It has been a while since I managed to do a post as I have been tweaking my schedule at home to be more mindful and spend not only time on exercise but also fit in meditation and other positive influences in my day. I have shared a few recipes with you on here now and I am not sure if you have noticed a pattern, but I have definitely found a method that works for my and the family.
We don’t do large batch cooking, yes, we do freeze extra portions but we make fresh and then freeze a few portions for when we need a meal quickly. What I do is use the entire day to prepare the meal in stages and it comes together at night for the dinner. We generally feed Austin and Aria at 5pm and then pull ours together after bedtime, but we are not starting from scratch. I would at the very least have fried the onions and vegetables in advance depending on what meal we are having.
I would say that roasting vegetables has become a huge part of my cooking because the vegetables love it, they morph into something delicious. They sizzle and crisp, soften and sweeten. What is not to love right? I would normally start off roasting a batch of whatever it is that I may need first thing, when every I have the time to chop dress and pop in. Normally around 10:00 while The Mini Music Makers are on and I can nip to the kitchen. There are a few key spices that add the flavour to our food and we have found them very baby friendly. The magic happens by using the right amount of the following; Mixed Herbs, Garam Masala, Ground Cumin, Paprika, Garlic powder, Ground black Pepper, Fennel Seeds, Onion Seeds and Rosemary. Start small with the spices and see what works for your family. We just add salt and chilli once we have removed the childrens portion.
When need a quick meal, I always start with frying off onions and grating a carrot in, for me I then know that is the makings of a balanced meal. Add some mixed herbs and a splash of balsamic vinegar fry off the vinegar and add a can of chopped tomatoes or passata, now you have a nice pasta sauce, not from a jar, no hidden sugar. You can always put a teaspoon of maple syrup or sugar alternative in. I use the same sauce when making our rice balls and just use a little bit and then have plenty left for another dish.
If you are doing anything you make in a pan, early in the day when you have time chop up your onion and other vegetables you are planning to use and fry them down. Sometimes I even do this without staying there I just pop back and stir once in a while or you can unpack the dishwasher will it is cooking away. As you get more used to cooking you will figure out your own short cuts, just know it doesn’t have to be a big job and a big clean up.
I use the same chopping board throughout the day, unless I have done meat on it. It just stays there until I am done chopping the last vegetable or herb, load the dishwasher as you go and rinse your utensils. By the time you have eaten you should only have the pan and the plates and cutlery you used. Yes, there will be exceptions but for the most part you have it under control. Happy cooking people!
Stumped for lunch or need a quick snack this is so easy to prepare, and you can do it around other morning tasks. Most of the preparation is steaming the potatoes!! Heat your oven to 180 degrees C
2 potatoes, cooked and mashed
30g Cheese grated
3 slices of ham diced into cubs
¼ cup Frozen peas and corn
To the mashed potato add a bit of butter and splash of milk so you can mix it well. To this add your cheese, ham, vegetables and herbs and spices mix through. Feel free to substiture the vegetables for something you or your little ones love! Wisk your eggs with a bit of milk and add that to the mix combine well. You can separate your eggs and whisk the egg white and fold through after but for a busy lift there is no need for that.
Spoon your mixture into greased muffins tray, mine stuck a little so I searched, and online they advised butter and breadcrumbs… Mamma ain’t got no time for that but you are welcome to add that step.
Pop these in your preheated oven for 20 minutes, it will leave your house smelling lush! I topped them with a little grated cheese before heating them in the microwave for lunch and served with yogurt for dipping. The taste so good that they would make a lovely little canape for adult too!
Last week I read that red peppers are a great source of Vitamin C. I decided to buy a large bag for £1.45 so we had plenty in to use to prepare healty meals. You can expect to see this sweet, fresh vegetable appear in quit a few of my recipes.
500g Pasta Adults
50g Pasta Babies
1 Garlic Clove
½ Punnet of mushrooms
Pepper and salt to taste
1 Red Pepper
Hand full of spinach ca
1 Medium Onion
Chorizo & Rocket to garnish
4 Spoons of Cottage cheese, great Protein
1 Aubergine cubed and roasted
I fried my peppers first as I like a nice char on them, you can use any oil you like but I use olive (not virgin). When they are the colour you like and a little soft place them in a bowl and set aside. Now fry your onion( add salt here if you want), I like using oil and then adding a little butter, when they are ready add you mushrooms and little nob of butter, herbs and a grind of black pepper. Optionally you can add the spinach now to wilt
At this point I stopped and just before the children’s dinner time I made a small portion for them, but you can do it all at the same time. Combine all the veg and cottage cheese in a blending jar, I added a splash of whole milk, so it blends easily. Reserve the pan you used to fry everything.
Boil your pasta, we used spaghetti, and drain once it is cooked. Set aside some of the cooking water. Place your drained pasta in the pan you fried everything in add 2-3 spoons of the sauce you prepared and cooking water till it combines well.
I cooked some Chorizo and it went too far and was crispy but turned out to be a great topping. We also grated some Parmesan, but it really didn’t need it as the flavours are intense enough without. Let me know if enjoy the recipe, put your own spin on it, this was only one combination.
Named such because they are much more interesting than the version from a can but also packed with nutrients. This one is straight forward; it’s one of my ‘throw it all in a pot’ and simmer ones. Ill break it down a bit, but at its care that is all it is. Double the recipe if you want to freeze some, as I guarantee you will want some for your lunch and I found that one tin wasn’t enough.
Tin of haricot beans
2 tsp Tomato paste
Baby spinach finely cut (½ hand fulls)
1 Tbsp BBQ sauce
Small onion finely diced
Pepper, salt to taste
¼ punnet of mushroom
1 teaspoon paprika
300ml water, this is not exact, judge how much you need
Pinch of thyme
Grated cheese and yogurt
Fry off the onion in a bit of oil, once brown and soft add a small nob of unsalted butter and add the mushrooms. Once they are cooked add the beans, spices, herbs, water and spinach. The beans are sometimes a bit hard straight from the can, I checked mine and decided how much water I’d need.
Now add the tomato paste and BBQ sauce and simmer, I had to add a little more water and reduce for 10 minutes on a simmer. You are looking for the consistency in the image below if it is still a bit watery reduce more. I mashed the beans slightly and then added cheese and yogurt for the children.
For my lunch I topped a bag of rice & quinoa with cheese and the beans with a dollop of yogurt. Very delicious!!! Just waiting for the energy boost. If you have coriander you can top it with some or some avocado on the side. Put your own spin on it.