Sunday, 7 April 2013

Cooking for Children - How to cook once and have hot food for the whole weekend

How to cook one simple children's meal on a Saturday lunchtime, that will give a family of four 3 delicious meals lasting until Sunday night.

Full of goodness yet spectacularly tasty, inexpensive, great for all the family, You can hide the veggies as many dissolve so you can more easily feed picky eaters. And mostly this recipe is incredibly simple and quick to make (30 mins tops for 3 meals for four people). Guilt free feeding!

Ingredients and costing:
I have done this shop in Sainsburys, purely because I love their sweet potatoes, but these are universally found things, so shop where suits you needs.

1. 750g bag of sweet potatoes (the ones called 'bushbok' with purple skins and white flesh have a fab taste and texture, sainsburys taste the difference range do them). £1.00

2. 750g bag of Organic Carrots  (if you only buy one organic veg, make sure its carrots due to the way they absorb everything, good and bad, from the soil) £1.30

3. 250g (half bag) Mini potatoes £1.00 for 500g pack

4. One large onion, sweet onions are the nicest £1.50 for 3.

5. 2 cloves of Garlic, 90p for 3 bulbs.

6. 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes.

7. 2 x packets 300g of extra lean lamb, (however you can get cheaper lamb or you can also use chicken as a cheaper alternative, still yummy, but it will turn pink, much to the amusement of my children!) £11

8. Half quarters of a smal 250ml bottle of red cooking wine £1.02.  You can add just a dash of red if you have some around the house and don't worry about the alcohol, any alcohol is burnt off in the 3 hours of low simmering, but it does leave a delicious taste.

9. Four tablespoons of bisto gravy. Most likely you have this already in the kitchen cupboards, but if not £1.10 for a tub that will seemingly last forever.

10.  2 tablespoons of mixed herbs and 2 table spoons of rosemary.  Again most likely in the recesses of your cupboards, otherwise 54p and 95p.

11. 4 baking potatoes. £1.00 per pack of 4.

Total cost £23.10 

This cost can be reduced considerably by shopping non organic and buying a less expensive cuts of meat.

Some ingredients you probably already have in the cupboards

You will also need a sharp knife, potato peeler, a garlic press and large pan/pot. I have put a 2 pint milk bottle next to mine for scale.

I started the clock at 1pm to time making this stew and was pleasantly surprised how quickly it can be made.  I was done by 1.30pm (And I had to break off twice for my daughter!  ...grrr)

So, how to cook one healthy children's meal for the whole weekend:

1. First peel and finely chop the sweet potatoes, you want these to turn into the tastiest 'mush' ever, they have fantastic texture/flavour. (750g)

2. Peel and chop carrots, make them chunky cuts to keep them solid. (750g)
finely chopped sweet potatoes, chunky chopped carrots
3. Finely chop one sweet onion.
ready chopped

4. Peel and press two large bulbs of garlic.

You can reduce cooking time by 5 minutes if you prefer to use lazy garlic and ready chopped frozen onions, (which you can buy from waitrose)  I haven't noticed a huge difference in taste doing so and sometimes you just want speed.

5. Put all of the above into the cooking pot along with 250g mini potatoes. 

6. add in 1 can of chopped tomatoes.

7. Next pop in the 2 packs of lamb. 2 x 300g.

8. Now your key ingredients are all in the pan/pot, boil a kettle and add just over 1 litre of water.  This should not quite cover all the food.

9. (a) Now sprinkle in four tablespoons of gravy.
    (b) Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of mixed herbs.
    (c) Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of rosemary. 

10. Finally pour in half a bottle of cooking wine (these are mini bottles and also remember the actual 'alcohol evaporates'!)

11. Stir ingredients around a little and then bring 'just' up to the boil before you leave it to simmer for 3 hours.

12.  Either pop the jacket potatoes in the oven now, so you can just reheat them tomorrow in the microwave; or if you prefer you can pop them in the oven tomorrow at lunch.

This process took me HALF an hour and I had to break off twice, for my daughter, once to get her a drink and the second time to put on an 'Iceage' DVD!

30 mins, DONE!

For Saturday's evening meal: 
Delicious winter warmer: 
Steaming bowls of stew bursting with taste, texture and goodness. 

For Sunday lunch:
Tasty Jackets:
Pop Jackets on a plate (reheated or cooked fresh, your preference).  Reheat stew thoroughly and pour over the top of the baked potato. Delicious and filling.

For Sunday evening meal: 
Hearty Soup:
Add the remainder of the wine and reheat thoroughly.  You will be left with a super thick tasty soup.  Gorgeous with a side of bloomer bread.

For our family those ingredients last 3 meals and we have 2 adults and 2 children age 7 and 3.  Its fabulously tasty, surprisingly quick to make and means you don't have to cook again over the weekend. Plus you're giving you're little ones an incredibly healthy, cold busting, fresh cooked, home made meals. You can also sneak in additional veggies by fine cutting butternut squash or pumpkin and adding in even more root veggies.

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