I've heard it a thousand times, as I'm sure you have too: avoid labeling your kid--labels stick. This goes for anything from labeling them as shy, clumsy, chubby, and, in my case, picky. But since my elder Boy Wonder will undoubtedly be eating chicken tikka masala on a regular basis by the time he can read this (I'm an optimist), and since this is just between you and me, he's a pretty damn picky eater. As such, I'm always looking for new, fun recipes he can help with and will enjoy eating while broadening the spectrum of his excruciatingly limited palate.
I usually end up buying the prettiest kids cookbook on the shelf, which typically costs around $12.95 and has only a few recipes I really want to try, but today I pulled up my Epicurious iPhone app, which I generally use for grown-up dinners and weird family holiday side dishes, to discover they have two whole sections dedicated to cooking for/with kids, "School Lunches" and "Kid-Friendly Mains."From my perspective, "Kid-Friendly Mains" leaves a bit to be desired as 4 out the first 10 recipes were either fried chicken or pizza (really? kids like fried chicken and pizza?!), but "School Lunches" is pure gold. Many of the recipes are more dinner- or stay-at-home-lunch-appropriate but several would be great on-the-fly in lieu of my boy's fav, peanut butter on whole grain bread (served on a near-daily basis).
Tonight we eased in with Pizza Pouches, a safe bet given Huck's love of carbs and pizza and Little Lou's yen for meatballs. They both gobbled the pouches up. I transferred excess meatballs and/or crust from one boy's plate to the other's and we ended up without leftovers. Operating on the same carby pocket principle, next I'm planning on serving up the Sweet Bean Piroshki, substituting whole wheat pizza dough or pie crusts--a great way to sneak protein into a carb-lovers diet.
If you want something in non-pocket form, try the Three Amigos bean salad for another easy, protein-packed meal or side for your budding vegetarian. Or bake it in a pocket : ). I'm itching to whip up an Apple, Celery and Walnut Salad as a side for BBQ chicken before summer's end and I'm sure if I sell it with a Wonder Pets angle, it'll at least get a taste.
For sandwiches destined to become lunchbox favs (with an ice pack, of course), check out a variation on the pizza-sell I hadn't thought of, "Pizza" Sandwiches: fresh mozzarella sandis with tomato spread on Italian rolls to spice things up and make a lunch meal palatable to both grown ups and babes alike (I'll slice the rolls thin for my boys' pint-size pouts). I'm not sure why I hadn't thought of wraps for my little man before, but the Best-Ever BLT Wrap is sure to be a winner with him (he luvs his bacon!) and I'll have no problem finishing off the Cherry and Chicken Sandwich if he gives it a thumbs-down.
Chow, bambini! (excuse the pun)