It needs to be something simple, quick to cook, and that everyone will eat. With three children , there’s always someone who objects to almost any ingredient which makes life harder. And of course, all of our meals have to include a vegetarian option.
So, my first teatime tip is to write a list. You can see mine here, on the right. It’s just a big piece of paper with a list of the meals that most of the kids like, most of the time! I got the kids involved in coming up with ideas, and I note down where there needs to be a vegetarian substitute. I can then look at the list when I’m out of inspiration (something that happens quite often at 5pm), and find something that matches what I have in the fridge.
My second tip is to get the kids involved. I start them early, and have a knife that has a non-sharp serrated edge that lets small kids chop up most veg without the risk of cutting their fingers. K, 5, likes to pick what we’re having, and it’s easy to let him do that if we have a freezer full of favourites. he likes to put the potato waffles or smiley faces on the tray. D, who is now 12, has come a long way and can assemble all sorts of meals. That’s her tomato tart, in the picture on the left. It’s a super simple recipe – ready made puff pastry, spread with pesto, and topped with thin sliced of tomatoes. You can ring the changes with aubergine or courgettes, or add in mozzarella for something different.
My third tip is to mix and match. Some nights, when you’re full of energy, it’s great to make something totally from scratch. Other nights, cheat! Everyone eats lasagne (with soya mince), and depending on how I’m feeling I may make or buy the sauces. And every week I’m usually relieved one night to go to the freezer and get out fishfingers, frozen peas and potato waffles. A short time in the over / microwave, and tea for the kids is ready, and what’s more, it’s always popular.
Fourth tip: try something new every week. Kids like routine, and we have regular curry nights, pizza nights … but there’s also ‘something new’ night. Last week I bought frozen fish in batter. That might not be a challenge for you, and Dd loves chip shop battered fish, but it was not something the boys had tried. J wasn’t sure, but K ate all of his … and I have one more meal to add to my list!
FTip five is to have something good in reserve in the freezer for you too Fishfungers occasionally make a nostalgic tea, but the kids would eat them e dry meal if they could. So, if I feel like something easy with a more adult taste, they might have Fishfungers while I have a piece of fish. The Birds Eye inspirations fish recipes are good for this, but choose something that you can mix into the family meal to suit your own tastes .
And finally, my last teatime tip, if all else fails, there’s always ketchup. Fortunately however much the kids dislike something, it usually tastes okay with a glob of the red stuff!
This post is an entry for #Afterschoolchefs Challenge, sponsored by Birds Eye. Learn more on the Birds Eye Facebook Page. I was sent £15 worth of Birds Eye vouchers to try out and taste things from their range.