Now the children have gone back to school, the cries of I’m bored/ I’m hungry gets replaced in the evening with “I’m tired!” “I don’t want to do homework!” “I’m not hungry!”

Often, especially for younger children, they are overwhelmed with school, concentrating all day and it can leave them irritable and tired. For older ones, the pressure of school often follows them home in the way of activities, homework and peer pressure.

Some good ways to help all the family combat this extra stress is to ensure you have dinner together. Sat around a table, phones away, TV off. So you focus on the food and more importantly, each other.

Give everyone the chance to open up about their day, what’s happening tomorrow etc

To make the meal more special, get the kids involved in the cooking. It’ll lead to them enjoying the dinner more and feeling an ownership and pride over it. Below is a simple recipe that children of all ages can help with. *BBCgoodfood.

 

Ingredients

 

For the meatballs

  • 300g good quality pork sausage (about 4 large or 8 chipolatas)
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 small onion , coarsely grated
  • 1 carrot , finely grated
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 50g parmesan , finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 courgette , coarsely grated
  • 3 garlic cloves , finely grated
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • pinch caster sugar
  • splash red wine vinegar
  • 2x tins chopped tomato

To serve

  • cooked spaghetti

Method

  • STEP 1

Children: Squeeze all the sausage meat out of the sausage skins into a large bowl and add the mince. Tip all the rest of the meatball ingredients, except the olive oil, into the bowl and season with black pepper then squish everything together through your hands until completely mixed. Keep an eye on younger children to make sure they don’t taste any of the raw mix.

  • STEP 2

Children: Roll the meatball mix into walnut-sized balls and place them on a plate – this is a job children as young as 2 can help with and a great job to help teach older children basic division.

  • STEP 3

Grown ups: While the children are rolling the meatballs make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the courgette and garlic and cook for 5 mins until soft and mushy. Stir in the tomato puree, sugar and vinegar leave for 1 min then tip in the tomatoes and simmer for 5 mins. If your children like courgettes then you can leave the sauce chunky. But if, like mine, they hate courgettes then blitz the sauce with a hand blender – either way continue to simmer sauce gently while you cook the meatballs. If your child is confident with heat, from 7+ they can cook the sauce with supervision.

  • STEP 4

Grown ups: Heat the oil in a large frying pan and, working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides then pop them into the sauce – continue to simmer the sauce for 15 mins, stirring very gently until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve with cooked spaghetti, extra grated Parmesan and a few torn basil leaves your child has picked and torn.

And now school has started, you may find that with the influx of new subjects and projects from school you might struggle for storage!

Speak to the experts at Beehive Self Storage here to find out how you can get half price storage for the first 4 weeks.