Meal Time Dramas Are Solved Thanks To Mimi's Bowl - The Grace Tales

Meal Time Dramas Are Solved Thanks To Mimi’s Bowl



If you've ever felt looming anxiety over the thought of dinner time, you might like to breathe a sigh of relief, thanks to this interview with Miriam of Mimi's Bowl.

As mum to her 5 year old little girl and 1 year old baby boy, Miriam cooks modern baby and toddler recipes from her home in West London, then blogging and posting daily about what they eat at home. Sharing her honest experiences of cooking at home for her family – whilst offering parent cooking hacks and recipes – her mission is to end “babyfood panic”, an anxiety about how to feed your baby and what to feed your baby.

Mimi has been kind enough to share some of her favourite recipes with us, and we can feel that anxiety melting away already …

Visit Mimi’s Bowl


The 5 O’clock dilemma: what’s for dinner?

What to cook for dinner? The perennial question in most households. After a long day with kids, sometimes the last thing we all want to think about is: What’s on the menu tonight… Complicated by children who may not always be receptive, to elaborate meal plans. I write every day about how we can eat better at home, cook smarter, waste less and nourish our family with good food, and even I can struggle to find new quick and easy meals. The beautiful wall of recipe books, in my kitchen, can seem unattainably complicated on a school night and the contents of my fridge depressingly at odds to recipes online. Lastly, tired and unreceptive children always want feeding now. This is most parent’s dilemma post 5 o’clock.

Inevitably one meal eaten in my house every week, is a tray bake of some kind. One tray and a few ingredients roasted in the oven: that is it. And, although I say my family and I eat a tray bake every week, they won’t have noticed. It might be a chicken tray-bake, or a salmon tray-bake, or a roasted vegetable tray-bake and so on… variations are endless. Tray bakes also provide an opportunity to use-up the forgotten vegetables and herbs, languishing in my fridge.

Whatever your cooking ability a tray-bake is pretty manageable to prep and tweaking the ingredients each week, means that suddenly you have a whole new repertoire of suppers with very little thought. On average 5-10 minutes prep is all you need to assemble it, then you can get it in the oven and deal with the kids. When thinking about putting together a tray bake for dinner, try and include a complete meal: in general that is a protein, a starchy carbohydrate and a selection of vegetables. This saves time, cooking and most importantly washing up: the goal is a delicious dinner on one tray. Secondly, prep your ingredients according to cooking times: cut sweet potatoes into dice so they cook faster and leave broccoli in big wedges; to even out the cooking times. Lastly, throw quicker cooking ingredients such as kale, or cherry tomatoes onto the tray halfway through cooking, to stop them being overcooked. After that, it is simply time to get creative and try combinations of ingredients that your family enjoy.

As we head into the new year, here are three tray-bakes, which are new to Mimi’s Bowl for 2020. They are simple to prepare and hopefully the whole family can tuck in and enjoy them. I hope they will be the beginning of a weekly tray-bake meal in your house too.


Paprika Chicken, Lemon and Oregano Tray Bake

Ingredients

  • 8 organic chicken thighs, skin on/ bone in (1 kg)
  •  700g-800g potatoes
  • 1 organic unwaxed lemon, halved
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 large punnet cherry tomatoes (700g)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • thyme sprigs (1 per chicken piece)
  • black pepper, freshly ground to season
  • Serve with a sprinkling of fresh herbs, chopped: e.g. dill, parsley, mint, or basil

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190C (fan oven)
  • Prep the potatoes: wash, trim (I don’t peel as there is so much nutrition under the skin), quarter and in a bowl toss in 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • In a mixing bowl toss the chicken thighs and halved lemon with olive oil, sweet paprika, dried oregano and lightly season with a little black pepper
  • Take a lined baking tray and place the eight chicken thighs (skin side up) on the tray, with the lemon halves. Scatter the potatoes around the chicken pieces and then the cherry tomatoes on top. Make sure the chicken skin is visible, so that it can crisp up, during cooking
  • Place the tray bake in the preheated oven and cook at 190C (fan oven) for 10 mins, then lower the temperature of the oven to 180C (fan oven) for a further 50 minutes. A total of 1 hours cooking time
  • Once the chicken is completely cooked through, remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes
  • Serve the chicken, potatoes and roasted tomatoes on a big platter. Scatter with fresh herbs and finally squeeze over the juices from the cooked lemons

Pesto Salmon Tray Bake

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets (500g)
  • 1 small butternut squash (600g) peeled, de-seeded and cubed
  • 1/2 head of broccoli, cut into 4 large wedges (I include the stalk)
  • 60g breadcrumbs
  • 4 teaspoons pesto (100g)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • black pepper, freshly ground to season

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C (fan oven)
  • Combine the breadcrumbs and pesto in a small bowl, until you have a fragrant green breadcrumb “paste”
  • Take a lined baking tray and place the four salmon fillets, skin side down
  • Top each salmon fillet with a tablespoon of the mix, pressing the mix down onto the flesh of the salmon fillet, trying not to scatter breadcrumbs onto the tray
  • In a bowl toss the butternut squash and tomatoes with olive oil and lightly season with a little black pepper
  • Then scatter the butternut squash and tomatoes around the salmon pieces, filling the tray
  • Cook for 30 mins, or until the fish fillets are completely cooked through and the vegetables are beautifully roasted
  • Halfway through cooking I scatter over the broccoli, lightly coated in oil and cook for the remaining 15 mins
  • Once everything is nicely cooked through, remove from the oven
  • Serve the fish and vegetables on a big platter; removing the salmon skins and discard. Scatter with fresh herbs and fresh lemon wedges

Roasted Pumpkin, Sage & Kale Tray Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 small pumpkin/ squash (1 kg)
  • 2 red onions, peeled and quartered
  • fresh sage leaves
  • 1 small bulb of garlic, cloves broken apart but unpeeled
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 75-80g kale, washed, picked over and woody stems removed
  • to serve: 200g giant couscous, cooked according to the packet instructions, in homemade (or no salt) vegetable stock

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C (fan oven)
  • Prep the pumpkin: wash, trim (I don’t peel as it is much easier to remove the skin before serving), cut into large dice
  • Next, take a lined baking tray place the pumpkin chunks on the tray, with the quartered red onion, garlic cloves and sage leaves. (Toss the sage leaves and garlic in a little olive oil first, to stop them burning). I place a sage leaf on top of each piece of pumpkin
  • Cook in the pre-heated oven for 40 – 45 mins, or until the pumpkin is completely cooked
  • Take a second tray and scatter with the kale leaves, toss in a bowl with a little olive oil. Roast for 10 minutes.
  • Cook the couscous, according to the packet instructions, using homemade vegetable stock, to add flavour
  • Assemble the dish ~ fold the kale through the couscous, reserving a little to scatter over the end dish. Spread the couscous over a large bowl or platter, top with the roasted pumpkin (remove the skin which should now pull away easily), red onion wedges and crispy sage leaves. Squeeze out the cooked garlic onto the couscous also. Top with a final scatter of the roasted kale and serve

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