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Easy midweek meals that kids will eat

Hey mamas, how's your Easter holidays been? Apart from a weekend away to visit family, we've been at home. It's been alright, but we're all ready for them to go back to school now. ;-)

I cook most of the meals for my family (but I can't claim breakfasts. The husband makes ALL the breakfasts. I should ask him to do a blog for me...what do you think? Would you like to know what he makes?) Sometimes though, I hit a slump and run out of ideas of things to try. If that's you too, here are a few really easy mid-week meals that my kids always eat that will hopefully inspire you.

1. Marmite on spagetti

"Ugh!" I hear you say. I thought the same, but it's so simple and easy to make, and my kids love them (They also like olives and anchovies... weird taste buds). Sprinkle a bit (or loads) of cheese and you are set.

To make (serves 4): 

  • Boil spaghetti as per packet instructions (we've used gluten free spaghetti which are a bit sticky. Keep your eye on them if using)
  • Drain and reserve a bit of the water it's been boiled in
  • Mix the spaghetti with a couple of teaspoons of the reserved water, add a couple of teaspoons of butter and 1x teaspoon of marmite
  • Serve with some grated parmesan (Parmesan for me; Violife hard cheese for the kids). If this is a bit bland for you, add some garlic bread or a salad on the side.

2. Minestrone soup

I cook minestrone once every couple of weeks, at least. It's great because you can use whatever veggies you have at the moment, add a bit of chicken, pasta or rice, bake a baguette whilst it's all bubbling away, and serve (we used some gluten-free home made bread for this meal as that's just what we had). I've persevered with this recipe. My older one didn't like it to begin with but we always replied with "Everything in that bowl tastes the same." Now, he eats everything in it and always asks for a second helping. 

To make (serves 4):

  • Chop half an onion and 3 garlic cloves
  • Add a lug of olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic
  • Add whatever chopped vegetables you're using. This time, I used 3 carrots, half a broccoli, a small handful of peas, 2 potatoes and a handful of spinach 
  • Add 1x tin can or box of chopped tomatoes and 1x passata (my kids like having loads of soup so I add lots of liquid.) Also add some chicken or vegetable stock (I used 1 cube of chicken Bouillon). Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down to a simmer
  • Add some cooked chicken (if you are using raw chicken, add this before the vegetables)
  • Add a handful of spaghetti (break the spaghetti into small bits; an inch or less as you are putting it into the pot). If you want to use rice, a couple of tablespoons is enough
  • If you want to add more taste to it, add a teaspoon of sugar, some oregano or basil, and seasoning
  • Simmer until everything is soft, stirring from time to time so the spaghetti or rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot)

3. Tacos

Okay, technically this is out of a box.... you don't have to be a complete domestic goddess.. the kids will survive!
Tacos are great because you can do something really simple, or you can go all out. I like to keep it simple. And it's great to let the kids assemble their own lunch. (Random story; my mum used to make these when I was a kid, with beef instead of chicken. I just realised the other day that I still follow the same steps when I assemble a taco. Always in this order; meat on the bottom, salsa, lettuce then cheese. Always. Funny how we are a creature of habit).

To make (serves 4):

  • Dice 2 chicken breasts and fry in oil (I used rapeseed oil, but olive oil will also work). Add the taco seasoning whilst it's frying and a splash of water. When cooked, put this aside in a bowl or plate
  • Grate some iceberg lettuce. Wash the lettuce and dry (salad spinners are great but if you don't have one, wrap the lettuce in cloth and flick it outside, leaving the lettuce dry (-er). Put it in a bowl
  • Grate cheese. Put it in a separate bowl
  • Make a quick salsa; Chop 4 beef tomatoes (I take out the seeds and just use the flash). Chop 1 avocado. Mix in a bowl and add the juice of 1 or 2 limes, add a teaspoon of sugar and some chopped fresh coriander (critical ingredient! You must have fresh coriander if you are going to make a good salsa). Add this to a bowl
  • Add the salsa from the taco packet into yet another bowl
  • Follow the instructions on how to warm up the taco shells. I put ours in the oven at 180 degrees for about 10 minutes (check on them to make sure they don't get burnt)
  • Lay it all on the table and watch everybody create their ideal taco

4. Sausage and mashed potatoes

I love comfort food... sausage and mash, with loads of gravy is one of the best and easiest comfort food to make.

To make (serves 4):

  • Fry your sausage of choice on a low heat with a tiny bit of oil (We don't eat pork so it's always beef or chicken sausages. I gave each person 2 sausages but you can suit it to your family) 
  • Peel potatoes and boil until soft when you pick with a fork (I added 1 potato per person)
  • Boil any vegetables you'd like to serve on the side. I had some carrots and corn
  • Drain the potatoes, add half a tablespoon of butter and mash (you can also add some grated cheese and a teaspoon of mustard if you want more taste)
  • Follow the instructions on making gravy (I used instant gluten-free gravy)
  • Pile everything on a plate and serve

 5. Chicken and mushroom (or other veggie) pie

When it starts getting sunny, I'll share some lighter recipes... until then, let's do another comfort food recipe.

My kids (and husband) love a good chicken pie. And it's actually quite straight forward to do.

To make (serves 4):

  • Heat some butter in a frying pan
  • Dice half an onion and 4 cloves of garlic. Fry in the pan on a low heat
  • Dice 2 chicken breasts and add to the pan (meanwhile, turn the oven on to 180 degrees)
  • Chop whatever vegetables you are using; it can just be mushrooms (my kids hate them and will pick them out. I only use mushrooms when I fancy them myself), or carrots and broccoli (add some frozen peas if you have them). Add to the pan
  • When cooked, set aside
  • Make some white sauce; Fry about 50g of butter. Add 50g of plain flour and stir continuously until it becomes a paste (keep the heat on a low and use a whisk). Turn the heat up and slowly add 500ml of milk. Keep stirring until it becomes a smooth paste
  • Mix the chicken and vegetables into the white sauce and transfer into a baking dish
  • Unroll a ready-made puff pastry packet (I used the gluten free one)
  • Brush over the pastry with a bit of milk (my kids have an intolerance to egg and diary, so I always just use a bit of cashew milk instead of normal milk or egg) 
  • Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden
  • Serve with gravy!

 

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