I get a lot of questions from moms, whether at work, on Twitter or in person. They want to know what they can have for dinner that is simple, quick, healthful and delicious. But just as importantly, they want to know that their kids will eat it. I may make a few suggestions, but they are usually followed by a million objections, such as “That’s too complicated” or “That looks expensive.” But the truth is that a lot of delicious food is not complicated at all, but in fact quite simple. And it’s often not that expensive at all, if you shop in the right places. So let’s take a quick look at a couple of options for your dinner table that you will find decadent but easy and the kids will find interesting but not scary. Hell, maybe they’ll even help you make it!
Everyone loves pizza, especially kids. But don’t think Papa John’s, think homemade with good-for-you ingredients. Pizza night is a weekly thing in my home. Granted I have no kids, but I’m pretty sure my boyfriend and I could count if you wanted us too. We like fun food, we love classics and we also want things to be healthy and cheap. So every week, we buy a couple balls of dough from Pizza Tonight (our personal favorite and only $2.50/ball, but there are numerous options at Whole Foods and the like as well) and have pizza time. We roll out the dough, often competing to see who makes the prettiest pizza canvas, and then each add toppings to our pizza as we like. After they’ve cooked up, we let them cool on a rack for a few minutes and then share them between the two of us, with leftovers for the next day. It’s fun because we can be hands on, it gives us something to do together and we can try some new things. And I bet your kids would like the opportunity to be creative with their food and you’ll still be able to enjoy a fancy, gourmet pizza that is healthy and inexpensive.
Jay's Taco Pizza
Some of our favorites are:
Shrimp and roasted brussels sprout pizza with olive oil, herbs and garlic
Taco pizza with whatever fun, applicable ingredients we picked up at the farmer’s market
Margherita pizza with homemade tomato sauce (super easy, recipe to come shortly)
Leftover pizza with whatever bits and pieces are left in the fridge from previous culinary adventures
Another thing that we make a lot at home are fish tacos. Sometimes we make shrimp tacos or grilled zucchini tacos or use a bag of Morningstar Farms mealstarters with our own taco seasoning blend, but I know my favorite are the fish tacos. Again, fun for kids and creates an interactive dinnertime. The fish taco is more sophisticated than a standard ground beef taco (and better for you) but it isn’t so far off that your picky princess will run crying from the dinner table.
You can marinade your choice of white, meaty fish in a number of things, but my favorite is simply olive oil, lime, ancho chili powder, jalapeno, garlic and cilantro. After it’s had a chance to marinate in the fridge for 15-30 minutes, toss on the grill or sear in a pan until just cooked and tender. Throw them on lightly grilled corn tortillas and top with a tangy cabbage slaw and some cantaloupe or shredded lettuce, homemade tomato salsa and sour cream. The options are endless so let everyone customize their own!
Dinner parties with kids? Coming soon!
In the meantime, what do you make at home that feels
more dressed up than chicken nuggets
but that the kids still enjoy?