The sewing machine is humming along. The kids are all playing happy so there's no interruptions. And if you can go for just a little bit longer, you'll get that bit finished.
Then you happen to glance at the clock and realise you should have started cooking dinner an hour ago. Or better still, you hear the garage door open and realise that hubby's home and it's dinner time already.
Please say that happens at your house too!? Here are five of my favourite family-friendly recipes for pulling together at times like this.
Grilled chicken, tortillas, yoghurt dip, avocado, tomatoes, cucumber (or whatever veggies you have available).
The chicken tenderloins are grilled on the BBQ (with a shop-bought spice mix sprinkled on top) while the dinner plates are arranged with a little bowl of Greek yoghurt, a dollop of fruit chutney and the cut veggies. The tortilla chips are made by placing the tortillas on an oven rack, spraying with a little olive oil, sprinkling with salt and pepper, and then baking until they start turning brown. When they've cooled off a little, I rip or snap the tortillas into wedges, perfect for dipping.
Hamburgers. I always have rolls and patties in the freezer, and patties are cooked in no time on our Weber. The whole meal rolls we use, along with the veggies we include, make this a reasonably healthy meal.
Mince, kale, cabbage, curry (pictured above) – in tortillas with Greek yoghurt, or fried with rice. (Or this version, which doesn't require meat). (I always have a pack of tortillas in the pantry, and usually have leftover cooked rice in the freezer too).
To make this, I shred the kale and cabbage (with my beloved monstrous chef knife!). I fry the mince till it's brown and crumbly, add some curry powder and the veggies. Try to cook until the veggies are just a bit crunchy still, but not soggy.
Pizza (we usually make our own base, but I always have a couple of pre-made bases in the freezer to pull out at the last minute if necessary. The kids love theirs with tomato paste, Italian herbs, mushrooms, bacon, pineapple and cheese, but we also have pizza with whatever leftover veggies we can find in the fridge. We've used leftover roast veggies, or some of the mince and kale mix from above, or sliced leek with leftover satay chicken. Yummo! If I have spinach leaves in the fridge I always sneak some of them in under the other pizza toppings.
Rice with butter and sugar (brown or white) – seriously! My kids love it. It doesn't happen often and usually only if Phil is not home for dinner, but I figure that it can't be worse for them than the average takeaway meal!
What's your favourite meal for pulling together at the last minute?