Tip Tuesday: Children Eating Veggies

Tip Tuesday

Muffin eats most things.  Raw peppers, onions, and anything spicy are the noted exceptions.

I haven’t found a fruit yet that he won’t eat, copious amounts of, except possibly grapefruit.  This is the child who can decimate a pound of strawberries in one sitting and wonder where the rest are.

I’ve been lucky in that regard.

Of course, sometimes he comes up with some strange combinations, such as Sunday’s baby carrot in a stick of celery “hot dog” with ranch dressing “ketchup” at the Christmas lupper table.  Or the salad-stuffed breadstick at Olive Garden.

And we can’t forget (although we have desperately tried) the blueberry taco with pretzels.

Seriously.  Desperately.  Tried.  I’m still scarred emotionally for life about that one.

Muffin has, if you have not guessed it, been an adventurous eater.  But certain “vehicles,” I shall say, have aided that.

And those vehicles are great at encouraging kids (or veggie-resistant adults) to trying new foods.

Vehicle #1:  Topping a baked potato.  Every so often at work, one of the classes makes available a baked potato bar.  It is seriously the best day of the month (I have leftovers for the following Monday’s lunch).  This one taught me something.  Basically, if you stick it on a potato, it has to be good.  Raw broccoli is a case in point.  I like many veggies (brussel sprouts included), but the texture of the florets of broccoli made me…blanch.  (Okay, I couldn’t resist.)  I have managed to convince Muffin to try many foods that foods are good by slapping them on an open potato vehicle.

Vehicle #2:  Pizza.  Muffin went through a whole phase where he only wanted cheese pizza.  Pepperoni magically became “too spicy.”  Then, all of a sudden, pepperoni was awesome again, and it reigned on pizza.  I doubted the magic and mystique of pizza.  And, then, the other day, Muffin saw his dad get a deluxe slice of pizza from Sam’s (with red and green bell peppers and onions).  He insisted he had to have a piece of deluxe, as well.  And he ate…most of it.  The red bell peppers were still a tough sell.  But he ate the onion, when previously he would have eaten it only in onion rings from Whataburger.  But I’ve always eaten onion, I think, because my mom has always put chopped onion in her pizza sauce.

Vehicle #3:  Tacos.  How Muffin first had salad (lettuce) and tomato (other than ketchup and salsa).  As he has proven, there is not much that Muffin will not put on a taco.  Except raw onion.  But usually every other taco topping (including green olives) will appear on a Muffin taco.

Vehicle #4:  Ranch (or another favored) salad dressing or dip.  My parents often do a crudite platter for lunch.  Muffin is always very excited to go over to their house for lunch because of this.  He has been known to consume cucumber, celery, and carrots without said dip or dressing, but he will consume it in copious amounts with the white seasoned stuff.

Vehicle #5:  Salad bars.  If you cut up a rainbow of veggies, the odds are high(er) that your child will jump at the chance to create and consume his or her colorful creation.  Taking Muffin to a salad bar is always an exercise in patience.  If it’s not spicy (or raw onion or bell peppers), he wants to try everything.  And everything must be arranged just so.

Vehicle #6:  Sandwiches (especially and including burgers):  Muffin is much more adventurous on his sandwiches and burgers than I am.  He wants to always eat one of those picture-perfect sandwiches and burgers bulging with toppings.  So he always has salad (his name for lettuce) on his sandwiches.  I rarely if ever have lettuce on sandwiches and burgers.

These are not 100% a guarantee that your child will eat all of the veggies on the planet, but it is better (in my opinion) than those hide-a-way veggie methods that some employ.  Yes, you want them to have the nutrition from the veggies.  But hiding it does not cause them to eat said veggies later in life.

In fact, by challenging Muffin with “you don’t really want that, do you?” has made him try more veggies and odd foods (mussels) than hiding any of it has.  And he is always so proud when he likes it!

Meal Plan Monday: The Between Christmas and New Years’ Edition

Meal Plan Monday

I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted.  For the last month, the meal plans have sorta not worked too well.  As in epic fails.  As in, I knew when I planned them that they were not going to go well.

I will spare you the horrific details.  This week is how-to-prep for New Years’ Eve and New Years’ Day while still enjoying the leftover goodies of Christmas.

I’m going to supply the menu for everything for the next two weeks (because the “eves” and “days” are a bit more complicated, recipe-wise).

Here we go.

Saturday (Christmas Eve):  snackies (little sausages in barbecue sauce and raspberry chipotle Tabasco sauce because choosing to wait until December 23 to purchase jalapeno pepper jelly simply doesn’t work, white sausage rotel and chips, treat tray, cream cheese and pepper jelly)

Sunday (Christmas morning/breakfast):  sausage biscuit breakfast casserole, fruit cup, tomato slices, sparkling grape juice

Sunday Lupper:  turkey, ham, cranberry orange relish, dressing, mashed potatoes, tourtiere, gravy, relishes (pickles and olives, plus carrots, tiny tomatoes, celery, and cucumber slices), macaroni and cheese, spinach madeleine, yams richard, crescent rolls, and treat tray

Monday:  leftovers see above

Tuesday:  hopefully leftovers (see above)

Wednesday:  chili (freeze leftovers)

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dog

Friday:  mini pizzas

Saturday (New Years’ Eve):  chicken and steak fajitas, guacamole, beans, pico de gallo and chips, Spanish rice, treat tray

Sunday (New Years’ Day):  probably ham (or some pork like form), greens, hot water cornbread, treat tray

Monday:  fajita leftovers

Tuesday:  sloppy joes, fries or tater tots

Wednesday:  pizza lasagna, green veg

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dog

Friday:  pizza

Saturday:  stir fry

Sunday:  roast of some kind

And there you go.  The latest Saturday and Sunday are not set in stone.  But the rest pretty much is.

How does your time look to be shaping up?

 

Meal Plan Monday: Week Two of the Aldi Test

Meal Plan Monday

So, this is the second week of the Aldi Test of the meal plan.  So far, things are going well.  I managed to only buy five things from Kroger last week:  canned/bottled drinks, lasagna noodles, pork chops, and some of Rene’s lunch stuff.  I was very proud of myself.

This week, the meal plan uses much of what we had already in the house…and it’s the week of Thanksgiving, which automatically blocks out a lot of stuff.

So, what do we have to look forward to?

Saturday:  Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole (Kraft Recipes)

Sunday:  Meatloaf and mashed potatoes, green veg (canned)

Monday:  sloppy joes with homemade buns, fries

Tuesday:  Ravioli with Sausage, frozen green veg, garlic bread

Wednesday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Thursday:  Thanksgiving dinner

Friday:  Thanksgiving leftovers

Saturday:  Thanksgiving leftovers

Sunday:  grilled steaks or small meats or chicken nuggets; salad; fries

What do your meals look like this week?

Meal Plan Monday: Week One of the Aldi Test

Meal Plan Monday

Okay, now that you are scratching your head confused wondering “What the heck is the Aldi test?” I will feel free to enlighten you.

For the past few months, on alternating Saturdays, I have trekked (sometimes with Josh…only twice with Muffin and almost not survived the experience) an hour away to Longview to our nearest Aldi.  I had been a few times before in Houston and Dallas, and, of course, had been enchanted with the stories of individuals in the Pinteresting Blogosphere who have saved a ton of money at Aldi in the past.

…And, now, I’m hooked!

However, I will wax poetic about Aldi in tomorrow’s Tip Tuesday post.

But, now, for details about the Aldi test.  Since I go to Aldi every other week, I’m going to try, for the next two weeks (this week and next week) to plan out my meals and shopping for the next two weeks and plan meals around what is in the house and what I can mostly buy at Aldi.  Now, there are a few outlying supplies that I will buy at Kroger, but my goal is to not shop at all at a grocery store in the intervening week.

How is that possible?

I plan to buy bread and long storage veggies that will last into the second week.  Salads and perishable stuff will be used in the first week, but frozen veg will be used the second half of the shopping cycle along with canned veg.

We will see how this works.  Fingers crossed!

I know there are people who shop every month and every two weeks, but this is new for me.  It will require strict adherence to the meal plan and a ton of foresight.  Of course, the following week is Thanksgiving (American), and that only requires the foresight to know what I’m bringing to my mom’s.

So, what’s up for the first week?  Well, here we go!

Saturday:  Dr. Pepper Pork Chops (Debbiedoo’s), rice, green veg (canned)

Sunday:  Easy Pepperoni Pizza Lasagna (Kraft Recipes), green salad, garlic bread

Monday:  breakfast for dinner (Josh is home, so he gets to cook!)

Tuesday:  Slow Cooker Creamy White Chicken Chili (The Chunky Chef–a recipe that arrived in my inbox just the other day!), cornbread

Wednesday:  anniversary dinner out (Happy 9th anniversary to the most wonderful man in the world!)

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Friday:  pizza

Saturday:  Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole (Kraft) with some form of green veg

Sunday:  Meatloaf and mashed potatoes, green veg (canned)

What is your week looking like?

Tip Tuesday: Sometimes It’s Okay to Become Lazy With a Recipe

Tip Tuesday

I’m probably the world’s worst person at following a recipe that I know.  Sometimes it works well; sometimes it works less than well.

Sometimes (as is the case of the Mississippi Roast I made yesterday) I misread or forget an ingredient (at 5:30 in the morning when you are racing around trying to gather lunches and stock the slow cooker and get ready for work it happens).  Sometimes, I substitute ingredients.

And, sometimes, after a long, hard day at work, I get…lazy.  There!  I said it.  The recipe I am going to share with you today (my adaptation of Wholly Guacamole Enchiladas by Mommy Hates Cooking) is the product of my extreme laziness.  Rather than enchiladas, it became more of an enchilada casserole.

It was still yummy, but I don’t have the patience to warm corn tortillas to make them pliable, then fill and roll them, cursing them when they still tear and crack anyway on the best of days.  After a day of teaching?  It’s not happening.

So, I put a bit of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×13, spread six corn tortillas flat, then put the enchilada filling on top, then six more tortillas followed by sauce and cheese.  It turns more into an echisagna at the end, but it is still delicious.

Note:  the one thing I will INSIST upon is that you use an enchilada sauce that you like.  I used one from my Aldi run and it was too spicy for anyone except me.  They still tasted awesome, but Muffin and Josh couldn’t finish theirs.  And the sauce was really watery.

But here’s what I did.

Guacamole Enchilada Casserole

(Adapted from Mommy Hates Cooking–See Link Above)

12 corn tortillas

1 large can red enchilada sauce (28 ounces, I think)

2 cups cooked and shredded chicken breast

1 can Rotel (the original says drained…I just realized that)

4 green onions, sliced

1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (I could still tell there were leaves in mine.)

16 ounces guacamole (I had two 8 ounce packages in what I purchased from Aldi, so I used it all.)

2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mix of sharp and mild cheddars.  Monterey Jack would be awesome as well.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix in a bowl chicken, Rotel, green onions, cilantro, and guacamole, ensuring it’s well-mixed.

Lightly coat the bottom of a 9×13 Pyrex baking dish with enchilada sauce.  Place six tortillas on the bottom of the pan, overlapping slightly as needed.  Pour and spread all of the guacamole mixture over the tortillas, smoothing as needed.

Cover with six more corn tortillas, arranged as before, pressing slightly to adhere and smoosh.  (Yes, smoosh is a technical term.)  Cover with remaining sauce (I love saucy enchis!) and cheese.

Bake until hot and bubbly (about 30 minutes) and cheese is melted.  Let sit 10 minutes then cut and serve like lasagna.

IMG_3501

What is your favorite lazy shortcut?

Meal Plan Monday: Another Week of New Ones

Meal Plan Monday

Well, last week was sorta successful, meal-plan-wise.  I did make the Wholly Guacamole Enchiladas, but I turned them into an enchilada casserole.  I’ve discovered i have no patience for corn-tortilla-enchilada making.  The softening of them to make them pliable is not my cuppa tea.

This week shall be easier to follow the plan.  Tuesday the fate of the nation will be decided, and I will have an extra day to cook.

So, here’s what I’m thinking:

Saturday:  hamburgers and fries/chips

Sunday:  Sweet Tea Fried Chicken (Growing Up Gabel), mashed potatoes, greens

Monday:  Mississippi Roast (NY Times), baked potato, salad

Tuesday:  Slow Cooker Lasagna Rolls (Gunny Sack), salad, garlic bread

Wednesday:  Grilled Pork Tenderloin (Food Network–Alton Brown), rice

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Friday:  English muffin pizzas, corn

Saturday:  Dr. Pepper Pork Chops (Debbiedoos), rice, green veg

Sunday:  Quesadillas, chips, and salsa

What is on your meal plan for the week?

Meal Plan Monday: Where Has October Gone?

Meal Plan Monday

Happy Halloween!  This has been a strange month.  Sickness, cub scout camping (resulting in my back being locked up grrr), my birthday, Homecoming preparations at work, Canadian Thanksgiving, and my observation.  This month has flown by with several hiccups!

But we are now at the end of the month and the spookiest (to some) day of the year.  This year Muffin is going as a HALO soldier.  And, as usual, I will stay home while he and Josh go trick or treating to hand out treats to those brave souls who venture beyond Josh’s Halloween entryway of horrors.

I’m trying to inject the past few weeks of meal plan fails (Can you believe I actually did no meal planning the past few weeks and went off the cuff–with disastrous results?!) with some fresh blood.  So far, it’s going well.

Of course, tonight is our traditional Halloween hot dog bar.

What’s up for the week?

Scroll down just a bit further to find out!

Saturday:  Coconut Chicken Fingers (Southern Bite–I didn’t make the sauce but instead served it with jarred sweet-and-sour sauce), strawberries

Sunday:  Wholly Guacamole Enchiladas (Mommy Hates Cooking), beans, rice, chips, salsa

Monday:  hot dog bar, chips, brownies

Tuesday:  Slow Cooker Lasagna Rolls (Gunny Sack), salad, garlic bread

Wednesday:  Dr. Pepper Crock Pot Pork Chops (Debbiedoo’s), roasted potatoes, green veg

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Friday:  mini pizzas and corn

Saturday:  Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas (Life in the Lofthouse), chips and salsa

Sunday:  Sweet Tea Fried Chicken (Growing Up Gabel), greens, mashed potatoes with lots of garlic and butter

Yes, the Sweet Tea Fried Chicken made it to the menu again.  I’m not sure if it will be made.  It’s one of those that I keep putting on the meal plan but it never actually gets made.