Munch Appreciated

These two-in-one parent-toddler-approved meals are sure to please all palates, big and small.

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Having a house filled with little (and big) people who all have various mealtime preferences means mum or dad having to dish out separate dinners for everyone. It’s too much effort and expense.

To save you time — and your sanity — we’ve put together a list of versatile dishes that can easily incorporate a variety of ingredients, so everyone will be eating something they like. An added bonus: You can finally strike off “short order cook” from your list of duties. Hurrah!

GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH It’s the ultimate comfort food and perfect for days when you just don’t feel like cooking, but don’t want to order in either. Butter the outsides of two slices of bread and place them on a hot frying pan. Top one of the slice with a generous amount of cheese (whatever you have in the fridge) and everyone’s preferred ingredients. It can be slices of ham and even veggies like tomatoes. As the bread starts to brown, bring the “empty” one over and onto the other and allow the cheese to melt and bind it together. Take it out of the pan, slice down the middle and serve with the cheese oozing out. It will be a feast for the eyes and the mouth! 

CAULIFLOWER RICE The perfect alternative to traditional rice, especially if mummy is watching her waistline, this dish is cheap, healthy and super-easy to make. Rinse one large cauliflower and blitz in a food processor until the texture resembles rice. Then you can either fry it in pan with some oil or steam it. Boost the flavour with some herbs and spices or a squeeze of lemon, then serve with everyone’s favourite curry or stir-fry.  

PIZZA Who doesn’t like a pizza pie? And when you make it at home it can be as healthy as you want! Buy the readymade pizza crust from your neighbourhood supermarket, top it with pizza sauce-from-a-jar and then get ready to have some fun. Get the kids involved, ask them what toppings they’d like and get them to arrange it themselves. You can even spilt each pizza in the middle and have different toppings for each side — mushrooms, pineapples, olives, red pepper, shredded cheese blend, tomatoes… The list is endless. Pop it in the oven and less than 30 minutes later everyone will be tucking into piping-hot pizza.

FRIED RICE Yet another versatile dish, you can add pretty much anything you fancy into fried rice. Get everyone to pick one of their preferred ingredients, such as chicken, corn, carrot, egg, salted fish or prawns. Toss them in with day-old cooked rice and bring it all together with some soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce. Yummy!

FRUITY MILK CEREAL If boring bread is giving breakfast a bad name, then try something different like a fruit-based cereal porridge. Steam different fruits, everyone gets to pick their fav, and puree them in a blender separately. Mix some rice cereal with warm water, add your preferred puree in, stir well and savour. You can even sample each other’s puree.