Holidays. In my mind they are meant to be about relaxing, having adventures, exploring new places, lazing around, tryIng new foods, cocktails, having family funtimes, having me-times.
Life with 3 children means they are actually full of early dinners, constant requests for snacks, children struggling to sleep in different beds, packing the whole house to take but forgetting the vital teddy, overtired toddlers and the delightful “mummy, how many minutes” in the car.
For us, self catering works out so much easier. Don’t get me wrong, I love being cooked for… but finding a restaurant that serves food I can eat (wheat free) and will let us eat early enough, along with it being that moment in the day that one child will be wailing, well it’s just not as relaxing as it could be. Being able to have breakfast when everyone fancies it and a ready stock of snacks available just makes life a bit better. Picnics for lunch tend to be our staple, it means we can get out, stay out and not worry about what time the first person’s tummy starts to rumble! A small cool back with crackers, cheese, ham, hummus, raw veggies, fruit, crisps, drinks and my bunch are happy.
When we are away, I like to keep the cooking simple and instead look around at the local food or farm shops for some special ingredients to make it interesting. Often that means buying some nice cheeses for hubby and I to enjoy after the small ones are in bed, or getting nice veggies and meat. I tend to pack the basics so there is less shopping needed on holiday, plus there is nothing worse than a long journey and having no tea bags and milk when you arrive.
So here are some of my easy cook evening meals, nothing gourmet, but filling and tasty:
- The first night, I always take something already cooked from home. Then I don’t have the stress of arriving somewhere and having to unpack, amuse kidlets and cook.
- Jacket potatoes. You can cook these in the microwave in 10-12 minutes, finish in the oven for 15 minutes at Gas mark 4 if you have time. My family love: baked beans and cheese or tuna, sweetcorn and mayo. Serve with a salad.
- Pasta with pesto and veggies. So simple. If you use frozen veg it can be a one pot job. Cook the pasta, in the last few minutes add the veg to the water too. Drain and stir in the pesto.
- Tacos. This holiday I bought a taco kit, then just cooked it up with some mince and a pile of veg. It went down a treat. Serve with a salad and you will be getting those veggies in.
- Sausage casserole. Chop the sausages and cook in a pan with a pile of veggies (leek, carrot and pepper work well), add 1 tin chopped tomatoes and some mixed herbs. Simmer and serve with rice. Take microwave rice to save a job!
- Salmon fish fingers, with potato wedges and corn on the cob. All of this can go in the oven. I slice the potatoes into wedges and spread on a plate then microwave for 5 minutes. Heat the oven to gas 8. Put in the wedges, then 10 minutes later add the fish fingers and corn on the cob, wrapped in foil. Or totally cheap and treat yourself to chips to go with it!