Quick, cheap and straightforward evening meals that kids will eat?

Whining Civvy

LE
Book Reviewer
Yeah, it's the usual problem, get home tired from work, decide what to do for dinner, cook, then spend thirty minutes trying to get the kids to eat something which is vaguely healthy. We've all been there...but I am, at the moment, there on a seemingly permanent basis. I've scoured the apparently limitless depths of online recipe sites and spent far more of my life trying recipes which are not as delicious as the authors invariably claim - and the bundles of joy in my life (9&6) most decidedly do not love them, either. I'm happy to admit that my cooking skills may be to blame in some cases, but come on guys, maybe being raised on corn syrup and ketchup has caused the tastebuds of our transatlantic friends and cousins to have evolved in a different direction to those of my family because good grief, some of these food writers should win fantasy awards. So where else do I turn for inspiration? That bastion of good sense, clear thinking and solid advice that is arrse, of course. So, if you have any recipes which are simple, cheap, nutritious, don't take too long to prepare, and with a proven track record of being eaten without perpetual whining by small(ish) children, I'd be grateful if you could share them with me. If they can be made with the assistance of aforementioned kids that'd be even better. I appreciate that these things are very subjective but I'll give each and every one of them a crack in order of posting and see how it goes.

I wouldn't say I'm at my wits end but I'm tired of battles every evening and am not willing to feed them the rubbish that they want every night. I'm glad I had the foresight to go bald before having children otherwise I'd be getting close to pulling it out myself.
 
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Anything you give them, if you don't want it or "Little Johnny is having KFC" fcuk off to Johnny's house then! Simples, kids like pets .......give them an inch! I was always brought up with the like it or lump it rule.
 

Whining Civvy

LE
Book Reviewer
Anything you give them, if you don't want it or "Little Johnny is having KFC" fcuk off to Johnny's house then! Simples, kids like pets .......give them an inch! I was always brought up with the like it or lump it rule.
Thank you for your valued input.

Quesadillas? Easy peasey.
Noodles and veggies?
Do you have recipes that you've successfully used? That's what I'm after really.
 
Thank you for your valued input.


Do you have recipes that you've successfully used? That's what I'm after really.
Lmao, tons, as you know I like my Italian cooking as my good lady is from the land of reverse geared tanks. Do a big lasagna, bolognese, do a carbonara, if you do a carbonara properly with pancetta they will love it, takes 15-20 mins . I do not know what their normal diet is, so I am not being daft, but I remember years ago when my son was young, the best thing is to get them involved with the cooking. Learning at the same time without realising it. Something so simple as pass me the oregano, or half a pint of water, no not the jug, get the pint glass and fill it half full.
Seriously a great one for kids I made up are "Chizzas" get a normal slice of bread, take off the crusts, roll it flat. splash of passata on top and any topping the little darlings rustle up,whack it under the grill for 5 mins, job jobbed dead simple. Please ask me anytime. I have no responsibility for their choice of topping, however I do suggest a double layer of foil on the grill pan.
 

5645andym

Old-Salt
Top tip is to get the kids involved, all the way from planning the menu through buying the ingredients to the actual cooking.

Need not be the full on “doing everything thing while wrecking the kitchen” type of help (which most kids would not be interested in) but just having a say in which what gets cooked or stirring the sauce while it thickens will give them a “stake” in the end result and make it “their” meal.

Rapierman's Cizzas sound like a great place to start, make them as a fun snack or a supper and let them play with different combinations of toppings, perhaps including roasted veg (as a challange if they don't like their veg!).

They might then move on to research recipes and create menus themselves which the “team” can cook together. As they get older and more experienced they will, naturally, lean how to cook from you which will give them a life skill they will need when they move on and get a place of their own.

Leads to lots of fun with the kids while cooking, which is miles better than you feeling forced to be in to the kitchen at the end of a long day while the kids enjoy TV time, plus if the end result is a foul tasting mess you have someone that you can blame!

Did this with mine and the eldest now is a bloody good cook who runs the kitchen in a pub.
 
Lmao, tons, as you know I like my Italian cooking as my good lady is from the land of reverse geared tanks. Do a big lasagna, bolognese, do a carbonara, if you do a carbonara properly with pancetta they will love it, takes 15-20 mins . I do not know what their normal diet is, so I am not being daft, but I remember years ago when my son was young, the best thing is to get them involved with the cooking. Learning at the same time without realising it. Something so simple as pass me the oregano, or half a pint of water, no not the jug, get the pint glass and fill it half full.
Seriously a great one for kids I made up are "Chizzas" get a normal slice of bread, take off the crusts, roll it flat. splash of passata on top and any topping the little darlings rustle up,whack it under the grill for 5 mins, job jobbed dead simple. Please ask me anytime. I have no responsibility for their choice of topping, however I do suggest a double layer of foil on the grill pan.

Exactly this! Get them involved in the making process. They'll be far more interested in tasting the finished goods.

Ask them what they like, and sit with them looking up recipes. Give them an investment.

Beyond that, it depends on what kitchen equipment you have. Most recent recipe books I've brought refer to stick blenders or other mechanical assistance .

Maybe have a "world foods" night, where they can choose a country cuisine to try, then pick a simple dish they can watch, or assist, to make.
 
Burgers? Make them with the kids and say "the burgers need to marinate in the fridge overnight, have your veg today, and it's burgers tomorrow"?
Burgers, another great one for kids, once all the stuff is in the bowl and you crack that egg in, no kid will be able to resist getting all that gooey mess allover their fingers, and as long as they have washed them first all is well.
 
Exactly this! Get them involved in the making process. They'll be far more interested in tasting the finished goods.

Ask them what they like, and sit with them looking up recipes. Give them an investment.

Beyond that, it depends on what kitchen equipment you have. Most recent recipe books I've brought refer to stick blenders or other mechanical assistance .

Maybe have a "world foods" night, where they can choose a country cuisine to try, then pick a simple dish they can watch, or assist, to make.
I remember trying to teach my lad (now 26) how to use a pasta machine, oh dear it did not go well. Last time he came home I got it out to make some nice linguine.....fcuked the job up, said sorry Dad and brought me my cigs and lighter. Now that is training!
 
Early morning thought...............teach em to razz up some banjo's, admittedly there is the hot oil/house on fire risk, however taught correctly, brekky ready Dad, Fancy some supper Dad? Just a thought .
 
Another thought @LouisetheSleaz mentioned how modern cookbooks refer to blend this with xyz , teach them how to use a knife, hand whisk etc. Check out the old Mrs Beeton's book, no actifrys or magic chef ninja cookers in there.
Cooking properly is a skill and we need to pass that down. Anyone can press three minutes on a microwave.
 

Damn tasty and quick and simple to make, if you have the garlic etc. Mince, rice with additional bits and my kids love it
 
Cheesy beanos/ ravioli on toast or decent burgers (I cook them in the air fryer).

The former was always a staple that kids enjoyed when I worked in care, and they're quite fussy eaters.

If the kids like eggs then scrambled eggs on toast is a solid bet.
 
Yeah, it's the usual problem, get home tired from work, decide what to do for dinner, cook, then spend thirty minutes trying to get the kids to eat something which is vaguely healthy. We've all been there...but I am, at the moment, there on a seemingly permanent basis. I've scoured the apparently limitless depths of online recipe sites and spent far more of my life trying recipes which are not as delicious as the authors invariably claim - and the bundles of joy in my life (9&6) most decidedly do not love them, either. I'm happy to admit that my cooking skills may be to blame in some cases, but come on guys, maybe being raised on corn syrup and ketchup has caused the tastebuds of our transatlantic friends and cousins to have evolved in a different direction to those of my family because good grief, some of these food writers should win fantasy awards. So where else do I turn for inspiration? That bastion of good sense, clear thinking and solid advice that is arrse, of course. So, if you have any recipes which are simple, cheap, nutritious, don't take too long to prepare, and with a proven track record of being eaten without perpetual whining by small(ish) children, I'd be grateful if you could share them with me. If they can be made with the assistance of aforementioned kids that'd be even better. I appreciate that these things are very subjective but I'll give each and every one of them a crack in order of posting and see how it goes.

I wouldn't say I'm at my wits end but I'm tired of battles every evening and am not willing to feed them the rubbish that they want every night. I'm glad I had the foresight to go bald before having children otherwise I'd be getting close to pulling it out myself.
BBC Goodfood is pretty good for family meals

I am big fan of Don't Go Bacon My Heart

Having a Japanese wife we get a fair bit of easy Japanese food - karage chicken with salad, Japanese curry and rice (Do they have this brand or similar in the UK? Its boil in the bag easy and good), Nikujaga etc.

Sausages - always have sausages in the freezer - quick, easy and go with anything. A toad in the hole takes no time at all.

Avoid American cooking websites - the food is awful, they invariably rely on graham crackers and tins of Campbell's soup, they don't know how to use measurements or temperatures and they will probably make you and your kids obese.
 
Chicken pesto pasta seems to work for our one, homemade burgers too.

Chicken pie - ready roll pastry with chicken and veg.

Chicken drumsticks with chips and veg.

Despite my mrs I’m trying to get ours to have a decent split of carbs vs protein.

The pasta and pie can do two days so we don’t fanny about when we get back from her endless clubs and stuff.
 
Oh and occasionally we get her to make her own salad - she likes that, some of her suggestions for ingredients make her sound like Heston but once she realised she can’t put an ice cream in with rocket we’re all good.
 
Cheesy beanos/ ravioli on toast or decent burgers (I cook them in the air fryer).

The former was always a staple that kids enjoyed when I worked in care, and they're quite fussy eaters.

If the kids like eggs then scrambled eggs on toast is a solid bet.
Yes but teaching them is key, make them in a pan, show them how much tastier they are than in a microwave, then show them the joys of how well they seem to weld themselves to said pan.
I have been cooking for many years and Mr Tefal is wrong, scrambly eggs will always mean getting busy on pandive .
A simple dish for young kids is "poorly pastino" if you cannot get the right pasta it is cool, just par boil what you have, chop it up and finish cooking in a nice chicken or veg broth. Again bout ten mins and smiley faces.
 
BBC Goodfood is pretty good for family meals

I am big fan of Don't Go Bacon My Heart

Having a Japanese wife we get a fair bit of easy Japanese food - karage chicken with salad, Japanese curry and rice (Do they have this brand or similar in the UK? Its boil in the bag easy and good), Nikujaga etc.
Believe it or not I have found that Japanese curry in lidl of all places. It had black packaging but same deliciousness and easy to make
 

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