The battle of child friendly ‘healthy’ food!

Please tell me your ‘child friendly’ homemade dishes to inspire me 🙂


Since being with James, I’ve found a surprising love for cooking. Something my Dad would be super proud of having been an amazing cook himself. I love cooking a proper meal whilst James comes home from work and for the kids when they come to stay at the weekends. I pop Classic FM on, pour myself either a prosecco, G&T or red wine and cook away… well cooking does require a bit of time and preparation!

First attempt at Beef Wellington for my outlaws

I take most of my inspiration from Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. With Jamie’s, I love the twists he puts on traditional family suppers such as lasagne or cottage pie. Something the step kids love. Gordon saved my life when it came to meeting my ‘outlaws’ for the first time. I thought I would attempt a Beef Wellington, having never cooked something quite so extravagant before, and the first attempt was an absolute disaster, with the recipe taken from an online recipe somewhere. So I googled… and came across Gordon’s YouTube demonstration . I must say, cooking along to a video massively helped me and thankfully I passed the ‘cooking test’ with my outlaws. I gave myself 8/10 as I’d wrapped the pastry too tight and so the pasty split at the top. Otherwise it was pink, juicy and succulent! Ironically I’ve cooked for them several times since and the other week I accidentally dropped a bag of sugar in the homemade cottage piece I was making and thought I’d got away with it …. I didn’t – oops! A small amount of sugar goes a long way but a few heaps of it, hmm no!


It’s important to us that we feed the children when they stay with us every weekend as healthily as we can. By healthy I don’t mean salads and vegetables only but making things fresh, not out of a packet etc and incorporating the ‘5 a day’ into those dishes. The ingredients… However, as any parent or step parent would know, it’s quite challenging to get kids to try new things and want something other than pizza, burgers and chips. Sweets is a big no no for us, only on special occasions and fizzy drinks are kept to a minimum.

Fresh, homemade cottage pie packed with leeks, carrots and tomatoes. Served with peas.

However we want the kids to have fun and enjoy their food too so I’ve taken what they love and put my own spin on them… For example, all sauces that I make are home made as that eliminates all the crap that are put in jarred sauces, so my cottage pie and meatballs  Samantha (8) and Orson (9) absolutely love. I also do a smashing crispy jacket potato (from smearing garlic and butter around the skin and popping in the oven for 1.5 hours) to have with salad and cheese and a chicken roast dinner with lots of vegetables and home made roast potatoes – all of which always go down a treat. The eldest, Chris (13) and Barney (17) like more of a variety of food so we tend to cook things like beef in black bean sauce,  chicken and chorizo rice, chicken fajitas, thai green curry and roast chicken for them. Occasionally a Chicago Town pizza is cooked but they exercise a lot so we don’t feel too guilty about that! Everything is fresh and home made – no packets or anything frozen bar peas!

With most children, trying something new is always a challenge, especially when they are used to eating specific things at their home, but we do try and slowly introduce new things into their diet and make sure we always have vegetables or salad of some kind included in every meal we give them. I still find that Samantha picks out chopped tomatoes from her cottage pie and Orson will try and put volumes of salt on his food (we obviously don’t let him!). All 4 kids don’t like to try anything they don’t like the look of but I think that’s children generally. I remember I used to hate Brussel sprouts, now I love them!

Jamie Oliver’s baked sole goujons

This weekend I’m trying something new … they love meat balls, and they love my homemade sauce. It’s seriously tempting to do that again but I think I’m going to experiment a bit and see if we can get them to eat some Baked Sole Goujons and home made wedges and salad from Jamie Oliver’s Kids Recipes section… I will tell them it’s fish fingers… I’ll let you know how it goes!

Would love to hear of some more ‘child friendly’ homemade dishes to inspire me so please do let me know what you recommend below! 🙂

Lots of love, coolstepmum xxx

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