The nights that come after a very long day. Maybe a child is sick? Maybe you had a hard day juggling work and home, maybe something stressful happened, maybe it was go go go sort of day or you were running about all afternoon with kids sports or maybe it was just actually an ordinary day but you just plain don't want to cook! Fair enough too!
Reaching for the car keys and heading out for takeaway MIGHT seem like a good idea but really is it?
- It's going to cost you money
- It might involve negotiating the kids into the car and for a drive and back again
- It will probably involve some waiting
- You could get frustrated in traffic
- It could be cold by the time you as the driver actually get to eat it
- If the kids eat it in the car (so there's doesn't get cold and maybe your trying to keep them happy and amused now on the journey) your car could end up looking VERY scary-and how sure are you that all the crumbs came out?...
- It might taste rather bleh when you finally eat it
My two favourite solutions are these:
Bake it Sundays
Healthy Homemade Takeaway
A bake it Sunday involves taking advantage of having most family members around and finding that time after family and life commitments to get cooking. Cooking in advance.
Find yourself a few recipes that suit your family, (preferable nice healthy ones) that can be frozen.
This means that during the week you can pull one of these wonderful meals out, whip it in the oven and throw together a quick, tasty fresh salad and walah!! An awesome family meal!
Trust me once you have done this a couple of times you will pull out all stops to have that Sunday afternoon or morning cooking session because this makes life SO much easier during the week!
Hence why so many snacky items fill our supermarkets!
Making your own is cheap and a great thing to do with the kids too!
Turn your families all time favourite meals into quick, healthy alternatives.
It is actually quite surprising at how much difference a few tweaks to a recipe can make!
Make your family's own pizza's, fish and chips, Chinese, burgers, taco's, fish fingers, nuggets, kebabs.
If you love these foods how much more are you going to love the healthy AND tasty versions you make for or as a family!
Looking for ideas right now?
Vegetarian Quinoa Pot Pies
Pineapple & Sweet Corn Mini Quiches
Spinach, Kale and Cottage Cheese Canneloni
Healthy Maca Bliss Balls (sweet treats that have no refined sugar)
Tasty Tempeh & Chick Pea Bites
Peri Peri Sweet Potato Fries
Ricotta, Carrot & Zucchini Cheese Rolls
Rockemelon & Mango Mousse (no added sugar and great for lunchboxes!)
Beetroot, Yoghurt, Chocolate Muffins
And why not have a go and making your own party pies
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 1 & 1/2 cups "Quorn" vegetarian mince. (find me in the supermarket freezer section or swap for regular mince, brown lentils or sanitarium nut mince found in the heath food isle)
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 1 & ½ teaspoons dried thyme
• 1 teaspoon dried parsley
• ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
• ½ teaspoon oregano
• ½ teaspoon pink himalayan salt
• 1 medium zucchini, very finely chopped
• 1 large carrot, very finely chopped
• 2 stalks celery, very finely chopped
• 1 spring onion, very finely chopped
• 1 tsp soy sauce
• 2 tbsp plain or GF free flour
• ¼ cup water
• 3 sheets low fat, wholegrain or gluten free puff pastry or if you are really clever your own home-made pastry - see one of my pastry recipes here
• olive oil
• non-stick miniature muffin tray
• glass with a base approximately 9cm diameter at opening and another with approximately a 7cm opening diameter for cutting pastry, ( or the equivalent in proper pastry cutters should you have them)
• Pre-heat oven to approximately 200'c
• Add the teaspoon of olive oil to a non-stick fry pan
• Add in the onion and garlic to the heated oil, fry until transparent.
• Sprinkle the thyme, paprika, parsley, oregano and sea salt onto the onion and garlic.
• Add the mince (or sanitarium product) into the onion mixture and mix together well, fry until mince is nicely browned and cooked.
• Next add in the zucchini, carrot and spring onion, mixing through and frying together over a medium heat for 2-3mins before tossing in the celery
• Add the soy sauce, mix through before adding the flour and stirring into the mixture well.
• Pour in the water and stir all ingredients together well ( Note: the mixture should be quite 'sticky' and not runny )
• Remove the mince mixture from the fry pan and place into a bowl and allow to cool
• While cooling partially de-frost the sheets of pastry
• Lightly spray the miniature muffin tray with the olive oil spray, to prevent pies from sticking
• Cut out a large circle and a smaller one with your glasses and measure against your miniature muffin tray (you might want to try a few different glasses to get the 'just right sizing for your tray, just be sure the base is big enough with sides slightly over the rim of the muffin hole indentation and the smaller circle for the top will fit onto it nicely.
• Once your sure of your pastry sizes, cut an even number of bases and lids out of the pastry sheet
• Line each muffin hole with a pastry base, spoon some of the cooled mixture into each one, almost but not quite to the top.
• Top with a pastry lid and go around the edge gently with a fork, pressing the sides together softly.
• Brush each pie top very lightly with the milk
• Reduce the heat to a medium oven or approximately 180'c and bake until the tops are nice and golden brown, approximately 10-15minutes depending on the oven and pastry used
• Remove from tray and place on a cooling rack for 2-3 minutes
• Serve with a fresh, luscious salad.
• If you find the circles too fiddley just do squares, cut the pastry evenly into large squares one sheet and smaller squares another sheet and match them up.
• This is also a great filling for sausage rolls. Instead of using a muffin tray, use 2 flat non-stick trays. Cut a pastry sheet in half. Around 4 cm in from one edge, place an amount of the mixture from one end to the other in a long line around 3 cm thick. Then take the edge and firmly roll the pastry over the mixture and back onto itself, creating one very long sausage roll. Chop into much smaller segments and place on a lightly sprayed or baking paper lined non-stick baking tray. Lightly brush the top of each with a little milk and sprinkle with some sesame seeds and bake in the oven until nicely browned.
• These are great either as the pies or sausage rolls for entertaining, children’s lunches, and children’s parties.
• You can make them up to the ready to bake stage and then freeze for an easy meal for another time.
• This recipe can be used with a non-stick electric pie maker.
• Turn into a giant family pie by using a large pie dish and adding a layer of mashed potato or sweet potato over the mince mixture before adding the pastry lid.
• Vary your pies by using different ingredients like: chicken mince, finely chopped green beans, chopped and cooked potato cubes, peas, corn kernels, cooked lentils, very finely chopped silverbeet/spinach, mushrooms and capsicum, mashed sweet potato, pumpkin or potato.
• These are just great when made nice and small for toddler hands, and you have the added bonus of knowing exactly what is in them.
• Make them extra healthy for growing toddlers and add some very finely chopped spinach, if it’s really finely chopped they won't even know it’s in there.
• Serve with a toddler salad of cheese cubes, fresh snow peas, grated carrot, chopped tomato, avocado cubes and celery sticks.
• In really cold weather serve nice and warm with some mashed potato, cooked pumpkin, cooked peas and sweet potato wedges for a great, hearty warming meal the kids will love!
Also stay tuned for my cookbook I am working on Healthy, Happy cookbook it has HEAPS of healthy homemade takeaway ideas and some of them are so much fun to make with kids. I have included 3 different types of burgers, fish fingers, pizza's, muffins, fruity treats all sorts!
And there are also some fantastic recipe's in my award winning book the The Pram Diet book too!