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...
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