Cook This Not That: Kid Friendly Takes on Adult Favorites

Cooking for kids

Are you tired of cooking delicious and healthy meals, only to have your child turn up their nose and request PB&J instead? Or perhaps you’ve been making do with chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese for weeks because at least your kids will eat it. Adults and children have different tastes — but you don’t need to keep cooking two meals every night just to satisfy everyone. Here are some creative ways to transform adult favorites into more kid-friendly meals.

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Tenders: An Alternative to Processed Chicken Tenders

Kids love chicken tenders, but the processed kind you buy in the frozen aisle is not exactly healthy—and they don’t quite appeal to the adult palate. Try making your own Parmesan-crusted chicken tenders instead. Cut chicken breasts into strips. Dip each strip into some whisked egg, then into a mixture of half Parmesan cheese and half Panko breadcrumbs. Bake the chicken strips on a lightly greased baking sheet for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F. The kids can dip them into barbecue sauce and ranch, and you can enjoy them over a salad.

Build-Your-Own Soup: A Replacement for Chunky Soups and Stews

Kids often love the idea of soup, but if there are too many ingredients in the soup, they may pick them out or refuse to eat the soup altogether. A good way around this is to make a basic soup with just stock and meat. Then, set out bowls of sides to be individually added to the soup. Cooked carrots, chopped green onions, cooked brown rice, and cooked corn are all good choices. Kids are more likely to eat ingredients they add themselves. You can enjoy the soup your way, and they can enjoy it their way.

Turkey Meatballs: A Replacement for Beef Meatballs

Kids love meatballs, but you may not want to eat so much red meat. Turkey meatballs are a good substitute. Combine one pound of ground turkey with 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1 whisked egg, a half teaspoon each of onion and garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano leaves. Divide the meat into 16 portions, and shape each portion into a ball. Bake the meatballs at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. You can serve them on whole-wheat sub rolls, over whole-grain pasta, or even alongside fresh veggies and dip.

Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry: A Replacement for Spicy Stir-Fries

Kids aren’t always big fans of stir-fries because they can be spicy and overly salty. But teriyaki chicken stir fry has a milder, sweeter flavor that most kids enjoy. There are numerous bottled teriyaki sauces available in the Asian sections of most grocery stores. Look for one with a lower sugar and salt content. To make the stir fry, simply saute some diced chicken breast with sliced carrots, onions, and snow peas. Add the teriyaki sauce during the last few minutes of cooking. Serve the stir fry over brown rice for a healthy, tasty meal.

Say goodbye to chicken nuggets without the tears! With the compromise meals above, you can prepare dishes that children and adults alike can look forward to.


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