Au pairs are often asked to assist their host family in cooking an evening meal for the children. Basic cooking skills can be expected but we recommend that families put some time aside at the beginning of the placement to go through a few of the children’s favourite recipes with the au pair to make sure they have got the hang of it.
We asked our au pairs what evening meals go down best in their household. Here are the top ten responses!
“My host children love cooking. Together we make a great spaghetti bolognese. Italian food is their favourite” – Mathilde, French, au pair in London
“Pasta and pesto with sausages. Really simple to make and tastes really good”
– Elin, Swedish, au pair in Hertfordshire
“Jacket Potato with Baked Beans & Cheese is easy to make and my host kids loved it”
– Tamara, Austrian, former au pair in Oxfordshire
Gemma, a Spanish au pair in Surrey
sent us this photo of a quiche
that her host children enjoyed:
“My kids love pasta with mushroom sauce, homemade pizza, fish gratin with vegetables and also chilli (with a twist):
- 500g mince
- 2 small onions
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tins tomatoes
- 1 tin kidney beans
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Fry the garlic and onion and add the mince until it's done
- Add tomatoes and cinnamon and season with salt & pepper (and other spices if you want to)
- Simmer for at least 30 minutes (but longer is better)
- Add the beans about 30 minutes before serving
- Serve with bread, rice or a jacket potato (and maybe some natural yoghurt and guacamole)”
– Carina, German, au pair in Kent
“We like to cook fajitas on Friday nights. We cook the chicken with peppers, onions and spices and then serve with lots of little dishes of grated cheese, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, lettuce and tomatoes” – Diana, Italian, au pair in Surrey
“A really simple meal is pasta bake. I make a tuna and sweetcorn one with melted cheese on top and the boys always eat it all!” – Maartje, Dutch, au pair in London
“When we have enough time in the evening, we make pizzas together. The kids like to get involved. We use tomato puree on the base and choose from toppings including chicken, peppers, onion, mushroom, ham, pepperoni and cheese”
– Hannah, Australian, au pair in London
“My kids love roasts and it's actually quite easy to prepare it just takes some time. My host dad told me the trick to put a 'butter paper' (the paper that the Butter is wrapped in when you buy it) on Top of the chicken. This keeps the chicken juicy and prevents the Skin from getting burned. You put the chicken in the oven for about two hours. About 30 min before you take the chicken out, you take off the paper, so the skin can crisp up.
You can also put some whole potatoes on the tray with the chicken so you get baked potatoes. Or you Cut them in wedges, in half, ... But they need less time than the chicken itself, so you need to time it right :)
You can use any vegetable your kids like. My host children’s favourites are runner beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower... I simply boil these or just roast them as well. (Sliced and roasted carrots and parsnip are great).
I serve the food with gravy which I make from granules :) "
- Alina, German, au pair in Hampshire
“Today I made a cheesy cauliflower and pasta bake for the second time and the girls loved it”
– Laura, German, au pair in Surrey
We have lots more ideas for simple meals on our Pinterest page
and in our Au Pair Guide which is sent to all Smartaupairs
prior to travel.