I was travelling to work yesterday and a debate came on the local radio about children eating too much processed food. The ‘goodie’ was saying he could rustle up a fresh dinner in the amount of time it takes for the microwave to ping. The ‘working mum’ was challenging him – she picked her child up from nursery at 7pm and struggled every evening with the night-time routine. Her only option, (in her opinion) was processed food.
I thought about the two mini pizza’s sat in my fridge and felt a pang of guilt. To be honest, my children (I think), get a good balance of healthy, homemade food with daily portions of vegetables and fruits (mostly at breakfast and after-school snacking). However, this does require effort, albeit little effort.
As a family, we tend to chill out on Sundays and the grown-ups catchup on the house chores – which includes ‘get ahead’ cooking. One dish that I know my husband and I can enjoy after the children are sound asleep and the children can enjoy after-school, is spaghetti bolognese. So, on Sunday I pulled the ingredients together and spent 30 minutes cooking up this all-time-favourite dish.
Once cooked and cooled, I spooned up two portions in ramekins for the kids and scooped the remaining bolognese in a lidded Pyrex dish and placed in the fridge, ready for consumption tonight.
What I Used:
2 carrots, 2 onions (or 1 large one), 500g of lean beef mince, 200g of button mushrooms, 2 sticks of celery, I tin of chopped tomatoes, 6 tablespoons of tomato puree, a teaspoon of dried oregano, a teaspoon of chopped garlic, 6 rashes of bacon, 500ml of beef stock and salt and pepper. (Of course you also need packet spaghetti!)
What I did:
Get a large pan, this dish will serve a family of four easily – there will probably be some left for lunch the following day. Add in the lean mince, then chop the mushrooms, carrot, onion(s) – I cut them in to sixths! Snip the rashes of bacon with scissors and finally add the garlic. Dry fry for ten minutes or so…the veg needs to be turning brown. Add the stock, tomatoes, puree and oregano, season well then bring to the boil, simmer for 40 minutes. Increase the heat for the last ten minutes until it’s rich and thick. Keep stirring. I once made the fatal error of not stirring and ended up with a fine layer of crisp bolognese. Not pleasant. That’s it! Leave to cool and then place in the fridge. I re-heat for 15-20 minutes on a low heat, cook the spaghetti and serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan and black pepper (I’m a sucker for black pepper!).
I do empathise with the mother who collects her daughter every evening at 7pm, however I do believe you can ‘get ahead’ with the some great, children’s (and grown-up) favourite dinners. I don’t believe you can cook a fresh dinner from scratch in the time it takes a microwave to ping (although I’d like to be proved wrong and learn some quick-win six-minute dishes).
Enjoy! X (let me know how you get on).