If you ask my kids what I do for them, they’ll often answer I cook great meals. This makes me proud, ( but also a bit sad that I’m not recognised for other things I do.) Saying that, cooking does dominate our after school hours, unless I’ve been organised enough to use the slow cooker, or we’re having left overs.
Knowing 2 out of 3 of my kids have a warm school meal takes some pressure off having a warm meal every single evening, but we still end up with a warm meal most nights.
Over the years I’ve perfected fast cooking- any meal that takes longer than 20 minutes ( which in reality always turns into 30 minutes) is banished to weekends or the rare occasions I’m super organised.
My meal planning goes as far as theme of the day (see how this works in this post). I buy what is available, on offer and inspires me. Since I’ve started the Friday Footprint Challenge, I’m trying to stick to UK sourced and seasonal where I can. Veg is quite hard to vary sticking to these criteria, unless one branches out to frozen veg, which I really have embraced.
My reasoning for opting for frozen the veg is:
- Picked at an ideal time, not before to extend it’s shelf life
- It is frozen very quickly, therefore (as far as we know) locking in nutrients
- By having the stock frozen we potentially reduce waste, as we are significantly prolonging the shelf life of a perishable product.
… good eco and nutritional credentials.
You loose the crunch, but that is a sacrifice worth making.
I make a lot of soups. My friend Alice calls me the soup lady for taking her soup when she was in our local hospital with her son.
Personally, I prefer soups creamy and thick and so do the kids. These are perfect for evenings: light, replace fluids for the kids who constantly forget to drink enough in school and warm. Most of them have a vegetable or more. Big tick on the fibre side too.
One thing I’ve started doing, and I only realised this when I filled in a questionnaire for Onken, the yoghurt company, is started replacing some traditional ingredients like sour cream with yoghurt.
I had to think why I did it, because it all started by accident: I didn’t have any sour cream for my potato soup, but we always have yoghurt in the fridge as that is pudding for the kids. I plopped yoghurt into the soup to thicken it.
To my surprise adding yoghurt really worked. It thickened up the soup. The flavour was different: it was slightly more tangy, fresh flavoured. I really liked it and so did the kids.
I have since tried it with other soups and further dishes that ask for sour cream.
Onken asked me, after the questionnaire, whether I’d share one of my soups with them and I was happy to spread some healthy soup lovin’ I proposed one of our family favourites: Broccoli cream soup.
You see, as part of Onken’s initiative to draw in their community around recipe innovations, they also asked 5 Mumsnet bloggers to share our favourite tips with them in a film.
My Broccoli cream soup is super quick and easy to make (this one is from fresh broccoli, but you can easily replace it with frozen- even the frozen broccoli and cauliflower mix works):
1-2 heads of broccoli
Spice- I use a multi spice called vegeta, but stock cubes or just plain salt are good too.
1, Chop the broccoli stem and tear the broccoli floret
2, Place the chopped up stem pieces in water (about double what you need to cover it). I use boiling water to get it started quickly.
3, Add spices/salt to taste
4, Bring the water to boil and turn lower to simmer.
5, If you have a steamer to go above your pan then put the broccoli florets in there and place immediately above the cooking stems.. Otherwise, let the stems simmer for 7-8 minutes and then as the stems start going softer, add the broccoli florets
6, If you cooked the stems separately, then blitz it with a blender after cooking for about 15 minutes. Then add the florets (maybe mash a little with a potato masher).
If you cooked it all together, then use a potato masher.
7, Serve immediately with Onken yoghurt on the side and let everyone add a dollop or two. This will add a lovely creamy texture and a tangy flavour.
Apparently I’m not the only one substituting other ingredients with yoghurt ( See us, especially the cutest little helper 3/4s in… not that I’m biased. :-D)
Image credit: MNPhoto
Disclaimer: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity