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Which cookery books are your main recipe source for after school when you want to put good/healthy food on the table for dc, but don't have lots of time for prep/cooking?

(44 Posts)
Earlybird Fri 18-Jul-08 11:51:49

Looking back on our school year routine, I feel dissatisfied with my evening meal repertoire and would like to make changes for when school resumes.

I don't have the time or inclination to do chopping and extensive other food prep prior to the afternoon school run. We often come screeching in the door about 5.30 following after school activities. What can I 'throw together' relatively quickly that is healthy and appealing?

I'm sure there must be some suitable cookery books out there for our lifestyle, but I simply haven't stumbled upon them yet, so all of you who have this sussed, please enlighten me...

RubberDuck Fri 18-Jul-08 11:52:53

Dinner Lady by Jeanette Orrey and her sequel Second Helpings. I use that a lot.

Earlybird Fri 18-Jul-08 11:54:28

I've got that one rubberduck, and it is good. I don't find it 'quick' though - which may be more of a comment on my basic cooking skills. grin

I want minimum effort, maximum result stuff...

OverMyDeadBody Fri 18-Jul-08 11:55:08

'd be more inclined to use the recipe section on MN or have a quick google than fork out for cookery books, and I find the recipes people add here are far easier to adapt to suit whatever you have lurking in the cupboard and fridge.

I also have a selection of things like tomato sauce and bolognese in the freezer that I cook up in batches so there is something I can pull out last minute and cook up quickly when we're rushed.

OverMyDeadBody Fri 18-Jul-08 11:56:37

So what thingsa do your kids eat? Start there and see how you could be prepared with freezer and cupboard stock so you can make a selection of family favourites quickly. Build on what cooking skills you already have down to a fine art, rather than buying cookbooks that will rewuire to you learn new stuff from scratch.

OverMyDeadBody Fri 18-Jul-08 11:57:29

actually...I could write a cookery book for this sort of thing. Maybe I should do that?grin

Earlybird Fri 18-Jul-08 11:58:45

omdb - will check the MN recipe section again. It had got so popular and didn't seem to be organised in any sort of way last time I looked - and no way to distinguish which recipes are 'favourites' that will work well for even the cooking impaired! grin

RubberDuck Fri 18-Jul-08 11:59:46

Go for it - I'd buy it

Yep, my "have to be quick" meals are mostly frozen stuff "and here's one I made earlier" :D Defrost a lasagne and throw together a salad ... ta da!

I did see a book once which helped you make a month's worth of meals in a weekend and freeze it all and I was intrigued... but decided I'd need a MUCH bigger freezer and went off the idea!!

SqueakyPop Fri 18-Jul-08 12:00:49

If you want something that is quick to get to the table after you get in, the easiest thing to do is make it in advance so that it just has to be reheated, or put it on the timer in the oven.

Cook from scratch quick would be pasta with premade sauce or stir fries.

Simple things to go in a timed oven would be baked potatoes, pies and casseroles.

RubberDuck Fri 18-Jul-08 12:03:38

And tbh, don't dismiss the healthier pre-prepared foods. Buying a pre-prepared quiche, throw together some salad and cook some new potatoes and that's a fairly quick dinner without being unhealthy. Ditto a nice pizza.

You could also get a slow cooker (although more suited to winter cookery) - not a time saver, but a time shifter - do all your preprep in the morning or the night before (if night before, shove in the fridge then pop on in the morning) and then is ready by the evening.

Earlybird Fri 18-Jul-08 12:04:34

My dire cooking skills can be traced back to:

1. A Mum who wanted to be left alone in the kitchen, and so didn't teach any of her children anything.

2. Two decades as a professional woman who socialised over restaurant meals with friends, or ate out on company expenses, or got a takeaway.

3. An only child who is a picky eater - our situation doesn't lend itself to hours of happy kitchen experimentation if food is rejected when real time/effort have gone into making it!

TigerFeet Fri 18-Jul-08 12:05:59

Batch cooking is a godsend for evenings that are busy

Whenever I make a spag bol, chilli or similar I make enough for 3 meals and freeze two portions.

I am defrosting a risotto for tonight which is a bit of an experiment as I have no idea how it will reheat... watch this space

OrmIrian Fri 18-Jul-08 12:06:12

Cookery books? <confused>

Oh yes I think I've got some of those somewhere. I like looking at the pictures.

I don't usually use recipes. I start with the ingredients I know my DCs will eat and go from there.

RubberDuck Fri 18-Jul-08 12:07:04

Well in that case, don't put yourself under too much pressure. Just say one day a month or fortnight you're going to try something new. There are loads of websites you can search for recipes on - bbc food is quite good and you can specify ingredients and I think preparation/cooking time (has been a while since I used it). Epicurious is a famous one, but tends to need translating from the American to work out what Zucchini is and how many grams is a cup

TigerFeet Fri 18-Jul-08 12:07:20

What will your dc eat Earlybird?

FluffyMummy123 Fri 18-Jul-08 12:08:43

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TigerFeet Fri 18-Jul-08 12:09:08

grams Rubberduck [confused] what's one of those?

I just chuck -stuff-- in use imperial measures

OverMyDeadBody Fri 18-Jul-08 12:09:24

EarlyBird don't let Carmenere catch you describing the recipoe section as 'not organised'! She has tidied it all up and I'd say it's pretty good now (look out for my recipes in oarticularwink)

Menu plan, cook in advance, prep in advance and stock up your freezer, it really is the best way.

TigerFeet Fri 18-Jul-08 12:10:34

The only cookery book I own is an Annabel Karmel one

It gathers dust on the shelf

I ought to use it really

I'm sure it's fabulous grin

Earlybird Fri 18-Jul-08 12:11:09

Yes, I've looked at Epicurious (like their rating system of forks), and also Cooking Light. Lots to look at there.

OverMyDeadBody Fri 18-Jul-08 12:11:42

don't waste your money on annabel karmel.

What you really need is to live near me. Then you could stock up on all my products!grin

Earlybird Fri 18-Jul-08 12:12:14

omdb - thanks for the tip about the MN recipe section being cleaned up and organised. Clearly it's time I paid another visit!

FluffyMummy123 Fri 18-Jul-08 12:13:45

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FluffyMummy123 Fri 18-Jul-08 12:15:18

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Earlybird Fri 18-Jul-08 12:18:12

Tigerfeet - she'll eat the usual children's repertoire of various pastas/sauces, pizza, fish fingers/fish cakes, chicken gougons, soups, roast chicken, sausages, quesadillas, wraps, etc. She is not much of an experimenter, and doesn't like anything with much seasoning. Also a bit vegetable averse, so we have lots of fruit instead.

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