Summer is just around the corner, which means all kinds of sporting events will be on TV and providing great opportunities for a little armchair-referee time. Whether your kids are football crazy or rugby mad, summer sports are great for family bonding. They’re also a great excuse to treat the kids (and yourself) to enjoy some shareable finger food.
Cracking open a bag of chilli heatwave Doritos is too obvious a dad-move, so earn some cool points with your kids by indulging them in some of these quick and easy telly-friendly snacks. No lengthy ingredients lists, no prep time and absolutely no faffing – the three key features of the best sofa suppers.
Cheesy paprika fries
Cheesy fries are a failsafe crowd-pleaser, but smoked paprika fries with cheese are just that little bit better. I’ve recently discovered the McCain Shake Shake range and I have to say, I’m converted. No milling around in the kitchen, just chuck them in the oven and cover them in grated cheese when they’re done – Shake Shake fries go great with a helping of mozzarella, but cheddar works just as well. If you want to really step the game up, serve these with some nacho-style dips like guacamole and salsa – because the only thing better than a cheesy paprika fry, is a cheesy paprika fry dunked in a tub of zingy tomato goodness.
Bigger supermarkets have clocked on to the restaurant trend for snack-sized ‘sliders’, meaning it’s now easier than ever to make your own at home. If you don’t want to splash out on pre-made mini burgers, go DIY by making patties out of meatballs, another swift oven-baked creation that can be thrown straight into buns and devoured by ravenous sofa-dwelling children. For extra marks, make sure you’ve got classic American-style yellow mustard in the house as well as ketchup, for that piece de resistance on your low-fuss masterpiece.
For something that takes a little longer but is totally worth the wait, be ready for half-time with sticky BBQ drumsticks that don’t require hours of marinating or constant oven checks. The Maggi So Juicy range have loads of great bake-in-the-bag flavours for chicken, but if you’ve got the kitchen roll ready to deal with sticky fingers I’d definitely suggest the BBQ version. Chicken and flavouring go in the bag, which goes in the oven, and voila – an hour later you’ve got perfect drumsticks. Stick these in before the match starts and they’ll be spot on when the half-time whistle blows.
Fancy fruit kebabs
Alright, it’s hard to get THAT fancy with fruit on a stick, but when you’re not dotting bowls of crisps around the table it’s probably a good idea to make at least one of your sharing snacks a responsibly healthy affair. Follow-up your cheesy Shake Shake fries and juicy mini burgers with some colourful fruit kebabs. It only takes a few minutes to chop up some banana, kiwi and strawberries and skewer them on a stick (with some grapes for good measure), but it’s a good way of sneaking some vitamins into the sprogs while they’re distracted by whichever footballer is doing a swan dive today.
There’s always the option of theming your snacks to the sporting events, too. Mini hotdogs dressed up like rugby balls, scotch egg ‘footballs’ and other novelty inventions are sure to go down well. Even if your kids aren’t as into the game as you are, they’re guaranteed to stick around to share your mischievous meals.