Sometimes, the teatime routine proves slightly more taxing. Delivering a nutritious meal to the children in between the school run and their after school classes means on certain days I need to be super organised and have the ingredients ready for a quick dinner. Knowing that I can rely on the frozen food in my freezer really takes the pressure off, making it so much easier to feed my hungry brood. Frozen food is just so convenient. You don't have to peel and chop vegetables, there's nothing fiddly to contend with - it's all prepared and ready to cook. This can be an absolute godsend to a busy parent!
Making cooking and baking accessible to little ones is a great way to teach an important life skill that they will need in the future, plus it's a lovely way to enjoy some quality time with the kids. Involving them in the kitchen teaches them about the different foods, where ingredients come from and how to prepare them. It helps with maths skills and problem solving, and also introduces them to the nutritional value of what they are eating.
I am lucky that I have an 11 year old daughter Kezia who is willing to give me a hand when I need one, plus I have a 5 year old son Freddy who loves cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Together, we make an unstoppable team of After School Chefs who can, not only whip up a tasty teatime meal, but also have some fun in the process. Plus it's a great opportunity to chat and catch up with the goings on of their day at school. So I love to include them in the teatime routine when I can. Even if it's just getting them to find something in the cupboard or freezer, arrange food on a baking tray or stir the contents of a saucepan, it is lovely to get them helping out and makes them feel useful.
My 18 year old daughter Ella has just started university and it's a great relief to me that she knows her way around a kitchen! I don't have to worry about her going hungry or living off junk food, and I know she is a canny shopper trained to look for special offers in the supermarket. Her cupboards and freezer at uni are well stocked! All the time spent baking and cooking with my little helpers (even when it sometimes takes twice as long to complete a task) has proven to be invaluable!
We are a family of vegetarians so for us the Birds Eye Vegetable Fingers, Potato Waffles, Mashtags, Rice Fusions and frozen vegetables are our favourite products from the brand. It's so easy to throw the veggie fingers and waffles in the oven and boil up some peas and sweetcorn for a quick, tasty, vegetarian meal. The products are fun and child friendly so you know that the kids will be clearing their plates and leaving the table happy and full. Or you can use the products as ingredients for recipes. Adding a handful of frozen vegetables to stews, curries or pasta sauces is a great way to add some veg to the kids' diets. Substitute waffles for toast and top with beans, or use instead of buns when serving burgers. Use chopped up chunks of veggie finger to fill a pitta or wrap, just add salad.
The kids have a favourite meal made using Birds Eye Potato Waffles, which is a wholesome and filling teatime dish. Eggy Waffles, can be served with mixed vegetables or beans and are something the kids can really help with.
Eggy Waffles Recipe
Firstly shallow fry the waffles gently in a pan until cooked through.
While they are cooking, beat two eggs and season with black pepper. Pour the beaten egg slowly into the holes in the waffles (don't worry if the egg runs over!)
Gently heat until the egg starts to set, then flip the Eggy Waffle to cook the other side.
Freddy added grated cheese to his and decorated it with a tomato ketchup smile!
The Eggy Waffle can be enjoyed on it's own or served with vegetables or beans for a delicious meal. Freddy absolutely loved his eggy waffle, with the added cheese, which melted onto it.
Here is a video of Kizzy and Freddy making their Eggy Waffles.
My top tips for coping with the term time teatime routine would be:
- Keep the freezer well stocked with frozen food for quick, easy, nutritious and convenient meals.
- Involve the kids with the cooking. It's educational, it's fun and it makes them excited to eat the end product.
- Let the kids get creative...a tomato sauce smile goes a long way towards making food kid-friendly!
- Plan ahead! Be prepared and plan what you'll be making in advance, especially when time is tight.
- Throw a handful of frozen veg into stews, shepherd's pies, pasta sauces or curries to add some hidden vegetable goodness. The kids will happily eat it and you'll get no unpleasant teatime vegetable eating stand-offs.
- Use teatime as quality family time. Sit down together and enjoy a chat as you eat.
- Enjoy the time spent cooking and eating with your little ones, because before you know it they will be off to university and fending for themselves just like my Ella!
This post is an entry for #Afterschoolchefs Linky Challenge, sponsored by Birds Eye. Learn more on the Birds Eye Facebook page.