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Topic: family-friendly, summer meals  (Read 1677 times)
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« on: September 23, 2006 01:40:05 AM »

hi everyone, summer in the southern hemisphere is about to begin- and i have a 2 month gig- looking after my cousin's kids (girl 4 and boy Cool. so i'll be living with them and preparing 3 meals a day.

i've got breakfast and lunch covered, but i'm going to need ideas for some family dinners- heres the criteria:

-the meals have to appeal to 3 relatively food-adventurous adults and 2 kids with more conservative tastes

-i dont want to make 2 completely separate meals, so if there was a way to make something and tone down part of it for the kids, that would be good

-i'm pretty much a vegetarian, so its best if meat can be omitted from my portion (but fish is fine)

-its going to be summer, so i dont want to spend hours in a hot kitchen

-also, recipes which use leftovers / make good left overs will be awarded bonus points  Grin

thats pretty specific, so i'm asking you all- especially the moms and dads- what are your familys' favourite meals? the sure-fire crowd pleasers? the best 'this-only-took-30 minutes-but-it-tastes-like-2 hours' meals?

all suggestions will be gratefully received  Wink

« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2006 11:55:42 AM »

We are heading into our Winter here but this site might help. 


Some of the ingredients will be different but i tend to use it more for Ideas than anything.  I esspecially love the use what you have function.

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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2006 05:29:05 PM »

- make your own pizzas on flat/ pita bread. cook up a bit of meat (or have bacon around), and roast some pumpkin/ cpasicum too. those, with zucchini, mushrooms, pesto, tomato paste, tinned pinapple, almonds, feta cheese, regular cheese, olives, diced garlic... that sounds like a lot, but basically just raid the fridge. and it might encourage the kids to try something new.

- burgers with a piece of meat for them, and a field mushroom for you (or mushrooms for all! theyre yummy). Fry some onion, pile that into the mushroom, top with roast pumpkin slices and capsicum and cheese. oven for 15min, stick into a breadroll. For 'chips' you just just potatoes into wedge-shapes, smoosh them about in a freezer bag with a bit of olive oil, tip onto a baking tray and bake for an hour.

- kebabs (meat and veg/ plain veg) with salad and rice. don't mix the salad together, put everything in little bowls and everyone can make their own at the table depending on what they eat.

- pasta. with whatever is dying in the back of the fridge fried and then with two cans of diced tomatoes added and simmered. top with cheese. much cheese. everyone (except vegans) likes cheese.

hm... i happen to have a magazine with an article on kid-friendly food by Gordon Ramsay. He recommends pizza (base made from scratch with kids' help. that could be fun one afternoon. yeast is a pretty magical thing to watch); pasta with bacon and peas; and fruit kebabs with chocolate dip (melted chocolate).

« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2006 09:03:04 PM »

10 minute no cream alfredo.

1 cup lowfat milk (the recipe suggests 2%, but I use skim and it turns out great)
4oz (1/2 block) cream cheese (can use 1/3 fat, but not fat free).
3 tbps parmesean cheese
2-4 cloves garlic (depends on your taste, and size of cloves)

1)dump it all in the blender and process until garlic is chopped, and cheese is mixed, it will also increase in volume too.
2)heat in sauce pan for about 10 minutes.
3)Add whatever veggies meat you want. I usually throw in leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken (if you heat is seperatley it could be omitted for you) and broccoli or peas. All you need is some bread and a salad.

You should probably double the recipe for that many people, and in the off chance it is leftover (rarely happens here) it is great the next day. Plus in my experience kids will eat fun pasta shapes with sauce/veggies they wouldn't otherwise eat.
Of course stir fry is always easy, and is great with shrimp. An easy sauce is soy sauce honey, garlic and mix some cornstarch with soy and put it in at the end to thicken it. If you make enough rice you can have enough to have with lunch the next day or to put in a casserole for the next nite's dinner. 
Twice baked potatos are good, and you can add chicken/bacon/ham to only some of the potatos. Plus you can freeze them for later (leave extra cheese off the top until reheating).
Breakfast for dinner is always fast and popular here. You can do fruit  and french toast/pancakes, eggs, and bacon/sausage for meat eaters. Or custom omelets, so you can have veggie friendly and they don't have too.
Mexican is also meat/veggie friendly. You can have a bean burrito, and they can have a beef and bean, and the kids can have cheese if they don't want beans or meat. Same can be done with other veggies (bell peppers, onions, mushrooms) with other types of mexican eg fajitas, quesadillas, plus what kid doesn't love food they can eat with their hands?
Just some ideas I hope that helped.
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2006 07:14:22 AM »

You could make things easier on yourself by grilling stuff.

Spend a day in the kitchen making casseroles that just need to be popped in the oven later in the week. Lasagna rolls, for example, that kids may eat along with the family. Sure, put together a pizza or two with different toppings for individuals' tastes.

Use a crockpot for some soups. Kids generally eat soup. Soups and sandwiches.

Make pasta and rice and keep them for making salads later. Chop veggies ahead to put in the salads. Use some of that grilled meat for the meat-eaters and add in some legumes or grilled tofu for yourself.


« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2006 09:54:39 PM »

thanks so much for all the ideas thus far- especially seeing as i gave the world's most specific criteria, i though for sure no one would respond  Cheesy

my cousins have a barbeque and a george forman-type grill, so i'll be using those and the pizzas/sandwich ideas will be good- the kids can help.

thanks again- any more ideas you all have would be much apperciated, i'm probably going to be there for at least a month

« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2006 12:26:17 PM »

If you make smaller ones in large muffin pans  or smaller pie pans you can freeze some for another time.
I've made hot dog & cheddar cheese quich, kids love it.

Cold pasta salad. Cooked pasta drained & cooloed add italian or ranch dressing, or oil, vnaigar & spices. then add what ever veggies you have. Scoop out a portion for ouy now add some cubed cheese & dices meat ( ham, pepperoni, & turkey all work well).
Stir it all up. Serve on a lettuce leaf or in a pita. Nice with some sliced fruit on the side.

Omlets with any veggies oyu have on hand, cheese, meats etc.

« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2006 05:02:39 AM »

* nachos - corn chips and salsa and cheese whacked in the oven or microwave (optional layer of refried beans on the bottom). guacamole, jalapenos and sour cream on the side.

* gazpacho - cold tomato soup - my quick and easy version is chop up some veggies (capsicum, cucumber, spring onion), add lemon juice and a dash of wosteshire (sp!!), a can of tomato soup, a can of water and chill

* barbecues - tofu works well on the barbecue - just marinade and grill or go skewer crazy like someone suggested.

* use the grill to grill a whole heap of veggies (from eggplant to sweet potato) and keep in individual containers in the fridge. Add to pasta, lasagne, wraps, salads or anything else that strikes your fancy

* dips and turkish bread - as a starter to almost any of the above

* lots of fresh fruit for dessert. yummy!

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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2006 05:40:37 AM »

tacos work along the same lines as pizzas (add what you like). Mince base for them, 4 bean mix base for you (and them too, if they're vegie friendly).

Cornbread with grilled vegies and grilled haloumi cheese?(i'm australian and i've just cottoned onto the damper-like joy that is cornbread).

i've made the maggi goulash that comes in a packet with only vegies (no meat). mixed carrot, pumpkin, potato, parsnips, etc. takes about 30 min on the stovetop. Cook some meat on the side for the others (steak? chicken legs? i dunno), and serve with rice, or whatever.

Pre-marinated chicken wings (more kid-friendly food!) can be thrown in the oven with diced vegies. cook vegies for an hour, and chicken for half an hour. marinated tofu can be heated in the oven for you towards the end.

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