This week is all about the foods our kids love to eat. Right now A, being two, is in this picky eater stage. Most of the time she's not willing to try ANYTHING new, which I find frustrating because I know that a lot of the time if she would just try it, she would like it. We even try singing the "Try It, You'll Like It" song from Yo Gabba Gabba. It has about a 5.3% success rate so far. Or maybe that's me being a little too generous today. *sigh* Sometimes she even has a problem with things she previously liked, but now finds to be the wrong color or whatever other reasons that only make sense to a two-year-old. Or maybe they only make sense to MY two-year-old. Or maybe they don't even make sense to her but she enjoys the way mommy's face turns dark red and has to leave the room for a minute. Especially when a quarter of the plate is gone before she declares that her food is nasty and she doesn't like it, so can she have a cookie please? That must be pretty funny! Ha!
Anyway, on to the recipes!
French Bread Pizza
Loaf of french bread
Your choice of pizza sauce, or make your own!
Your favorite cheese
Your choice of toppings
(Usually we have pepperoni or sausage available, black olives, and mushrooms)
Any herbs you like
Preheat your oven to 325*
If you use sausage or any other topping that needs to be prepared before being put on the pizza, do that first. We always pre-cook our sausage into smaller, crumbly pieces ahead of time.
Get a cookie sheet and cover the bottom. I like parchment paper for this, but I have used foil successfully as well.
You don't necessarily have to use french bread for this. Sometimes we use pita bread in place of the french or even hamburger buns if you want more of a pizza burger feel. If you do use french bread, cut it in half and then cut each half down to whatever sizes you would like your pizzas. For a small loaf, often you can get away with just cutting the whole thing into quarters. Larger loafs will be easier to eat if they are cut smaller than that. You can also make it even healthier by using any sturdy wheat bread.
Arrange your bread onto the cookie sheet. (An optional step if you are using the french bread is to spread a very thin layer of butter onto the cut side of the bread and put in the oven to pre-toast a little, about 5 minutes)
Add your toppings as you like. I love this recipe because A can get up there and put whatever she likes on her own. Usually I just spread the sauce on hers first and then she does the rest with a little help. You can be as weird as you want. It's your pizza! Everyone here pokes fun at me for putting my pepperoni on before my sauce. I can't help it that I like crunchier bread underneath! Usually once everyone has their cheese on, we shake some oregano over the whole pan. It makes such a big difference.
When everyone has their pizza the way they like it, put into the oven and bake just until the cheese is melted.
Your choice of cheese. I like really any Mexican blends for this.
Tortillas (you can get wheat if you like)
For us, about 2 chicken breasts is good for 5 or 6 quesadillas
Quesadilla sauce (Optional, but so so good.)
Any other veggies you may enjoy with Mexican food (Optional)
Sauce Ingredients (Can be easily doubled):
1/4 C Mayonnaise
2 tsp minced jalapenos and 2 tsp jalapeno juice
4 tsp jalapeno juice
3/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 dash of salt
If you choose to use it, make the sauce at least an hour or two (or even better, the day before). Just put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix until well incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge until ready to use.
Cook the chicken until all pink is gone. We cook with taco seasoning or just a little cumin to give it a bit more flavor. Shred the chicken. I have found that using my stand mixer is GREAT for shredding chicken. Just put the cooked breasts into the mixer with the paddle attachment and turn it on. Shred until it's the size you like. It saves so much time.
Turn your griddle or pan on medium heat.
You can spray your tortillas on one side with oil if you like or just leave them alone. Spread a thin layer of the quesadilla sauce onto the whole tortilla (non oiled side). Sprinkle a layer of cheese and chicken onto only half of the tortilla and then flip the other side over the top. Place in the pan and cook until the cheese is melted and the outside is as soft or crunchy as you like.
I like to take a little of the sauce and use it to dip while I'm eating. A wants to like the sauce so badly, but it is a little spicy and she usually complains after a couple of bites. Haha. She gets a little sour cream instead. The sauce is online as a copy of the recipe Taco Bell uses for their quesadilla sauce. I don't think it tastes anything like TB's sauce. In fact, this sauce is WAY better than theirs.
Rice with Chicken and Veggies
White or brown rice
Garlic powder (optional)
1-2 chicken breasts
Vegetables that you and your kids enjoy
Cook the rice according to package directions, but use the chicken broth instead of water. I use the Brown Minute Rice, so it's pretty quick. I also sprinkle in a few shakes of garlic powder at the beginning.
Cut the chicken into bite size (not too big for little mouths) pieces and cook. I season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
A likes peas, corn, and carrots with hers. I usually steam the carrots and cook the peas and corn in boiling water.
Mix into bowl together and enjoy.
A LOVES rice, so this is a perfect healthy dish for her. Seasons can be adjusted in whatever way you like. Experiment and find what YOU like. I sure do.
1 C sugar
1/2 C flour
1/3 C cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate or butterscotch chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350*
I find that this recipe makes a fairly thin brownie, so we often double it for thicker ones and just let them cook a little longer. (Keep checking them so they don't overcook!)
Spray or grease a square brownie pan well.
Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk together. Add to that the wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Fold in any of the chips or nuts you would like to add. I find that folding them in at the end makes mixing easier. For me, anyway. If you want, you can always put them in with the dry ingredients.
Pour into baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Roast Beast and Monster Sandwiches
This is something new we were actually able to get A to try. We made the name fun, so she thought it was a blast and really liked it. All it is, is a roast beef lunchmeat sandwich (use any bread they like) with muenster cheese. That's it! A won't eat any condiments, so hers is dry, but you can add any they might like. We serve with fruit and pretzel sticks or carrot sticks.
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Ah. The ol' go-to. Please tell me you know how to make these. :P Served the same way.
Peanut Butter Sandwich
Yes, A will just eat a plain peanut butter sandwich. She likes to have a banana and milk on the side.
A will eat just about any fruit as a snack. Her favorites are bananas. They seriously don't last long in this place. She also loves strawberries, apples, pears, and oranges. Her favorite veggies are carrots, corn, green beans, and peas. Other snacks she loves are yogurt (we get Greek yogurt with fruit added), applesauce, pretzel sticks, and pita chips.
We don't try to force her to eat things she doesn't like, but a lot of the time I will have her try something more than once. For example, at first she would not touch avocado. She wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. Then she would at least smell it. Then I told her it was kind of like lettuce so she tried it, but hated it. Now I will put a little on her plate and sometimes she'll eat a few bites and other times she won't touch it at all, but she's more open to it being an option. Like Heather said, you can't expect them to like it if you just try once and then give up.
So there are a few things we make around here. Hope you enjoyed!