Life has began to settle into something of a workable rhythm. Our days are about exploration, our nights are occasionally sleep filled and I've began playing around with recipes again. It works. I'm content.
I've had some good success with some really fast toddler meals that I wanted to share. Yes, I adapted them so I could hide more goodness in them. Is anyone shocked? No.
First up I needed a quick supper one weekend that satisfied the grown ups need for a weekend treat, was fast to make if we'd been out all day and would tempt the Tot into trying something new. Step up Pork and Apple Burgers. I used this recipe as a starting point but added in overcooked broccoli (easily mashed and therefore hidden) and put in less water (as the broccoli is wet enough). I used the blender for most of it and then tipped it in a bowl with the meat and worked it into patties.
I also realised I'm terrified of Pork. Rare beef is no issue in our house but pink Pork? No. I browned these patties off and popped them into the oven for about 20 minutes to be sure they were cooked through. I also found it helpful to prep them ahead of time and pop them in the fridge as it made dinner fast when we rushed through the door but also they held together in the pan that bit better. I served with lazy mummy chips and the obligatory Tot 'side salad'.
The other popular dish I've been working up is Fishcakes. The Tot will literally eat these by the fistful (we're using cutlery but she gets excited on this one).
Here's my recipe and the way I keep things quick during a busy week:
A little wholemilk for poaching the fish
250g Smoked Haddock
Approx 250g mashed potato (make with wholemilk and unsalted butter) with about half a head of brocolli mashed in
1/2 cup of Cooked/ Frozen peas
1/2 cup Grated mature cheddar
1 egg, beaten
1. Cook the fish in the whole milk until it is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork (usually only 5 mins)
2. In a bowl tip in your green mash, grated cheese, peas and flake in the fish once cool.
3. Flour your hands to stop too much sticking and roll into a palm sized cake.
4. Dip first into the egg and then the breadcrumb to coat the cake.
5. Fry approx 5 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through.
Tips for speed: I make these fishcakes following on from a day I was prepping potaotes anyway so I only have to peel and boil once over that period. Premade mash is a winner. I also buy pre grated cheese these days because I hate, hate, hate grating. I know, I know but still, I do. The other tip I have is get in the habit of freezing breadcrumb by whizzing up leftover crusts and stale bread whenever you have it. That way you can also freeze it in smaller batches that defrost quicker.
Both of these meals work well for batch cooking too: do all the prep up to the point of cooking them then pop in a freezer bag with baking paper in between ready to throw in the oven another day. Speedy!