Ok, confess, how often do you eat McDonalds…

The food cum shot.

The food stylist’s food porn.

For us, McDonalds goes hand in hand with long car trips. It’s firmly entrenched as a family tradition and is just the enticement the kids need to KEEP IT TOGETHER on those long haul car trips. Like the other day, when we drove from Tenterfield to Newcastle. Turned out that Armidale was just the perfect time for a Maccas lunch.

Are you shocked that I feed my kids McDonalds? Usually it’s a twice a year treat, but so far this year, they’ve already eaten it three times. And I don’t really care. I don’t like the concept of taboo foods. I’d prefer to raise food-savvy kids, educated and able to enjoy everything without guilt. They just need to learn how often they should eat certain things.

Do you know parents who say, “We NEVER feed our kids fast food”? Such smugness bugs me. It’s right up there with those parents who also survive wonderfully without TVs and video games, who never yell at their kids or have a bad parenting moment. I’ve never mastered such parenting perfection. My kids and I live in the real world full of temptations and things that are bad for us. If I keep those lures magically out of reach, I can only imagine the rebellion, when as teens they can take their own money and scoff as many burgers as they want.

Did my kids enjoy their McDonalds cuisine? Not really (they prefer my nuggets which are apparently tastier) and part of me is always happy when we get to the end and the kids haven’t really been into it. Except for the toy. They always love the crappy toy.

Feeling brave, I ordered a sweet chilli chicken wrap. Safe to say that it was disgusting. All oozy and inedible. Have you noticed the current trend for fast-food ooze? The final food shot in all the ads has burgers and wraps oozing sauce. Looks gross to me, but it must be popular, so I’m jumping on the bandwagon, oozing away with my own version of a sweet chilli chicken wrap. Of course mine has pumpkin, spring onion and bamboo shoots in it, which means that it actually tastes good, too.

Thai style chicken chilli wraps

500g chicken mince
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs, (I make fresh ones from stale bread)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp lemon grass (or lemon rind)
4 spring onions
225g can bamboo shoots, rinsed, drained
1 cup grated pumpkin
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
0-2 tbsp Thai red curry paste (NOTE: To appease everyone in my household, I skip the paste, to keep them blander for Miss F – then I add extra toppings in the wraps for adults. But if your whole family likes spice then add in some paste – it’s yum.)

To serve: Store bought wraps of your choice, spinach leaves, grated carrot, coriander, sweet chilli sauce.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Pop the mince into a large mixing bowl.

Use a mini food processor to whizz up the breadcrumbs, garlic and lemon grass/rind. Tip into the bowl.

Blitz the spring onion, add to the bowl and repeat with the bamboo shoots. Also add in the pumpkin (you can blitz it, but I actually prefer the texture of it grated) and the egg and all the sauces/pastes.

Wear kitchen gloves and use your hands to combine everything really well. Note that the mixture is SLOPPY! It will firm up during cooking. Form small patties, or long ‘chicken tender’ shapes and place on the tray.

Spray with cooking oil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and carefully turn over. Spray with more oil and cook for another 15-20 minutes until cooked through (break one open and check that the mince is no longer pink).

Serve with salad on wraps, with an extra dollop of sweet chilli sauce and lashings of coriander for the adults.

Serves 2 adults and 3 kids.

USE LEFTOVERS THE NEXT DAY... make a lunch salad with bits of chicken patties, spinach, carrot, fennel, avocado, sesame seeds and a sprinkle of brown vinegar - I just ate it and IT WAS DELICIOUS.

USE LEFTOVERS THE NEXT DAY… make a lunch salad with bits of chicken patties, spinach, carrot, fennel, avocado, sesame seeds and a sprinkle of brown vinegar – I just ate it and IT WAS DELICIOUS.

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28 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    We don’t eat Maccas, but we do eat junk food occasionally! It’s good reminder why we prefer good home cooking usually 😉

  2. 3

    Claire Bailey said,

    We have had Maccas twice in the last 6 years, Miss 4 has had one sundae and that’s it. But I’m not smug, we have KFC probably on a similar basis to your Maccas. We also get fish and chips every few months from a good place locally (fresh fish, they crumb it in house etc).

    Unfortunately the kids do like KFC, far more than I do, but they also know it’s not healthy and that it can make you sick if you have a lot of it. An example we have given to them is their aunt who had her gall bladder out in her mid 20s and used to eat it at least a few times a week. I am also considering showing them Supersize Me, but might have to wait a few more years for them to really understand it. But I suppose the general gist of it might sink in and then they can watch it again later.

    From one junk food feeding, TV watching, gaming, yelling, work in progress of a mother to another – Keep up the good job 😉 And thanks for Saturday night’s meal plan.

    • 4

      wendyblume said,

      yes, getting the balance right is tricky, isn’t it. I want them to be educated, but at the same time I don’t really want to make food into a big deal! Supersize me is a great doco – might save that for when they’re teens.
      A good girlfriend of mine had her gall bladder out last year and coincidently she’s also my girlfriend who eat the most junk food. 😉

  3. 5

    bookofmohs said,

    You can’t be perfect, some Mickey d’s once in a while isn’t any worse than any other convenience food. You have to enjoy and live a little 🙂

  4. 6

    mummysundeservedblessings said,

    We are the same. Mostly eating it when we travel which can actually be quite frequently (once a month at the most). I did try that chilli wrap on Sunday night and mine was surprisingly good but as soon as I finished it I got that sick feeling Maccas leaves you with ( I only ate a few chips). The kids like the idea if it but don’t actually consume much and it is pricey! On the way home yesterday we decided to avoid takeaway and eat at home. Your wrap recipe looks so much better.

  5. 7

    katie poli said,

    We don’t eat fast food from the big chains much, mainly because I don’t like the food (it always seems like a better idea than the reality!). In fact, I took my kids to a Hungry Jacks to go to the toilet a couple of months ago and my four year old son asked me “what’s this place mum?” (insert smug mum face here, bahaha!). However, fish, chips and calamari are a firm favourite over here, so we are definitely not junk-food free 🙂 plus i’m a big believer in tv, and i am miss cranky pants mum on a regular basis so i’ll join you in that department!

    These wraps look delicious… wraps are a regular dinner item over here, but I (being the angelic smug parent that I am – muhahah) use julie goodwin’s flatbread recipe. I’m sure your thermy could whip them up in a flash (I use my kitchenaid and they are easy peasy!). They are well worth it if you have the extra time…. http://www.juliegoodwin.com.au/recipe-flatbread.html

  6. 9

    Jo-Anne Wizz said,

    🙂 🙂 🙂
    🙂 NO! NO ! NO!
    🙂 I DO NOT EAT NOR GO TO ANY FAST FOOD PLACES. 🙂
    🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. 11

    Nicole said,

    Far too often in days gone by, but we’re trying to save money (and our health) so we’re pretty much not having junk food unless we’ve planned it as a treat.

    Also, I just pinned this and saw the description you put for the first picture, hilarious LOL

  8. 13

    Georgie said,

    Another smuggy who doesn’t do fast food. Our young one seriously loves a good ol’ fish and chip outing. He’s 4. My 8 yo doesn’t like chips though and is really into healthy eating. Take away for us is sushi usually.
    My thermie has been a god send to avoid the take away on a busy night. I hope you come to love yours as much.
    Makes a wholefood lifestyle so much easier! Have you read Quirky Cooking’s blog? Or Mixing it up in HK? Their creativity with the tmx has helped me use it to it’s limits…. Off to make some coconut milk now!!

  9. 14

    Mrs P said,

    We don’t eat Maccas because we don’t enjoy the taste of it, and if we’re going to eat nutritionally void food (which we do occasionally), we want to enjoy it! But we don’t tell anybody because we don’t want to come across as smug. Just like we make almost all our food from scratch (thank you Thermie!) because we avoid artificial additives and don’t advertise it because people are easily offended. I’ve come to the conclusion that even though I couldn’t give two hoots about how other people eat, they feel judged when they see somebody doing something quite different from their approach. But at the end of the day, I think we’re all on the same boat, just trying to do the best we can. We are our own harshest critics unfortunately.

    These wraps are being added to next weeks menu plan. Thanks Wendy! They look delish! Also, I haven’t made Julie Goodwins wraps but the Tortillas from The $120 Food Challenge are also super easy and yum. They also keep for a couple of days 🙂

    • 15

      wendyblume said,

      yes, $120 food challenge is another great site! And well done to you and your dedication to your family’s well being. I struggle to be awesome all the time and take my hat off to those who manage. I know you’re out there!

  10. 16

    Kirrily said,

    Macca’s means Mummy time out. Not a common occurrence, but I will catch up with a friend over lunch or coffee and let our kids play in the play area. Its our wet weather option. With young kids I’m happy to ignore the food quality in favour of maintaining my mental health!

  11. 18

    Belinda said,

    See… this is the reason I love reading your blog, we are all exactly the same, (problem is most people don’t admit to it!!) My kids used to ask all the time about this place called Old McDonald’s…now their more familiar with it but it’s usually the car trips when we resort to the plastic toy plague. If I can teach my children there are no bad foods just better choices then I hope they eventually learn a valuable lesson?!!

  12. 19

    Nanny Peta said,

    Hello everyone,

    Ok well l will confess that we do eat our fair share of McDonalds….. but only when doing a road trip. We never go to Macca’s for a meal “out” just the drive thru has us hooked when we have a long drive ahead and we are leaving early in the morning…. Sometimes we feel its a bit too early for breakfast so we will do a drive by at those golden arches along the way….. Bad l know !!

  13. 20

    Ali said,

    Nope, no McDonalds for us, the kids think its crap. I used to love the lean beef burger but surprise surprise it didn’t last long on the menu. That one was MY traveling treat….

  14. 21

    Barbara Good said,

    Us too on road trips, which we, unfortunately, do quite a few of. However, my girls are far more interested in the playground than the food and will share a small chips and burger/nuggets and still we trow some out. I generally avoid the drinks and take water and I refuse the cheap, crappy plastic toy. Perhaps I’m going to sound smug or judgmental, but all those crappy plastic toys that last two minutes and then end up in the bed are so damaging environmentally that I absolutely cannot condone them. Thankfully my kids don’t ask for them anymore.

    • 22

      wendyblume said,

      i do really agree with you on the toys, but have to admit to a bit of apathy on them. My guilt is appeased slightly by the fact that it’s not a regular thing, but yes, I agree that they fall into the category that my husband has christened, ‘things that should never have been made’. total waste of the world’s resources. Your new house sounds great btw – have been following your posts!

  15. 23

    Jody Foster said,

    Loved the chicken wraps they were very good. One thing I will change next time though is the bamboo was a bit overpowering so I will reduce the amount. Other than that 5 stars! Having leftover chicken and salad as per your suggestion and am looking forward to it! It made a lot of chicken “tenders” so I was wondering if they can be frozen after they are cooked?

    • 24

      wendyblume said,

      Hi Jody – glad you enjoyed the recipe. I’m a big fan of the flavour of bamboo shoots, but totally see how you might want to halve the amount.

      I think these would freeze no problem. Just make sure you get them super duper piping hot when you reheat them!

  16. 25

    Melanie said,

    I came across this website after trying the McDonalds sweet chili chicken wrap (the United States version), which was horrifically disgusting. Your recipe looks amazing and I want to try it. Does chicken mince mean ground chicken?

  17. 27

    Katie said,

    Thanks for keeping it real, Wendy. I have recently experienced good friends of mine passing all kinds of “oh, we never feed our children this/that” and it was nasty as well as smug. Interestingly, when you probe these parents they aren’t perfect either. I’m with you. I would prefer to educate and use the term ‘sometimes foods’. It’s ok to have a treat. It’s ok to be busy and it’s ok to not be Martha Stewart every day. Life with kids is about aiming for healthy meals and a wholesome lifestyle but knowing that it’s totally fine to relax and have a burger from time to time.

  18. 28

    Lara said,

    Hi there

    Just wondering if these will work and still be tasty without the onion – kids can’t/won’t and are like bloodhounds at spotting it in a mixture!


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