I was asked recently how I get my kids to eat the various foods I prepare, and the short answer to that is, I don't. I try, but they are fairly picky. They were both great eaters as babies and young toddlers and then each hit a highly persnickity stage. Slim is starting to come out of this, but it is still just luck of the draw on most days. Curly snubs much of what I prepare and nibbles at the rest. They are clearly not starving, so I don't fret over it too much.
My tactic is just to keep putting a variety of food in front of them and hope for the best in the long run. I don't force them to eat any of it, but I do strongly encourage they at least taste it, even if it is just a "polite bite." Sometimes that works, sometimes not. I also don't make two meals... but often I will plate theirs so that things don't touch. Tried and true items are offered with meals, like sliced fruit or cheese, and they are allowed to pick and choose. And admittedly, some of the "exotic" meals you may see on this blog or dishes that by default are all mixed-up, are prepared on nights when they are with their dad.
This time around I went heavy on family-style meals, offering up bowls of simply prepared vegetables along with a protein. The carrots were the biggest success, and they did at least taste the cauliflower. Little steps...
This delivery included:
- green cabbage
- beets (I gave these to Doc, who has a deeper love for them than I do)
- Brussells sprouts greens
- grapefruit just gobbled up for breakfast (my norm whenever I get grapefruit in a delivery... it is too wonderful not to eat just straight up)
- simple cauliflower made from this recipe from 101 Cookbooks; I added 1 T of dry mustard and 1 tsp of Hungarian paprika and left out the chives and Parmesan... really good!
- glazed carrots
- Brussells sprouts greens braised with garlic, red pepper flakes, and a bit of white wine... I had never had these before, they taste pretty much the same as Brussells sprouts (go figure). Apologies for the blurry state of this photo, I may have consumed some of the wine as I was cooking, but I'm not saying.
- Steak salad (with some leftover prime ribeye) using the lettuce, with home made Blue Cheese Dressing
- Broccoli-Beer-Cheese Soup
- green salads
- Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls using some of the cabbage, recipe below
These are a yummy appetizer that I was hoping to get my kids to eat, but no such luck so far. I made a milder Buffalo sauce to make it more kid-friendly. To increase the heat level, try other varieties of dried chiles. These freeze well and are easy to just pop out of the freezer and into the oven. The Buffalo sauce makes way more than you will need... I like to prepare large quantities of condiments for later use, or for swapping.
Yield: about 5 C
- about 1/2 lb dried red chiles (I used 1:1 ratio of Guajillo and New Mexico chiles)
- 1 1/4 C cider vinegar
- 1 T Kosher salt
- You can either wear gloves to prepare the sauce or live dangerously. I was out of gloves. So, either or, cut the stems off of the dried chiles using kitchen shears and shake the seeds onto a paper towel (reserve for another use).
- Place the peppers in a large stock pot and cover with water (about 1" over the top of the peppers, which will float, and that's okay).
- Bring to a boil and allow to cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered for about 5 hours or overnight.
- Place the peppers in a food processor and pulse, adding a bit of water every now and then to get to the desired consistency (I used 1/2 C), until well-processed and smooth.
- Add vinegar and salt, and pulse until combined.
- Use 3/4 C for the egg rolls below, and heat-seal the rest in jars or store in the refrigerator for a later use. I have not tested how long it will keep, but I'd guess for quite a while. Just be sure to check for mold if it's been in there a long time.
Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls
Inspired by this recipe from Shrinking Kitchen
Yield: about 2 1/2 dozen
- 2 T butter
- 1/2 head of green cabbage
- 2 C cooked, diced or shredded chicken
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 C Buffalo sauce
- Cut the cabbage into 2 wedges, then slice it thinly. Remove any pieces of the core.
- Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, and melt the butter. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring frequently, until it's tender but not soggy, about 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Add the chicken, salt and pepper, and Buffalo Sauce, and stir until well-combined.
- Place a spoonful in the center of an egg roll wrapper. Fold over one corner and hold in place with your finger. Then fold over the two corners on each side of the first fold, holding in place with your fingers. Roll in the direction of the first fold, and voila! It is much easier than it sounds I promise... the photos above should help visualize the folds.
- Set aside those that you intend to cook right away. Wrap remaining egg rolls individually in plastic wrap, then place in a large freezer safe bag. To prepare the frozen ones, do not thaw, just place directly on the baking sheet and bake according to the directions below, adding a few more minutes to the total baking time.
- Bake at 400 for 10–12 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Serve with Blue Cheese Dressing.