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21.9.14

Time Management and Meal Planning Wins #afterschoolchefs

Having two children in education makes life really quite hectic and busy. Charles is in full time education and Harry is part time so there is a lot of running around and also a lot of clock watching.
We are usually home around 4 o clock and I always feel like our time together is limited whilst I rush around sorting out school bags, getting them a drink,and all the other jobs I have to do and before I know it it's time to sort dinner and I haven't even been able to talk to them about their day.

I try to vary what the boys eat although they can be fussy so I giving them new foods is somewhat of a challenge.
Because of them being so fussy I like to involve them when it comes to dinner time, but either letting them help me prepare, letting them choose what they would like or giving them options, or going through what I'm making and where the food comes from.

We took part in the Birds Eye #afterschoolchefs challenge and the first part was stocking up on some Birds Eye products.
Provided with £20 worth of vouchers I went to the supermarket and bought a variety of products. I really enjoyed then creating a meal plan for the week around these products.
Charles now has school dinners so dinner times aren't so much of a pressure as I know he would have eaten well at school so I like to have a light option in case he isn't too hungry.
After writing down the meal plan I worked with Charles to decide when they would have each meal, we based this around his school lunch menu so he wasn't having a roast dinner on the same day or a burger for dinner the day before he would be having a burger for lunch.

As I said, the boys are really fussy and we quite regularly find ourselves frustrated at the food we have to throw away.
The week we planned these meals, and involved Charles in more was the best they have eaten for a while. We pretty much had clean plates every night and two happy, full boys.
We were also impressed that each meal took around 20-25 minutes which gave me enough time to catch up with the boys and talk about their day.

Our first meal was using the Original Chicken Chargrills.We decided to use them to make up a roast chicken dinner. The boys both had quite a big lunch so we missed out on potatoes with the roast but included some Birds Eye peas along with Yorkshire puddings, fresh broccoli and carrots, with a small mug of gravy.
One of the meals the boys will always eat is a Chicken Roast and we tend to always have some vegetables in either fresh or frozen, but we don't always have a chicken in the fridge to roast. The chargrills were such a good substitute for a "proper" roast chicken and didn't take long to prepare at all.

I used to hate Fish Fingers then I made them for my husband and for Charles and tried one, well, since then I have loved them (although only in a sandwich). I think fish finger sandwiches are the perfect after school dinner, particularly in the warmer weather. Not as stodgy as a burger can be but perfectly filling. But, lack of vegetables may see this being a frowned upon meal.....well, the best way to have a Birds Eye Fish Finger sandwich is with some Birds Eye peas (cooked, obvs) inside too. Mmmm.

The boys will occassionally eat Korma but don't really like the chicken covering in the sauce, so I cooked some Birds Eye Crispy Chicken, sliced it and served it on some rice. I mixed some Birds Eye frozen peas into the Korma Sauce and served it on the side. The boys then dipped the chicken into the sauce and ate the "curried peas" separately.

Macaroni Cheese is something Charles would eat all day every day if he could. I like to serve it with meat if I can, just to mix it up a bit and sometimes will serve it with chicken nuggets. This time I served it with the Birds Eye Simply Whole Chicken Fillet Kievs. The garlic butter from inside the Kiev goes so well with the Macaroni Cheese. I also mixed some peas in with the cheese sauce...can you tell that the vegetable the boys eat the most is peas?

This meal is perfect for a light dinner or for a post preschool lunch. The boys love dippy eggs and we decided to mix things up a bit and serve them with Birds Eye Crispy Chicken Dippers instead of toast. This went down really well and was a great alternative. We also used waffles which was just as nice.

Taking this challenge has taught me that there are a variety of meals I can create with simply ingredients, and that as long as we have Birds Eye foods like these in the freezer we will always have something we can make for the boys for dinner.
It's also helped me with time management and being able to spend extra time with the boys after school is perfect.

“This post is an entry for #Afterschoolchefs Linky Challenge, sponsored by Birds Eye. Learn more on the Birds Eye Facebook page http://bit.ly/afterschoolchefs.”