Let's face it, cooking for children is difficult enough, but cooking for the whole family is especially challenging! Even if you're a skilled cook (which I certainly am not!), it can be tough to find the time and the meal ideas to suit everyone and make the most efficient use of your time.
Now, I'm a huge champion of cooking one meal for everyone, but I get chatting with so many parents who struggle to find meals which fit the tough criteria of:
Baby friendlyToddler friendlyAdult friendlyQuick and easy to prepareNutritious
It's a very difficult balance to strike!
So, this 'What's for dinner' page is a list of ideas of what to cook and a few ideas on how to cook in a more time efficient way. These are not all my ideas! Oh no! I can't take all the credit! I have been asking people far and wide so I could collate these ideas for you.
Smart Thinking Meal Lists
BIG EFFORT MEALS
Easiest meals to cook in bulk and they freeze well too
Shepherds Pie/Cottage Pie
Pie with a pastry top
When you have nothing planned!
Cheese on toast
Egg Fried Rice
GET SOMETHING OUT OF THE FREEZER!
Once you have some inspiration for meals, there are a wealth of great recipes online. I couldn't live without BBC Good Food! Use their drop down 'Recipes' menu to find collections and categories. I go back again and again and keep finding new content all the time. I write the full recipe name into my meal planner, then I can pull it up on my phone when it's time to get cooking. I love this minimalist approach to recipe referencing...
But, anyone who knows me will know that I'm a bit of a recipe book addict. Amazon do very well out of me! I get a sniff of a new recipe book recommendation and it's on my wishlist! I also love to browse at my local library - they often have the latest popular cookbooks - I like to try before I buy...
From my workshops, I've learned that many busy mums are reluctant to browse through recipe books willynilly - perhaps it's difficult to decifer which recipes are going to be a success. When I sit down to do my meal planning, I usually only need one or two new recipes if I'm using a new recipe book - it's important to provide a balance of familiar meals along with new recipes so that you don't ignite too many mealtime meltdowns! And, of course, there is the element of the unknown with a new recipe, so you need to plan them into your less busy days!
Here's a list of my current favourite cookbooks:
My 'What's for Dinner?' Workshop can help you with this...
Mealtimes can be a nightmare if you have conflict at the table. Young children respond well to a routine, but sometimes they can be anxious or disruptive and it’s tough to bring them around. Here’s one thing to try to keep the mood light and help you stay zen… Music! We’ve always loved sharing music … Read More
Fajitas can be a quick and easy week night dinner! It really is possible. What’s more, the children love this kind of construction meal where they can build a wrap of their choice. If you’re battling with a fussy eater, this is definitely a meal you can sit back, relax and watch them enjoy. … Read More
There’s homework to do, laundry to put away, swimming kit to get ready, and grumpy grumpy tiny people who need your undivided attention otherwise they’ll riot and start trashing the kitchen (insert your latest toddler anarchy anecdote here) … but there’ll also be hell to pay if you can ‘t get some sort of tea on the … Read More