If you’re a parent of a teenager, you’ll know it’s bittersweet, because suddenly they’re independent and want to do all the things for themselves. Organise their social lives, decide their wardrobe, not have you set foot near their school…And, as in my case, even feed themselves.
My 13-year-old son, Winston, was never into cooking until he began Home Economics this year at school. He’s loving it, and has learned a lot. To my delight, he told me a few months ago that he wanted to start making some of his own meals. Oh, the mum pride.
I soon learned that Winston intended to have a weekly menu of instant noodles…cheese toasties…and pancakes.
Yep, he’d played me fair and square.
But it wasn’t just the complete lack of nutrition or even real food that concerned me the most - Winston was also missing out on the joy of cooking.
In Australia, many of us are so lucky that we can think about what we’d like to eat, buy the ingredients, and then prepare it for ourselves and the people we love.
Well, that’s my view on cooking. Winston’s is a tad more practical/teenage boy.
Still, his horizons need to be expanded. Cooking is a basic life skill, but is also so much fun. We need quick, simple and delicious recipes - and we've found a variety of great meal ideas from the Queensland Government’s Healthier. Happier. website.
Pro tip: It’s a great quick reference guide for how to best fuel and challenge your body, with food and fitness guides, planners, and helpful tools like the Health & Fitness Age Calculator. And of course, lots of recipes from light meals to main meals to desserts (as well as the very helpful 'Easy' category).
Winston chose the recipes he wanted to try and make, and were 10 minutes maximum to prepare.
Meal #1: Nachos.
This is Winston’s absolute favourite dish, so he was keen to give it a go. He was surprised that it was so straightforward and nutritional, with ingredients like capsicum and tomatoes packed in there.
He’s watched me make a tomato-based mince sauce a billion times, so that bit was easy for him to tackle. He did learn a bit about ‘popping’ bubbles landing on your clothes, though.
We hit a snag when we realised our pita bread was too thick to be baked into crispy chips, but it worked out better, because as Winston said, the bread was stronger to carry more sauce!