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Talk to Schwartz about making mealtimes run smoothly - £200 cash to be won NOW CLOSED

(101 Posts)
KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 17-Jun-13 09:34:09

You may have seen a thread on MN recently looking for Mumsnetters to try the new 2in1 recipe mixes from Schwartz. The testers are busy trying out the mixes so do keep a look out for their feedback coming soon!

In the mean time, Schwartz would like to know what your top tips are for avoiding mealtime meltdowns. Here's what they say: "Preparing everyday family favourites just got easier and tastier with the launch of the new 2in1 range from flavour experts Schwartz. The new 2in1 range offers two easy to use recipe mix sachets in one handy pack: one sachet flavours the main dish whilst the other contains seasoning for a complementary side dish or topping. With five different varieties to choose from, and an easy recipe on the back of each pack, this is a great way to try out new dishes or transform an existing family favourite from ordinary to special."

So, how do you get your family eating together at mealtimes? Do you find mealtimes a treat or a chore? What are your top tips for making family meals interesting for your DCs? Do you have any quick and easy family favourites that are sure to be a hit every time?

Everyone who shares their thoughts on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will win £200 cash!

Thanks and good luck,


AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 27-Jun-13 11:04:14

Thanks for all your comments, the winner of the prize draw is tanfastic - I'll PM you to get your details.

Lemonytrees Wed 26-Jun-13 19:15:33

Saturday night is 'international' night in our house. We take it in turns to pick the country and then we research and cook food from that place. Sometimes it's easy, like Mexican or Italian but we have been pretty adventurous. It's been great to get the dc to try lots of new things

HairyPoppins Mon 24-Jun-13 22:51:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FaresPlease Sun 23-Jun-13 10:19:55

My DC are 7,5 and 3, and I'm still tending to cook two separate meals every dinner time - one door the kids, and one for myself and DH. We like hot, spicy foods, and the DC just aren't into curries yet! Although we so encourage them to try!

So mostly the DC sit together at the table eating their meal, while I am cooking dinner number two, and waiting for DH to come home from work.

The one day we do sit down together, without fail, is sunday. We always do a full Sunday roast, stuffing, veg, gravy, etc etc, with the table all nicely set. And this really is the kids favourite meal of the week. And they know they get proper puddings on a Sunday too! It's lovely to sit down all together, and a good time to reinforce good table manners and etiquette!

ratflavouredjelly Sat 22-Jun-13 23:21:10

My kids have been brought up eating at the table. We make it fun. we chat, talk about food, how the day went etc. Even when they were babies and eating earlier than us I would make sure I had a tiny plate of food too. The tv is never on at breakfast, lunch, dinner.if it is the children ask for it to be tired off!
Meals are never a chore for the kids (maybe for tired mum sometimes)! They like to stand on chairs and watch me chopping & preparing stuff in the kitchen. My 4 & 6 year old have little chopping boards to chop up mushrooms with a blunt knife to join in.
Family faves: chilli with chorizo & mozzarella
Apple crumble & cinnamon
Fish pie
Homemade fish cakes

beanandspud Sat 22-Jun-13 23:13:35

During the week DS has school dinners and then just a sandwich when he gets home so we don't do proper family dinners.

Weekends are different though, we aim to have a proper 'family tea' where we all sit at the table. A roast dinner is a real favourite with loads of veggies and potatoes; pasta is a close second. We do also eat out a lot as a family.

We try to make mealtimes together a real treat - I set the table properly (even if we're outside) and there's no TV. It's a chance to chat and have a laugh. Luckily DS eats most things and will try lots of different foods so we'll often have curry night/paella night etc.

sharond101 Sat 22-Jun-13 22:35:10

So, how do you get your family eating together at mealtimes? We eat together when DH comes home from work. It's a good time to have a catch up and not too late for DS who is one year old.
Do you find mealtimes a treat or a chore? Depends on the mood of DS. If he he happy and settled I find them a treat, otherwise it's stressful preparing food and eating it with him shouting, looking for attention and refusing to eat his own.
What are your top tips for making family meals interesting for your DCs? My DS is only one but he loves to eat wht we are eating and somehow everything tastes better if it comes from my or his daddy's plate so i put some nibbles for him on both of mine and DH's plate and we serve him that whilst we eat.
Do you have any quick and easy family favourites that are sure to be a hit every time? I do alot of batch cooking and just prepare a side on the day. Enchiladas are our current favourite.

ChocChaffinch Sat 22-Jun-13 22:28:41

trying to eat together as a family works well for us as the dc's have to wait until dh gets in, consequently they are hungrier and less fussy grin

I always encourage them to try anything and everything, without making them eat if they dislike it. This has made them confident triers of quite spicy and exotic dishes - curries, Chinese, biltong, chorizo, spring onions, passion fruit etc to name a few

I mix in the 5 a day in ways that are sometimes different; like a chopped up apple with salad, fruit dippers into cream/ choc sauce etc

they love to make their own as much as possible, I will give them plain pasta and bowls of cut up ham, tomato, broccoli etc in front of them so they control what goes in, this creates a kind of competition as to who can eat the most/ snaffle the most etc, useful to get the cucumber sticks down them

The family enjoy tasty meals, the pre organised spices and jars are a godsend to me as I'm a pants cook. any kind of pasta, cottage pie, fish burgers, the key is the have loads of options so I'm always looking out for easy new ideas, I find the asda magazine helpful, plus my Jamie 15mins cookbook, we have family recipes for cheesey onion potatoes, but kids' and dh fave is steak! ds in particular very enthusiastic on the red meat front.

itsnothingoriginal Sat 22-Jun-13 22:09:15

We all eat together fairly early and this is really important to us as a family.

I love chatting properly to the kids at mealtimes but feeding them can be a chore. Both like very different foods and they are quite fussy. Most days one will say 'I don't like it!!'

It's hard to get a word in edgeways but I think we all enjoy the mealtime banter so it's usually fun and interesting.

The only meal all of us will eat without any moaning is a roast on Sundays! Otherwise, favourites are stir fry, macaroni cheese and meatballs.

MerryMarigold Sat 22-Jun-13 19:13:10

So, how do you get your family eating together at mealtimes? Do you find mealtimes a treat or a chore? What are your top tips for making family meals interesting for your DCs? Do you have any quick and easy family favourites that are sure to be a hit every time?

We tend to eat together, or the kids and I eat together. We have no snacks for a couple of hours beforehand. We ban the words, "I hate that", "It's disgusting" and "Yuck". If you get down from the table more than twice, you lose pudding. Family favourites are spag bol, macaroni cheese, fishcakes, curry, chilli con carne, roast chicken. For the spag bol and chilli, I make a big batch of tomato based veg which I puree with aubergine, garlic, onion, courgette and any other veg I have handy.

I personally LOVE Schwartz spag bol and chilli packets and this is what my kids are used to as well, in particular v fussy ds1.

Snog Sat 22-Jun-13 14:00:22

We like to cook from scratch but both work full time and long hours.
I found that the resourceful cook website and good food magazine/website give me new ideas. My dd is pretty fussy so I am always trying to find new ideas that she will like!
Then the ones that are yummy and easy to make get printed off for our menu file and get a regular slot.
We always sit down at the table to eat and the TV is always off (unless dp is not there!)

lorisparkle Sat 22-Jun-13 00:10:13

So, how do you get your family eating together at mealtimes?

It is just part of our routine. DS 1,2, and 3 are still quite young so whoever is home at the same time eat together.

Do you find mealtimes a treat or a chore?

It is great to sit around the table together but DS 1 ,2, and 3 see it as another opportunity to 'play' creating mixtures with sauces etc and need reminding about table manners. I would not stop having mealtimes together though

What are your top tips for making family meals interesting for your DCs?

The boys love any kind of sauces and dips so these go down well, as well as help yourself / make it yourself meals like pittas, fajitas, pizzas etc.

Do you have any quick and easy family favourites that are sure to be a hit every time?

Anything with pasta - especially bolegnese sauce

DuelingFanjo Fri 21-Jun-13 22:29:12

I received my packs yesterday and we used on this evening so I will feed back soon.

wibblyjelly Fri 21-Jun-13 21:19:41

Not making a fuss over dinner time I think is key. I also use a slow cooker a lot of the time, to make sure meals have plenty of flavour, and are tender. I'm sure the sachets would lend themselves to this very well.

poachedeggs Fri 21-Jun-13 20:14:09

I think it's just a case of making it a habit. Get kids involved in setting the table and encourage serving at the table rather than plating up food beforehand. It all helps to civilise the little brutes ;)

Family favourites include anything Mexican which can be picked at and mixed and matched, homemade pizzas, and roast dinners.

Mealtimes aren't a chore, although if I could change one thing it would be that I never, ever get to sit down and eat a whole meal without getting up and down at least five times refilling drinks, replacing dropped cutlery, serving seconds and generally being a waiter. Looking forward to being on the receiving end of this treatment in years to come!

bluebump Fri 21-Jun-13 18:08:30

My DS and me always sit down together and eat, we always have done even if I feel it's a bit early to eat for me. (I'm prone to snacking later on when I eat my meal too early on in the evening blush)

I find I generally avoid any dinner time meltdowns if I involve DS in the dinner in some way - ie, I'm making pasta tonight, do you want pesto, cheese sauce or tomato type sauce? Or, just make sure he knows in advance what he's having so that I don't slave over making it and put it in front of him for him to say "yuck, I didn't want that" or something!

Luckily I work part time so I often am able to find a way to make a start on dinner before I pick him up from school, the biggest meltdowns happen when he's hungry NOW and dinner is no where near ready!

SacreBlue Fri 21-Jun-13 13:14:12

Received the packets yesterday and putting a call out for lunch guests as it's a perfect excuse to have friends over - they will be honest so I'm secretly worried it might dint my cooking rep and i will get all comments before too much accompanying drink is imbibed.

is1 Fri 21-Jun-13 12:50:13

We always sit down together. I try to do as much in advance e.g. make a fish pie and peel potatoes, prep veg etc, then it only takes a few minutes to have the meal on the table when everyone suddenly decides they are so hungry they can't wait any longer. I try to experiment and have new recipes but there are some favourites that I do most weeks.

landofsoapandglory Fri 21-Jun-13 12:47:59

We all eat together at the table, in the dining room with no TV, no gadgets, no phones. Now the DC are teens (18&16) it is generally the only time in the day we are all together, so we chat about our days, tend to say what we plans we have for the week/weekend etc.

I won't allow my mealtimes to become a chore, they have to be a relaxed affair. My DB was quite a fussy eater, but he genuinely didn't like foods cooked together like casseroles, stews, cottage pies etc, yet he was forced to eat them. Meal times were stressful, a chore and an effort to be part of when I lived at home, our parents would be shouting and DB would be turning green. I won't have that. If my DC try something and it is obvious they don't like it they don't have to eat it. You won't get me to eat something I don't like so I am not going to do that to my DC, I will pop a pizza in the oven if we have Minestrone soup because DS1 really dislikes it, the same for DS2 with cottage pie.

When the DC were small if they were reluctant to try something I used to tell them that their favourite television characters ate it and it was their favourite. DS1 would gobble down cottage pie,for example, under the pretence of it being Postman Pat's favourite's dinner!

Our quick and easy favourites are chilli prawn linguine,sticky ginger chicken, rice and stir fry veg and chicken fajitas. But our absolute favourite is homemade barbecue spare ribs but they take almost 2 hours in the oven, but so worth it!

asuwere Fri 21-Jun-13 12:31:01

we have always eaten at the table as a family so everyone just knows it's mealtime and sit quite well - it's neither treat or chore, just normal part of the day. TV is always put off so we can just chat.
Favourites are generally the simplest things - pasta! The kids also love it if there is any kind of food where they can use their hands! Also love when they get to use chop sticks instead of forks for a change!

cather Fri 21-Jun-13 12:30:08

We always sit at the table to eat and have since they were babies so it is normal for them. I enjoy mealtimes as it is an opportunity for us all to chat.
I try to involve my children when cooking and this helps at mealtimes as they want to try what they have cooked. My eldest son is 11 now and can make basic meals and enjoys cooking for us and the Schwartz packets are brilliant as the recipes are so easy to follow and it means he can make a tasty meal easily.

Pasta, bacon and mushrooms in a cheese sauce is always a favourite along with shepherds pie, chicken casserole and lasagne

katiewalters Fri 21-Jun-13 12:25:36

Myself, my partner and my 4year old always eat our dinner together everyday at the kitchen table. Myself and my son have breakfast toghether every monring, but my partner has already left the house at that time in the morning already, so he cant, but we always have dinner together. I think its important for families to sit down and share meal times together, at the table, and we talk about our day and catch up. We turn the tv off so theres no distractions, and no gadgets allowed at the table either.
Mealtimes arent a chore generally, as we tend to like the majority of the same things and my 4year old eats a lot of food and will try new things, its my partner thats the more fussy one. If there are things my partner doesnt like, such as certain vegetables, I still put them on his plate, and tell him to at least try them, so my son can see, as I like him to try new things, and dont want him to think because daddy doesnt eat it I dont have to.
Our quick and easy favourite meals would be bolognaise, chilli and a chicken tikka curry, which are all simple and dont take long to make at all

lancasterkaren Fri 21-Jun-13 08:06:37

I am a mum of 3 girls. 7 mths, 3 and 4. I tend to cook from scratch most days. For me it is key to plan ahead. Hubby works away all week so I eat with the children. we eat around 4:30. I take out whatever meat I am using the night before. I don't give the family any options on evening meal. By that I mean we all agree on what we are having and I don't make separate meals. Prep is key. I tend to prepare veg when they are in nursery or playing in garden. Most meals take 30 to 1 hr cooking. I have the children help set table and tidy. they load the dishwasher too. Keeping them involved is key. i do hold my hands up and say Cbeebies sometimes makes an appearance too...

Wheresthecoffee Fri 21-Jun-13 06:45:56

We don't eat together nearly as often as I'd like, DP is never back at DS dinner time. I find the actual planning/prep/cleaning up a chore but really enjoy it when we do sit down to eat together.

OpalFruitshoot Thu 20-Jun-13 23:07:04

So, how do you get your family eating together at mealtimes?
Put dinner on the table! We are flexible with eating times, and the toddler can happily wait for his father to come home from work.

Do you find mealtimes a treat or a chore?
Treat! Toddler DS helps me make dinner, I love this together time, and he loves helping.

What are your top tips for making family meals interesting for your DCs?
Lots of variety, and nice family chat.

Do you have any quick and easy family favourites that are sure to be a hit every time?
He loves stir fried noodles with vegetables; pasta, and pizza.

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