In the past two blog posts I went over encouraging healthy eating within your families as well as including your children of all ages to participate in shopping for groceries, helping in the kitchen, and actually being a part of the cooking process. Today I’ll be taking about recipes that are a hit in our personal household for even our (sometimes) picky eaters who are 5 and 3 and a half. As I mentioned before color is a great way to get kids excited about what’s on their plates. A dish that is both colorful and well rounded in nutrition that we make often is “Rainbow Pasta”. Pasta alone isn’t necessarily the most nutritious food, but add lots of veggies, lean protein, healthy fats and some dairy (obviously adjusting ingredients as needed for allergies) and you have a great meal! For this dish, I prepare the pasta ahead of time so it has time to chill. Kids can help set the timer and dump the pasta in the pot. Timers are a great way to talk to your kids about numbers, counting down, etc. Next comes the veggies. How you decide to chop the veggies is up to you; if you have a veggie chopper, they are way less time consuming than using a traditional knife in my opinion, and safe for little fingers with supervision. The great thing about this recipe is you have a lot of options as far what you choose to use! Don’t care for cucumber? Use broccoli! Not a fan of ham? Add cooked ground beef instead! Our preferred choices are included in this particular version, but feel free to make it your own!
- 1 box of pasta of your choice; we use Rotini most often, cooked, drained, and cooled
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
- ½ cup canned + drained (or cooked fresh) corn kernels
- 1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup chopped purple cabbage
- 1 small can of sliced olives, drained
- 1 6oz package of Canadian bacon, diced
- 1 cup shredded cheese; we use mild cheddar
- (Optional, juice from one lime OR ½ cup of Italian dressing to toss salad in. I find the flavors of the ingredients themselves are yummy enough! Also feel free to use whole wheat pasta, it’s just as delicious, and a bit more nutritious!)
In a large bowl, combine all of the above ingredients and mix well.
This is a great recipe to make for picnics/potlucks, and it keeps well in the fridge covered for a few days!
Another hit is Cauliflower Fried “Rice”! YES! You’re reading that correctly. We sub out starchy, carb filled rice for healthy cauliflower and it really is pretty close in taste to the real thing! A great way to involve the kids here is have them measure all the ingredients, and crack/scramble the egg!
Cauliflower Fried Rice (Feeds 4-6)
- 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (or one thin chicken breast)
- 1 large head of Cauliflower (Or used a bag of “riced” Cauliflower if your grocery store carries it!)
- 1 cup of frozen carrots, corn & peas mix
- 1/4 small red onion
- 1 large garlic clove
- 2 eggs
- 4 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 3 Tbsp Teriyaki Sauce
- 1-2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
- Pepper to taste
- Cooking Spray
- Parsley leaves for garnish
- Start off by slicing florets off of the head of cauliflower. Discard core/stems. Add half to a food processor and pulse until it’s in rice-like crumbles. Put in a large bowl, then pulse the other half. Add to the bowl.
- Add in peas, carrots and corn. Chop up onion and finely dice garlic, and add to the large bowl too. Add soy sauce. Mix all ingredients well, set aside.
- In another bowl, crack eggs, and beat lightly with a fork, adding some black pepper to taste.
- Lightly spray a deep saute pan with cooking spray and put on medium heat. Add egg mixture, scramble and chop up until cooked, then put on a plate and put aside. Turn off heat and wipe out pan.
- Next, dice up the chicken breast into half inch squares. Place chicken in a different bowl and mix well with Teriyaki sauce.
- Lightly spray pan again and put on high heat. Once on the heat for 2 full minutes, add chicken. Sauté until almost completely cooked through.
- Reduce heat to medium-high and add sesame oil to the pan. Dump Cauliflower/veggie mixture in and mix in with chicken.
- Cover and cook for 6 minutes, moving contents around every 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat, add in chopped & scrambled egg, serve with optional parsley garnish and enjoy!
Lastly, my whole house loves Veggie Stuffed Chicken Breasts. As with the Rainbow Pasta recipe, you have wiggle room with exactly which veggies you decide to use. I tend to omit the red onion for the ones I make for the kids! It’s another color-packed meal. (Sidenote, I’ve never tried it with them, but I’d guess mushrooms would be delicious in this dish, if you like them!!). When grocery shopping with your kids, have them choose vegetables that they’d like. They can sprinkle the cheese on at the very end before the pan goes in the oven!
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- salt + black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 zucchini halved and sliced
- 1 yellow squash halved and slived
- 3 medium tomatoes, halved and sliced
- 1 orange bell peppers, sliced
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 1 c. shredded mozzarella or colby jack cheese
- Preheat oven to 400º. Place chicken on a cutting board and make 6 slits in each breast, making sure not to cut through completely. Brush oil over each chicken breast, and season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
- Stuff each of the slits with some combination of with zucchini, squash, tomato, bell pepper, and red onion.
- Sprinkle each chicken breast with shredded cheese.
- Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray, lay chicken down and bake until it is cooked all the way through, about 25-30 minutes.
Hopefully these recipes have inspired you to give them a try! If you do, I’d love it if you sound off in the comments and tell me what you, and your family think!