Summer is here.
My normal meal plans go out the window.
I need simple, healthy stuff for all those
… day trip lunch boxes …
… impromptu picnics in the park …
… get the gang in for neighbourhood teas …
… hitting the fab lido at the end of the road …
… and jeeps I’m just too hot to cook moments!
Which means lots of portable, eat with your hands stuff that little ones can wolf down in the few moments they are still.
And it does not mean sandwiches!!!?
It is just me or are sandwiches the biggest faff ever? And do kids eat them? No!!
My faves are mini child-friendly versions all those time honoured baked goods every culture round the world has for making food portable … pies, pasties, samosas, calzones etc.
And it’s easy to bulk cook a huge wodge of pastry or other dough, add assorted yummy fillings and freeze it all ready to go so I can sit back & enjoy the sun get on with the gardening …
To help me plan my baking & freezing I’ve come up with a list of ideas and I thought you might find it helpful, so I’m sharing it here …
1. Sausage Rolls
I think as long as you keep these small & use margarine rather than butter they are fantastic with super straightforward short crust pastry. And taste great with veg sausage meat.
2. Savoury Muffins
Just blend a cup/200g of whatever veg you have into your final muffin mixture. A small amount of crumbled feta balances out the veg taste. Muffins so great with half or more spelt flour!
Or if you’re looking for inspiration check out this list of 50 savoury muffins combos.
3. Cornish Pasties
Simple but sturdy pastry turnovers made with pastry of 500g/2 cups wholemeal self-raising or bread flour to 225g/0.9 cups of lard or marg are perfect picnic for eating with hands.
Fill them with traditional stewing beef, waxy potatoes & veg.
Or anything else you want used up or that the kids like … pork & apple, lamb & mint, sausage & cheese, ham pea & ricotta, curried chicken, cheese & potato.
Easy to smuggle in tiny bits of veg or blend up something like spinach after cooking in a little butter before adding to eggs, cream, cheese & any meat or fish if you’re adding it.
And you can cook them easily in a shallow patty tin … you just don’t want it too deep.
5. Fruit Pies
Some kids … or at least mine … definitely prefer mini fruit pies because you don’t get the soggy mostly fruit bit in the middle that you get in a big pie. And mini pies keep all their yumptious juicyness inside rather than spilling it all over the lunchbox.
6. Treacle Tarts
Big treacle tarts seem very wintery but mini jam tart sized ones are yummy whatever the weather and a brilliant way to use up slightly stale bread crumbs.
7. Pitta Breads
Pittas are so super quick to make from a basic dough that can also be used for bread & pizza and freeze well and defrost quickly.
If your kids are veg phobic … try blending spinach, courgette, green beans or grilled & skinned red peppers into cream cheese or houmous for filling.
8. Pizza Buns
Simply make long rectangular pizzas, cover with topping, roll up length ways and chop into bun sized portions. Cook for about 20 minutes.
To give the buns lower GI I use a quarter wholemeal flour & you could obviously up this according to taste … I’m experimenting with gradually adding some spelt as well.
The other great option for portable pizza is mini calzones.
I know strictly speaking it should be different dough but whose being strict?
Just roll out circles of dough about half the size of the baking tray, pop on plenty of fave toppings on one half, fold over the top and crimp and seal the edges.
10. Fish Goujons
We make these with a super simple recipe from the totally fabulous River Cottage Kids Cookbook … I think every house on our street has a copy!
A great way to get good quality fish into kids and you can make with wholemeal breadcrumbs.
How good are frittatas at using up leftovers?!! Potatoes, veg, meat … just chuck it in. And you can bake fab mini ones in 20 minutes in a muffin tray at 350f/180c.
If yours kids don’t like veg blend with just enough tinned tomatoes or passata to get to blend up and pour it on before your egg. To freeze & be portable does need to be quite eggy.
Thinish pancakes … made in a small pan … make great wraps for all sorts of fillings. And they do freeze!
Just layer them on a baking sheet with baking parchment between each layer. Flash freeze for 5 or 6 hours and then pop in freezer bag or container.
13. No Sugar Spelt Cookies
Make super simple cookie dough with 1 cup/235g of spelt flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 0.4 cups/90g butter and 0.4 cups/90ml of apple juice.
The spelt makes them low GI to keep them going & the apple juice naturally sweetens.
14. Lebanese Rolls
Our local bakers does a fabulous savoury Lebanese roll which is basically a sausage roll with cous cous plus a small amount of very finely chopped spinach and red pepper and herbs. I’ve tried to blag the recipe but they are keeping mum so I’m experimenting with this one …
Do hope you find some inspiration here … we’d love to hear your faves …