Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Munch and Crunch

Is it just me or do you sometimes feel like you feed your family the same things over and over? I really try to vary our daily menu, try new recipes and add new things but I am only human and I do find myself turning to the basic "safe" meals that I know my family loves. I feel that I mostly do OK at dinner time, but I want to improve our meals at breakfast and lunch when my hubby is away at work and it is just me and the kids. So, please share!

What are your favorite "kid friendly" meals?
I would especially love some fast, healthy options for breakfast and lunch.


P.S. Be sure to check out the updated activity and recipe corners.


Alyssa Harper said...

Tortilla rolls: spread some cream cheese and ham, (or smoked salmon for adventurous folk') roll up, and slice into 1-inch pin wheels. Add some veggies like chopped green onions or diced bell peppers if you're feeling particularly healthy.

Pancakes: I make a HUGE batch 2 days a week and refrigerate the rest. Seriously, they taste practically the same as fresh ones, and I do less work. Sold.

Oven roasted veggies: Toss veggies (carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, squash, green and red bell peppers, etc.) in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Make a lot, because even my 13 month old will gobble this and the leftovers like there's no tomorrow. Roasting makes the veggies sweet and savory all at once. Mmmm. Plus, everyone and their dog says that olive oil is healthy fat. Score.

Guacamole toast: Mash up some avocado, season with salt, spread on bread, top with shredded cheese, and throw into a toaster oven. (If you don't have a toaster oven, I totally recommend one, because it bakes/toasts small batches of food to perfection!, but if not, you can turn your oven on broil, put the toast on the top oven rack, and let it do its thing for 3-4 minutes.)

Sauces: Make up a batch of Alfredo sauce, teriyaki sauce, BBQ sauce, and whatever else fits your fancy. Super easy recipes at Freeze in individual portions. When you want a quick veggie lunch, thaw sauce in the microwave and serve with fresh and/or steamed veggies. Maybe even have your child thaw the sauce, getting them involved in "cooking." Seriously, different sauces can spice up "normal" foods like you'd never believe. NOTE: You can also dip buttered toast sticks (toast cut up into strips) and become your toddler's favorite mom ever.

Jared and Delia said...

Alyssa...those are seriously easy, simple yet genius ideas! Thanks for sharing.

I have to admit. I don't really cater our meals to our kids very often. I am a firm believer that if you constantly expose your kids to different foods then almost any meal can be kid friendly and there shouldn't be any difference. It doesn't mean I don't make anything they like, I just try not to make a different meal for them and then for us. If that makes sense?

I too need quick and easy options for breakfast and lunch. I love making a fuss for dinner but I often scramble to get breakfast and lunch ready. We often end up with cut up cheese, cut up raw veggies and fruit, and crackers or toast at lunch or PB&J with fruit. I love the idea to add dips or to broil them though! Only adds one extra very simple step. I will definitely try that.

For breakfast, my favorite kind of breakfast is an easy breakfast so muffins are awesome...when I take the time to prepare of course :). I will make them while I make dinner the night before so I can do all the dishes at once and then I don't have to worry about prep in the morning. The kids think they are like cupcakes so they eat more than one sometimes - which is good since my kids are twigs and eat like twigs. I just add some fresh fruit and call it good.

Jared and Delia said...

Oh and even though muffins are my ideal breakfast we usually have cold cereal and a banana. Just thought I would mention that to be honest about how things really are at our house. :)

Megan said...

Alyssa, those are great ideas! I do the same thing as Alyssa with waffles. I make a big batch and freeze the leftovers; pop them in the microwave and add your toppings and they taste just as good as fresh.

Delia,I am so like you when it comes to breakfast. We usually eat cold cereal and a piece of fruit as well.

Tannie Datwyler said...

Ooooo, I LOVE this topic! Something about food is fun.

I'm with Delia - I love to invent new things to cook for dinner and I always have fun making a good spread for my family. Sometimes breakfast and lunch are a bust.

Here are SOME ideas though. I actually don't do frozen waffles, but pancakes instead. My son LOVES them and in fact will only eat scrambled eggs and pancakes for breakfast most the time. So I too make a batch on Monday and then on the subsequent days I just put one of those in the toaster. If I have none of those, the old standby of scrambled egg works like a charm and I usually serve this with toast or dry cheerios. I always give my kids milk and banana (or other fruit) for breakfast as well. My daughter eats a bowl of cereal 5/7 times per week - it's my son who gets the pancakes because that's they way they like it.

Some other fun ideas - Crepes. My kids eat these up and they are pretty quick to make. These can ALSO be saved (but not really in the freezer) in the fridge and eaten throughout the week. I have a good recipe if you want it. I LOVE the muffin idea Delia gave - so good. We always try to do a "big breakfast" on Saturday mornings so that is something to look forward to as well.

As for lunch.... here are a few ideas.

Mac 'N Cheese - everyone gets down on this box of noodles, but come on! My kids love it and it is quick and easy. My kids can't eat a whole box in one go (and I don't like to eat it for lunch) and they don't like leftovers nearly as much. So... I always make half a box (I just measure out how many noodles there are and put half in, and do the same with the cheese powder). I also add hotdogs when I have them to give some protein.


Ramen noodles with frozen peas. I like this because I just throw those frozen peas right in with the boiling noodles.

Grilled cheese sandwiches with chicken noodle soup. You've GOT to love that favorite! It's not super healthy, but my girl loves it and I often pair it with raw veggies and fruit.

The most classic lunch I give to my kids is this:

Toast with butter and jam OR half a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich, fruit of some kind, milk to drink, cheese (sometimes), crackers (sometimes), chips (baked chips that only have about 2 or 3 grams of fat and only sometimes), rolls of lunch mean or ham slices (I like this because again it gives them some protein - I'm not a big meat eater so I have to put it in there when I can), and vegetable slices with dip.

Now... my daughter eats all that stuff really well. My toddler is another story. So I just offer him everything I give his sister and I know he won't eat it all. But as time goes by he tries more and more things and he will get better at accepting more foods.

Hope that helps... sorry it was long!