Cooking With Kids – ILoveCooking

Cooking With Kids - ILoveCooking

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The kids are off school which means plenty of time to get them cooking. If you have some spare time this week, then set aside a few hours to get busy with your small people – there truly is no greater gift that you can give them than confidence in the kitchen. Here are our top tips to surviving in the kitchen with your children, and actually making it an enjoyable experience for everyone involved!

Make the Time

This might sound obvious, but most of us are used to speeding through our jobs in the kitchen, with one eye on dinner and another on the toddler trying to eat the leg of a kitchen chair. Children move at a slower pace than us in the kitchen, so allow extra time for otherwise quick chores, and allow yourself to relax.

Don’t Worry About Equipment

Invest in some cheap, smaller plastic chopping boards. Set each child up with a board that has a tea towel underneath it to stop it from slipping and a butter knife, which will happily chop the softer vegetables. They will use adult size spatulas, whisks and wooden spoons quite happily and remember to teach them about kitchen safety rule number one: Only Adults Use The Cooker And Oven.

Find The Right Recipe

You don’t need a special cooking book to find the right recipe to try out with your children. Find something simple, that you would all like to eat for dinner – meatballs or chicken breasts work well, and try it out. Make sure that it’s not complicated and doesn’t have ingredients that will turn your child off at the preparation stage, and carry on as normal!

Finally, Include Picky Eaters!

Believe it or not, your picky eater is more likely to eat a meal that he or she has made herself. Make sure that there is at least one component of the meal that he or she will eat, and allow them to take charge of one entire part of dinner ie the vegetables. This will build enthusiasm, fun and confidence around the dinner table. Once you see that puff of pride in a child’s chest at the dinner table because they helped to make it, you will be enlisting your sous chefs more often!

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Make-Ahead Dinners – ILoveCooking

chicken_broccoli_bake_

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Spending a few hours in the kitchen on a weekend can prove endlessly helpful during the working week; especially if you plan a few weeks ahead of time. The key to make-ahead dinners is to choose flavours that get better as they develop. Think soups, stews, casseroles. Think marinating meat in freezer bags. Think freezing leftover mashed potato in individual portions, so that you can whip out a nutritious side at a moment’s notice. Most of all, think convenience.

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Bolognese sauce is as versatile as a recipe comes

When planning your make-ahead menu, consider how your family will be eating this week. If dinner time will be staggered, due to some people working late; some people having after-school activities, then whip up a batch of bolognese sauce and freeze. Take out of the freezer on the morning you want to eat it, and serve scooped into burger buns for those on the run, and with a side of gnocchi for those eating at home. Gnocchi is an amazing store cupboard ingredient, because it cooks in two minutes, and is utterly delicous. Both of these meal options should be served with salad and some grated cheese on the side.

chicken_broccoli_bake_

Chicken & Broccoli Bake

Our chicken and broccoli bake is a typical make-ahead meal success. Follow the recipe up until it’s time to put the casserole in the oven. Cool and freeze. If cooking from frozen, add another 45 minutes to the cooking time, and if from thawed, just follow the recipe. Serve with green beans and if you need more carbs, rice or baby roasties.

beef stew with guiness

Beef & Guinness Stew

Stew is always a winner, as meat tenderises even more during the freezing process. Our beef and Guinness stew will warm up chilly bones as the winter starts to show its face.

Chorizo Chicken Stew 4

Chicken & Chorizo Stew

 

Our chicken & chorizo stew freezes so well and is a hit with all who try it. If you’re cooking to freeze, leave out the olives until you are reheating it, and serve with leafy greens or green beans and some baby spuds. If that’s too much, empty a bag of salad leaves into a bowl and tear up some French bread.

Vegetable Tagine; tagine recipe; vegetarian main course; i love cooking recipe

Vegetable Tagine, sprinkled with Almonds

The heady spice of Morocco elevates our vegetarian tagine to new heights. When served with some couscous speckled with almond shards and lemon zest, this is a vegetarian dish with a bang. It freezes really well, just add a little extra water when you are reheating it.

 

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