Friday, 13 January 2012

Things I cook for my children....

I used to enjoy cooking, getting home from work, browsing the cook books, getting the scallops out of the fridge, you know the score. Then I had children. Now cooking is punctuated by calls for "MUMMEEEE I need a WEEEEE", screams from the high chair and general demands on my time.  Now speed is key rather than taste. I have learned it is quicker to boil veg in the microwave even if it does go to mush. Fish can be "pan fried" rather than baked (as can lots of things!) and life would be easier if I had a slow cooker. I also often start preparing tea at 3.30pm on the days I'm not working, talk about eating with the squaddies. When I'm making a stew I sometimes even begin it in the morning when Son 2 is asleep, then I let it simmer all day so the lamb or beef is really juicy and just falls apart, ready for mashing for underdeveloped teeth.

Anyway, here are some of the things I typically make.

Lamb stew
This is good as it is "one pot", takes little skill and is very healthy (I think, I'm not a dietitian but common sense dictates).
  • Don't bother with onions it takes too long.
  • Brown off some lamb.(I get it from the butchers and just say, "a handful" as like most people have no idea about weight. If it's over £3 in money I start squinting and sighing until he says, "ok you can have it for £3).
  • Throw in the mushy veg at bottom of the fridge which preferably includes a sweet one like sweet potato or squash. 
  • Throw in a handful of lentils (precise measuring out is futile).
  • Chop up some potato if you can be bothered.
  • Boil the kettle, pour on enough water so that is covers everything.
  • Crumble in a stock cube.
  • Put lid on and simmer for as long as you can.
 Cheesy Pasta
This is an emergency meal when you get home from a day out, look in the fridge and weep. It depends on you having in the staple ingredients of cheese, milk and pasta (fear not, all these things can be bought in most petrol stations). Son 1 claimed the other day this his is favourite meal of all time. Note it contains no veg (this is a plus in the opinions of most children).
  • Boil some pasta in a pan.
  • Put about 250ml milk in a pan. Heat. When boiling turn down and mix in a spoonful of flour. Keep stirring.
  • When it thickens add a load of grated cheese. If you have nutmeg put a pinch in.
  • Put drained cooked pasta in the cheesey pan (do not put the cheesey mix in the pasta pan - more washing up). Stir round.
Leek  Potato and Cheese Mush
This meal is most appreciated by toothless ones, i.e. babies under 10 months, but it seems to go down a treat.
  • Chop up a leek (or in my case, open freezer door, get out frozen leeks).
  • Cook in microwave in mug with some water in (do not use expensive Emma Bridgewater type mugs).
  • Do same with potato (at same time if you wish).
  • Mix together, stir in some grated cheese with a dash of milk.
  • Mash with a fork - hey presto!
Chicken Risotto
My boys love this one. I admit I have started buying frozen risotto that you can heat up in a pan in 6 minutes, the salt content is surprisingly low. Still it works out cheaper to cook from scratch and this is what this blog is all about so....
  • Use leftover chicken, shred into small pieces.
  • Fry an onion (I buy Easy Onion now, comes in a jar).
  • Fry garlic (likewise, from jar).
  • Fry risotto rice for a minute on high heat.
  • Chuck in any veg, preferably mushy about to go out of date type stuff.
  • Boil kettle, put about 500ml in a jug with a crumbled stock cube.
  • Now you have two choices, either spend half an hour standing there spooning the stock in bit at a time OR
  • Put all stock in at once, transfer to ovenproof dish and stick in oven for half an hour.
  • Near the end, put in chicken and perhaps cream or creme fraiche plus cheese.
  • Voila!
Mushy Apple
This is great for puddings.
  • Peel apple, chop off the the core.
  •  Slice into small bits.
  • Fry in a pan with butter, add orange juice and cinnamon
  • Serve! A variation here is to add cocoa powder or melted chocolate to the pan for older children.
Chocolate Bananas
  • Slice bananas
  • Fry in a pan with butter.
  • Add a small packet of chocolate buttons or similar.
  • Mix round then serve.

Banana Bread/Cake
This is a really easy one and great for when you have some leftover bananas that are about to turn.
You won't be spending ages stirring either.
  • Mash up two bananas (kids like doing this).
  • Add three spoonfuls of sunflower oil
  • Add about two spoonfuls of sugar.
  • Add about four spoonfuls of plain flour.
  • Add a teaspoon of baking powder.
  • Chuck in an egg and a handful of raisins
  • Stir then put into a loaf tin.
  • Bake in oven for about 40 minutes at 180 degrees. (grease tin if you can bothered).
I like this because using the sunflower oil saves you from having to cream the butter which is annoying and gives me arm ache. The raisins and banana also mean it is vaguely healthy. I actually adapted this recipe from the I Can Cook website on cbeebies (bit ashamed to admit that) but they have some quite good ideas on there for kids food. It does annoy me though that they don't use a capital I.

 I still hate cooking.


  1. Aw but cooking rocks! I make mushy apple too, except I just use apple, butter and cinnamon, probably not quite so good...

    1. I know, I do like cooking really, but just when I have a decent amount of time and am not constantly harassed! The orange juice just juicifies it a bit plus adds more vit c (get me!) - it's nice when added to the banana one too.

  2. Good ideas - I love the chocolate bananas one. I'm going to try that on Georgia who flatly refuses to eat bananas at home and yet happily eats them at nursery!
    You must get a slow cooker though - mine has revolutionised my life! You can throw in the ingredients at the beginning of the day and then just go about your business knowing that a tasty stew will be ready by tea-time. Also v good if you work as you don't have to worry about coming home and cooking. If you don't have time to prepare it in the morning then you can just prepare all the ingredients the night before and leave the pot in the fridge and put it on the next morning. In my experience there's nothing like it for making you feel all smug and organised!!

  3. I love it, Leek, potatoe and cheese mush - hmm yum,yum!

    I just got a slow cooker recently and itis my new saviour, I would certainly recommend. So glad my kids are now all past the mush stage.

    Mich x

    1. There is a lot of mush going on in this house at the moment! I really must buy a slow cooker, I saw someone pop one in their trolley yesterday in Morrisons and thought, "I could do that!". x

  4. I love this blog :)
    I have 3 boys aged 3, 7 and 9 and you would think that as they get older it would be easier to leave them alone for 5 mins while I try to scrape together something remotely healthy for tea.not the case... my slow cooker is my saviour and i can easily slap a few ingredients together in the morning while the kids are at school.
    I now have some new recipies for when I "forget" to take out any meat/fish

    1. Thanks Lisa! I'm a bit disheartened mean to say it doesn't get any easier as they get older! It's true though, I do find my 3 year old more difficult to deal with than my 11 month old.


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