Lunchtimes with small kids are just the worst. Just eat a salad, already. I love cooking, and dinners are fine, but I find lunches are a real chore.
While G Major would eat her weight in cheese and ham if permitted to, I need to think of her colon and include some veg. My kids are the only ones in history that won’t eat cucumber sticks dipped in hummus. I want to avoid endless sandwiches, but I don’t want to have to cook too much. So if you discount soup, quiches and vegetable muffins, what’s left?
Tortillas. Terrific tortillas. Less bulky than bread, and my kids will eat whole wheat and granary versions more readily than the same in bread. They cook really quickly and are easy for little hands to manage.
So here are three ideas for speedy lunches that will help you out of a sandwich rut.
Spread a tortilla with your favourite fillings, roll up tightly and slice into discs. Bake at 180 for around 12 minutes. Try ham, cheese and mushrooms; salmon, cream cheese and avocado; leftover bolognese; chicken or turkey with cranberry sauce and spinach. A light dusting of cheddar rarely goes astray and helps bind everything together.
Spread a tortilla with avocado, some salsa or chopped tomatoes, some tinned sweetcorn, chopped mushrooms and peppers (blast them in the microwave for a minute to soften) and some grated cheese. Top with another tortilla and dry fry on both sides until the cheese is melted. Slice into wedges as you would a pizza.
Use a pastry cutter to cut small circles from a tortilla, and use these to line a muffin tin. You can either bake them straight away then fill with cold ingredients (try lettuce, tuna mayo and tinned sweetcorn) or fill them and then bake, again at 180 for about 12 minutes. Try huevos rancheros (tomatoes, peppers, beans and some mild spices with a egg cracked on top) or use your favourite pizza toppings (tomato, cheese, ham, peppers, mushrooms and – forgive me but it’s for the kids – tinned pineapple).
What are your favourite easy lunches for kids?