Monthly Archives: June 2014

Little People: Cooking for Kids

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While I like the idea of having a family dinner time, it’s not really practical for our family at the moment. My kids are young and like to be in bed between 6.30-7pm, they still get messy enough at dinner to need a bath afterwards, and my husband isn’t generally home from work until around 6pm. So, for the moment, the kids have dinner around 5pm and my husband and I eat later. For the kids I often heat up some of our leftover dinner from the night before or serve a portion of our dinner to them and keep it warm for us to eat later.

Although I always serve vegetables with their dinner, I do often ‘hide’ pureed vegetables in the meal too. I still have a stockpile of frozen veggie puree cubes in the freezer so they’re easy to add. Curries are great for hiding veggies in, and I add pureed cauliflower to bechamel cheese sauce. Finely grated vegetables are also a great addition to many meals – I use a microplane grater to get really fine shavings of vegetables. I mix microplaned carrot and zucchini to tomato paste, dried italian herbs and seasoning for use on pizzas and pizza scrolls. I also add them to the pot when cooking my asian 2 minute noodles.

Asian 2 minute noodles

The other night I was cooking chicken and leek pie for dinner. This dish is delicious but when I serve it to the kids as leftovers it ends up looking a bit like mush! I don’t have a microwave so generally reheat it on the stove and have to mix everything together. Feeling inspired I cooked up the sauce in the TMX with the chicken steaming on top (one of my daughter’s mostly eats vegetarian food so I often keep the meat separate). I top the pie with feta and filo pastry then bake in the oven for dinner, but to serve early for the kids I decided to bake some puff pastry ‘pie tops’. I just used frozen puff pastry, cut circles with a large cookie cutter, placed on a lined tray, brushed with egg and baked for 12-15 min at 200C. I served the pie filling in the kids bowls, let them add their own feta and chicken, then popped a pie top on. It was a huge hit. My general rule is that the kids have to clean their bowl before they get another serving with another pie top. I use the same rule for soup and bread – clean your bowl before getting more bread. It usually works well but can end with tantrums so be prepared to stand your ground!

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Of course, I don’t have the time and energy to make little pie toppers and the like every night, but it is fun from time to time. I try to have a few quick kids meal options on hand too for those nights when you come in late and need a fast, nutritious dinner. Some ideas include having frozen pasta sauce in the freezer, I always have my winning pasta sauce and bechamel sauce frozen in cubes ready to use. Asian 2 minute noodles are really quick and easy. Of course you can’t go past eggs on toast for dinner either. Another quick and delicious recipe is Quirky Cooking’s Baked Beans – so good you’ll be wanting them for dinner too. I often save leftover mash to go with these beans. I also try to have mini frittatas or quiches in the freezer – you can pop these on a baking tray and heat under the grill to make a yummy dinner. Last, but not least, pesto of any kind is great to have frozen or in a jar to mix through pasta or spread on flat bread, sprinkle with cheese and bake like pizza.

Well, hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas. All the recipes I post on this blog are things I cook for my family, and  most of my kids eat most of the dishes! Hope yours like them too 🙂

Homemade: Maple Cinnamon Scrolls

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Maple Cinnamon Scrolls

 

Since posting this pic on my personal Instagram feed a few weeks ago I have been inundated with requests to post the recipe. Finally I’ve found time to get back to my blog. Brace yourselves, this recipe is unbelievably good. My SIL made these with my kids in our last school holidays cooking day (so much fun!). The dough proved to be quite resilient to being kneaded and rolled out by little people.

The original recipe comes from Taste of Home and has instructions for making the dough in a bread maker. I’ve written the recipe below for TMX. If you don’t have a TMX or breadmaker, I would imagine you could mix the dough ingredients together well and knead by hand for 5min before leaving to prove, however I haven’t tried this. The filling and icing can easily be mixed by hand or in an electric mixer.The dough takes 2 hours to prove so start ahead of time.

These scrolls are best enjoyed warm from the oven. I hope you enjoy them.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 150g milk
  • 100g maple syrup
  • 80g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp salt
  • 500g white baker’s flour
  • 2tsp dry yeast

Cinnamon Filling

  • 100g brown sugar
  • 30g plain flour
  • 4tsp ground cinnamon
  • 90g cold butter

Icing

  • 70g maple syrup
  • 140g icing sugar
  • 45g butter
  • 2tsp milk

Method

  1. Add all dough ingredients to the TMX in the order listed
  2. Mix 7 sec, Sp 5
  3. Knead 2min 30sec
  4. Place dough in a large bowl, in a warm spot and cover with a tea towel. Allow to prove for 2 hours.
  5. Pre heat oven to 190C
  6. Divide proved dough into  equal portions and roll each into a rectangle approx 30cm x 18cm
  7. If you’re making your own icing sugar, place raw sugar in the TMX and blitz 20sec, Sp 9, then set aside
  8. Place all cinnamon filling ingredients in TMX and mix 20sec, Sp 4
  9. Spread half the cinnamon filling onto each rectangle of dough
  10. Roll dough from long side to form a log, then slice into 12 slices (so you end up with 24 scrolls)
  11. Place the scrolls cut side down in a greased pyrex dish or tin, just touching each other
  12. Cover with a tea towel and allow to prove for a further 20min
  13. Bake for 20-25min until golden brown
  14. While baking combine icing ingredients in TMX and mix 20sec, Sp 4
  15. Spread the icing over the warm rolls when they come out of the oven and enjoy

Spread cinnamon fillingRolling the scrollsCutting the scrolls Place in lined pyrex dish