This is a good variation on the picnic dinner for fun simple meals in a hurry.
After two weeks of eating tons of junk (birthdays, Christmas, tired parents), and M having suffered a bout of gastro, we needed some healthy and simple food.
Last night Y barbecued steak before heading out to work, and it was bloody delicious. It was tender, cooked just perfectly, and marinated in Y's standard (but effective) olive oil and salt. God damn, that was one beautiful steak. Add some quickly chopped cucumber, spring onion, feta and tomato and that was my dinner sorted. (Well, I intended to chop the salad but I actually just sat at the bench and ate the steak on its own).
I was serving plain pasta, dry toast and grated apple for M, and wanted a simple meal for A. A is not a fan of most meat and eats very little of it, especially red meat. She has never liked steak.
But why make something extra when there was perfectly amazing and delicious cooked meat right there? I decided to try her on some steak.
Now, I know all about the idea that you shouldn't pander to kids to get them to eat healthy food, shouldn't get sucked into cutting food into fun shapes, etc. Before I had kids I too scoffed at things like dinosaur pasta.
But, for a bit of fun, and to make a healthy meal easy and enjoyable, I used some dinosaur pasta and served it all up in boxes. Why not?
I found two "bento boxes" in my chaotic plastics cupboard. One was a segmented melamine tray for serving nibbles, and one was a plastic lunchbox with a smaller plastic snack box inside.
On A's tray: dinosaur pasta, steak chopped up small, and grated apple.
In M's box: dinosaur pasta, dry toast cut up small, and grated apple.
They LOVED it. Not only did their poor ravaged little bodies crave and vacuum up the simple healthy food, but the boxes were a huge hit. Both girls loved the pasta, and both hoovered up everything in their little boxes and came back for more. And A ate all her steak!
Crumbed fish fillets from the freezer, cooked in the oven.
Y made tomato, spring onion and cucumber salad.
I boiled up dino pasta and chopped up carrots, feta, extra tomato without salad dressing, and apple.
Everything went on the table. Y and I ate from shared plates of fish and salad, M ate her sliced tomato and A ate her feta, and the girls also ate from their "bento boxes": cut up fish, dinosaur pasta, cut up raw carrot, and chopped apple.
Success and happiness, two nights in a row!