baked beans with barbecue sauce, but you could also get super creative with fillings like rare roast beef and gruyere cheese, or banana and Nutella.

To check out some of our delicious jaffle recipes, click here.

Get the recipe for these gourmet cheese and caramelised onion jaffles here.

Tuna mornay pie

Creamy, hearty and cheesy, most families had their own version of this classic dish. This recipe is one of our favourites, complete with a smooth mashed potato topping, channeling the classic shepherd’s pie. Get your protein fix with the tinned tuna, as well as a brilliant salty flavour that works perfectly with the creamy topping. To sum it up, this is pure comfort food, and one you should definitely bring back into your life.

Get our recipe for this delicious tuna spinach mornay pie with mash.

Photographer: Ian Wallace; Stylist: Louise Pickford

Apricot chicken

This is one dish that continues to divide audiences. There are some people that love nothing more than tucking into a warm, steamy bowl of sticky apricot chicken, but others that can’t fathom the idea of eating something so sweet with their meat. Either way, this was one retro dish that seems to have lost it’s way off family dinner menus, and needs to be brought back into the spotlight.

If you’d love to enjoy this sweet, tender chicken dish again, here’s the recipe.

Shepherd’s pie

Hearty, meaty, and finished with a creamy mashed potato topping, there are few things more universally loved than a homemade shepherd’s pie. Unfortunately, this is one dish that hasn’t exactly stayed on everyone’s radar, but it’s something we secretly wish we could eat every night during winter.

Reconnect with this delicious comfort food and try the recipe at home yourself.

Shepherd's pie

Curried prawns

There’s just something brilliant about the combination of Indian spices and fresh Aussie prawns. This is something you don’t see on menus much anymore, but if you feel like reliving some of the hearty homecooked meals from your youth, give this one a go.

Try this Australian Women’s Weekly easy prawn curry recipe here.

Easy prawn curry

Potato bake

Another one-pot wonder that you probably haven’t had for a while. Add whatever flavours you desire to jazz up the standard recipe. We love tossing through some freshly grated cheese, herbs or crispy bacon for a brilliant flavour combination.

Give this hearty potato and pancetta bake a go.


Remember that ridiculous creamy, hearty chicken or beef dish your mother used to make? We think it deserves to make a reappearance on our dinner tables. Whatever cut of meat suits your taste buds, from pork and chicken, to beef and veal, this tasty casserole is brilliant served over fresh pasta or mashed potato.

Just in time for winter, try this slow-cooker veal stroganoff recipe.

veal stroganoff

Loved this flashback article? Here’s some others we think you’ll like:

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