From one parent to another…I am really, really over dinner times at the moment. One twin will eat one thing, the other rejects it, one likes finger type food, the other likes to use a spoon, fork and knife….yes, usually at the same time!
For those of you that have read my earlier posts about Ruby's sensory issues and oral aversions to certain foods it might give you hope to know that she is now my star eater compared to her sister Tara! So don't give up on the sensory food journey although I know it can be tough. You can read more about my strategies to get my sensory twin eating foods here and here.
At the moment though I am just dealing with 2 nearly 4 year olds who have obviously decided it is great fun to not only exhibit really annoying behaviour at dinner time they also rarely eat what I cook anymore.
So I have gone back to some old recipes and invented a few new ones to keep in the freezer and currently add them to the plate of whatever we are eating as a family. Sort of following the old adage of including one thing on the plate that you know they will probably eat, one new thing to try and whatever the family is having.
At the moment though what they will tend to eat only consists of pasta, oven baked chips, egg and chicken. Time to get tricky again and include a few of those with some vegies and present in a child friendly ‘fun' little morsel.
These little gems have gone down a treat and they freeze really well. Still not the healthiest option I know but I figure it's better than chips, they are quick and easy, they like to help make them, they have some texture and there is scope to keep adding more vegies!
Does your toddler or preschooler love mac n cheese but you worry about it being boring and not very nutritious? Why not give this option a try…it won't take much longer to make than the traditional version I promise.
Here's what you need….
1 1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
1 Tablespoon parmesan cheese (optional)
3 Cups cooked macaroni or pasta pieces (I just use any I have in the fridge or freezer)
1 Tablespoon cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
2 Large Eggs or 3 medium (beaten)
1/2 Cup grated Carrot *
1/2 Cup grated Zucchini *
1 small tin creamed corn *
Here's what you do…..
Now put spoonfuls into a large muffin tin…try to get a fairly even mix of pasta and eggy mix so that it holds together after cooking.
I had enough to fill 12 muffin cups and then added the rest of the mix to some small gratin dishes as one twin prefers dinner from the bowl remember…bless them and their unique personalities! I might just add that the teen also enjoyed one of these and I just noticed another has mysteriously disappeared from the freezer…does anyone else find their food seems to disappear regulalrly with a teen in the house?
Sprinkle a little of your reserved cheese on top of each muffin cup and bake in a moderate oven 15-20 minutes for the muffins and around 20-30 minutes for larger dishes.
If you want to just put the whole mix into a large casserole dish (because obviously your family is less high maintenance than mine!) then it will probably need around 45 minutes. It's really just a case of keeping an eye on them and when they begin to go brown and crispy on top and feel solid when you give them a little shake you know you are done.
Told you they were easy didn't I? They are a great way to use up leftover pasta, I usually keep a ziplock bag of frozen cooked pasta in the freezer now to throw into dishes like this. You could add whatever vegies your kids will tolerate or grate the ones they don't like a little finer, mix them through and hopefully they will be none the wiser!
The family also liked them cold in their lunchboxes too. They go well with some oven baked chips and crunchy salad sticks.