Simple pleasures

Quick children’s meals and how to get them to eat vegetables

plateHow times have changed. Wasn’t it only yesterday I was able to stay up past 10 in the evening and function the next day? My friends and I would get up to all sorts of mischief. Pub-talk would be ridiculous and we were convinced we could change the world.

Well, we’ve grown up a little since then, and while we still have enormous fun, the conversations have changed a little. Last week I was with an old friend in an old London pub full of bright young things shouting over pints after work. Apart from chatting about the glory days of our rock and roll band super-stardom, talk turned to food, as it often does.

Two grown men in the pub trying to look cool talking about quick fifteen minute suppers you can make your young children and how to get extra veg into fussy eaters tummys. Oh yes, that’s how we roll.

So, for my friend’s benefit, and anyone else who wants some ideas, here are three very quick tasty recipes that aren’t beans on toast or pasta.

Wholewheat tortilla ‘pizzas’
2 wholewheat tortillas
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1tsp dried oregano
1tsp paprika
2 carrots
1 red pepper
1 clove of garlic
The white of a leek
1/2 ball of mozzarella or a handful of grated cheese
A few olives
A few slices of torn ham

1. Heat the oven to 180c
2. Slice the leek, carrot and pepper and sauté with the garlic for a few minutes until softened. Add the tomato and oregano and bring to the boil.
3. Remove from the heat and blend until smooth.
4. Place the tortillas on a baking tray and spread over some of the tomato sauce. Keep the rest in the fridge for 5 days, or freeze.
5. Top with the cheese, olives and ham and cook for 6 minutes, or until the cheese is melting, golden and bubbly.

Chicken ‘kievs’ with cauliflower rice
1/2 a cauliflower, florets only
2 chicken breasts, bashed slightly flat with a rolling pin
Olive or rapeseed oil for cooking
2tbsp butter
1 clove of garlic
2tbsp chopped parsley
40g breadcrumbs

1. Blitz the cauliflower in a food processor or use a grater until it looks like rice. Heat covered in the microwave for 5 minutes.
2. Heat a sauté pan with a little oil and add the chicken. Cook on each side for five minutes. Add the butter and garlic and continue to cook gently for a few minutes.
3. Add the parsley and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the chicken.
4. Serve the chicken and garlic butter with the cauliflower ‘rice’. If you can get some green beans on the plate too, so much the better.

Sausage and bean stew with sweet potato mash
4-6 sausages
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (or leftover tomato sauce from the tortilla pizzas)
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 courgette, diced
1 tin of mixed beans such as borlotti, cannellini and red kidney
1tbsp tomato purée
A handful of grated Cheddar
1 sweet potato

1. Heat the oven to 180c
2. Heat an ovenproof casserole with a little oil and sauté the onions, carrot and courgette then add the sausages until browned. Pour in the beans, tomato and purée and stir. Put in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, pierce the sweet potato all over and microwave for 6-8 minutes. Remove and mash with a little butter and milk.
4. Remove the sausage and beans from the oven and sprinkle over the cheese.
5. Serve with the mashed potato

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