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toddler dinner rut

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We're in a dinner rut. Looking for yummy and toddler-friendly healthy dinner ideas. Not into faux meat. Right now mac and cheese, spaghetti, black rice with edamame and corn, cheese omelettes, and soup are on high rotation. Any inspiration out there? My 2 year old and 3 year old thank you in advance :-)

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  1. We do a Greek night with hummus & pita, (store-bought) dolmas, feta and salad. I also made sliders today -- mini-hamburger buns from KAF and mini-black bean burgers from Cooking Light. Really tasty and, since they are small, they don't fall apart. We also have make-your-own-soft taco night. Looking forward to other suggestions!

    7 Replies
    1. re: jessinEC

      Our toddler is younger (to be honest, we still call her baby) at 14 months. Her favorite thing to eat is avocados and we do avocados on toast, rice and beans with chopped avocado, avocado mashed with cereal.

      Also, lots of Indian food. She loves green peas in onion-tomato-cumin-coriander sauce. Potatoes always go over well and I try to mix in some greens -- as in mashed potatoes with some pureed spinach/kale mixed in. Just recently started her on chickpeas as well now that she has more teeth.

      1. re: nazinbrooklyn

        my kids love mujadarra--thanks for the reminder!

        1. re: noya

          My daughter likes mujDarra mixed with Greek yogurt and grated cucumbers. Easy for her to eat on her own

      2. re: jessinEC

        love the mini black bean burgers idea. thanks!

        1. re: jessinEC

          not a specific answer to your question, but;
          when my daughter was a toddler, she really enjoyed dipping her foods into sauces/spreads.
          sometimes the combos didn't make flavor-sense to me, but SHE enjoyed it (i.e. dipping blanched green beans into peanut butter, dipping cherry tomatoes into tahini or into guacamole, dipping cucumber slices into anything spreadable. tofu was good, but tofu DIPPED into peanut butter was better.)

          1. re: westsidegal

            Think a lot of her ideas actually look quite tasty :)

            1. re: westsidegal

              that is so cute.. When kids first eat veggies everything just seems so new and they're pallet explodes.. Best part of being a kid ever!

          2. The kids can eat anything you're eating.

            What are you having?

            6 Replies
            1. re: jmcarthur8

              we eat a lot of tough greens that they simply don't have the teeth to chew--kale, chard, etc...

              1. re: noya

                I wonder if you could puree those for the kids. Or chop them up fine after you cook them. It's been a while, as my boys are in their mid 20's now, but I don't recall fixing special kid meals for them. My husband and I were always pretty adventurous eaters, and the boys just ate what we did (other than some personal dislikes for each of them).

                Kids usually like things they can put together themselves, like mini-pizzas, tacos, even panini. A salad bar at home is fun for them, too.

                1. re: jmcarthur8

                  don't think so, but thanks. Not about adventure--about ability to chew. And again, we're talking about a 2 year old and a 3 year old--they can't dress themselves let alone put food together ;-)

                  1. re: noya

                    My 16mo likes kale. I finely chop it or shred it, sauté until soft with onions and garlic, mix with cottage cheese and eggs and bake it in cupcake pans.

                    1. re: cheesecake17

                      thanks! cute idea :-)
                      the context of the greens was to explain that our toddlers can't 'eat anything we're eating', not specifically kale. just our preferred preparation of it. but I digress--thanks for this idea--we'll hope they like it!

                2. re: noya

                  a good thing to do with curly kale (dino kale has been too bitter) is to put in the vitamin with ice, frozen mango chunks, fuji apple, water, chia seeds, and lime for a kale smoothie...of course that doesn't address your dinner dilemma...

              2. Mini quiches, anything in pancake form, mini veggie frittatas, butternut squash pasta, "slurp-able" soups, tofu tacos, mini bean wraps or burritos, baked "summer pasta."

                Spinach pesto. Mixed with pasta, stirred into bown rice, spread on grilled cheese, topping for vegetable soup....

                1. Are you okay with tofu? I cut it into fingers, cover it in honey-mustard dressing, then roll it in bread crumbs, and bake. I could see them really liking that!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: katecm

                    mmm! that sounds like a great idea. they do like tofu. Thanks! Any specific honey mustard dressing recipe you're fond of? What temp do you bake the tofu?

                    1. re: noya

                      I usually just mix whatever honey and mustard I have on hand, then a dash of worcestershire and sriracha. You might need to skip the sriracha for them! I usually bake them at around 400 so that the breading gets good and crispy.

                      1. re: katecm

                        really really thank you! wonderful idea!! and I will leave that sriracha out ;-)

                        1. re: katecm

                          remember that worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it, so a vegetarian version should be used if you want to keep vegetarian...

                    2. These zucchini (or other veg) pancakes might be a good fit. They can be made with cottage cheese or ricotta, and you can sub other vegetables for the shredded zucchini; they even work well with shredded winter squash. For a dozen 3-inch or so pancakes, whisk together 3 eggs, about a cup of cottage cheese or ricotta, a cup of flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, some salt, a cup and a half or so of shredded zucchini, and whatever herbs you like (dill is nice with zucchini). Cook them like you would any other pancakes in an oiled pan.

                      These make good finger food on their own (if you let the kids eat with their hands), and they're also good topped with tomato sauce or roasted red pepper sauce (just pureed roasted peppers with seasonings).

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