Community Kitchen is all about the family table this week whether its the family with children or the grown ups who love a lunchbox rather than takeouts.

The Parents Voice joins me to talk about the transition into school how to make life a little more chilled with a few easy tips.

Taking just a few simple recipes (which you can find on the Recipe post) can make that mid-week meal a little more tasty, interesting and inviting for the family table. This week I have selected a few simple DIPS – home made to lift the night meal, add a snack to the lunch box and leave in the refrigerator to enchance another meal by changing the protein, salad or vegetable base.

Four dips for starters:

  • Baba Ghanoush – easy dip based on eggplant.
    • Use as a side with roast lamb or chicken
    • As a sauce for rice , roast vegetables, lamb koftas, lamb souvlaki
    • Spread as a base for a sandwich
    • Serve with pita chips  as a dip
  • Pesto – based on basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese.
    • Use your creative side to change the combinations – use kale, parsley, coriander, roasted almonds, cashews
    • Delicious with steak
    • Tossed thru pasta
    • Boil baby potatoes and add pesto and olive oil to finish
    • Use as a salad dressing base
    • Enjoy with vegies as a dip
  • Hommus – chick peas are the champion with this dip.
    • As a base for Greek inspired flatbreads
    • Use like butter on sandwiches or burgers
    • As a side for falafels along side yoghurt and taboulli
    • For a dip with crackers, vegies or pita bread
  • Carrot and Cashew – tasty and colourful using roast carrots and cashews.
    • Add to a curry for colour and flavour
    • Stir thru steamed brown rice or soba noodles
    • Use as a base for salad dressing
    • As a sauce for roast chicken
    • Dollop onto roasted vegies and top with greek style yoghurt and fresh herbs

Loved the mix and match chart I found in a Supermarket give a way recipe book which makes Salads a lot more interesting. By using 4 categories and I’ll list them below it give ideas and helps when you look in the crisper for inspiration.

The bulk (or Protein) base for the salad:

Chicken, Beef, Tofu, Chickpea patties, Prawns and Chargrilled veg

The greens:

Rocket, spinach, lettuce, kale, silverbeet, green beans, bean sprouts, salad leaves, zucchini ribbons

The vegies:

Slaw, tomatoes, onions, avocado, capsicum, grated carrot, grated beets, fresh herbs

The toppings:

Toasted seeds, nuts, croutons, proscuitto, olives, bacon, cheese, boiled eggs

Parents’ Voice

Wonderful to have the Parents’ Voice join us this week and Alice Pryor is an active mother herself who shared alongside some handy tips a snap shot of sending her youngest child off to school. I guess as parents or adults we can sometimes assume that the confident child we see at home is going to fit into  school easily but Alice spoke about the new rituals, eating at  different times and a new environment and some handy hits to help out.

The Parents’ Voice January newsletter talks about GETTING BACK-TO -SCHOOL READY and I’ve listed below the key points but go onto the web and check our the information they offer. I am a Grandmother and still find the reading is useful and I love the passion this group has.

  1. Pack early – from lunches, to notes and to uniforms- helps with the morning rush
  2. Be consistent – from drop off times, to dinner and bedtime – new routines to create
  3. Travel training – for those who travel alone to school
  4. Pack healthy – helps them to stay alert during school hours  – visit Cancer Council’s ‘Healthy Lunch Box Builder’
  5. Be prepared – familiarise yourself with the schools rules, timetables, pick up points – great for both parents and children
  6. BE POSITIVE – kids normally take their cues from their parents 🙂