Quick dinners when you get home

bobbie9, Feb 18, 8:30pm
We are out most afternoons of the week with after school things with the kids. Does anyone have any ideas on what to serve for dinner that is healthy - need quick things - I do manage to pre-prepare most things but don't have time to cook as we are generally walking in the door at 5pm and everyone is starving! Kids are getting sick of baked beans, spaghetti with carrot sticks for the veges. Any suggestions - what do other people do... ... Please help

darlingmole, Feb 18, 8:43pm
When it was rugby training night we ALWAYS had spag bol made either the night before or prepared in the morning and reheated that night. The only other *quck* ideas I have are:

omlette, bag of instant salad and chips
macaroni cheese (takes 15 mins tops) with bacon
soup and rolls (either tinned or fresh - made prior)

Even at this time of the year if you have a crock-pot/slow cooker then you should think of cooking a chicken, pot roast or soup in it
so it'll be ready for the evening.

Other than that it's time to be organised and spend a morning in the weekend and bake some bacon'n'egg pies, fish pies, casserole or similar and defrost on the day you want it and reheat when you step in the day.

Hope that helps?

ruby19, Feb 18, 8:55pm
Tortillas based pizzas, very quick & easy, Alison & simon Holst have a great potato & sweetcorn chowder that takes about 30 min to cook, and the kids love that, I just add crunchy noodles to the top. You could probably add some bacon to this. Chicken burgers flatten out some chicken breast crumb with seasoned bread crumbs, I add either Italian, moroccan spice mixes to the bread crumbs the kids love this also. Wraps /kebabs are another great one, just have tubs of hummus and Tatziki in the fridge, and you can use chicken, lamb, falafels with lots of salad, just add your fav sauce kids like bbq, adults chilli. I even wrap them up in tin foil and pop into the sandwich press, So they are just like a bought one! Last night I made a chicken fricasse, which the night before I boiled the roast chicken carcass, with a couple of carrots and onions, drained and retained the stock, kept the veggies, so the next night you make a sauce out of the chicken stock using 50g butter & flour and approx 2-3 cups stock(I skimmed the fat off) We had half the chicken meat left so that was cubed up and added to the sauce with the retained veg, then I added peas & corn from the freezer, warm this through then add 1 egg yolk, and 3 tbps cream mix well and heat through gently again & season. I popped this into pies.

amanda_simonp, Feb 22, 7:07pm
I am in interested in ideas too many thanks

motorbo, Feb 22, 8:44pm
honestly it does not take long to cook most things, give them carrot sticks and hummus to tide them over for 1/2 an hour whilst you cook something healthy!

buzzy110, Feb 22, 10:13pm
Snap motorbo. Why stick to stodge when your wok can save any day. Prepare your vegetables, finely slice chicken or strips of beef then go for it.

Heat oil in wok, throw in the meat strips and flash fry. Remove. Throw in the vegetables, starting with those that take longer to cook first and adding the faster ones later. Keep stirring till everything has a nice glazed look, add back in the meat, throw in a small amount of water (or better still, stock saved from other meals like chicken, etc), put lid back on, bring to boil, add soy sauce or lemon juice and thicken with a bit of cornflour and water. Probably take you no more than 15-20mins from go to whoa.

This is the traditional way of making Chinese style stir fried vegetables and meat and the simplest. There are more complicated ways but you want speed and ease.

Bok choy (use on it's own), courgettes, onion, red capsicum, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and lots of other vegetables can be used in small quanitites so is cheap as well as healthy.

Just don't do what my friend does because she is on the dreaded low fat diet, and throw in 3 tablespoons of liquid honey. Blerk.

purplegoanna, Feb 22, 10:19pm
At xmas a lady made a huge platter of sticks of carrot, red pepper, cherry tomatos, celery, etc and had made a tub of plain ole onion dip (with the soup mix and reduced cream) all the kids including the young ones ate the LOT. . i was quite amazed, she then gave them a slice of lasagne each... she said it was a good way to get the kids to eat veges. It was an idea i hadnt thought of but it was a good one as the platter was empty. Another quick meal for us on my 'rush' nite is cook up a packet of continental chicken curry pasta then add fryed corgettes, mushrooms, 1/4cooked corn kernals and a cup of diced cooked chicken, its really yummy.

andrea1978, Feb 23, 1:18am
My kids (3 and 5) like yoghurt dip. I just get a low fat cyclops plain yoghurt and dice cucumber, add chopped fresh mint and salt and pepper (sometimes diced avocado also). They have it with their meals (anything really - pasta, meat and veges etc). It's fun for kids to dip their veges or whatever into and makes a boring old meal new and exciting :)

andrea1978, Feb 23, 1:21am
You could also try American hotdogs. I just put extras in little bowls so everyone can have it the way they like it: avocado, salsa, cheese, fried onion, chilli sauce (kaitaia fire), jalapenos etc - you're really only limited by your imagination! Not the healthiest, but it's something a little different to have once in a while.

duckmoon, Feb 23, 3:23am
We get home from swimming at 6. 40 (yuck) and I do a reheat meal...
So prepare it earlier and then microwave each plate.

loafer1, Feb 23, 4:52am
I'm a fan of making double when I cook meals and freezing the extra for those late nights home. It doesn't take much to do an extra large casserole in the crock pot, double lasagne or fish pie and even when we have a roast, I'll do enough to pop an extra plate in the freezer. I also prepare veges the night before and par boil potatoes so I only have to heat them up when we get home.

vashti, Feb 23, 9:00am
My grandkids love that dip, thats a great idea with the vegetables, and lasagnetoo. I'm going to try that. I might try your chicken one too. Thanks for that.

winnie15, Feb 23, 9:23am
meatballs and pasta sauce takes all of 20 mins from start to finish . . spag bol, cottage pie, saus casseroles etc . . food in a minute website is great!

bucjo, Feb 23, 10:30am
check out this website: http://www.healthyfood.co.nz/recipes/5pm-panic

it has broadened my cooking horizons!

darlingmole, Feb 24, 2:21am
thanks for the heads-up with the website bucjo ... I've just added it to favourites

fey, Feb 24, 2:57am
Slow cookers are wonderful things. You can have a full meal in there from mid morning and have it ready to be served instantly when you get home. Rice cookers too - if you flick it on the minute you get in the door, by the time everyone is washed/changed/ sorted and the table set... . rice will just about be ready.

jodie-mike, Feb 25, 4:41am
We eat alot of wraps when on the go. i keep a pack of 6 or 8 in the pantry and fill with salad (from a bag) and either mince/chicken slices if i have time to cook them or even sandwich ham, cold shredded chicken or tinned salmon/tuna. then i add some sweet chilli sauce. yum, heathly, quick and little clean up required.

or what about premaking a big batch of stuffed potatoes and keeping in the freezer? take out what you need that morning then mircrowave when you get home. fill with cheese, ham and grated mushrooms, carrots and zuchini. i always add a little pickle to the potatoes as i mash them for extra flavor. then have a cold salad on the side.

southerngurl, Feb 25, 7:05am
one thing we do that I hadn't come across before living in aus... Potatoes were always a side dish not the main course but if your wanting something quick this is awesome

put one large potato in the microwave for each person, and nuke all together for 4 mins each potato (2xtatos =8 mins) in a bowl mix chives, sour cream and chopped fried bacon (or bacon bits). .
If potatoes are still hard, cook for another 3 or 4 mins. .
once cooked, slit the tops and squeeze out the inner tato leaving the skin in tact. Mix with other ingredients and stuff back into potato. . sprinkle with cheese and paprika put under the grill till golden and serve with salad. . quick easy and filling...

can also change ingredients to spring onion, corn, carrot, minted peas, grilled or smoked chicked, tuna, venison or steak. . worlds your oyster

stormbaby, Feb 25, 10:20am
I too am a big fan of cooking double and triple, usually at the weekends so we have good meals during the week.
Last night was so darn hot, I had no idea what to do for tea. I had tortillas in the freezer (I buy a bag and cut up shopping bags and put the pieces between so they are easy to remove when frozen), which when put out on the bench defrost in 5 minutes or less.
Just a little butter or oil in the big electric frypan and each tortilla gets basically anything in the fridge put on it, peppers, grated cheese, bacon or ham, tomatoes, mushrooms. Or use left over cooked stews etc. Slap another tortilla on top, pat down and flip over and cook gently. Done in less than 5 minutes.
It doesn't take much at the weekends to make sure you have plenty of prepped stuff like grated cheese, sliced carrots, peppers, some cooked meat like chicken, ham or bacon ready for quick meals.
The crockpot is wonderful as you can make triple batches of stuff like macaroni (Alison and Simon Holst crockpot recipes) and freeze in advance. Home made soups are easy and if you pick up a nice loaf of bread on the way home its a good quick meal.
It doesn't matter whether you are working full time, or just have a lot of stuff on after school, a little organisation beforehand and a look at some of the easy cookbooks helps a lot. I have just dug out all the Meals in a Minutes books for some inspiration.

ruby19, Feb 27, 8:31pm
SPINACH AND CHEESE CANELLONI.
500g cottage cheese, 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan, 1 defrosted pkt of spinach about 250-300g, squeezed dry, freshly grated nutmeg, 1 clove garlic, crushed. Combine the above really well and use as a cannelloni filling, layer in a single layer and top with 500ml of your fav pasta sauce and sprinkle with cheese and cook for about 30min @ 180oc, or until golden.
I always keep frozen spinach & pasta sheets in the freezer, so I can throw this together in minutes. I have added roasted pumpkin which the kids also loved. Add feta cheese if you need to use some up. Also you could add toasted pine nuts for crunch.

dilligas, Sep 13, 12:17pm
Invest in a multi-steamer. Turn it on as you walk out the door. Get home and grill the sausages etc. If doing sav's or polonies depending on what island you live in don't put them at the top or your potaoes will turn pink

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