March 7, 2012

Toddler Dinners (including a super-fast option!)

I was a single mom for a couple of nights this week. The first night, we had leftovers, which took a lot of pressure off for the evening. The second night, however, I didn't plan so well. In fact, I thought Daddy was going to be home in time to help with dinner/kid management, so I had actually planned to make a totally new meal. But I was wrong. I started to make one of our favorite, 20-minute meals: Cauliflower Mac n Cheese (recipe at the bottom of this post). However, with the help of my toddler this was taking much longer than usual, and I had to bail about halfway through, when it was 6:30 and I still was nowhere near close to getting something on the table. So I pulled out a piece of bread and a slice of cheddar and got started on a half a grilled cheese sandwich. Somehow this cooked perfectly, and landed on a plate with a few steamed carrot sticks (a staple in our fridge) and a handful of (still) frozen peas. AND HE ATE THE WHOLE THING. Our guy has been boycotting dinners this week (except cheese and milk), so I was glad to see him gobble this meal, and ecstatic that he ate the bread and veggies, too! See the photo of a couple minute in.

I wanted to include a few photos of other lunches we have packed this week, constructed of leftovers:
The entree here is the guts of an enchilada (see recipe below), torn half a whole wheat tortilla, cubes of steamed sweet potato, strawberries, blueberries, mango, kiwi, a yogurt-covered pretzel; Snacks: yogurt and granola; applesauce (in the container) and toddler trail mix (pretzels, raisins, craisins, diced dried apricots)

Cauliflower Mac N Cheese, strawberries, blueberries, cherry tomato halves, steamed carrots, yogurt -covered pretzel; Snacks: yogurt, frozen edamame (in a Dora single-serve pack - full disclosure, most of these came home...); halved grapes, fig cereal bar

Cauliflower Mac N Cheese
(based on a recipe from What to Eat When You're Expecting)

8 oz whole wheat macaroni
1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp butter
1.5 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Gouda
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1.5 tbsp wheat germ
1.5 tbsp Parmesan

Start cooking macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile...
Steam cauliflower. Meanwhile...
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour for a couple minutes to create a rue. Add the milk and simmer until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in Gouda, cheddar, mozzarella until smooth. Add macaroni and cauliflower, and stir to coat.
Mix together the wheat germ and Parmesan.

At this point, if you like baked mac n cheese, like grandma makes, you can transfer the mac n cheese to a baking dish, top with the wheat germ/parm and bake on 350 for 10 minutes. We usually can't wait this long and dish it right up, and sprinkle the topping right on our bowls.

For more veggie sneakiness, we have tried stirring in peas or sauteed kale. Broccoli would be an easy swap for the cauliflower. And chicken or beef or edamame would be an easy addition if you feel like you need more protein.

Easy Enchiladas
(based on a recipe from my friend Shelley)

10 oz canned chicken
1 cup black beans
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup salsa*
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
7-8 whole wheat tortillas
1 can enchilada sauce*

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine chicken, beans, cheese, salsa and yogurt in a bowl. Scoop even amounts of filling into tortillas, and roll into tubes. Nestle the tubes side-by-side, touching, into a baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce evenly over the tubes. Sprinkle a little more cheddar on top.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
*To really make this toddler friendly, use a mild salsa, and look for a non-spicy enchilada sauce (unless your little one likes heat. We couldn't find our usual brand, and the replacement was still hot, so we only served him the guts, with pieces of dry tortilla.

No comments:

Post a Comment