How to Make Easy Meals for Kids
Because they can be a bit persnickety, simplicity is the key to creating easy kids' meals. But "simple" need not be boring (and it better not be). Unlike pre-packaged, processed foods, creating homemade children's meals allow parents to maintain control of the ingredients used in preparation. Encourage children to be involved in the cooking process -- research supports that doing so encourages children to try new foods. Entrees like pizza and pasta are easily and safely done with a child's participation, and can be an opportunity to teach healthy eating habits. As an even healthier option, swap white flour with wheat, in the following recipe suggestions.
Things You'll Need
Prepared pizza dough
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons pasta sauce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Vegetables on hand and in season
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
8 oz. bag of Mexican-style, pre-shredded cheese
2 cloves garlic
Fresh bunch of basil
Microwave-ready frozen green beans
1. Be as creative as you want to be with homemade pizza.
Gently spread and flatten the ball of pizza dough on a baking sheet pre-greased with olive oil until get you the desired size and thickness of the pizza form. Spoon about 3 tbsp. of pasta sauce over the dough. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese over the tomato sauce, adding more or less depending on taste. Here's where you can get creative: Let children decide a vegetable topping. Green or red bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and zucchini cook nicely on pizza. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of diced chicken and bake until the cheese is melted and outside crust is light-to-golden brown.
2. Quick and yummy, quesadillas are a great choice for kids' meals.
Put a cast-iron skillet on the stove on medium-high heat. Melt one tablespoon butter being careful not to overheat and burn it. Prepare the tortillas. Place one on a plate, and add enough Mexican cheese to cover the interior. Sprinkle on the chicken and add vegetables on hand. Diced tomatoes cook nicely on quesadillas. Cover with another tortilla, then cook in the skillet until both sides are crisp and golden brown. Add more butter for each additional quesadilla. Again, encourage your children to participate in the preparation and provide suggestions.
3. Use whole whole pasta as a substitute for regular pasta for exta fiber.
Tangy Basil Pasta:
Cook frozen green beans according to package directions. While the beans are cooking, prepare one package of spaghetti according to directions. Chop the basil bunch and add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, diced garlic cloves, and a tablespoon of olive oil into a large salad bowl. Add the green beans, pasta and 1 cup of cooked chicken. Serve immediately.
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