Discovering food to please my children is not easy if I want them to be in sync simultaneously. One says no to this, the other to that and of course one is always left sulking, because unlike their grandmother who caters to their individual tastes every time, I never lay out a buffet for them. Of course I know they all have different taste buds and idiosyncrasies but that simply makes my menus so much more difficult. Going forward, I have learnt the art of negotiation and the need to compromise, which, in turn, has led to them having their top five meals served twice weekly. Force feeding and bribing them to eat healthily take place on other days so at least I have ‘a mother’s peace of mind’. If it was up to them, I would have struck a deal with the chicken nuggets and pizza joints by now.
Their top five home cooked meals by mummy are:
o The classic Spaghetti Bolognese
o Chicken and vegetable stir- fried noodles
o American style burgers with cheese and bacon served with chips
o Pork or chicken fajitas
o Pork or chicken escallops with mash, broccoli or steamed vegetable variety
Serving up one of these dishes, ensures a painless sulk- free meal time. We are all able to enjoy our lunch without mummy getting frustrated and angry. The usual school / homework / what’s going on with friend’s banter is easy and actually pleasant and paves the way for an agreeable remainder of the day even though time is of essence. Post lunch is hectic because homework has to be done and then mummy has to go to work and each child needs to go to their after school activities. A well fed child (or 3) makes for a stress free zone at the kitchen table which leads to happy bunnies all round.
Have a look at our famous five recipes! Easy, adjustable and finger lickin’ good!
American burger style recipe (with cheese and bacon)
(makes 20 burgers)
1 kilo pork minced meat
1/2 kilo of beef minced meat
4 onions finely chopped or pulped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped or pulped
4 tablespoons tomato ketchup
3 tablespoons honey and mustard
2 tablespoons Worcester sauce
Breadcrumbs if required – usually not needed
Salt and pepper to taste
Streaky bacon cooked and cut in half
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly (not the cheese and bacon!) and leave to rest for at least 2 hours. Make burgers and fry with very little spray oil. If you roast / grill them they will become hard and dry and lose their taste. You could cook them on the barbeque which gives them an added flavour.
As each burger cooks slip it into a roll and add the cheese and bacon quickly to ensure the cheese melts from the heat of the burger.
Add your own relishes according to taste.
Pork or chicken escallops
(for 5 people)
4 fillet chicken or pork sliced up thinly and pounded to ensure it has doubled in size and is very thin. This should yield 10 – 12 slices.
2 beaten eggs seasoned
Homemade breadcrumbs seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder (optional) and parsley (optional)
Toss the pieces of meat into the flour, cover all over and then one by one slip them into the beaten egg turning over to cover completely. Then toss into the breadcrumbs and coat evenly. Leave to dry out for half an hour, place them in an oven tray and spray some oil over each piece to prevent them from drying out. Serve with whatever the family likes; this goes with boiled, fried, roasted and mashed potatoes.
Pork or chicken Fajita
(for 6 people)
2 fillet chicken or pork sliced in strips
1 finely chopped onion
1 red bell pepper cut into strips
Grated cheese (own choice)
¾ jar Fajita sauce
2 tsp of Fajita seasoning
1 packet tortilla wraps
Fry onion until golden, add the pepper and stir for two minutes. Place the stripped chicken or pork into the pepper and onion and stir fry till cooked through. Put some salt. Stir in the sauce and seasoning. Let it simmer for 20 minutes. Once cooked, let it rest and make your fajita wraps suited to your palette.
(for 6 people)
1 kilo pork minced meat
2 chopped onions
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2/3 big grated fresh tomatoes
1 tbsp. dried mint
Salt and pepper according to taste
1 ½ packet spaghetti
Grated parmesan or Anari (Cypriot cheese)
Fry onion till golden, add minced meat and flatten so it separates. Cook for 8 -10 minutes. Add tomato paste followed by grated tomatoes and stir thoroughly. Put mint, salt and pepper. Cook for 30 minutes till sauce has thickened. Cook spaghetti al dente and serve it with the Bolognese sauce topped with grated cheese.
Chicken and vegetable stir- fried noodles
(for 4-6 people)
2 large fillet chicken cut into short strips
2 large carrots cut into strips
1 red pepper cut into strips
¼ cabbage cut into strips
1 large onion finely diced
1 clove garlic chopped
1 tsp. chopped ginger
2 tbsp. sesame oil
3 /4 tbsp. soy sauce
1 ½ packet boiled noodles (3-4 minutes)
Fry all vegetables separately in 1 tbsp. sesame oil and set aside. Fry onions, add garlic and ginger. Cook evenly. Stir fry chicken till cooked through then add vegetables and soy sauce. Pour noodles into a Pyrex dish and add the fried chicken with vegetables. Add 1 tbsp. sesame oil and more soy sauce according to taste.