Cooking for the kids

As the mother of two children under the age of 3, I am time-poor and sleep-deprived and, if I don’t plan dinners well enough, it can become a bit of a last-minute panic. I’m sure plenty of other parents feel the same, whether or not their kids have allergies to consider, although allergies were a major factor in me finally (in my mid-thirties) adding a selection of one-pot meals to my repertoire.

I’m definitely not Delia, and I’d have nothing against fish fingers or nuggets if only my toddler would eat them. The chicken nugget conversation took place when he was two and a bit:

“What’s this, Mummy?”
“That’s chicken, Pickle.”
“No Mummy, that’s not chicken. That’s yucky.”

He’s probably right.

Casseroles and slow cooker meals have become crucial in our house, not least because it usually takes very little time to do the prep work, especially if cheating with a packet mix, and I can do that whenever they give me 10 minutes, and carry on playing with them while it’s cooking. In the case of the slow cooker, we can go out all day and come home to a delicious home-made meal.

Also, if I make it myself I can omit those offending allergens (peanuts, almonds, any nuts or traces, beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, locust bean gum, carob).

These are some of the dishes that are now household favourites. The meals are normally big enough to cover two meals for all of us, or to portion some up to freeze as defrostable nursery lunches.

1. Sausage casserole

2. Chicken Chasseur

3. Mild Toddler Chicken Curry

4. Mac cheese with ham and broccoli

5. Chicken Provençal

6. Kids’ Kedgeree

7. Lasagne

8. Cottage Pie

9. Spaghetti Bolognese

10. Toad in the Hole.

I’m still learning, because back when we both worked full-time and didn’t get home until 6.30/7pm, we heavily relied on the freezer and the oven, and didn’t eat until later than we do now. These days, I’m proud of my mostly homemade freezer stash, which is currently generating a need for more mini Tupperwares.

On that note, I’m signing off because I sound a bit too much like an old fishwife! It’s pizza night tonight, don’t you worry.

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