As we both take our stances on either end of the dining room table, I’m sure their look of disgust and disdain is mirrored by my own. Our hands tightly clench the edges of the wooden table, knuckles turning white and noses and mouths snarled like little pigs. They’re the first to speak.
“We don’t want to!”
I don’t answer right away but instead squint my eyes and make my best “mad” face.
“I didn’t ask you if you wanted to do. Just do it!”
No, this isn’t two countries debating over the invasion of another nation. It’s me and my daughter’s debating over eating their dinner. Please tell me I’m not the only one with two little girls that would prefer to eat waffles, chicken nuggets, and mac and cheese for the rest of their lives if I’d let them? Anything green is considered repulsive, meat is “dead baby animals”, and any pasta that isn’t fluorescent orange is unacceptable.
Some nights, I fight the fight and others, I just don’t have it in me. Fine, eat 3 microwavable waffles and some processed chicken nuggets - FINE! It’s a carbohydrate and a protein and I’m exhausted. But, this spring, when the weather starts to warm up, the birds are chirping, our windows are open and produce is fresh and juicy, I vow to become more creative with my recipes and more assertive in my stance against Kraft dinners.
I’m getting excited about my new plan, even buying a new recipe book, new spoons, bowls, and small Tupperware containers so the girls can take their delicious and nutritious snacks to school. Yes, I’m dreaming big. But, the recipes I found really are kid-friendly and mom-approved. Here are my thoughts for some child-proof recipes!
I’ve found that trail mix is a great way to get my girls to eat healthy snacks mixed in with some of their favorite treats. I like to take dry roasted peanuts, almond, or cashews and toss them together with raisins (plain or yogurt covered), granola, pretzels, dried cranberries, goji berries, and even some dark chocolate morsels or candies. My oldest daughter loves coconut, so I sneak in some shaved coconut as well. Mix it all up in a small plastic bag and it’s an instant hit!
I love this next recipe not only because of the cute name - ABCD muffins - but also because of their nutritional and tasty ingredients. The A stands for apple, B for banana, C for cinnamon and D for dates. And blended together, they’re probably quite tasty!
Made with the above mentioned ingredients, plus sugar, flour, vanilla, and butter, these muffins offer a daily dose of fruit, plus some healthy carbs!
Sun Dried Tomato and Feta Muffins
This one might be a stretch, but my girls do love tomato sauce and cheese (in their macaroni), so I figure if I hide it inside of a muffin, they might eat it!
This recipe calls for finely chopped sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese, grated parmesan, flour, baking powder, dried herbs, and eggs. Once they’re baked up with a little butter, they’d be great for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
My daughters like pizza and they will eat a plain cheese quesadilla, so why not try to mix them together? This recipe takes two favorites and blends them beautifully.
You’re basically stacking tortilla shells with sauce, cheese, and toppings (if you choose) in a skillet before melting the cheese under a broiler and returning it to the pan before adding another layer. The process sounds a little tricky but I think it would be fun to try as a family!
Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese
Cheeseburgers meet mac and cheese, how could you go wrong? This recipe is made in a skillet on your stove top. While the pasta is cooking, you can brown the ground beef before adding crushed tomatoes, milk, and seasoning. As things heat up, you fold in the pasta and shredded cheese.
The neat part about this recipe is that you serve it right in the skillet! You can garnish with parsley and additional cheese, if your little ones will allow it.
Spaghetti and Meatball Bites
My girls do like pasta and sauce, I wonder if nestling tiny meatballs in spaghetti shaped nests will pass by their skeptical taste buds? If nothing else, this recipe is fun to make and the result is adorable.
First you cook the spaghetti very al dente before mixing it with eggs, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and some marinara sauce. This mixture is then placed into greased muffin tin pans, pressed into basket shapes and baked in the oven. I would make my own meatballs on the side, or even buy premade meatballs in a pinch. Once the spaghetti nests are made, they might need to be pushed back down to create a “well” shape and cool slightly, then topped with a single meatball.
If your kids love chicken and love cereal, this one sounds like a major win! I think my girls will love chicken rolled in crushed up corn flakes. All it takes is a little drizzle of olive oil on the chicken before rolling them in the cereal and popping them in the oven. The baked version of chicken nuggets is much healthier than the fried counterpart.
I didn’t include any dessert recipes because getting my daughters to eat their dessert has never been a problem for me! They do love fruit, so I try to make a fruit salad or even chocolate covered strawberries, bananas, and pineapple! A little chocolate goes a long way.
We love making rice crispy treats also and Jello jigglers. In comparison to some other dessert recipes, these are pretty low calorie.
What types of recipes do your kids like? I’d love to hear suggestions!