Pieces of Me

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Super Fun Dinners

My kids are not picky eaters.  I’m very blessed to have children who will usually eat what is put in front of them.  And they always eat better for other people.  Ask Dorothy to share that story with you :)

This week I decided to pull out new cookbook.  A friend gave me Cooking for Kids WINNING RECIPES as a thank you for hosting her baby shower.  I admit it, when I got home, it just went on the shelf with all the cookbooks.  Then for some reason, I pulled the cookbook down to go through it.  LOTS of fun ideas for not just dinner, but every meal under the sun – breakfast, snacks, lunch, desserts, and dinner.  I decided to sit down and plan a week of meals from the cookbook and see what happened. 

Although I had complete control over the menu, I let the kids decide which day we ate what.  I cooked more this week than I think I have in a while (actually I cooked more new things.  We usually eat the same things every week – pretty boring around here).

Here is what we came up with:

Cayden’s Choice – Sloppy Joe Race Cars

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 tbs. olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, sliced
    • 2 pounds ground turkey or ground beef
    • 1 jar (1 lb 10 oz) RAGU ROBUSTO Pasta Sauce (for this, I substituted Salt Lick BBQ Sauce since Cayden can’t have tomato)
    • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    • 2 tbs sweet pickle relish (omitted, forgot to buy)
    • 8 hero rolls (we used whole wheat)
    • Race Car Garnishes – mini pretzel twists for steering wheel, zucchini or cucumber for wheels attached to thin pretzel sticks, radish for the driver – (FYI, I didn’t do this.  I just put cheese on toothpicks and called them wheels)
  • Directions
    • In 12-in nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over med-high heat and cook onion, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until tender.  Add ground turkey and cook, stirring occasionally, until done.
    • Stir in Pasta Sauce, brown sugar, and relish.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes
    • Meanwhile, cut out a 5x2 in “trench”  in top of rolls, removing some bread.  To serve, evenly fill rolls with turkey mixture.

Makes 8 servings <---Great for Leftovers!

Mom’s Choice – Octo-dogs and Shells

  • Ingredients
    • 4 hot dogs
    • 1 1/2 cups small shell pasta
    • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
    • 1 cup prepared Alfredo sauce
    • Yellow mustard in squeeze bottle
    • Goldfish crackers
  • Directions
    • Lay 1 hot dog on cutting surface. Starting one inch from one end of hot dog, slice hot dog vertically in half. Roll hot dog 1/4 turn. Starting 1 inch from same end, slice in half vertically again, making 4 segments connected at top. Slice each segment in half vertically, creating a total of 8 "legs." Repeat with remaining hot dogs.
    • Place hot dogs in medium saucepan; cover w/ water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; set aside.
    • Prepare pasta according to package directions, stirring in vegetables during last 3 minutes of cooking time. Drain; return to pan. Stir in Alfredo sauce. Heat over low heat until heated through. Divide past mixture between 4 plates.
    • Drain octo-dogs. Arrange one octo-dog on top of pasta mixture on each plate. Draw faces on the "heads" of octo-dogs with mustard. Sprinkle crackers over pasta.

Serves 4

Dad’s Choice – Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs and Spaghetti

  • Ingredients
    • 1 pound ground meat
    • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
    • 1 egg
    • 2 ounce mozzarella cheese, cut into 12 (1/2 in) cubes
    • 1 jar RAGU Old World Style Pasta Sauce
    • 8 ounce spaghetti, cooked and drained
  • Directions
    • In medium bowl, combine ground meat, bread crumbs and egg; shape into 12 meatballs.  Press 1 cheese cube into each meatball, enclosing completely.
    • In 3-quart saucepan, bring Pasta Sauce to a boil over med-high heat.  Gently stir in uncooked meatballs (I set 3 aside and pan cooked them plain for Cayden)
    • Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until meatballs are done.  Serve over hot spaghetti.

Makes 4 servings

Hannah’s Choice – Stuffed Corn Bread

  • Ingredients
    • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
    • 2 tbs sugar
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) diced Cheddar cheese, divided
    • 2 thin slices deli ham diced (I used 2 hot dogs)
    • 1/4 cup tomato or pasta sauce (optional)
  • Directions
    • Preheat over to 350*.  Spray 3 mini loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray
    • Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Whisk milk, oil, and egg in a small bowl.  Pour milk mixture over flour mixture; still until moistened.
    • Spoon 1/2 of batter evenly into prepared pans.  Layer 1/2 of cheese, ham and tomato sauce over batter; top with remaining batter and cheese.
    • Bake about 30 minutes or until edges are browned and toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire racks 5 minutes.  Remove from pans; slice and serve warm.

Makes 6 servings


Verdict?  Kids have LOVED it all.  Not too thrilled about hot dogs that look like octopus but still ate dinner :)