Busy lives often mean that we don’t have much time on our hands to devote to cooking elaborate meals for our children. That’s why I have pulled together my Top 10 Fifteen minute meals for kids so that when it all gets a little chaotic you can refer back to this list for inspiration.
I have a theory that the amount of time you spend on a meal is inversely proportional to how much they will enjoy it.
Sometimes, between school and swimming lessons, you only have 30 minutes to put together a meal, encourage the kids to eat it all up and squeeze in the all important pudding.
My criteria for this list are that it must:
- take no more than 15 minutes to make from start to finish (take note Jamie ‘no concept of time’ Oliver and your 15-minute meals)
- be made from ingredients that I would ordinarily have in my house, so absolutely no fancy-pants ingredients
- be easy
- be healthy
Top 10 Fifteen Minute Meals for kids:
A frittata is essentially a pimped-up omelette. You fry up some vegetables in a little oil, add some eggs and cheese, put the lid on and let the eggs cook through. Traditional frittata contains potato but this takes longer to make so it didn’t fall into my criteria. But frittata without potatoes is almost as yummy.
Ingredients: Eggs, cheese, onions, garlic, oil, courgette (or any other vegetables you have in the fridge).
Recipe: Super Healthy Kids
2. Pasta Carbonara
This is a delicious and easy recipe. Traditionally Carbonara is made with pancetta but I substitute it for bacon as I am more likely to have bacon in the fridge. I serve this normally with some crudites on the side, such as avocado and cucumber. Please note, carbonara contains slightly undercooked egg so if you feel uncomfortable with that then it’s probably best to avoid this one.
Ingredients: Pasta, bacon, frozen peas, garlic, parmesan, eggs, olive oil, garlic, parsley (optional).
Recipe: Pasta Carbonara
3. Pea and Sweetcorn Fritters
Peas and sweetcorn are the two vegetables I know that my kids will eat without putting up much resistance so these fritters are my go-to option. These are great served with a poached egg for dinner.
Ingredients: Sweetcorn (frozen or tinned), frozen peas, flour, egg, baking powder, spring onion (optional)
Recipe: Pea & Sweetcorn Fritters from My Fussy Eater
4. Vegetable noodle stir fry
My kids are obsessed with noodles so I can put pretty much anything in this stir fry and they will eat it all up. I sometimes use Angel Hair noodles, partly because I like the ethereal name and partly because it takes just a few minutes to cook.
Ingredients: dried medium egg noodles, onions, other vegetables (carrots, broccoli, etc.), vegetable oil, soy sauce, garlic, ketchup, honey, lemon, frozen prawns (optional).
Recipe: BBC (whilst the recipe suggests preparation time of 30 minutes time this is mainly because of the number of different vegetables they use. To save time I try to keep it down to two vegetables plus prawns. Clearly, if you have more time then put more in. Vegetables rock!).
5. Egg fried rice
This is a quick, healthy and filling meal that is easy to pull together. The only downside is that it is made with rice which always makes for a big mess in our house. Get ready with that dust buster.
Ingredients: Rice, eggs, onions, courgette, broccoli, frozen peas, bacon (optional).
6. Tomato, Basil and Lentil One-Pot Pasta
I love this recipe as it’s a one-pot wonder which means minimal washing up for me. It also contains lentils which are, not only, super healthy (a source of protein, fibre and iron) but they are also super cheap.
Ingredients: Spaghetti, tinned tomatoes, red pepper, basil leaves (we freeze basil leaves), cherry tomatoes, red pepper, canned green lentils, dried mixed herbs.
Recipe: My Fussy Eater
Quesadillas used to be one of my favourite things to eat when I was young. If you haven’t had one before it’s basically a flour tortilla which is grilled, flipped and filled with grated cheese. Once it melts, other ingredients, such as shredded meat, peppers, onions or guacamole added. Then it is folded and served.
Ingredients: Flour tortillas, butter, tinned tuna, mayonnaise, lemon, tomatoes, avocado, Dijon mustard, red onion, cheese (best to use a melting cheese like Mozzarella along with some cheddar to give it some punch).
Recipe: Moms Test Kitchen
8. Home Made pizzas
These pizzas are a winner in my book as they can be pulled together in five minutes flat.
Ingredients: Frozen vegetables, mini pitta bread (can be frozen), tomato sauce, cheese.
Recipe: My Fussy Eater
9. Jacket potato
Jacket potatoes are a great winter staple. We just bung them in a microwave for ten minutes and then add some yummy fillings.
Ingredients: Jacket potato, any filling you like (ham, cheese, tuna, sweetcorn, leftovers from last night’s dinner, etc.).
Recipe: Wash the potato. Prick the potato four or five times with a fork (this will prevent it exploding in the microwave). Rub with a little olive oil. Microwave on full power for five minutes. Flip the potato. Microwave for another three minutes. When done, it should be easy to poke a knife through all the way to the centre. If not cooked, continue to microwave in one-minute bursts. Let it cool slightly. Slit open potato and add any ingredients. I like to fluff up the potato inside with a fork and mix in butter, cheese, sweetcorn and ham. Hmmm…this is making me hungry just writing about it.
10. Smoked haddock with vegetables and potatoes.
I avoided giving the girls smoked fish until recently as I thought they would be put off by the smell but it turns out they absolutely love it. Which is great as I can now stock up on it and whip it out of the freezer when required.
Ingredients: Frozen smoked haddock, frozen peas, potatoes.
Recipe: Simply poach the haddock according to the instructions on the packet (approx 8-10 minutes ). In the meantime, wash, peel and cut the potatoes in half and boil them for 10 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time throw in the frozen peas and allow them to cook for a couple of minutes before serving.
Over to you
As I was writing this list I started to think of more delicious recipes so this may have to be Volume 1 of Top 10 Fifteen Minute meals for kids.
But before I pull together Volume 2 it would be great to hear from any of you, lovely readers, about your ultimate fifteen-minute meals that go down a storm with your children.
Any great ideas will make it on to my Volume 2 list. I will, of course, ensure that you get full credit by sharing your name and telling everyone how utterly wonderful your recipe is!