It’s getting to that time of year when things can spin out of control – you know, more than usual. Sometimes you go to a thing where you think the children will eat dinner, and actually all they have is a couple of cucumber sticks and a mini bag of Haribo. Or, you’re fortunate enough to be going out for the evening and you’re so excited that you forget that your children will need dinner (or tea, as I would call it.)
Here are a few dinners that I like to have up my sleeve for this sort of occasion. Usually the children eat these when Mike and I are on leftovers but I don’t think there’s enough for all of us. Two of them are quite useful ideas, I think, and the others are just common sense – sorry if you’re rolling your eyes at me. I am a little embarrassed. I hope you find these helpful, and do let me know yours if you have any. You must have. Just to say, I’ve nothing against Fish Fingers etc. – the “Rip and Dump” option, as Lorelai Gilmore would say. But I don’t tend to buy them much and they actually aren’t as speedy as the options below. Plus if you’re thinking “pesto is besto” in these situations, my husband is allergic to nuts so I never buy pesto. I know, it’s tough being me. (Joking!)
Prawns with Noodles (See the delightful picture above)
A Handful or two of frozen mini prawns (I use Sainsbury’s basics, which are responsibly sourced)
A block or two of dried egg noodles (These go quite a long way)
Frozen peas or sweetcorn or green beans or broccoli. Anything really.
Put them all in a pan with boiling water for 5 mins. I don’t add a sauce and the children have never asked for one. This is so quick, and it’s healthy, too. Has gotten me out of many a scrape.
Pasta with Mackerel
Tinned mackerel is healthy, sustainable and cheap (although it’s not as cheap as it was, and Sainsbury’s yes WE HAVE NOTICED THE PRICE HIKES!). It’s currently about 70p a tin, but it’s cheaper at Lidl – surprise, surprise. You need the tin with tomato sauce. The genius is, the sauce is already there. Hoorah.
Pasta – I use Sainsbury’s basics every time. The kids don’t care what shape their pasta is.
Frozen veg, as above – any will do. I usually use peas but that’s purely lack of imagination.
This is probably my children’s favourite dinner, and it’s reassuring to know that mackerel is really good for them. They probably don’t eat enough fish – or they didn’t until we started having this once a week.
Soup with Bread – I know it’s obvious
Mine like tomato. No bits! This is actually very comforting on a cold evening. I sometimes give them cheese with it.
I think I’ve written before that if in doubt, there’s always brinner (breakfast for dinner). Sometimes my children request this. If your cereals are healthy, I think it’s fine? And if not, it could be worse. There’s a chip shop over the road and I’m pretty sure Weetabix and a boiled egg are healthier than that option. It’s all relative, hey. And porridge is even better if you’ve got some. Of course, you knew that.
Scrambled egg on toast with baked beans is marvellous, although one of my children doesn’t like beans (sigh). They love scrambled eggs with oven chips, but oven chips are slow so you’d have to have the time. Toast on the other hand, is fast. Sorry this is so obvious, but I’m just thinking of my emergency dinners and this is one of them. Eggs are a pretty cheap source of protein, too.
Needs no explanation. My children like the “crepe” type (more than the American). Plenty of fresh fruit with these if you have it. It doesn’t have to be February. Hopefully you have some eggs, milk and flour in. Otherwise, defer to the brinner option perhaps?
So what are your quick, healthy kids’ teas? I use the word “healthy” loosely… It’s not every night after all.