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Quick meal hacks (not batch cooking)
48

YukoandHiro · 03/07/2022 19:41

What are your hacks for getting a child friendly meal ready very quickly on a weeknight? I'd love some ideas.

I always have such good intentions of cooking good, fresh dinners for my kids (ages: almost 5 and 1) but after work and school/nursery it always ends up in a bit of a rush and we have fish fingers and beans far more often than I would like to admit.

The annoying thing is that batch cooking never works. Even if they loved the original meal, both kids seem to be able to tell if its reheated (especially if it's been frozen between) and refuse the batch cooked portion and it always ends up in the bin! So I've given up on that.

So... I'm after your speed cooking hacks!

I use rice pouches which are great and often use frozen veg. Both of those are quite obvious though. Do you have any other ideas?

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Yutes · 03/07/2022 19:45

Beans on toast

pasta with tomato sauce - I make one of my
own then passata, balsamic vinegar and rosemary and that satisfies my fussy eaters. I normally put chicken in with it but veg or any other protein would prob be fine

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Hucklead · 03/07/2022 19:46

Stir fry. All veg chopped the night before and stored in Tupperware/zip bags. Could start off with chicken strips if you want meat, but very fast. Bit of soy sauce.

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Yutes · 03/07/2022 19:46

Frozen baked potatoes and an easy cheese or coleslaw topping.

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JennyForeigner · 03/07/2022 19:47

Rice noodles. We call them wriggly worms and they take one minute in the microwave. Serve with edamame from the freezer, which take 90 seconds and a bit of sesame oil (assuming no allergies!)

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Hucklead · 03/07/2022 19:47

Would they eat an omelette? Again, very fast and you can put in any veg/cheese they like. Good for leftovers.

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JennyForeigner · 03/07/2022 19:48

Also freeze made up tomato sauce in extra large ice cube trays from Amazon. Just right for one.

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feelingprettylight · 03/07/2022 19:48

I know you said they can tell but batch cooking a vat of tomato sauce tends to work here as they can't tell once mixed with cream cheese and loads of cheese.

Left over roast chicken to make home KFC then baking in the oven works well here.

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StrawberryLipstickStateOfMind1 · 03/07/2022 19:49

Carbonara is really quick and easy.

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Lacedwithgrace · 03/07/2022 19:50

Fresh pasta, especially with fillings like tortelloni only need a bit if butter or olive oil and a dollop of salad on the side.

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motogirl · 03/07/2022 19:50

Pasta and whatever is in the fridge, wraps with the same, omelettes ditto

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Defiantlynot41 · 03/07/2022 19:52

Frozen onions make getting a sauce or composite dish going really quick

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MaChienEstUnDick · 03/07/2022 19:57

I, a glimmer, have been getting into what I like to call 'the tiktok' recently and there are loads of cool ideas on there (I know! It's pathetic).

I do this thing for lunch all the time: single egg omelette in a non-stick pan, pop a tortilla on top just as it's at the point of setting it, flip it over, fill one half with grated cheese, maybe a bit of ham, some sweetcorn or jarred peppers, whatever you've got lying around really, then flip the other side over to make a half moon and cook till the cheese melts. Flipping lovely and would be a great kid's tea.

The other thing I do when I feel that maybe dinner isn't optional is to put out a bowl of chopped peppers, toms and cucumber before I start cooking so at least they're getting a bit of veg in there. Adding some cheese/cold meat/olives/crackers to make up a full plate would not be too difficult either.

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devonianBiatch · 03/07/2022 19:57

Ambient stored/dried tortelloni, summer for 7-8 minutes. Drain. Put a jar of Passata , a tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt, pouch of pepper and 1/2 tsp or dried Basil and oregano into a pan. Heat through. Add tortelloni. Sprinkle with cheese. Takes 10-12 minutes and will work with plain pasta too ( I add sliced ham or hot dogs to plain pasta ). My kids would live on this tbh. You can mix it up by swapping the herbs for 1tsp mild chilli powder and a bit of smoked paprika. Swap the passata for tinned toms. Very flexible.

Cheese and ham toastie and a small bowl of soup for dipping.

Nuggets/goujons in the air fryer for 12 minutes. Then make wraps with lots of salad and favourite sauce.

Fried rice. Cook the rice the night before or use microwave rice. Chop and fry some bacon, then cut and fry your veg. Scramble an egg until cooked. Add in the rice, a few splashes of soy sauce and toss/stir vigorously to equal mix the sauce and ingredients. Add the veg and heat through. Serve with prawn crackers for scooping instead of a spoon.

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MaChienEstUnDick · 03/07/2022 19:57

I'm a gimmer, not a glimmer.

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leafinthewind · 03/07/2022 19:58

I can get salmon and courgette pasta to table in 20 minutes. Put water on to boil for the pasta. Defrost salmon in the microwave. Soften some garlic or onion in a deep frying pan while the salmon is defrosting. Put the salmon in the pan with a pot of cream and poach it. Put the pasta in the boiling water - I use tagliatelle because it looks right with the ribbons of courgette you're about to create. "Peel" two courgettes until you have ribbons of courgette. Put them in with the salmon. They only need a couple of minutes to cook. Once the pasta has cooked, add a spoon of the pasta water to the creamy mixture, along with some dill (either frozen or dried). Then drain the pasta. Mix the salmon/cream/courgette into the drained pasta. Serve.

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Janie90 · 03/07/2022 20:00

Pasta, fried mushrooms and bacon lardons, Philadelphia garlic and herbs plus Parmesan cheese. 5 ingredients and about 10 mins! So easy and a very nice version of a carbonara, I discovered it this weekend 😛

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jesusmaryjosephandtheweedonkey · 03/07/2022 20:00

Pasta pesto
Pitta pizzas
Stir fry
Omelette
Bangers and mash

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Hurstlandshome · 03/07/2022 20:28

Watching the thread with interest as meal planning is so tedious.

I've taken to roasting a chicken on a Sunday (for Sunday roast) then on the Monday I do a (leftover) chicken pesto pasta with a salad (15 mins). Kills two meals with one stone.

I also do one meal a week I call picky bits, but is things like mozz/avocado/tom salad or bruschettas, or a prawn cocktail salad (add tinned fruit, kids love it). I'll also randomly add in dipping bowls of peas or sweetcorn or cut up peppers or apples etc. - even if it doesn't go with the meal, there's something about them being 'on the side' that kids like.

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YukoandHiro · 03/07/2022 21:06

Thanks so much - loads of great ideas here, I don't know why I didn't think of a stir fry! Even with the chopping, that's only a 10 minute job.

Omelette would be amazing but sadly both have a severe egg allergy.

So glad i posted!

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DinosaursEatMan · 03/07/2022 21:15

Frozen chicken nuggets, microwave rice sachets and frozen peas and sweetcorn.
Dcs are also partial to pot noodle type things, if really short of time.

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maryleboneym · 03/07/2022 21:35

Pasta and pesto? Mix in some
Cream cheese

Peas/sweet corn

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Princesspeony · 03/07/2022 21:40

Not as quick as some here but if you have some cooked chicken you can add it to some condensed chicken soup and add some pre rolled pastry and have a quick pie. Even better if you have some leftover bacon or gammon to mix in too.

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NaturalBlondeYeahRight · 03/07/2022 21:40

Chicken drumsticks with corn on the cob, maybe some garlic bread on the side
Pizza made with a ciabatta base or tortilla base, I let them pick the toppings.
Good quality ready made pie, mash and broccoli
Couscous with frozen peas, pork chop.

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Luckydog7 · 03/07/2022 21:49

wraps spread with a tomato pasta sauce/ passata then what ever toppings with cheese and baked for 10 minutes makes a surprisingly good crispy pizza and my kids love doing the toppings themselves.

We do a cold plate of whatever is in the fridge so: cold sliced sausage, sliced apple, grated carrot, sliced cheese, cherry tomatos, olives, sliced cucumber. potato salad/coleslaw, cold cooked prawns, ham wrapped in gouda slices, mini satay sticks etc etc. bonus points for providing a dipping sauce for extra interest.

We buy ready made kebabs from supermarker and shove under the grill. serve with yoghurt raita dip and salad. mine love the novelty of eating things on sticks.

I second carbonara, shockingly easy and great for using up ingredients. Weve used peas, bacon, cheddar, spinach, mushrooms, peppers etc. as long as the egg and cheese is there its all good.

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lickenchugget · 03/07/2022 21:52

Shop- bought cooked chicken thighs/breast shredded up and thrown into gravy in a pan to heat, served with freezer (or microwave) mash, frozen veg and a frozen Yorkshire. Like a midweek roast in less than ten mins

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