You might not have the best memory of school dinners, but there’s just something about classic kids’ food that’s comforting. Probably because kids’ food uses simple, straightforward ingredients, we don’t muck about with it. Warm and squidgy beans and mash just melts in your mouth, chicken nuggets come in handy bite sized pieces and jelly and ice-cream is marvellously moreish (and low-fat if you go easy on the ice-cream). It’s good food so why should it just be for kids?
If you’re one of those parents who feels guilty about swiping a few chips off the kids’ plates at tea time, why deprive yourself any longer? If London can have cafes selling chocolate covered cereal to adults then we can definitely learn a thing or two from classic kids’ meals. Check out these ideas for a grown up twist on the mini meals.
Homemade beans on toast
Did you see Dragon’s Den earlier this year when an entrepreneur secured investment for his grown-up baked beans company? If this is a sign of times to come then it’s time to jump on the bandwagon now and they are not as hard to make as they sound, they just take time. Regular tinned beans are usually made with haricot but pinto work well too and you can even mix in chickpeas. This is a helpful article with links to various recipes but the secret to the best grown-up baked beans has to be chorizo. Thinly sliced on top, it makes for a delicious protein packed lunch.
Fish fingers and chips
Anything with chips goes down well with children and adults alike. While a fish finger sandwich has been a common feature of many gastro-pub menus for a while now, fish fingers and chips is a crowd pleasing evening meal for the whole family. Make your own simple fish fingers by cutting boneless white fish into strips, before rolling in breadcrumbs seasoned to your taste (try oregano with a touch of salt). Bake in the oven for 20 minutes along with McCain easy oven chips and serve with salad and lemon.
Macaroni cheese is great option for meat-free Mondays and certainly not just for kids. Try experimenting with different cheeses, for example fontina, Taleggio, Gruyere, even Camembert. Go for a Mexican inspired mac and cheese by adding diced green chillies and a teaspoon of chilli powder, or bulk up the pot with diced pumpkin – the sweet flavour goes really well with cheese.
Mediterranean Spag Bol
You can make this Spaghetti Bolognese recipe with Quorn mince as well as minced beef. Although spag bol is always a family favourite, this recipe is more suitable for adults because it’s packed with fresh tomatoes, herbs and olives. To make the sauce you need to set up a pot with tinned tomatoes, fresh sliced cherry tomatoes, basil, garlic, a glug of red wine and as many black olives as you like. Cook the spaghetti al dente and finish with a shaving of Parmesan. This one is too delicious for the kids!
Apart from the beans, which you might want to leave for the weekend, all of these meals can be made in half an hour! They are also a good way of introducing children (or teens) to new ingredients like olives and stronger cheeses by presenting them to cautious foodies in a familiar way. Have a go next time you’re craving your favourite comfort food.