BACK TO SCHOOL:
Parents, it's that time of year again; we are almost at the end of the summer holidays and, whilst that brings a range of mixed emotions for the family, the bottom line is that we need to get organised for going back to school!
The uniforms and school shoes are at the ready, new schoolbags and stationery have been bought, the lunchboxes and cool bags are picked and all set for the year ahead, but what exactly do we put into them?
With time left to spare this August there are still opportunities to make a start by stockpiling the freezer with tasty treats that can keep your kids filled up till home time in the months ahead.
Preparing a lunchbox that is nutritious, appealing and cost effective can be a challenge; we want to encourage our kids to eat a varied, healthy and balanced diet, but this is often easier said than done, especially if you have a picky eater on your hands.
By batch cooking and freezing, not only are you planning ahead and saving on time and costs, but you can also ensure that you have a stockpile of tasty and well-balanced treats for your kids to eat.
Here is one of our favourite freeze ahead recipes, perfect for creating the perfect sized portion for that can be defrosted and cooked as and when you need them; these are easy to make, tasty and healthier than shop bought varieties (we’ve even managed to hide some extra fruit and veg in there!)
Health(ier) Sausage Rolls:
For the filling
1 plump shallot finely chopped
100g green or puy lentils drained weight from a 400g can
300g lean pork mince
50g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 small grated carrot
½ small grated apple
1 tsp dried sage or thyme
1 tsp Dijon mustard
For the pastry
½ x 375g sheet of ready-roll puff pastry
2 tsp semi-skimmed milk, to glaze
- Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
- Heat the oil in a small, non-stick frying pan. Tip in the shallot and grated carrot fry for a few mins until softened. Leave to cool. Meanwhile, mash the lentils in a bowl with the back of a spoon, then stir in the rest of the ingredients, the shallot, a small pinch of salt and black pepper (optional). Chill for 20 mins (not essential but makes it easier to shape).
- Roll out the pastry on a clean, lightly floured work surface to a 28cm square. Cut in half to give 2 rectangles.
- Halve the filling and, on a floured surface, roll each half, one at a time, to a 28cm-long sausage shape.
- Add one of the sausage shape rolls to one half of the cut pastry.
- Roll the pastry around it to almost enclose then brush a little milk down the long side and press lightly to close and seal the sausage roll. Slice into 8 rolls (or into a size and quantity that works for you)
- Place on a baking sheet, with the joins underneath. Using the blunt side of the knife, make 3 indents on top of each roll.
- Repeat with the rest of the pastry and filling. Brush the tops with a little milk and bake for 18-20 mins until golden and slightly puffy.
- Remove from the sheet and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or cold.