Easy kid’s meals

As a child I used to watch my mother cooking away in the kitchen with awe. Each night she served up something tasty to our family of four. Mum’s repertoire of home-cooked dinners was not vast, but it extended beyond fish fingers and nuggets. Similarly Dad had his own signature dishes, which were not quite as nutritious as Mum’s. I think only by coincidence they were a treat, as I seem to remember Dad was in charge of dinner mostly on weekends. I often wondered of Mum though, how she serve up my favourite dishes so regularly, often on request?

What I didn’t know as a kid, but have since learned, was that my favourite dinners were all incredibly easy to prepare and cook.

I’m not a mum yet myself, but when that day eventually comes, I intend to make these dishes the weekly dinner staples they ought to be. Because at the end of a long day working and running your kids around why slave away in the kitchen for hours on a meal the littlies may not even appreciate? Below is a sample of Mum and Dad’s go-to dinners. Some I already cook for myself and my partner, others I plan to delight my future kids with. And I may or may not let on how easy they are to make.

ravioliedited22

Beef Ravioli in Napoli Sauce
Serves 4

This recipe had literally two ingredients (at tops four) and yet is so tasty.

625g packet of beef ravioli
500g jar of Napoli or any other tomato-based pasta sauce

Optional:
100g salami, sliced
1/2 capsicum, diced

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a little salt.
Add pasta and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, if adding capsicum or salami, cook for 2 minutes on high in a microwave safe container.
Pour contents of pasta sauce jar into container.
Heat for 2 minutes. Stirring after 1 minute.
Drain pasta and distribute into four bowls.
Top each bowl with heated pasta sauce.
If you’re feeling fancy, serve with garlic bread cooked in the oven according to instructions on the packet.

Chicken Kiev with Alfredo Pasta and Vegetables
Serves 4

If you’re unfamiliar with chicken Kievs let me introduce you to chicken breasts, crumbed and stuffed with garlic butter. They are glorious, and now that I think of it, maybe not that healthy actually…kiev shrunk

4 frozen or fresh chicken Kievs
200g of frozen peas
4 frozen mini corn cobs
200g of frozen carrots

Pasta
1 packet of Alfredo pasta (Continental is the brand I normally use)
1 teaspoon butter
1 cup milk

Follow instructions on the box to cook the Kievs in the oven. Usually, it takes about 40 minutes to cook from frozen at 180 degrees.
When there’s 20 minutes left on the cooking time start preparing your packet pasta according to instructions – either on stove stop or in the microwave.
Leave in container or pot with lid on to stay warm.
Pour vegies into microwave safe containers. Either all together or, if you had a fussy sister like mine, into separate containers – so as not risk contamination, of course.
Cook vegies a minute at a time on HIGH until thoroughly heated through. Stirring in between microwave blasts.
To serve, dish up the chicken and evenly distribute vegies and pasta on four plates.

Spaghetti Bolognese
Serves 4

500g beef mince
500g jar of Bolognese sauce
350g of dry spaghetti or other pasta variety

Optional:
2 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon crushed chilli
1/2 tin of crushed tomatoes
Grated parmesan cheese to serve (preferably the cheap, Kraft or home-brand kind)

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a little salt.
Add pasta to pot to cook for 8 to12 minutes until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat a large frypan on high and add mince.
Break apart with a wooden spoon and cook until brown.
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.
Lower to simmer, stirring occasionally until the pasta is cooked.
Drain pasta and distribute among 4 bowls.
Heap cooked Bolognese on top of 4 bowls (or just three if one of your two children is a fussy eater, doesn’t like sauce and will have hers with a generous shake of parmesan cheese instead.)
Serve with parmesan cheese.

Dad’s Little Hot Dogs in Bread with Chips
Serves 2 children

The key to this one is the presentation. This Saturday night dinner was made while Mum was on night shift and easy to prepare, but the way Dad served up these mini hot dogs and shoestring potato chips made them look special.

hot dogs edited2
Diagram created in Paint.

 

2 slices of white bread
8 frankfurter sausages
200g of frozen fries
Tomato sauce, to serve

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 210 degrees.
Spread shoestring chips evenly on an oven tray and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, add frankfurters to a pot of boiling water to heat through for about 2 minutes, being careful not to overcook and let the “little boys” split. (But if they split don’t worry, serve anyway and call them “laughing sausages”.)
Cut each slice of bread in quarters to form 4 triangles each.
When frankfurters are done and drained and fries is cooked arrange on plate like so:
– On each plate place four triangle slices of bread with the crust facing out to form a square on the outside and a diamond in the middle
– Place a frankfurter on each triangle
– Heap fries in the middle
– Squirt sauce on to each mini hotdog (or let your child do it themselves)
Serve and watch their faces light up.

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