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How do you manage to cook a meal with a baby

(28 Posts)
lola88 Sun 21-Oct-12 20:42:45

I can not cook as in i've never tried much my mum had to teach me how to boil an egg for DS a few weeks ago, i've never bothered and happily lived on chips pre DS.

Now i'm trying to change my life style so DS grows up with a healthy life style we eat well at breakfast and lunch but i seriously can not get the hang of cooking dinner unless DP is home to play with DS. It takes me about an hour to cook either of my 2 dishes i've mastered (cottage pie and potato bake) if i wait for DP to come home and shower dinner then isn't ready until 6-6.30 DS goes to bed at 6.30 -7 so misses out on dinner with us.

Please tell me how to cook and manage the baby and stop the kitchen ending up a bombsite! Still getting the hand of this domestic goddess thing i would love for DP to come home to a nice meal instead of a crazy lady chucking the baby at him while shouting about stuff burning!

mumblechum1 Sun 21-Oct-12 20:46:01

I always used to stick my babies in one of those bouncy things which attach to the top of the kitchen door frame. As long as they could see me and I occasionally came along and twirled them round they were happy.

Re. easy recipes; go to Waitrose, pick up their free recipe cards, buy everything, cook it. They are all really quick and idiot proof.

ScariestFairyByFar Sun 21-Oct-12 20:48:10

Jamie Oliver's ministry of food book has taught a few of my non cook friends how to cook. He also does a 20min meal app. I try and bulk cook at weekends so make a lasagna and freeze a couple so they can just be popped in the oven, same with spag bol sauce, casseroles, stews and pasta sauces. All ready just to defrost and reheat.

SamSmalaidh Sun 21-Oct-12 20:49:06

I would cook as much as possible during DS's nap so it was ready to put in the oven in the evening.

Also, batch cook as much as possible and freeze - you could make 4 portions of mince during a nap for example, freeze three, do some mash for a cottage pie and leave that in the fridge to stick in the oven at 5pm.

Bolognese sauce, stews, soups, curries can all be made in advance and frozen. I also use lots of cheat things like frozen cauliflower cheese/diced onions/mashed potato.

Sargesaweyes Sun 21-Oct-12 20:49:27

How old is your baby? Ds is 14 months and I tend to give him plastic kitchen pots with wooden spoons to play with. Popping a few grapes in his pot for him to stir keeps him pretty busy. I also have a freezer full of cheats-frozen onion/ frozen roasted veg/ frozen mushrooms/ frozen peppers. This saves chopping time for lots of easy meals.

TheArmadillo Sun 21-Oct-12 20:49:57

I prepare stuff either the night before (when children are in bed) or much earlier in the day (nap time) and then reheat. When dd was a newborn this would be down to chopping up the veg and storing in a tupperware of water in the fridge if necessary.

On the weekends I sometimes do bulk cooking to go in the freezer (e.g. pasta sauce) while dh looks after the kids.

I use the slow cooker a lot when busy as well. Get yourself a decent beginners cookbook - something like Delia or Jamies ministry of food, Mary Berry does a good one as well (complete cooking course or something similar).

Mixed bags of salad with pork chops/chicken breast (rub a spice mix over them before cooking) and some part baked bread done in the oven is a good, quick, no fuss meal.

RyleDup Sun 21-Oct-12 20:50:24

It will get easier with time. If you follow a recipe to the letter then you can't really go wrong. I would double the amount of what you cook each time and put enough in the freezer for another meal. It saves time long term.

ShhhhhGoBackToSleep Sun 21-Oct-12 20:52:28

Either you do the prep before, then cook at the the time i.e. You make the cottage pie tonight to finishing the oven tomorrow so all you need to do is pop it in the oven or you involve the baby and do the active bits of the cooking very ey quickly.

So for cottage pie, you put the baby in the highchair and give them a couple of bits of carrot and a blunt knife nd let them help while you quickly prep the onions, carrots, swede and potato. Then put the onion on to soften while you play with the baby. Then either leave the baby to keep playing while you go to stir, or stir with baby on your hip. Etc etc etc. this is a lot harder as you have to put a lot of effort into making it fun for the baby and paying attention to the food.

I prefer option 1 generally!

Also, get a cookery book like Jamie's 30 minute meals to give you some ideas for quick meals, and remember, the more you do it the easier it gets :-)

RyleDup Sun 21-Oct-12 20:53:29

You could throw baked potatoes in the oven, cook some tuna which takes minimal time in the pan and serve up with frozen veg. That is a really quick meal. Find some recipes for sauce to put on the tuna, or cheat and buy pre made from the fish counter at tescos!

fraktion Sun 21-Oct-12 20:53:57


Slow cooker (chop stuff, put it in, switch it on)

Prep stuff ahead (chop the night before and fridge).

Batch cook and freeze.

Both your meals are quite labour intensive and lengthy to cook. Try pasta + microwaveable steam bag of veg + a chopped chicken breast. Or salmon wrapped in foil with a splash of soy sauce and a pinch of ginger bunged in the oven + rice + salad

lola88 Sun 21-Oct-12 20:59:47

thank you. DS is 8mo i've managed to get by on frozen pizza or letting DP cook as DS was a very difficult baby but since he's learned to crawl he's a much happier content little thing so i've no ecuse now.

It seems cooking in advance is the key DS will sleep for 30 mins at a time and will occupy himself for 20 mins or so these days damn so i should be able to do it

ceeveebee Sun 21-Oct-12 21:01:59

I have 11 mo twins and work part time but love cooking so we still have proper home cooked food everynight (and so do they)

On days I am not working I try to prepare as much as possible during nap times. I use slow cooker a lot too. On working days we eat from the freezer - I have lots of food in freezer ready to defrost eg spaghetti bolognese, chili, soup, pies, curries, hotpot etc. I also do a huge roast on Sundays and make a couple of meals from the leftovers eg today we had slow roasted lamb shoulder, from the leftovers I have made lamb hot pot and lamb Thai curry (including portions for the little ones).

I also make use of the timer function on my oven so meal cooks while I am doing bath/bedtime.

The slow cooker is your friend! Ds is 7mo and very clingy. I either make in advance and reheat or slow cook. Another tip is to batch cook things that can make a few meals eg bolognaise. Freeze a few portions and use for spag bol, lasagna, baked spuds.

Today I batch cooked chicken, leek and spinach in white sauce. 1 portion will become a pie tomorrow and the 2 others are in the freezer to have with pasta and pancakes.

Another point about slow cooking is that you can buy the cheapest cuts of meat and it tastes better than the expensive cuts.

If you do a Sunday roast plan mondays meal around that. Like ceeveebee we had roast lamb followed by hotpot recently. If we have chicken the next day will probably be chow mein etc.

FishfingersAreOK Sun 21-Oct-12 21:29:10

If you don't have a slow cooker you can also use a lidded casserole dish - on a lowish heat 160-ish. Again, shove stuff in shove in oven for several hours - voila meal.

RyleDup Sun 21-Oct-12 21:29:26

It is hard op. when my dc were that age I had a baby beaba steamer thing, which I would cook up small portions of beautiful delights for them, (straight from annabel carmel or whatever her name is) whilst dh and ate shite. It will get better, don't beat yourself up too much. If it helps, I couldn't cook when my first dc was born. Now she's 5 i'm a pretty shit hot cook grin

RyleDup Sun 21-Oct-12 21:30:05

*and I

GwendolineScaryLacey Sun 21-Oct-12 21:34:41

DD2 (9mo) goes in the highchair and gets breadsticks to throw on the floor eat. She's a boisterous little bugger but the promise of food seems to give me half an hour of peace to throw something together as long as she's in the same room as me.

Maisydaisy34 Sun 21-Oct-12 21:37:13

Firstly well done for taking the first few steps...once you get the basics it's quite easy to make lots of different dishes
Recipe wise I would say sainsburys recipe cards are very good and easy to follow
As others have said cook ahead and freeze
If you are cooking while baby is awake I'd say give I'm some pots and pans to play with or of you're feeling brave porridge oats or cereal to play woth(without the milk of course!)
One tip is to do the dishes and tidy as you are gong along it doesn't feel so overwhelming as seeing the mess at the end!

gwen great tip about the breadsticks. If I sit Ds in his highchair either breadsticks or melba toast it can buy a bit of time. I find a highchair toy useful too.

lola88 Sun 21-Oct-12 21:46:43

tbh what i've tried has come out pretty good i've just never bothered before.

I do the bread sticks for cleaning in the kitchen i'm sure it would work for cooking too

I always think confidence is the biggest part of being able to cook lola. Just try things out. Really would recommend a slow cooker - mine is the very basic one from Tesco and its great.

AngelDog Sun 21-Oct-12 22:50:16

Sling on your back - keeps them out of the way of hot stuff.

Sausages, roast veg & wedges or jacket potatoes is fairly straightforward. I agree with a poster upthread - your two dishes are what I'd class as complicated dinners (I'm a slow cook too).

lola88 Sun 28-Oct-12 15:00:20

hello just wanted to say thank you to everyone who commented on my thread i've managed to do a nice (easy) dinner all week DP is in heaven smile

fraktion Sun 28-Oct-12 15:37:58

Great news! Well done you smile

midseasonsale Sun 28-Oct-12 19:13:36

slow cooker

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