Sometimes you want to put your heart and soul into the meal. Other times you just want to get food in their faces. Here are a few kid-friendly meal ideas for those frames of mind and everything in-between.
Hi friends! How are we feeling about the new fall routine this year? I’ve got to admit, I’m getting better at it, but only when I meal prep (and school prep and house prep and work prep and…). So let’s prep! This month I’ve got two no brainers, one adventurous meal, and two “project” recipes for when you want some time alone in the kitchen and/or need to take the virtual math class off the screen.
That last line was supposed to be a joke, but the kitchen truly is a great place to teach kids about math. Fractions were never my jam, but now that I spend my days changing around recipes for work at The Real Good Life meal delivery service, I’m finally figuring it out. Give your kids a measuring spoon and consider their homework done!
For our first no-brainer, I present this base recipe for meat sauce spaghetti in the Instant Pot. I say base recipe because I’ve tried all kinds of meat, I’ve added chopped or shredded veggies – it all works! The sauce can get a little watery, so add in more dried noodles (no spaghetti – no problem! I’ve done other shapes and all work great) to ensure a great kid-friendly meal and leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
The smell of sizzling fajitas wafting through the air is probably one of the top five things I miss about restaurants right now. Can’t you just smell it?? Yum! Well, besides the delicious smells, I think this is a popular restaurant dish because it usually takes so much work and babysitting when done at home! Enter this sheet pan version from one of my favorite food blogs. You can prep the veggies and meat ahead of time, and then with just minutes of work, a weeknight meal will be ready to roll.
This is a challenge y’all should totally accept. And by “challenge,” I only mean that this take on eggplant is potentially new to you and your family. It only takes about 15 minutes to come together, so the recipe itself it totally easy-peasy!
The sauce on this kid-friendly meal is so rich and flavorful. The garlic and ginger warm up the pan without being too spicy for little mouths. I make this dish on meatless Mondays with a side of fried rice. Veggie on veggie on veggie all covered in soy sauce? Yep, I’m in heaven.
Now that the mornings are cold, not just cool, a hot breakfast is a perfect way to get the day going. But then again, who has time for that on your random Thursday? Not this girl! Instead, I make a batch of these burritos over the weekend and store them in the freezer. The base recipe is vegan, which I love. Breakfast is a great time to be healthy – add in the cheese, meat, and cookies later. That said, add whatever fixings your family would like being careful not to overfill.
Also, be careful microwaving to reheat. A certain Hot Pocket comedy skit comes to mind in relation to temperature…
Finally, let’s talk about these Pretzel Bites. Yes, they are kind of fussy. Yes, they dirty up a decent amount of dishes. Are they worth it? 100% yes. I’ve done both salty and cinnamon sugar, and just like my kids, I swear I don’t have a favorite. A friend got annoyed with the bites idea and used the dough to make traditional pretzels shapes. They all work!
Try this on a Sunday morning and you’ll be all set for an afternoon of football from the couch. Go Pack!
Bonus! Restaurant Recommendation – Shake Shack
I know I should only recommend local restaurants as they are desperate for our business right now. Please start with them. But – if you find yourself downtown following the art trail or window shopping through the Third Ward, consider placing an order on the Shake Shack website or on their app. You can schedule when you’ll pick up and the food will be waiting behind a roped-off section accessed only by masked-up personnel. They have appropriately spaced tables outside, but on my last visit, the food made it all the way home without issue. Go for the shakes, stay for the nuggets. Hands down, their nuggets are leaps and bounds better than the other guy who specializes in chicken. And don’t even get me started on their honey mustard sauce…
So that’s what I’m eating this month. I hope that gives you some ideas. If you have other meals the rest of us need to know about, leave a note in the comments. On the other hand, if you just can’t take making one more meal for the munchkins, my team at The Real Good Life is here to help.