End of term fatigue (and the rot sets in)

As we saw in NSW over the weekend, all good things must end. And before they end, they will usually become corrupt, festering things, self-interested and spoilt. And so endeth the first school term of Miss Fruitarian. Without checking the calendar, I knew when week 8 had dawned.

The mornings have been getting progressively tougher. Teeth brushing is taking a good 15 minutes, even with me keeping a watchful eye over proceedings. Uniforms are being put on back-to-front, school hats left in the car and the reading folder is never ready for return on time.

The exhaustion comes like a wave and finally crashes down to shore. Today, Miss F has collapsed and is in need of a day at home. Luckily, being a WAHM, I can accommodate it. In the olden days it would have been tears all around as I forced her into a uniform and off to early morning care. These days, it’s just tears on my part as I try to get work done around a complaining patient who has perked up considerably since I announced she didn’t have to go to school.

Dinner tonight needs to be something comforting yet healthy, that I can make whilst being constantly interrupted. This baked rice dish fits the bill – and it uses up the last of the eggplant and basil from the garden.

A more-ish, pick-me-up dinner for tired kiddlies

Baked tuna & tomato rice

Butter, for greasing
4 cups chicken stock
1½ cups arborio rice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 finger eggplant, very finely diced
1 medium zucchini, grated
500ml passata (bottled tomato puree found in the supermarket near the Italian pasta sauces)
½ cup boiling water
150g cheddar cheese, grated
125g can corn kernels, drained
185g can tuna in oil, drained
Handful of basil leaves, torn
Black pepper

Parsley sprigs, to serve

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a lasagne or casserole dish.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the stock to the boil, then add the rice and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times until par-boiled. Drain.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and eggplant and cook for 3 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid sticking.

Add the drained rice and zucchini and cook for a minute or so, stirring. Add the passata and water. Stir until well combined. Add the cheese, corn, tuna and basil and mix thoroughly. Season to taste and remove from heat.

Spoon into lasagne dish and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes until the top is golden. Top with parsley sprigs and serve with green salad.


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17 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    I do love this recipe but there is no way my kids would. Hence why i looked into this website I have fussy eaters. They are 8 and 7 and do not like anything with sauces, pasta, rice, cooked veges, things mixed. My world consists of chopped carrot, cucumber and lettuce and something else that will get scraped into the bin. We do tacos alot, although it consists mainly of salad ingredients above. I still find the blogs very interesting, maybe i will come across something i can try.

    • 2

      wendyblume said,

      Hi Michelle,

      thanks for taking the time to comment. Your situation sounds tough! Here’s what I’d suggest you try… just the plain lamb meatballs (crumble the feta really finely the first time you make them). On their own they are free of sauces or fuss. So too the salmon pikelets, just leave out the flecks of green.

      It’s so great that they like salad!!! At least you know they’re eating healthily. Have you tried the beef fajitas? If they like tacos, then they might like these…

      If you let me know other meals they DO eat, I might be able to offer a couple more suggestions. Hope this helps! cheers, Wendy xxx

    • 3

      lisa said,

      Ahhh Michelle…….my boys are exactly the same!!!
      My 6 yr old won’t eat any sauces, rice, pasta, stews, veggies etc. He’s not fond of meat either, unless it is home made burgers or taco’s (mince mainly). He will eat salad and fish and eggs and H/M pizza’s??
      My 3 yr old won’t eat any visible veggies or salad but he does like pasta & rice unless they have lots of sauce. He is not fond of meat either but he does like sausages.
      Glad to know i am not in only one struggling to find things to feed these fussy fussy kids!! 🙂

      • 4

        wendyblume said,

        Lisa, have your kids always been this way, or was there a point where their behaviour changed?

      • 5

        Liz Fayers said,

        My three boys are just like this, it’s relieving to know I am not the only one. I find it very frustrating when they all like/dislike different foods (even my husband). It is really hard to find a meal that everyone enjoys eating that isn’t takeaway. We eat a lot of raw veggies cut up (but not touching each other of course). My middle DS doesn’t like much fruit apart from green apples, watermelon & strawberries. Wendy, I have only tried a couple of your recipes yet and the cheese puffs were a success last week (yay!). I love your website, keep up the good work!

      • 6

        wendyblume said,

        well, whatever takeaway you buy can give you some clues to what you’ll all eat. have you read this post… https://vegiesmugglers.com.au/2013/02/13/is-your-kid-a-fussy-eater-heres-where-to-start/

        there’s some links at the bottom to other ‘beginner’ type posts.

        remember that you can keep your food sauce free and separate but still smuggle some stuff in, like meatballs, and cheese puffs. then maybe you can make a sauce on the side, get the kids to start dipping and eventually it might all subside!

  2. 7

    lisa said,

    Hi. They were both good eaters as babies but as they got a little older they just really disliked meat (all of a sudden too??) My eldest wasn’t too keen on sauces etc as a baby, but as he was a bigger baby, he ate anything. They both changed at around 2years old. Any advice? 🙂 hehe
    Its very frustrating >.<

  3. 8

    Suzie said,

    Hi made this dish the other night for the family…I have 5 kids under 10 and everyone loved it…thanks for a great recipe!!

  4. 10

    Irene said,

    This looks good and I think my kids would eat it. Hubby wouldn’t though :-/

  5. 12

    Kim said,

    Hi, my kids love tuna in the tin on crackers, so might give this a try. I have tried the cheesy pots and they were a FAIL, I also tried the Salmon pikelets and they were a FAIL too 😦 I have nearly 4 year old twins and a almost two year old. My problem is the twins, one of them is getting much better since I adopted some of your guidelines, but the other one is just a nightmare and says that everything is disgusting!! Hence, mealtimes at my place are a bit of a nightmare 😦 But I am willing to give anything a go, I love to cook fresh meals every night and also healthy..

    • 13

      wendyblume said,

      Hi Kim, you have the added problem of peer pressure to content with! Let me know what your tricky one DOES eat and I’ll make some suggestions for you.

      • 14

        Kim said,

        Hi Wendy, I have tried the feta meatballs and they were eaten by my 2 year old (he devoured them) my not so fussy twin ate two and the fussy twin ate none. I just made your zucchini and rice slice and that was great for the other two and the fussy one ate three small pieces (better than nothing). The fussy one loves fried rice, with bacon, spring onions and egg only!!!, sausage rolls, nuggets, sausages, she has tried steak and liked it, bacon, hot chips, lasagne, spaghetti bol, raw carrot, lettuce, cheese. I made carbonara and she gagged 😦

  6. 15

    Sandi Garrett said,

    OK I have a question……my lot won’t eat tuna (me included lol) or eggplant, could I used another meat as a substitute? Chicken finely chopped up? Mince Meat? Any suggestions would be great because it looks like yummy comfort food!!!

    • 16

      wendyblume said,

      Hi Sandi, I’m assuming you won’t like salmon! Maybe brown some chicken or pork mince and mix that in. And the eggplant could be replaced with zucchini. But you’d be suprised – you can’t even pick it in the final dish, so maybe give it a try.

  7. 17

    Jill said,

    Was great, added mushrooms and celery. So easy and agree with making whilst interruptions surround. Prep everything then chuck it in! Hoping it freezes and reheats ok. Thanks.

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