Just like that summer’s over & we’re back. Back to school, work, sport and routine! Today the ‘Evening Echo’ has published a couple of recipes from my second cookbook ‘Enjoy!’ along with some of my ‘tips’ for back to school. I did some work on a school lunches table a few years ago which can be useful to print out and stick on the fridge when you’re running blank on lunchbox ideas. It’s available here and if you’d like to read up on some of my ‘tips’ they’re here.
I’m trying to be more organised myself for the dinners and grocery shopping and implementing a routine in that department too – so far this week we’ve had
Lasagne (from ‘Gimme the Recipe’)
Chicken Casserole (from ‘Gimme the Recipe’)
& today it was Conchigile Pasta (from ‘Enjoy!’)
But what’s for dinner tomorrow? Who knows! I shopped on Sunday for the Sunday roast and for three days dinners and that’s about all my mind and fridge can cope with in advance. I’ll be pulling out the recipe books again tonight to write my list for tomorrow.
Top, top, top tip – write a list before you hit the supermarket and try to stick to it!
‘Til next time, Sheila.
Year on year the same resolution – ‘the kids will make their own lunches’ – but it never happens. Until now! I got organised and put a system in place and it’s working. The greatest balker is of course the eldest who has been getting away without making his school lunch for 12 years now so I’m getting the odd plea from his corner of ‘ah please mom will you just make mine cos I have to……’ but the answer is a simple but firm ‘no.’
Perhaps many of you have kids who already are making their own lunches and good on you, I’m glad to finally be joining the ranks.
The ‘system’ involves being well stocked in the foods that they like and providing plenty of choices. I’ll get up in the morning, give the kids a shout and then head to the kitchen to plonk the lunch boxes, breads, crackers, salads, dressings etc. all out on the worktop. It then takes them max 5 minutes to put together their lunch whereasI’ve been wasting 30 precious minutes every morning for the past number of years making the 6 of them. (Let me not count the hours, weeks, days that adds up to!)
A few tips:
If cooking a roast for Sunday dinner throw on an extra joint for school lunches.
If dinner involves chicken breasts throw on an extra one or two to reserve for sandwiches.
Use left-over potatoes to make quick & easy potato salad – mash in chopped spring onion & plenty of mayo.
Keep left-over cooked pasta and stir through some pesto.
Make up a large bowl of salady bits e.g. lettuce, cucumber, tomato, red onion but do not mix them together so they can easily pick out their favourites. Keep covered with cling-film in the fridge.
Offer a selection of breads e.g. pittas, panini, bagels, wraps to avoid lunch-boredom
Yes, it’s that time of year again and I’ve dispatched the eldest two children back to school today. The other four will remain at home until Thursday so I’m easing myself back into the lunch-making. I’ve yet to meet a parent who doesn’t despair at this chore and last year I put together ‘School Lunches – The definitive guide’ to help with the task. I’ve since updated it and made a few additions such as vol au vent cases and quesadillas. A friend of my twin girls used to bring empty vol au vent cases to school last year and they were mad for them. The last blog posting I did was for quesadillas so have a look at that for some more inspiration. Again, I will be attempting to get my lot to make their own school lunch at least once a week – it was a struggle last year and I gave up in the end but NEW BEGINNINGS and all that….:)
For the latest version of ‘School Lunches – The Definitive Guide’ click on the link below the picture. Til next time, Sheila.
Ranking up there with omelettes, quesadillas are, in my opinion the perfect standby. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack, quesadillas can be anything you want them to be. This particular version is one that I’ve been having for brunch lately. Having made a batch of Blackberry & Apple Chutney I’ve been using it on everything and decided to pair it up with some Gubbeen cheese and bacon in a quesadilla with great success. When I say I’ve been having these for brunch lately, today would be the third day in a row. Yum, yum & yum.
As I said quesadillas are a great standby and as long as you have some cheese to meld the tortillas together anything else you choose to insert is personal. Spread them with your favourite pestos, pastes, purees or tapenades or any chutney that is lingering in the fridge. Fill them with chopped red onion, apple slices, chicken pieces, raisins, jalepenos…anything goes. What made this version super tasty (besides the chutney) was the fact that I fried up the bacon and then cooked the tortilla in the same pan with all that lovely bacon fat. Delicious. When the kids head back to school next week they will be getting the occasional quesadilla in their lunch boxes where the filling might be some tomato puree, slice of ham and grated cheddar. They’re filling and faster to make than sandwiches. In the meantime I’ll be enjoying mine with blackberry and apple chutney.
Serves 1 hungry person or stretch it to 2 served with a side salad. You will need:
a little olive/rapeseed oil for frying
2 flour tortillas
blackberry & apple chutney (or any chutney/spread of your choice)
handful grated cheese Method:
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry up the rashers.
Generously smear one side of a tortilla with chutney.
Top the chutney with the cooked rashers and then the grated cheese.
Place the second tortilla on top and press down to sandwich it together.
Cook the tortilla in the frying pan on each side until golden brown.
Til next time, Sheila
So what’s inspiring me to write about packed lunches (again)? There are three reasons:
Firstly, ‘Ummera’s’ recent success in the U.K. (Three Star Gold in The Great Taste Awards) has reminded me that I had tucked away a sandwich menu from ‘Urru Culinary Store’ in Bandon, Co. Cork which reads like a 5 star menu (on Arbutus Breads);
-Pate with Sunblushed Tomatoes and Sweet Pepper Relish
-Parma Ham and Emmental Cheese with Mango Vinaigrette and Wholegrain Mustard
-Kassler Pork and Mature Cheddar with Apple Chutney and Crushed Walnuts
-Ummera’s Smoked Chicken and Gherkins with Mayonnaise and Pink Peppercorns
-West Cork Salamis and Cashel Blue with Black Olive Paste and Sunblushed Tomatoes.
..and that’s not all of them.
Now, I’m not for a minute suggesting that these are ever going to feature in a school lunch box but wouldn’t they be fabulous on a romantic picnic (dream on Sheila..) or for your own high tea in lieu of a dinner party. Okay, so these are at the fantasy end of the sandwich-making realm but still inspirational. Chutney and Sunblushed Tomatoes for example, are in-reach ingredients that will take a regular sandwich up a notch or two.
Secondly, a nod to ‘Moda Cafe’ in Mallow. Located over ‘Moda Boutique’ on the mainstreet in Mallow this place is a cosy find for me. I literally ran in and grabbed a takeaway coffee a couple of weeks ago and my mouth watered at the selection of sandwiches and pastries on display. I don’t have a menu to reference but I know I have mentally filed away a Brie, Red Onion and Cranberry Panini to try out at home on one of the more wintry lunchtimes that lie ahead.
Thirdly, ‘O’Donnells Tipperary Crisps’. I couldn’t resist a packet of ‘Mount Callan Cheese & Red Onion’ last Saturday morning after rugby training (..spectating is hard work). I’m a sucker for simple, nostalgic packaging and these reeled me in. For days when you’re in a hurry stick these in between two slices of grainy bread and enjoy with a large mug of tea. http://www.odonnellscrisps.com/
The sandwiches, wraps etc. pictured here are all combos from my ‘School Lunches – The Definitive Guide’ which you can download for free by clicking on the link at the bottom of the ‘School Lunches Page’. Woman’s Way magazine (Ireland’s TOP woman’s weekly!) have very kindly listed gimmetherecipe as ‘Website of The Week’ and list some of my lunch box tips in their current edition. (Thank you Una Rice.) Believe it or not, I’m actually following my own advice and am surprised with the success of the kids making their own school lunch once a week. Thursday is my day off and their enthusiasm has lasted so far anyway!
Til next time, Sheila.
p.s. One Pot Dinner recipe will be posted on Thursday.