Do you struggle with feeding your entire family the same meal for dinner?
Despite all of the variety I can feed my kids at lunch time. Hot dinners are definitely a struggle in our home. First off, there is not one meal that we can/will ALL eat (ok, maybe aside from breakfast for dinner). My kids are exact opposites in their likes and dislikes (and both are quite picky), my husband is very particular about his food being separate (and is not very adventurous) and I have a food allergy and some intolerances that need consideration.
We try to prepare meals with lots of components (a couple of meat options with at least two side dishes that each person will eat…….so if you do the math there could be 6 different side options at times) to make dinner enjoyable for everyone, but even sometimes that doesn’t work. Honestly, it’s exhausting!
Therefore, after some contemplation, I decided to begin a mini Dinner Challenge and have each kid cook a meal with me one night each week. I would like for them to understand, first hand, what goes into a meal from finding the recipe, prepping the entire meal, setting the table and serving it. My thought is that if they pick out the meal and help prepare it that they will be more likely to appreciate it and eat it!………we’ll see huh?
The next day, my soon-to-be-6-year-old, Dane, found 17 recipes that he would like to make with me for our Dinner Challenge. I was shocked to see chicken amongst his choices (as he does not care for chicken and will not eat it when we make it). However, he assured me that he was definitely interested in trying the recipes…..so here is to branching out…..hopefully!?!
Fast forward to today, the real start of our Dinner Challenge. On the menu was a Vegetable Frittata as our main course (Dane’s choice). We loosely followed a recipe, tailor-making it to Dane’s liking (and adding some sausage last-minute per his request). He choose what vegetables to include and managed to prep and cook the whole meal from start to finish all by himself (with just a little direction on my part). I was quite surprised at how confident and skilled Dane was and he was super excited the whole process. He even said, “I am a real cook!” His little sister, Brooke, who is 3, had a hard time watching the whole process so I kept her busy with glitter glue and setting the table “for mommy.”…..such great helpers I have!
While the frittata was cooking I had Dane think of some sides to accompany the dish. His choices (cantaloupe and tomatoes) weren’t at all fancy and didn’t require a recipe, but they complemented the dish, definitely suited his likes, and provided a good first step to meal planning.
All in all we had some great quality family time as we all talked about the process and complemented each other on our ninja knife skills.
So what happened when dinner was served and the blessing was said? We all dug into our proud boy’s dish! It was quite delicious and we all had seconds….aside from Brooke who tried one bite and graciously declined any more………”But she doesn’t like eggs anyways.” Dane said in defense. He’s right, but I was still impressed that I never heard a complaint by her. Brooke elected to just eat her sides and was thoroughly happy with that. About a hour later Brooke was hungry, but I was okay with making her a peanut butter sandwich, because at dinner she was present with us and tried the food, making no fuss about not liking the dish. Next dinner challenge will be all up to her. This is feeling good!
Below is the recipe we threw together this evening. Feel free to switch out any or all of the vegetables for your favorites or make it vegetarian. The choices below were all Dane’s as he was a “real cook” tonight. 🙂
Dane’s Simple Vegetable and Sausage Frittata
- 6 eggs (preferably pastured)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- a pinch of pepper to taste
- 1 large handful of spinach, chopped
- 1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
- 1-2 chicken sausages, chopped (if using store-bought sausage make sure you remove the pork casing or you could also sub a couple of pieces of pastured bacon) – this was a last-minute throw in for us 🙂
- Pat of grass-fed butter or a little avocado oil
- 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese mixed with cheddar and parmesan (or your choice of cheese)
- Set the oven to 350 degrees F
- Beat the eggs, salt and a pinch of pepper in a bowl and set aside
- Sauté the chopped vegetables and the chopped sausage in a skillet with a little grass-fed butter or avocado oil until tender
- Stir the eggs while you slowly add the cooked vegetables to the egg mixture and pour the whole mixture into a greased 5X9 baking dish (or similar)
- Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for about 25 minutes or until cooked through
Note: I typically have added basil and some other herbs to my frittatas, but have never had any luck with Dane liking them. So this time I left the herbs out and let Dane guide the ingredients. It worked! He definitely enjoyed his meal and so did I 🙂 Therefore, feel free to add in any herbs/spices that you would like to jazz it up a bit. This is a very kid-friendly version……that is, if your kid likes eggs.