Over the summer life at home has been somewhat disjointed. Moving house, and changing family dynamics, mean that I’ve followed the advice of someone who very early on told me that the key thing in the early days of all this change was to remember to eat something, and to remember to make sure everyone else eats too. For a little while I was allowed to not aim for a nutritionally balanced home cooked meal every evening, but I just had to make sure that I had a meal every day and that the kids didn’t go hungry either.
It was quite seriously one of the best bit of advice I could have been given at the time, as I was beginning to stress a bit about not being quite as much of a domestic goddess as I liked to think I was! The kids are now all back at school though (full time school in Master C’s case) and life is starting to find its new normal and routines are forming around the kids and the rest of the family. With that comes back proper meal plans and me making sure that the kids (all three of them at times) are eating decent meals that take into account their needs, as well as their likes.
We’re a meat eating household (which in itself is a good thing as some days it’s all Master C will eat) and so red meat regularly forms part of our diet. Knowing that red meat is a key part of a balanced diet is just one of those things that I think I’ve always known, although I can’t remember exactly how I came to know it.
Red meat provides a range of important nutrients that are often low in toddlers and children – including iron, zinc and B vitamins, selenium and potassium. Now I admit that I had to go away and google exactly what selenium was (here if you’re interested) but I had certainly heard of the benefits of red meat when it came to providing zinc and iron. The thing is though, that red meat has been having a bit of a tough time in the press lately, and as a result some of its nutritional benefits have become overshadowed. Hence, a campaign linking up the Meat Advisory Panel, an independent group of health and nutrition experts, and BritMums, to promote red meat in the diets of children.
As part of a balanced diet red meat a few times a week can really help to bridge the nutrition gaps in children and so help them to maintain good health as they grow and develop. It was with this in mind that I created my Pork Pasta Bolognese as an alternative to a traditional bolognese, that I am sure is served up in family kitchens across the country.
- 1 onion – diced
- 2 cloves of garlic – crushed
- Pork mince – 500g pack
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Red wine
- 1 Carrot – grated, so the fussy kids don’t notice it’s there!
- Can of chopped tomatoes
- Mixed herbs – teaspoon
- 250g dried pasta – we like fusilli, but any shapes will work, even spaghetti!
- Cheddar cheese – grated, to serve
Fry the onion until soft. Add the crushed garlic for the final couple of minutes.
Add the pork mince to the pan and cook until browned.
Add the grated carrot and cook for a further minute.
Add a generous splash of Worcestershire sauce to the pan and cook for a further minute before adding a glass of red wine. You can obviously miss out the wine if cooking for very young children, but the alcohol cooks off and it does add nicely to the flavour.
Include a tin of chopped tomatoes and a teaspoon of mixed herbs to the pan. Mix together and stir until it’s bubbling nicely. Then turn down the heat, put a lid on the pan and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
During the final ten minutes off the simmering, cook your desired pasta shapes in a pan of boiling water.
Serve with either the pork bolognese on top of the pasta or mixed through, depending on your children’s preference. Let the kids add a helping of grated cheese once the plates make it to the table.
Enjoy – whilst thanking either your children, for not choosing spaghetti to go with their dinner, or the people who invented laundry detergent that can get tomato sauce stains out of white school shirts when they all try and suck spaghetti like true Italians!
Now, I obviously didn’t bother telling the kids that I was specifically trying to increase the amount of iron and zinc in their diets by serving this pork pasta bolognese up to them (I’m no parenting fool!), but the empty plates form children and adults at the end of the meal suggest it went down well. The question about if there were any seconds confirmed that. A parenting win all round.
Disclaimer: This post is an entry for the BritMums #HealthyRedMeat competition, sponsored by the Meat Advisory Panel.