It’s a familiar scene; you fall in the door laden with school bags, coats, drink bottles, packed lunch boxes, the wet swim kit and trip over the pile of shoes that have been abandoned in the hall.
As the kids declare starvation mode, you look at the clock and wonder what the hell you can rustle up for the kids at 5.30 which is a) quick, b) healthy c) going to be eaten whilst you plan you argument for a takeaway later on with the other half. Of course it’s always the day or so before you have been shopping and you aren’t even sure if any food type meeting all of the above criteria even exists, let alone resides currently in your food stores.
I’ve been here all too often, and on the days any kind of meal plan has gone out of the window, my go to tends to consist off pasta, ham and whatever veg we have kicking around in the bottom of the fridge / freezer.
It just so happened that I was having one of these days (they aren’t that rare) when my trial box arrived from Little Cook Boxes. They’d contacted me a few weeks before offering me a free trial and having never used a food recipe box before (for adults or kids) I had my reservations – after all with one veggie, one fusspot and never enough hours in the day, could this really work for us?
However, my theory that reviews do not put food on the table was proven wrong at the outset, so I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained.
So this hot stressy tuesday, I tentatively peeked in the box and wondered if I should abandon my pasta surprise plans and not look a gift horse in the mouth.
With a quick bit of Mum Maths I established we had enough boxes and shelf life to last us four days – one meal a day which I intended to split between our two kids (they have pretty small appetites). So in the interest of not wasting any boxes, decision made, we started our four night trial of Little Cook Box Meals.
The concept is simple – the box provides enough fresh ingredients to rustle up quickly a nutritious, varied childs meal. The makers have done the maths to ensure not a drop is wasted, and every part of the packaging can be recycled too. The key idea is also to get the children involved in preparing their meal (hence Little Cooks) in a bid to get them on board with eating it too – worth a try with my fussy eater.
In entire honesty, I struggled to get the kids on board with helping after a long hot day at school and after school clubs (with the exception of the Calzone!) but I found the meals not only ridiculously easy to put together but also absolutely delicious ( I struggled to stop myself picking!).
Tuesday – ‘Perfect Pittas’ Lamb Meatballs, Pitta and Tzatziki
Super easy to make – roll into mini balls, bake for 15. As quick as a fishfinger but so much more wholesome! The mouse gorged on the meatballs whilst we substituted Tig’s for houmus. They both loved the salad, and DMT and I scoffed the left over meatballs (there was too much for one tiny mouse sized appetite).
Wednesday – Creamy Chicken Korma
We have a curry at least one night a week – it’s our go to dinner that everyone likes. Tig’s is even known to on occasion break her veggie morals for a bit of her old fave meal. The korma mix of yogurt spices and mixed fruit, again baked in less than 15 minutes (plus super quick 1 minute microwave rice and peas and 1 minute mini Naan) went down a storm. Tigs tasted a bit of the chicken whilst the Mouse scoffed it down, and we thoroughly enjoyed this low effort, super tasty version of our midweek staple.
Thursday – Crackin’ Calzone and Salad
By far the kids FAVOURITE and they loved rolling, stretching and filling their own Calzones – again a meat and veggie version. I wasn’t sure how it’d go down with Tigs as she isn’t a fan of Pizza, so popped a few chips on the side. Sadly, this meal was the kids least favourite…I only managed to get them to nibble on the calzones – but my absolute favourite – the calzone was out of this world! Little Cook Boxes, could you make an adult version pleeeeease?!
Friday – Classy Chicken Stroganoff and rice
A totally new taste experience for the kids and I – but always a fan of a chicken in sauce type dinner, this cleansing combo of mushroom, chicken and creme fraiche had me wondering why we haven’t made this before? Tig’s was a no go on this one, but polished off the rice whilst the Mouse lapped up the saucy chicken dish.
I wasn’t asked by Little Cook Boxes to write this post, BUT I felt pretty passionate about these products for busy parents. A definite alternative to the freezer options and one that leaves you feeling not only stress free, but pretty smug that you are winning at parenting today. Even for our fussy eaters we got a lot of value in trying new foods, getting kids involved, eating fresh and nutritious foods with no hidden nasties and breaking the old routines of the same dinners week in week out.
Despite recommending 1 meal for 1 child, I felt for our young kids a meal could do two tummies – if in doubt bulk out with extra veg / sides. For working parents who stumble in the door knackered at tea time this could really be a midweek saviour – with no waste, no hassle and certainly no pasta surprise. Again.
Disclosure: We were gifted A Little Cook Box, however all opinions are my own