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SAHM but struggling to cook dinner!

(28 Posts)
WowThatsDifferent Thu 31-Aug-17 20:41:14

Help me, please, as I know this is ridiculous and am in a right pickle about making good food for my family and finding the time to prepare it so we can all eat together! Background: I'm a SAHM and a terrible cook (or rather, I lack confidence). I'm also a serial dieter (pre-kids) so have never really eaten and prepared normal food, as I was always messing about with shakes, lettuce and tuna, fasting days, glutton-filled days etc. I have two lo's under two, and so far I have got away with a very pathetic level of food preparation. I have also been catering to my fussy toddler (probably made fussy by me), which i have vowed to end now, hence my quest to learn how normal mothers cook and feed their family. I want us all to eat the same, normal, food together. Breakfast I can handle; lunch until now is usually catered to what the toddler will eat (boiled pasta and peas with no sauce, bagel with no cheese, cucumber, fruit - basically likes carbs and fruit), dinner for toddler at 5pm is more of the same, then me and DH eat after bedtime but that's usually a prepackaged meat in sauce, boil in the bag veg, anything that takes 20 mins as we're shattered after putting both kids to bed. I desperately want to know how others prepare dinner so it's ready by 5pm, without having to stay in from 3pm till 5pm preparing it, with baby/toddler climbing the walls.
I usually get 1.5 hours from 1pm when they both nap, so I feel I could use this time to chop veg etc but am so overwhelmed I don;t know where to start. Sorry for the essay, thank you for reading!!

OuchBollocks Thu 31-Aug-17 20:44:58

Meal plan.
1 day jacket potato and topping (tuna salad), spud goes in oven at 3.30 and salad prepped at nap time
1 day pasta sauce and veg
1 day slow cooker curry done in morning
1 day stir fry, veg prepped and meat marinated at lunch
And at the weekend make a big chilli or lasagne or casserole that can do 2 days from the freezer. That leaves Sunday to go to the carvery for a roast wink

Tensecondrule Thu 31-Aug-17 20:51:46

I think I'd be getting a good casserole cookbook and a crockpot! You can chop the meat and veg, get it in the oven at 2.30 on a low ish heat and it'll be ready for 5. Same applies to bolognese sauce, curry, chilli etc. I also usually make extra portions for the freezer. None of his helps with an already fussy toddler though I'm afraid, the good news is that they do generally grow out of it.

Ellieboolou27 Thu 31-Aug-17 20:54:25

This was me! Although I'm a good cook smile
I prepare my evening meal in the morning, put vegetables in the steamer ready to just switch on.
I decide the night before what we are going to eat.
Last night was mince chilli, so after kids had breakfast I put on tv for them straight to kitchen to fry mince with onions spices etc, add toms and kidney beans, wash rice and leave to soak in pan, mince cooked after 30 mins, let it cool and at 4.30ish today all I did was boil rice.
Prepare it, chop it / peel it, put it in oven trays in the fridge all ready to shove in oven at 4-4.30

I HATE preparing dinner at the end of the day as I'm usually worn out and can't be bothered, before I started this we ate lots of fish fingers and waffles grin
My kids are 2 and just turned 5 so I know how hard it is.

Pizzaexpressreview Thu 31-Aug-17 20:54:43

I used to Cook well but have lost my mojo too! I'm not sure how I've forgotten to cook properly.... following for inspiration!!

Girlsworld92 Thu 31-Aug-17 20:55:33

Slow cooker. I use it for everything. It will change your life! Casseroles, curry, pasta dishes, joints of meat, soup. Dead easy. Also to save time buy prechopped veg and just chuck it in with your meat and stock/herbs/chopped toms depending on what you are making

FATEdestiny Thu 31-Aug-17 21:20:53

A basic mid-week roast doesn't take more than 30m prep time. But you do need to be in to wack it in the oven 75m before you eat, but that takes a matter of minutes to do then ignore it. Peeling and chopping carrots, potatoes and another veg - 15 mins. Wack in steamer and again ignore for 20 minutes. Bisto gravy and jobs-a-good-un

Substitute the roast for portioned meat under the grill and it's even quicker - chops, chicken breasts, steaks etc.

My children are much better eating food they can identify as individual types of food, rather than anything finely chopped or in a sauce. Hence meat and two veg meals are best.

WowThatsDifferent Thu 31-Aug-17 22:50:48

Fantastic ideas here, everyone, thank you so much. I know it's not rocket science but it doesn't come naturally and things are hectic, it seems really hard! Think prepping in the morning during baby's first nap/toddler's play time is the answer... thank you!!!! X

chaplin1409 Fri 01-Sep-17 06:26:30

I am so glad i have found this thread. My children are now older but after school is so busy and also its just thinking of what to cook. I can't seem to get on with a slow cooker but might see about getting one again but for now I have a casserole dish I can use in the oven. My problem too is my eldest is a vegetarian so I need to make a meat free/quorn version too.

cheeseandcrackers Fri 01-Sep-17 06:42:25

I would find making food for the children and then making food for adults later (even if it's just heating up the same meal, it's still too lots of mess) far too much work. We always eat together at 6pm and always have. A snack at 4:30 keeps them going. That also means that dh is usually home for at least the last ten mins before dinner so I can finish it off and serve it up with both hands free rather than trying to do it with baby/toddler on hip...

Cailleach666 Fri 01-Sep-17 06:54:03

I would always cook earlier in the day- so a bolognese sauce or a stew or whatever ( slow cookers great for such stuff) then at dinner time just some pasta to cook or new potatoes ( boil both in one pot, add veg later than potatoes)

Never cooked different food for different family members. We all ate the same even under a year old)

OP is your toddler getting enough protein? A diet of carbs and veg is not sufficient for a growing toddler.
At that age a child needs protein at every meal.

kateandme Fri 01-Sep-17 07:51:37

a nice stew hun.perfect for the weather changing too.if you make a big batch with the cubed stew meet you can get ready chopped in shops toss it in big pan or casserole dish(really good trick is to toss it in flour to lightly coat irst it thicken sauce lovely)
.chuck veg in,any you like.put some potos in too or even some pearly barley a wheat grain of some sort.few cubes of stock and some bisto powder.water. let it bubble to thicken. then leave on hob to stew and cook.if you make it then you can all have this.add in some herbs or lavouring to your taste.you can even then blend this a little more for the littlie even to a soup. have it for lunch the next day.could be had with anything from pasta to potaotos to rice or a nice loaf of white bread to dip in.
really easy one is some chicken.frozen veggies.make a white sauce or even buy one.tin of condensed chicken soup. then make a crumble with some flour and butter rubbed or blended together to form little crumbles. ge tyour chicek and veggies base and add crumble on top and bake.
there are many recipes for these online.try typing in vegetable crumble.or stew.
simple pasta bake.fry some onion garlic and bacon. whisk up some grated cheese and milk,cream, salt and pepper.whisk in couple of eggs. then when you pasta is cooked stir through the bacon mixture then stir through sauce.yum.you can add veggies to this too like broccoli
tip for cooking pasta.towards the end top it with the veggies you want and cooks in same pan easily.
just some quick cook rice mixed with frozen veg is nice side dish with meat or fish
look online for tray bakes.so simple you literally bung onto a tray your meet,some veggies.oil and potatos and they make some beautiful easy dishes you don't have to touch for an hour whilst they cook.
pour a sauce over your fish in the morning cover I foil and leave in fridge til ready to cook.sirve with rice
we like those knorr pour over sauce.you can get Spanish chicken or French mustard or white bases.really nice over pork chops or chicken in big dish with carrots and leeks or other veggies etc.they just cook in oven with some foil over.you could do all this easily to meet every taste in the family I think.
big batch of mince.dolmio.onions.garlic.herbs.
freeze what you don't eat. you can then buy spices or mix in chilli packets to this.serve any which way.
really quick meal when you don't have time is your mince on a bed of a packet of doritoz and cheese on top.under the grill.so yum.
shepherd pie.
a easy way of doing pie is to buy ready rolled pastry so all yo need to worry bout is the base.chicken fish or meat and then lob the pastry ontop and voila.

Sandycarrots Fri 01-Sep-17 08:13:40

Could you batch cook at weekends and freeze in to portions? There are lots of recipes on line but Annabel Karmel books contain good reliable toddler friendly recipes.

AtleastitsnotMonday Fri 01-Sep-17 15:30:05

Yes definitely cook or prep during nap time so you just need to bung in the oven later. Things like pasta bakes, fish pie, cottage pie, lasagne, chicken in red wine, all perfect, other bits you could just prep, so roasted veg fritata, roast veg and beat eggs in day then in the evening just combine the two and put in the oven, same with toad in the hole, brown sausagesnd make batter at nap time so you just put dish in oven in the evening, salmon parcels, chicken skewers, stuffed peppers, chicken stuffed with mozzarella and basil and wrapped in prosciutto etc.
Double up where every possible so you have days where you just take something from the freezer.
Don't make too much work for yourself using a bag of salad leaves, frozen peas or ready chopped butternut squash is fine!

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Fri 01-Sep-17 20:35:31

Great thread OP. My September resolution is to be better at meal planning and cooking. DH is great but I am terrible - have no idea what I am doing or how to cook really. Also have a fussy DC (and one non-fussy one).

Was thinking of getting the Mumsnet cookbook and going from there.

WowThatsDifferent Fri 01-Sep-17 23:47:16

I've just downloaded the Mumsnet cookbook and one called The Busy Mum's Plan Ahead cookbook.... just flicked through but it's made me less scared/overwhelmed so I'm going to have a stab at meal planning and try it! Will report back smile

WowThatsDifferent Fri 01-Sep-17 23:52:41

@Cailleach666 Getting protein in her is my big worry, unfortunately we rely on milk, yogurts, and beans to provide most of her protein, but I'm assured that it's not a deficiency that's seen very often so hopefully she's getting enough confused

WowThatsDifferent Fri 01-Sep-17 23:54:19

@kateandme Thank you for your fantastic ideas and for taking the time to write all that down... have screen shot it and will be using your tips for sure xxx

WowThatsDifferent Fri 01-Sep-17 23:55:19

@TooStressyForMyOwnGood Another lost soul! Thanks for the idea about the Mumsnet cookbook, just downloaded and looks great! Good luck grin

WowThatsDifferent Fri 01-Sep-17 23:57:09

@AtleastitsnotMonday @Sandycarrots @FATEdestiny Great advice, thank you grin

oldlaundbooth Fri 01-Sep-17 23:58:44

Kate and me is on the money, good ideas, especially the crumble!

Jamie Oliver has a great book, can't remember the name, but it's super basic but super tasty suppers, really easy to follow.

Will check the name

oldlaundbooth Sat 02-Sep-17 00:01:17

Ministry of Food it's called.

Chickpearocker Sat 02-Sep-17 00:16:29

I use my microwave for jacket potatoes and to steam vegetables. Also buy frozen onions, garlic, peppers, butternut squash and even frozen salmon. My problem is that my toddler will only eat bland food and doesn't want the ingredients mixed together! I try not to get too invested now, he will eat eggs which is good. Sometimes has frozen prawns which I defrost in boiling water. This week I made Annabel karmel spaghetti bolognese apparently it was yuck smile

HughLauriesStubble Sat 02-Sep-17 00:29:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IckyPop Sat 02-Sep-17 00:49:11

If he's got gastric symptoms while only having nutramigen it could be that. Nutramigen is not completely allergen free. The milk protein is broken down loads so will not cause a reaction in many cases. The only completely allergen free milk is neocate (amino acid based formula).

My DS had gastric symptoms for his milk allergy. Weaning really helped at about 5.5 months. Pear and butternut squash were great for him. Just plainly steamed pear blended at first. Then butternut squash after a few days butternut squash. He had normal poos for the first time! grin

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