Lindsey is our very cute friend from London and the brilliant mind behind the stylish Urban Mums blog, where she shares her favourite finds in the city. She lives in St John’s Wood with her kids Isobel (6), Oliver (4) and her husband Alan. And she’s currently pregnant with baby number 3 due this summer! Here is her dinnertime story.
Oh, dinnertime. Sometimes it goes surprisingly well and other times I am at my wit’s end. I do enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, but I really dread the evenings when I’m coaxing my children to stay in their seats and finish their food!
We eat around 6 during the week, so the kids and I usually eat dinner before my husband returns from work. This means I cook during the week, and my husband cooks more on the weekend. We don’t do separate meals, so whatever we’re eating, the kids are eating, even if it means making a few modifications (i.e. taming spices, swapping an ingredient, etc). I try to make them at least try something before I give up and make them a sandwich!
When it’s sunny outside, we go to the park or zoo straight after school and play with friends until 5 or so. Then it’s a rush home to prepare a quick dinner. My go-to meal on those days is usually homemade macaroni and cheese (simplest cheese sauce ever — it’s usually done before the pasta is finished boiling), and some steamed veggies (sometimes a salad for me, too). If I’m really on top of my game during the week (and 90% of the time this is NOT the case!), I prep before the last school pick-up, so the final stages of dinner will take little time to throw together.
Several years ago, I bought a panini maker. I wondered if we’d get much use out of it, but turns out that one of our favourite meals is mozzarella, basil, tomato panini’s with roasted tomato basil soup. This is another quick one (particularly if I make the soup ahead of time). On Saturdays we often buy a nice loaf of fresh bread, some cold meats from the deli, cheese, and fruit and enjoy a picnic style meal. It’s become one of our signature meals!
We also love pastas, which usually include one or more of the following: sun-dried tomatoes, lemon, parmesan cheese, asparagus, olives, créme fraîche, pine nuts, etc…. The possibilities are endless with pasta. We usually have a chicken dish (or two) and a fish dish during the week too. We don’t eat a lot of red meat, but when it comes to BBQ season, we all become ravenous carnivores! We go to our local butcher’s and buy quality meat. I’ve never been a big red meat eater, but when my husband started barbecuing, I realised that quality meat tastes so good on the BBQ. I was changed… if only for BBQ season!
As for dessert… we all have to finish with something sweet! Plus, it’s a good incentive to finish our plates. Our desserts range from a few squares of Green & Black’s butterscotch chocolate (OK, more like half a bar…) to indulgent homemade brownies (we make them so much we don’t even use the recipe anymore—oops!). If we’re eating with friends or it’s a special occasion, we love cupcakes — these Hummingbird Bakery Pumpkin Cupcakes (with cream cheese frosting) are some of our favourites and we always double the recipe.
When my son was born, my mom came to help and cooked all our dinners for two weeks. She decided to test out some new recipes and one of her finds is still a family favourite. It’s called Chicken Pasta Milano and the link to the recipe is right here. Enjoy!