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Please help me take over dinner prep - what to cook?!

(13 Posts)
GrahamNortonsjacket Wed 18-Sep-19 22:00:38

I know this has been done to death, but I have recently changed my working pattern which means that I will be home three days a week in time to do dinner for my dc after school and nursery. I have been recovering from almost burning out with work (hence the change in work pattern) and am getting overwhelmed when thinking about how and what to meal plan.

Previously my it was always my DH even though he often didn't bother and we would just have pizza, but now I have the opportunity, I want to expand our repertoire from bangers and mash/fish fingers/nuggets and improve my own diet too.

I have a very fussy 3 year old which doesn't make things any easier. think plain pasta, nuggets or fish fingers only.

I'd be eternally grateful for some easy quick (I have less than 30 mins for cooking most evenings I'm at home) suggestions that young kids might like.

Blondie1984 Thu 19-Sep-19 01:37:41

I have a bit of a routine that I find works quite well for me - I do Meat Free Monday, Fish Friday, Mid Week Mince, Whatever Wednesday ...e.g

Monday might be pasta with pesto, veggie curry & rice, frittata

Tuesday I tend to use leftovers from Sunday so that could be beef stroganoff with rice, pork with bubble & squeak and beans...

Wednesday I have as a free day when I challenge myself to use something from the cupboards/freezer or just have whatever I'm craving

Thursday - I will do something with mince - be that Shepherd's or Cottage pie, spag bol, meatballs & pasta, tacos....

Friday will be fish - so that could be fish & chips, fish pie, fishcakes, prawn stir fry, baked salmon with new potatoes and ratatouille

Saturday is takeaway

Sunday is usually a roast (or in the summer it's something on the BBQ) - that could be chicken or beef - or some sort of stew/casserole

I tend to use that as a rough framework - obviously it doesn't all always work but it helps me as a starting point

Might be worth looking at some websites like the BBC Good Food one - and you can filter by time, recipe type etc

Ricekrispie22 Thu 19-Sep-19 05:37:40

Sweetcorn fried rice
Omelette wedges
Tuna sweetcorn burgers
Sesame chicken noodles
Pitta pizzas
Microwave chicken and tomato sauce

blackcat86 Thu 19-Sep-19 05:40:59

A few healthier twists on hold favourites can be a good place to start to maybe gammon, potatoes and veg or chicken thighs with homemade wedges. I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with my slow cooker and there are tons of recipes online.

GrahamNortonsjacket Thu 19-Sep-19 11:13:21

I like the idea of having a bit of a routine - fewer decisions to make can only be a good thing!

I think my slow cooker will have to be dusted off, though fussy dd2 probably won't eat anything from ithmm

And thanks for those recipes Rice, the pitta pizzas look especially promising.

Peabody25 Thu 19-Sep-19 12:16:41

We've got a fairly fussy 5yo DS but I've got a few staples he'll eat regularly.

A mild chicken curry, sausage casserole done in the slow cooker, pasta with meatballs, pasta bake with hidden veg, toad in the hole, home made pizza made with mini garlic naan breads, gnocchi with pasta sauce and veg, quorn with rice, sauce and hidden veg, minced beef casserole done in the slow cooker, cottage or shepherds pie, scrambled egg and beans, omelette, savoury pancakes, homemade soup done in the slow cooker.

We don't have a huge amount of fish as none of us are particular fans.

GrahamNortonsjacket Thu 19-Sep-19 17:00:02

Peabody, I dream of my dd eating anything like those gorgeous sounding dishes. I have been working on getting her to eat chicken, through giving her home-made nuggets. She is fine eating proper chicken as long as it is coated in something resembling bread crumbs.
It's the refusal to try that is the hardest thing!!

kateandme Fri 20-Sep-19 00:24:09

fish finger lasagne has just been discovered here.bloody brilliant!
meatballs is a good one.
mince.make a double batch then one night do bolognase and then the other:nachos and mince,chillie,wraps,lasagne etc
if he likes chicken nuggets.could you make something like a pasta dish for you and the hubbie and "ooh do you want some of mummy and daddys food too.its really good."so adding bits of your meals slwoly to the plates he likes.
a ramped up sausage and mash is making it into pie really works.
get your dc to start helping.have fun in the kitchen.get him to choose the colour of tonights the shop as for his advice on what veg or food to have for tea.ask him to stir.try a dish to think if its just right or needs more salt or tomatos or cream etc." im not sure ive done this pasta sauce right,let me ask the chef?"
make cakes with him to get him itno cooking trying new things,loving food.
fajitas is easy.
stew where you just chuck everything in.
pasta bakes are a win win win and have a thousand different versions.
whole roast can even do this the evening before when you get home.then the next day youve got a chicken to have with jackets and veg/salad/or you can tear it apart for a meal.
toad in the whole.
getting your dc into the slow cooker.again could he help.becasue lots of it is just bunging it in to the thing so getting him to do this.then you can "oooh then later tongiht we can see how this tastes!"

Blondie1984 Fri 20-Sep-19 01:48:49

It's worth trying to sit down at a regular time once a week - when you're feeling calm and ideally the day before you do your weekly shop (e.g. I shop on a Saturday so try and do this on a Friday evening) and making a rough plan for what you're going to have for the week ahead - that helps to take some of the pressure off during the week and it sounds like you need to try and keep things as calm and stress free as you can at the moment

OkPedro Fri 20-Sep-19 01:56:27

My son is a fussy eater and I agree op the suggestions sound great but I wonder if the pps understand what a fussy eater is
My son would not eat anything that’s been suggested here.. I wish he would at least try new food 😩
He lives on popcorn chicken and mashed potato.. when he was a baby he ate everything, all made from scratch too...

GemmeFatale Sun 22-Sep-19 12:24:59

If your youngest will eat breaded chicken you could have Katsu curry. Just dollop a tiny bit of sauce on the side of the plate and if they dip fantastic. If they don’t they’ve got chicken, rice and maybe a side of veg - baby corn or snap peas would be my choice as they go with the curry and tend to be kid friendly. You could also do buffalo chicken salad with blue cheese dressing for you and just serve all the bits separately to them.

If they eat fish fingers could you get them to try a herb crusted fish fillet or is that a step too far?

Likewise if they eat plain pasta you could try gnocchi or filled pasta?

Small changes that open your options a bit.

AtleastitsnotMonday Sun 22-Sep-19 15:12:37

You could step from chicken nugets to homemade mini fishcakes (nugget size). Weirdly we had success with falafel, I guess could seem a distant relative to a nugget.
Also try threading things on wooden skewers.

maxelly Mon 23-Sep-19 15:13:36

I agree with finding some headspace/quiet time to make a rough plan every week and then shop accordingly, rather than trying to decide what to cook individually every day. I'd also make a list of some 'staple' foods and make sure to always have in cupboards/freezer, easy things that you know they'll eat like pasta, baked beans, nuggets, chips etc.

One thing that I have found helpful with fussy eaters is to serve some 'safe' food with every meal, so you (and they) know there's always something they'll eat even if they don't like the main element. E.g. if she likes chips and peas and nuggets, try chips and peas and fishfingers or sausages OR nuggets with chips and sweetcorn OR nuggets with peas and waffles - don't make a fuss if she doesn't like/eat the 'new' element, but hopefully she'll try a bit and then gradually expand her range of safe foods? Or if she'll eat plain pasta with grated cheese, make a sauce for the pasta as well as cheese but take the elements to the table uncombined, let her taste a bit of the sauce and if she likes it, she has a proper portion, if not she has plain pasta and cheese. Or even just serve some plain sliced bread and butter as a side. I know it feels like she will eat lots of unbalanced meals this way but at least she eats something and you don't have the frustration of having a whole meal rejected. It's great if you can eat together and she sees the example of older siblings and/or you and DH really enjoying the 'new' food too!

It's also absolutely fine, despite what people on AIBU will try and tell you, for them to have beige/repetitive meals some days, she won't starve or get horrible deficiencies if she gets nuggets and chips 2 or 3 days a week (maybe if she's still really restricted in her diet in a few years you should worry but not now). There is an awful lot to be said for a hassle free meal, easy to cook, that you know they'll enjoy from time to time. Just keep giving her low pressure opportunities to try new foods and most DC (SN aside) will get there in time...

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