Tag Archives: kidsfood

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Healthier 15 minute Mac and Cheese

My kids adore macaroni cheese and as a mother I love it- it’s a meal that’s done in the time it takes to cook the pasta. But it’s a bit stodgy and lacking in greenery isn’t it? I’ve used a Jamie Oliver variant of this recipe, but this one’s a lot easier and you can use most vegetables that are lying around. I find that the vegetables that work best with creamy, cheesy sauces are:

broccoli
courgette/small squashes
spinach
peas
sweetcorn
cauliflower

Basically vegetables that cook quickly and according to the list above, don’t have strong flavours.
I use broccoli a lot as I’ve always got it in the fridge and everyone likes it. Here’s what you need for 4 big eaters with at least leftovers for the kids the next day.

500g pasta – (we use rigatoni, but macaroni, fusili etc would all work)
250g Veg
50g butter
a desert spoon of flour
300 ml milk
50-100g grated cheddar (maybe a bit more for the top?)

Get the kettle on and pour boiling water over the pasta (I usually need 2 kettlefuls for 500g- add a tsp salt and allow to boil gently.

Meanwhile chop the broccoli/cauliflower/spinach/courgette into small chunks so they cook quickly. Set aside.

When the pasta is a few minutes away from being ready- throw the veg- it will only take minutes to cook.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. You’re looking for a mixture that is not a liquid. but not a dough either- somewhere in between! Cook very gently, stirring constantly for a minute until the roux is lighter in colour and changes texture. Add the milk a third at a time and keep stirring- use a whisk if it gets lumpy (it always does!) Bring slowly to the boil- the sauce should be thicker now. Turn off heat and add grated cheese.

Drain the pasta and veg and pour over the cheese sauce. Serve straight from the pan or tip into a serving dish, scatter over more grated cheese and bung under the grill for a few minutes until bubbling and golden.

Always a winner.

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Friday fifteen minute lentil fritters

One bowl, one frying pan

Ok so these are more like fritters than burgers but I’ll tell you why. I used canned lentils last night which were a bit gloopy and even with the addition of breadcrumbs, were never going to be that appetising done in the oven. But oh I say, what delicious, crunchy moreish little morsels they turned out to be. Kids ate them, but would have eaten with more gusto if I’d grated the carrot a little finer.

For 4 with pitta/buns and salad

1 can green lentils
4 spring onions, sliced finely
2 grated carrots
few spoonfuls breadcrumbs
tsp cumin
30g feta crumbled (not essential but I had some in the fridge)
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

Whizz the lentils with a processor until mushy and add the rest of the ingredients. Simple.
Heat a nice amount of vegetable/sunflower oil in a large frying pan and mould a little patty in your hand. Squash it quite flat in the frying pan and cook on both sides for a few minutes until crispy and golden.

Amazeballs. Happy Friday!