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Your favorite go-to recipe for kids

Hello all! I have 2 kids ages 2 and 5. Tonight I am ashamed to say that we ate cereal and strawberries for dinner. ( At least we had fruit!) My husband works late 2 or 3 times a week so I don't bother with a big dinner because it usually goes to waste. I then resort to the usual chicken fingers (homemade) or mac n cheese. I am trying to get them to try new things and I hope it is not too late to change their picky paletes. So I am asking you all for your favorite dish or at least some remedies to feed the kids better. I love to cook but with kids, time is a factor. We do not have food allegies thankfully. Appreciate any advice. Randi

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  1. I've yet to encounter a child who didn't love teriyaki chicken drummettes. Also, zucchini cut into wedges, lightly breaded with seasoned flour or breadcrumbs, and sauteed. Family teriyaki recipe as follows:

    Sauce:

    Mix the following in a medium mixing bowl or large measuring cup:

    ½ C soy sauce (Kikkoman)
    1/4 C water
    1/4 cup mirin (sweet cooking rice wine - the alcohol cooks off) - or 1-2 T brown sugar
    1"-2" grated or minced peeled fresh ginger
    1-2 grated or minced garlic cloves

    Trim excess fat from 2 lbs or so pack of chicken drummettes, or a whole chicken, or what ever parts you want, but they should be cut up into eating size.

    Place the oven cooking rack 6"-8" from the broiler heating element. Turn on the broiler.

    Lay the chicken out in a single layer in a baking dish - glass is best but it doesn’t really matter. Pour the sauce over all the chicken evenly, place the dish on the rack.

    It needs to cook for about a half hour - after 15 minutes turn the chicken, and then in five minute intervals. You can baste it, but if you turn it as described you don’t really have to. It’s done when it’s looking mahogany brown and smells unbelievably good. I like it on the verge of burning, but that’s just me.

    Rice on the side, with some of the sauce, is good, as are somen noodles (which cook up in boiling water in about two minutes flat).

    6 Replies
    1. re: rcallner

      Yum! I am going to try these-thanks for the recipe. I'll let you know how they go:)

        1. re: rcallner

          Well, I had trouble finding Mirin. Went to several wine stores-I guess I'll try a chinese restaurant. But I did make them with the brown sugar and my daughter liked them! (husb too) My son is the ultra picky one. One week he'll eat pasta, the next he won't even touch it. I am getting so sick of trying 5,000 things to see what he is going to eat TODAY. He ate edame the first time but now he shuns them. Unfortunately, it is white pizza and chicken nuggets that are still the favorites. He is 2 so I guess this is normal eating behavior for a 2yo from what I have read. Still, soooo frustrating. My daughter is getting a little more adventurous. I have been doing the breakfast for dinner route because the one "meat" he'll eat is turkey sausage. But no eggs little bugger. Does anyone have a good potsticker recipe? I have had them but have never made them. I bought some from Sam's and they were tasteless. I wish we had a Whole Foods ot TJ's near but no go. I have tried a lot of these great ideas and have had mminimal success with the 2 yo but great success with 5 yo. He wull just have to grow out of this awful phase. So for now he survives on fruit, yogurt and raisin bread.

          1. re: chocchipcookie

            Thanks for the report, choc. Mirin is easiest to find in an Asian grocery store, but I don't know where you are. Sake plus brown sugar is a good substitute.

            RE: your 2yo toughie - I understand this too shall pass. My mother tells me (currently a proud omnivore) that when I was 2 I only ate spaghetti and fig newtons for almost a year.

      1. re: rcallner

        This recipe was winner. I tried it with thighs, which worked out fine. It was very fast to prepare, though there is a little babysitting while under the broiler. My three-year old really liked it.

        1. re: Siobhan

          Glad to hear! (Nice name! My best friend for a while in grade school was Siobhan.) I normally prepare this with a whole, cut-up chicken, and haggle with family members over the more interesting parts like the back and the wing tips, which I think is an Asian thing....

      2. My son who used to a very picky eater (he's turning 4 soon) is now becoming more adventurous. He now LOVES lentil soup (homemade - but he's had canned and also loved it), roasted potatoes and roasted chicken (cut into bit sized pieces), scrambled eggs (yes, for supper, why not?), a white fish (I use tilapia because of the relatively bland taste) with rice (mixed, so that the fish isn't prominent), I make a lot of cream soups with roasted veg (squash is a favourite) and a beef or chicken stock - so it's pretty much a meal in a bowl with maybe some pieces of cheese on the side.

        Hope that helps

        1 Reply
        1. re: maisonbistro

          Now that is getting a little cooler, I am getting in the mood to make some homemade soup-thank you so much for the suggestions. I swear having kids makes your brain go to mush.

        2. I went thru that phase also. Very frustrating to cook a full meal and then have the kids just pick at it. I like finger foods. Carrots and cucumber, etc cut up with a selection of dips. Dips can be as simple as 2 different salad dressings- the super kid friendly Ranch and even a vinaigrette. Potstickers are a 10 minute ready meal. Asian markets have a vast array at good prices. Dipping sauce can be as simple as soy and a little jam to sweeten it for the kids. I also would pre-cook a batch of spoon friendly (or finger friendly) pasta like big elbow macaroni. If you leave a little of the rinse water and put it in a zip lock bag it can be used for several days. Toss it in broth for a quick soup (stir in a beaten egg for protein), sauce it with jarred marinara, toss it with butter and cheese for a pseudo mac n' cheese. All these take but minutes to prep. Dessert if you serve it, can be fruit and melted in the microwave baking chips (white choc, choc, butterscotch) That way if you didn't get veggies in them, you got fruit in. Oh- small hot dogs like smokey links or pre-cooks breakfast sausages wrapped in ready made roll dough. Small enough to be a few bites and can freeze the leftovers and re-heat in toaster oven for next time. Cook a pound of bacon and freeze it- peel off as many pieces as you need and nuke, along with some eggs and toast you have "breakfast for dinner". I could go on and on. The basic idea is quickness, variety and low-stress for mom. Using your valuable time to prep a complex meal and then have it not "appreciated" leads to an irritable mommy. Good luck!!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: torty

            I was an irritable mommy tonight and I didn't even make anything. My son must be teething.(2 year molars?) All he eats is yogurt, cereal and fruit. Could be worse I guess I'm going to look for those potstickers. I'm making my shopping list now....
            thanks for your ideas!

          2. My 4 year old loves spaghetti and meatballs. We make lots of small meatballs at once and put them in the freezer. Homemade are so much better than the bagged frozen ones.

            My son also loves gyoza (Japanese dumplings). They're a little time-consuming but otherwise very easy to make and they also freeze well. I use beef instead of pork or shrimp for the filling, and mix in cabbage and green onions. That way they get veggies, and by the time the gyoza are cooked you can't even tell there are veggies in there!

            1 Reply
            1. re: maryelizabeth

              My 2 year old used to love spaghetti and "meatbulbs" but now refuses them. I do have a bag of homemade meatballs in the freezer-but my husb and daughter will eat them. Strange, he would eat any meat I put in front of him and now in that last few months all he'll eat is bologna (I had to run the Oscar Meyer theme through my head to spell it):) I even gave him some Filet off the grill-not even a taste! AAAHHH! You did remind me of edame-he gobbled that up the last time we went for sushi. Thanks for your ideas!

            2. I usually set my goal for the summer on making my kids try new foods. I really work on them during those couple of months. It's work, don't be fooled. :-) But yesterday I made a large pot of "homemade" chicken noodle soup. I bought a rotisserie cooked chicken at the grocery store and I add the usual things but I also add a half cup of apple cider. It gives it a very mild sweetness and depth that they just love. FYI, I also use whole wheat egg noodles and I cook them in a separate pot so they don't absorb all the chicken stock/broth and dehydrate the soup. My kids love this meal which I serve with fresh baked bread. Good luck! Just say no the typical kid fare (except for a treat now and then)!

              1 Reply
              1. re: lynnlato

                Oh it was hard tonight. I always get the request for Tyson chicken nuggets from my daughter. I have refused that for sometime and I almost gave in at the grocery store. Luckily they lost their balloon and attentions were drawn elsewhere. I would rather have them eat Rice Krispies than that!