- Mexican: I love tacos, but I just feel like they require way too much chopping and way too many bowls...yes, I'm the laziest person ever sometimes. So I've tried to simplify. To my ground beef (or chicken), I'll add a can of diced tomatoes, frozen corn, and some black beans. Everyone gets more veggies and I just have to open things! Since even kids will eat iceberg lettuce, I always serve that along side with a dressing made of thinned out sour cream, avocado, and a few spices (kind of like a green ranch...you can use the Good Season's packages for the dressing on lazy days - most days!). I drizzle the sour cream on the tacos too. My 10-month old just gets the meat and veggie mixture, plus the avocado.
- Soup: As I mentioned before, my kids won't eat soup, but will eat everything in it. And in the winter, I can easily make a pot on the weekends and then have it for later in the week. Minestrone is good with zucchini, white beans, and kale - make it with beef broth, pancetta, and red wine and it is especially hearty. Chicken broth plus noodles (or barley if it works for your kids), plus lots of carrots, peas, and celery is very kid friendly. They get the veggies, protein, and starches picked out of the soup. If it's a pureed soup, I'll pull some out for them before I blend. With some bread and a piece of cheese, it's a decent meal. Although my kids haven't fallen for the trick, a lot of kids will "drink" soup out of a cup or suck it with a straw as a "warm" smoothie.
- Pizza: We make a lot of homemade pizza these days, as it's always a crowd pleaser. I try and buy the whole wheat crust. My husband likes his with sausage and ricotta. I like yellow pepper rings. I typically slide a layer of spinach underneath the cheese. During the weekdays, you can make quick mini pizzas using naan or English muffins. On pizza night no one gets salad or extra veggies...I figure homemade pizza, that's virtuous enough.
- Macaroni and Cheese: Not from a box. I promise (although we do eat that often enough. I like to reserve the boxes for lunch. Even when I'm lazy, I feel obligated to cook for dinner). I'll typically make a mild cheese sauce myself and then mix with the small shells or any of the mini-pasta shapes...as those are the most similar to the ones in the box that the boys like. My husband I will crumble feta or blue cheese on top and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. It makes it surprisingly sophisticated. Last week we had it with peas (mixed in) and roasted purple cauliflower. It looked like a Dr. Seuss meal, but it was a hit.
One more day of tips (add yours to the comments!) and then some favorite recipes.