Tuesday, 23 September 2014

A break from the old routine

One of the main parts of the day where I find a routine is crucial is mealtimes.  With five children I find it really hard to produce a meal every day that will please all of them.  This together with the additional stress of making something quickly and having all of the ingredients to hand is a bit of a challenge and usually has me tearing my hair out!

So, since school has started again we've started to meal plan.  I've planned in the past but because of the sheer volume of food required to feed seven people all week and the fact that we quite often change our minds I have tended to split the weekly shop into several small shops.  This isn't ideal because it means that poor DH is always at the shops (or that's what it feels like at least).

But these past few weeks have been better.

Better because I've started to use my freezer a bit more - not only to freeze things that we haven't used so that I can save them for another day, but for meals that I have bought from the frozen section in the supermarket.

It has completely changed the way we tackle evening mealtimes for the children.

That's why I was really pleased when I spotted the Britmums #Afterschoolchefs Challenge, not only because I was sent some vouchers to spend on Birds Eye frozen food but also because I knew that there would be five very happy people at the dinner table that week (six if you count DH, who is rather partial to a Chicken Dipper or two!).

Here is our haul from the supermarket.

When I got it home I planned the meals around what I had bought.  This is what our meal plan looked like in my meal planning book for last week - its just an exercise book, nothing special, but I find it handy to write down what we are having - I can refer back to previous weeks if some of them have worked out well (and cheaply!) too.

I found that the Birds Eye website had lots of recipes and suggestions for serving their food and so I incorporated a couple into the meal plan in addition to a couple of crowd pleasing meals that we cook on a more regular basis already.

The kids were thrilled!

On Monday we had a family favourite - wraps made with Southern Fried Chicken Grills, cut into strips and served with a choice of salad and dressing.  I love this because there is very little effort involved on my part and the children have a degree of control over which things go in their wrap.  I put out shredded lettuce, cucumber, tomato, mayonnaise, burger relish, sweet chilli relish, tomato sauce and anything else I can find!  I serve each wrap with more salad on the side and in this case a handful of curly fries, although some homemade coleslaw would be good too!

A family favourite

Later on in the week we had an after school club for DS2 and so I found myself reaching into the freezer for some chicken pies and veg.  I loved the ziplock bag that the veg came in because it meant that I could lay it flat in my very full freezer and that way it took up less space (and I didn't end up with loose mixed vegetables all over the bottom of the freezer drawer).

Stuffed freezer, no spillages!

The pies were quick and easy to cook and I whipped up some mashed potatoes to go alongside them and the veg.  We had clean plates again that night!

We also enjoyed burgers in buns, with yet more salad and relish and served with homemade potato wedges.  The kids were supposed to help me make these but because I had so much time on my hands  due to the fact that the burgers needed only putting on a tray in the oven, they left me to it - charming!

Last but not least, the meal that my boys chose from the Birds Eye website - Chicken Dippers Pasta Bake, which went down a storm!  They have requested Dippers with cheese on again please!  It made a nice change from our habit of serving Dippers with oven chips or waffles.  It was such an easy thing to make - I made my own tomato sauce to stir in to the pasta too.

Chicken Dippers Pasta Bake (with homemade flapjack for afters)

All in all our mealtimes are so much more organised these days.  The added advantage of having some quick to prepare meals stashed in the freezer really help us to stay on top of the onerous task of feeding five children - thank you Birds Eye!

This post is an entry for #Afterschoolchefs Challenge, sponsored by Birds Eye.  Learn more on the Birds Eye Facebook page here.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading your post. Commenting for myself and on behalf of BritMums and thanking you for taking part


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