April 12, 2013

Week 15 - A Second Helping of Kid-Friendly Meals

My Kid-Friendly week back in February was a hit – both at my house and on the blog.  I can see from my stats that this is the week that has the most hits and is found the most by Google searches.  Which isn’t surprising, feeding kids can be a challenge!  Most parents I know also loathe packing school lunches.  I’m still looking forward to that by the way… again you can file away that you must tell me “I told you so” the first time I complain about it.
Kid friendly food is all about making food fun and appealing… so really it's everyone friendly!   Again I had so many ideas I couldn’t fit them all in… I have to file away the ideas that didn’t make it for the next instalment.  This week is doubling as April Magazine Week.  The April issue of Today’s Parent had a one week meal plan that’s worth checking out!
One important consideration in school lunches is packaging.  At supper club this past weekend we had a chat about reusable containers that are easy enough for little hands to open.  Thought I’d pass on this idea – I’ve been making reusable snack bags.  They’re great for ‘dry’ snacks (crackers, trail mix, etc… ) but I’ve also used them for fruit and veggies.   I’m a beginner sewer with a basic sewing machine so trust me when I say that if I can make these – so can you!  Here’s a picture of some of mine (aren’t they fun!?) and a tutorial if you’re feeling “crafty”.  


Recipe Quick Links:

Week in Review


Lunch – BTC Sandwich (Bacon Tomato and Cheddar).  We’re not big sandwich people but sandwiches are easily packable for school lunch so I decided to kick off with that.  I got a really nice 12 Grain Bread and topped it with mayo, crispy bacon, thin slices of tomato and Cheddar cheese.   It took everything in me not to eat this right away.  Unfortunately, as suspected the tomato made the bread soggy.  But I think this is still manageable, I would just wrap the tomato and bacon separately and assemble on site.  And if a microwave is available you could zap the bacon for a few seconds and this would actually be really good!
Supper – Leftover Lasagna.  I automatically think of adding lasagna to Kid-Friendly week because it was one my favorites growing up.  And you can easily get multiple meals out it so it’s also a working mom friendly meal!  Typically I’d make a Caesar to go with it but since we didn’t have anything to prepare when we got home I thought it would be fun to try out a new green smoothie recipe (Kale & Pineapple from Marin Mama Cooks).  Seriously – you gotta try it!  As you can see it was good to the last drop!
1)      Brown ground beef in large saucepan.  Add jar of pasta sauce and ½ jar full of water.  Simmer.
2)      Mix 500ml container of cottage cheese (I like Lasagna style) with ¼ cup of grated Parmesan and 1 egg.
3)      Shred cheese (mozza)
4)      Layer in rectangle pan – sauce, noodles (I use whole wheat and don’t precook them), sauce, ½ of the cottage cheese, sprinkle of mozza, noodles, sauce, remainder of cottage cheese, noodles, sauce, remainder of cheese.
5)      Back at 375, covered for 40 min.  Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes.
Note:  You can also layer the lasagna in a slow-cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours. 


Lunch – Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas.  Quesadillas are a great lunch option, quick to throw together, travel well, eaten reheated or cold and can be filled with just about anything.  I went spinach and mushroom today – a little feta would not have been wrong.  Mushrooms are most definitely kid friendly in our house but I can see where this particular combo might not be every kid’s first choice.  See Thursday for another option or use whatever your favorites are.  To make a quesadilla – prep your fillings (ie. shred the cheese, cook and dice the chicken, sauté the veggies, or rinse the beans).  Spray one side of a tortilla with oil, place in a frying pan sprinkle cheese on one half of the tortillas, top with fillings and then more cheese.  Fold over and cook each side until crispy and cheese melts.  Cut in triangles and enjoy!  We dipped this one in sour cream.
Supper --  Lemon Roast Chicken, Weelicious Veggie Nuggets & Kale Chips.   This meal was underwhelming and ironically the nuggets were probably the most "kid targeted" item this week, yet the one thing my kid did not want to eat.  The chicken was good, we typically have boneless, skinless breasts so skin-on chicken thighs were nice for a change and the gravy was good.  The kale chips were gobbled up but the nuggets were not a hit with anyone.  Mostly me, because I found them a pain to make on top of not really thinking they were anything special.  If you have a child who hates veggies but loves nuggets then perhaps this will do the trick.  The other problem with this meal was that all three items needed to be baked in the oven but at different temps and for different time so it was a bit of nightmare to coordinate – not very well planned!  OOPS!  I would make the chicken again but with different sides and perhaps on a weekend since it needed 45 minutes to cook so made for a late weeknight supper.


Lunch – Caprese Salad.  I love this lunch and I’m surprised this is the first time I’m making it this year.  So simple… diced chicken, cherry tomatoes, bocconcini and pesto.  I think kids would find the bocconcini fun and they have a very mild flavor.  This is also pretty weight watchers friendly – watch your serving sizes but you should be able to pack a satisfying bowl for about 8 points.   Easy to pack, travels well, eaten cold.  Perfect!  I also made a “trail mix” with cheerios, pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips which made a nice little afternoon treat.
Supper – Frittata and Turnip Fries.  The frittata was quick and easy to make and pretty tasty.  It got an “mmmm… yummy eggs” from the little one at the table.  The turnip fries were a little under done but if you are patient and leave them roast until they get crispy they are a tasty treat and a fun finger food for kids.  I just cut the turnip into fry shape (of buy them already pre-cut), boil for a few minutes and then toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 450 until they crisp up.  I find the time it takes varies… but plan for at least 30 minutes.


Lunch – Chicken Quesadillas.  For this version I sautéed some red pepper with diced chicken breast (leftover from Wednesday’s lunch) and a sprinkle of Mexican spice mix.  I used a tex-mex pre-shredded cheese mix.  I love buying pre-shredded cheese when it’s on sale, saves a step and we eat it less on impulse.  If I buy a block of cheese with the intention of using it later in the week most likely it’ll be gone by the time I need it.
Supper – Hearty Tuscan Soup.  I debated this one because as I’ve mentioned before we’re not really “soup people”.  But it’s been unseasonable cold here and Marin has a bug she can’t seem to shake so a nice bowl of soup sounded pretty good.  This was excellent – so glad I tried it!  I actually used Tofu instead of the navy beans.  This would be really low Weight Watchers points if you skipped the croutons.  The croutons were my favorite part though…
Photo by Robert Caruso via Today's Parent


Lunch – Leftovers!  I packed the croutons separately so they would be nice and crunchy. 
Supper – Date night!  You’re on your own.  But if you’re looking for ideas we have Steak Frites on the menu for the weekend!  This is from Canadian Living.  It’s really just steak and homefries but what caught my eye was the aioli.

For some great school lunch ideas ‘Like’ 100 Days of Real Food and Weelicious on Facebook.  They both post daily what they packed for school lunches.


  1. Oh that is so cute that your daughter is downing the smoothie. That makes me so happy! I'm glad you all like the smoothie, it's one of my kid's favorites as well. They also love the spinach smoothie. Both are easy and great ways to get your greens in!
    Have a great night! xoxo, Jackie

    1. It was definately a hit :-) My neighbor introduced me to green smoothies about a year ago. I thought she was crazy but you really don't taste the greens. My typical green smoothie has almond butter and almond milk, so more of a milkshake consistency. I found the pineapple and coconut water made this one nice and refreshing.

      Thanks again for another great recipe!