Saving pennies with school dinners

My tiny little four year old starts school in a week.

lego libs

It seems almost ridiculous, it was literally seconds ago that I held her to my breast and fed her for the first tme after she made my world so much brighter by arriving in it.

I have so little inclination to send her into the education system, I merely want to keep her at home, with me.

But time must move on and I need to put my worries aside, as they are of a selfish nature, and face the future of having three children at school and having time to crack on and get stuff done.

Therotically, because all my kids are now at school, I should be able to work more, and earn more.

Time will tell if that is true….

Although, there is a benefit to Libby-Sue starting school….

She is going to get her dinner, for free, for three years!

Libby-Sue will be one of the many four years old starting ‘big’ school this September who will benefit from the Governments scheme to give all children in reception, year one and two a hot school meal every lunchtime.

Plus, school meals have come on a long way since we were nippers.

My school meal memories comprise of semolina with jam in, stodgy mash and clumped up peas.  I don’t remember ever looking at my plate and thinking, ‘hmmmm, this is nutrious.’

But Libby-Sue has a whole new experience to look forward to, with a variety of meals being offered, all with a decent serving of fruit and veg.

For example, she will be chowing down on Roast Chicken, coated in non lumpy gravy, Salmon fishcakes, made from fresh, and lamb meatballs served with pasta.

Suddenly my daily salad looks rather dull.

You can check out the Children’s Food Trust website for full menu details, but if you want to start preparing your little one for school life, you may be tempted to have a go at this reciepe so they know what sort of food to expect at lunchtime!

Lamb meatballs as taken from the Food Trust website.

Number of portions this recipe makes: 25 primary servings (135g) – Invite friends!
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Quantity Ingredients
1.5kg lean lamb mince
5g (5tsp) mixed dried herbs
25ml olive oil
150g onions, peeled and diced
100g leeks, trimmed and diced
30g celery, diced
160g red pepper, deseeded and sliced
100g courgettes, sliced
50g tomato purée
120g carrots, peeled and sliced
120g canned chopped tomatoes
300ml water
5g (5tsp) dried oregano

What to do….

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
2. In a large bowl, mix the minced lamb with the dried mixed herbs. Shape the mixture
into balls, approximately 2 per 60g of meat, and place on a baking tray.
3. Bake the meatballs in the oven for 15 minutes until just starting to brown, then
transfer to an ovenproof baking dish and set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a large pan, fry the onions, leeks, celery, pepper and courgettes until
soft.
5. Add the tomato purée and stir well. Then add the carrots, canned tomatoes, water
and dried oregano and stir well. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer until all the
vegetables are soft, approximately 20 minutes.
6. In a food processer or with a stick blender, blend the vegetable and tomato mixture
until smooth.
7. Pour the vegetable and tomato sauce over the meatballs to generously cover them.
Cover the dish with tin foil and bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes until bubbling hot.

file000676404312Do you think they will let me come in for dinners?  It looks far more inviting than back in my day!

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