Recipes That Keep Kids Interested [Guest Post]

Shana blogs over at shanamama.com and posts some of the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever seen. If you read this excerpt from her About Me section you’ll see why we love her too:

The basics: I am a 29- year- old wife to my wonderful husband (aka the hubs) and mother to my three amazing children: J, M and S.
Who I am: Well I’m a simple kind of girl. I enjoy cooking (especially with the kids) and photography is a major passion of mine. I am no professional but I do get some great shots every once in a while. My kids are my pride and joy, and my life revolves around them. I have a great sense of humor — well at least I think I do. It’s kind of dry, kind of dorky, and everything in between. 

Welcome, Shana. 🙂
———–
It is almost a weekly occurrence that I sit down and wonder,  “What am I going to make for dinner and will the kids like it?” I got lucky that two of my kids are relatively easy and not picky eaters. My oldest is another story and if he could live off of cheeseburgers and jelly sandwiches, he would. So lately, I have been trying to come up with kid- friendly dishes that not only are easy to make, but dishes the kids will enjoy eating.

Here is what I have so far:
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Tostadas

These have always been a favorite of mine because there are so many possibilities on how to make them. I grew up eating them and now I make them for my kids.

The basics:
Heat corn tortillas in the oven at 400 degrees for 4 minutes on each side until you reach your preferred crispness.

I go the simple route and use pre- shredded chicken. Just pop it into a pan with a little bit of olive oil and seasonings and that’s it.

Beans are another easy item since you can buy refried beans.

Now toppings are my kids favorite part. I usually dice up some onions, tomatoes, black olives, jalapeños, lettuce, shredded cheese, salsa and sour cream. If you can find ripe avocados guacamole goes great with these. The best part is you can let your kids create their own!

 

Breakfast

A  lot of people knock having breakfast for dinner, but I think it’s fun on occasion. You can keep it simple with eggs, turkey bacon and an english muffin or you can go all out and make the above mentioned items plus hash browns and cinnamon rolls or do a breakfast sandwich or breakfast burritos. To keep your kids involved, have them pick toppings if they want an omelette. You can also have them stir the eggs for you. If you are like me and try not to bake to much so you buy the refrigerated cinnamon rolls instead of making it all from scratch the kids can help by squirting the icing on top. If they are old enough they can also help by shredding the potatoes for the hash browns. When making your hash browns try to remember to squeeze as much water out of the potatoes as you can so they will hold together better.

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Mini-Quiches

You can also make a frittatta or quiche is you prefer crust. Again, super simple and a great way to make it fun for the kids is to make it in a mini cupcake pan.

 

Chicken fingers

Home made chicken fingers are always a win. You can bread them with breadcrumbs, panko crumbs, ritz crackers, matzo and more I am probably forgetting. If it’s something that needs to be crumbled ask the kids if they want to do it. My kids get a kick out of being able to smash food and not get in trouble for doing it. Another thing that’s fun about chicken fingers is letting the kids choose a dip they want. There’s your standards like ketchup, ranch,and blue cheese, or you can also make your own honey mustard.

Chicken & Cheese

My mom used to make this for us growing up. It was one of those dishes she only made a few times a year because while it was sooooo good it was not really the healthiest thing that you could eat once a month. I don’t have the exact recipe but it’s pretty simple to replicate. You slice your chicken into strips, dip into bread crimps and fry for a few minutes on each side just so they are browned a bit. Since they are small it won’t take long for them to cook. While those are cooking turn oven on to 350. When all your chicken is browned place in a pyrex dish. Dump a bunch of sliced mushrooms and then jack cheese. And when I say add cheese I mean a lot of cheese. Cover it! Cook in the oven until the cheese is all bubbly and there you have it– Chicken & Cheese!

 

Fish tacos

We started giving our kids fish at a young(ish) age hoping they would grow to like it. For the most part they don’t seem to mind it, but every once in a while they just won’t touch it. One fish recipe I have found that they will eat is fish tacos. Part of the draw being the same as the tostadas, they can build their own. I season the fish (mahi mahi) with cumin, onion powder, garlic salt and cayenne pepper. Easiest way to do this is mix your seasonings together a then sprinkle it on the fish (I like doing this because if I have extra I save it for the next time). Cook in some olive oil until fully cooked. For toppings, I use shredded cabbage, diced onions and sour cream mixed with salsa verde and lime juice. Warm some fresh corn tortillas, then put a piece of fish on and top with the toppings of your liking. Serve with some beans and Spanish rice and you have a quick and easy good meal. 

If your kids are interested in cooking and/or helping you, take advantage of it! Not only will the kids get the satisfaction of helping Mommy, but they get to see the start to finish and now that they helped you make that meal that everyone is eating.
Also, one trick I have found helpful for getting the kids to eat their veggies is to squirt lemon juice on the vegetables. No salt, no butter just lemon juice. It’s a win- win.  Still healthy and they eat them!
Do you have any tips or tricks that have worked for your family? We’d love to hear them!
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Comments

  1. I love the mini quiche idea! We love breakfast for dinner because we’re not rushed like most mornings.