Kids meals special – quick, healthy meals for hungry children

A few of you have mentioned you’d like some ideas for meals to quickly rustle up for inpatient, hungry kids.  So here are some recipes tried, tested and recommended by 22 month old Freddy!  Please let me know if you have any feedback or your own recipe suggestions.  You can use the comment tab at the bottom of the blog.

Microwaved sweet potato with chickpeas and feta (serves 2 children) – takes 5 – 10 mins

Cut a small/medium sweet potato in half, pierce a few times and put in microwave dish.  Covering it with cling film will speed up the cooking (this is safe – Jamie Oliver does it!)  Microwave on full power for approx 6 mins, or until it’s soft and cooked through.  Discard the skin if you wish.

Meanwhile boil contents of half a can of chickpeas , then add the chickpeas to half a block of chopped feta, and chopped fresh herbs if you wish (e.g. mint/coriander).  Top the sweet potato with the mixture and serve.  For Freddy I mash it all up a bit.

Two ways with shop-bought tortellini – (serves 2 children) – takes 5 mins

1.  Boil half a pack of tortellini together with a big handful of the peas.  Top with some olive oil and grated cheese.

2.  Boil half a pack of tortellini with half a can of chickpeas and some chopped brocolli.  Top with grated cheese if you fancy.

Guacamole and/on toast – (serves 1 – 2 children) takes 5 mins

I think this recipe depends a lot on the child’s tastes.  You could give your child an avocado chopped in half and they can enjoy spooning it out themselves. You could also mash an avocado with olive oil and spread it on the toast, or add more flavours like crushed garlic, fresh herbs, lemon juice, even a little chilli, to make a guacamole type mixture.  Very quick and healthy.

Smoked mackeral and spring onion omelette (serves 2 – 4 children) – takes 10 – 15 mins

Fry 2 chopped spring onions for 2 mins, then add a large handful of torn smoked mackerel and cook for a couple of mins more.  Pour in 4 lightly beaten eggs and continue cooking until egg is set.  It might be easier to finish the omelette off by putting the pan in a hot oven or grilling the top for a few mins.  The omelette works well cut in to strips for younger children so they can finger feed.

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(Freddy dipping omelette, pepper and brocolli in to mayonnaise)

Ideas for tricking kids in to eating healthy stuff

* Give them some chopped veg, chunks of shop-bought falafel or any finger food, plus a dollop of dip to dip it in to e.g. hummus or mayonnaise.  Seems to work!

* Toast with peanut butter and chopped banana or chopped grapes

* Put seeds in an omelette

* Top shop-bought filo pastry with veg and cheese, cook then cut it in to strips

* Combine grated carrot with raisons for a nice salad (not all kids seem to like the texture though!)

* Oatcakes with cream cheese and chopped red pepper (maybe get your child to spread on the cheese and sprinkle on the pepper)

* Baked beans and potato waffles cut in to fingers

* Grate peeled courgette in to a basic biscuit recipe – it doesn’t change the texture or taste

* Give your child something to sprinkle on to their food e.g. italian herbs/cinnamon.

* Put ground flaxseed in their cereal or on a cheese toastie.  You can get flaxseed and nuts/flaxseed and berries from Holland and Barrett.

Good luck – please let me know if you have any further suggestions for trickery!

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Snazzy, effortless fish tray bake recipe plus anchovies as seasoning

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(Photo from www.flickr.com)

This lovely recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals (http://www.jamieoliver.com/tv-books/jamies-30-minute-meals) cookbook. It’s so easy, it really is a case of getting everything together, cutting some of it up, and chucking it all in a roasting tray. It’s a good one to cook for friends as it looks a bit snazzy and they always seem to like it and want the recipe! You could experiment with lots of different veg and herbs in a fish tray bake (although some veg need a little cooking before putting in the tray), but I would recommend always using the lemon, chilli, anchovies and garlic as basic flavours. I serve the fish tray bake with some roast or mashed potato. Here is my slightly tweaked version of the recipe:

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 x 150g salmon fillets, skin on, scaled and pin-boned

Bunch of asparagus

1 lemon

1 fresh red chilli

Small bunch of fresh basil

1 x 30g tin of anchovies in oil

4 cloves of garlic

12 cherry tomatoes

Cooking

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 / 190 degrees. Lay the salmon fillets in a large roasting tray. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus, then add the spears to the tray with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Quarter a lemon and add it to the tray. Finely chop the chilli and add to the tray with the basil leaves. Drizzle over the oil from the tin of anchovies and tear in 4 of the fillets. Crush in 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic and drizzle over some olive oil. Add the cherry tomatoes. Arrange everything nicely in the tray, so the lemons are facing up and the salmon is skin side up. Cook for approximately 20 – 25 minutes until the salmon is cooked through and it’s all oozing with flavour.

The book

Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals is a great cookbook, partly because for each ‘meal’ it has a main, side dishes and dessert, so it gives you ideas of what work well together. However, the title is a bit misleading, as I haven’t made anything in it in less than an hour… If you are not a Jamie hater, you can watch the fish tray bake episode of 30 Minute Meals here:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/jamies-30-minute-meals/episode-guide/series-1/episode-22

I will blog some more favourite recipes from 30 Minute Meals in the future!

Anchovies (*an exciting ingredient*) as seasoning

It wasn’t until I cooked the above recipe that I realised anchovies weren’t just funny hairy little fish but could be used as a rich, salty seasoning.  They also work well cut up and added to tomato based sauces and dishes like potato dauphinoise.