Year 1 has kicked in properly now, which brings afternoons rushing home from school then heading out to various activities – and also that mad rush between finishing school, having a snack, going to an activity then having no more than twenty minutes to get the evening meal ready. We’ve always made a point of eating together as a family in the evening, so when Birds Eye started an After School Chefs challenge, I knew it was right up our street.
We’re lucky that H isn’t a fussy eater – she will generally eat whatever is put in front of her. I have a fairly set routine of food I cook which could do with a tweak. Fortunately Birds Eye are here to help. I was having a browse around the After School Chefs recipes and came across this one for Waffle Nachos – so simple and the perfect food when you’re in a rush. Even better, we have everything in our food cupboard. Here’s the recipe :
So how did we get back into our routine? It helps doing activities every night – the earliest one starts is 4.15, the latest 5pm. School dinners are on a three week rotation, so I need to make sure our evening meal is properly planned – I have three ‘meals not to cook’ lists so I can stay on top of things as last year I’d often put the food on the table only to find H had it during the day as well.
Towards the end of the week I have more time, so cook things which take a bit longer, for example, a risotto. The start of the week is quicker foods like stir fry, soup or spaghetti bolognese. I’ll often mix vegetables that cook quickly (like courgette) with frozen vegetables when I’m pushed for time.
We were given £20 in vouchers to try some Birds Eye foods to take part in the After School Chefs challenge – and from that I chose both types of potato waffles (large and small) – they’re low in saturated fat which is good for me with my cholesterol issues, plus they cook quickly. I chose some soya beans, petits pois and sweetcorn, as well as some field fresh vegetables which all come in resealable bags – handy as our freezer drawer often has stray vegetables tucked in the bottom thanks to badly fastened bags!
Shaun chose some chicken and fish dishes from the Inspirations range for him and H to share. Being vegetarian I was disappointed that Sainsbury’s Cheam didn’t have any of the Birds Eye vegetable options in-store, considering what a huge store it is. The chicken cooked quickly and both Shaun and H ate it all, and confirmed it tasted delicious!
My top tips for quick meals after school –
– if you don’t have long to cook and get your meal to the table, don’t rule out frozen food. Frozen vegetables cook quickly – you could probably knock up a quick pasta dish in less than ten minutes. Even better, get your child to become one of the After School chefs and help! (supervised, of course)
– pre-bought food to prepare is always a quick option – pad it out with fresh vegetables if you feel like you need to add more. I often do that with my stir fry kits.
– If you have a few vegetable leftovers in the fridge, make a chilli – I always have some Taco Shells in the cupboard for chilli leftover emergencies!
– trying to fit in reading for school as well as making the meal, after getting in from some activity? Get your child to read at the table, where you can hear them – we have a hatch from our kitchen to the main room and will often do our daily read there. See also : practising recorder… that’s always handy when the dishwasher is on 😉
This post is an entry for #Afterschoolchefs Challenge, sponsored by Birds Eye. Learn more on the Birds Eye Facebook Page.