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Our Sunday Menu – Toddler Victories & Failures

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There are some things in parenthood that do not make sense to me. The most recent in a long line of things that puzzle me is this, you have all heard me cry & whine over what a difficult eater our daughter is, then how do you explain this…

Mai's daily reports from daycare. As you can see the daycare provider has no problem getting our picky girl to eat.
Mai’s daily reports from daycare… As you can see the daycare provider has no problem getting our picky girl to eat.

If the daily battle with my daughter at mealtime wasn’t frustrating enough, I now find out that she is capable of eating at each meal, just not for us. Siiiiggh! There are a few foods that I can count on that she will eat, pancakes, French toast & spaghetti. As you can see she likes her carbs. When possible we try to sneak in meat and our fruits & veggies, but it does not always work. Today’s menu had a couple of wins and a definite loss.

Breakfast: Banana & Nutella Pancakes

I had a couple of over-ripened bananas that needed to be used, so pancakes were a great place to use them.

Smash the bananas with a fork in a small mixing bowl. Add the egg & beat together & set aside. In a medium sized mixing bowl add 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 tbsp of brown sugar, 2 tsp of baking powder, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt, 3/4 cup of milk & 2 tbsp vegetable oil & stir. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture & stir well. Stir in 1/3 cup of Nutella. Pour about 1/8 of a cup of batter into a griddle or in a frying pan set on medium heat. Cook until the pancake is bubbly & the edges are cooked. Flip the pancake & cook on the other side until cooked all the way through.

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Breakfast was a success. She ate 4 pancakes of her own & a few bites of mine too. Score one for mommy.

Lunch: Monte Cristo Roll Ups:

Preheat the oven to 375. Cut the crusts off of 6 slices of bread. With a rolling pin, roll out each slice off bread. Beat an egg in a medium sized bowl. Brush one side of each slice with the egg. Cut a slice of ham so that it fits inside the slice. Cut a slice of Swiss cheese so that it only covers half of the slice. Roll the bread started at the cheese end. Dip the whole roll into the egg mixture covering the entire roll-up. Place on a greased cookie sheet & dust with confectioner’s sugar. Bake for about 7-8 minutes until golden brown.

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While this was a big hit with mommy & daddy, Mai refused to try it. I tried bribery & pleading. “Just take one little bite.” Negative. This was a lunch time fail. The score now is 1-1.

Mexican Chicken Rice Bake

Ingredients:

1 cup of uncooked white rice

1 pound of chicken cut into strips

1 cup of water

1 cup of milk

1 can of regular tomato soup (10.75 oz)

1 can of corn drained (8.75 oz)

1/4 cup of diced red peppers

1/4 cup of diced orange peppers

1/4 cup of diced yellow peppers

1 packet of taco seasoning

1 cup of shredded Mexican cheese

Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 375. Dice your vegetables & cut your chicken into strips & set aside in a casserole dish (I used a 9×12) add the rice, water & taco seasoning, stir well until seasoning is broken up & evenly distributed. Stir in the tomato soup & milk. Pour the corn & peppers over the top. Place the chicken strips over the top. Cover with foil & bake for about 45 minutes (cook times may vary). Remove foil, add the cheese & bake for 5 more minutes. Remove & let sit for a few minutes to cool. The top may appear slightly watery. The sauce will thicken upon standing. Scoop & serve.

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After a little coaxing and bribery, I finally got her to take a bite & guess what she liked it.

It was a pretty good eating day other than lunch, but you win some & you lose some.

My Picky Toddler Woes & Baked Corn Dog Bites

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Corn dog bite made out of cornbread mix & cut up hot dogs. Easy to make & fun to eat for my picky eater
I hate to sound like a broken record… I know you have heard me complain about this many times…BUT I have to say it again, my daughter is a picky eater. I can’t even imagine the amount of time & food I have wasted trying to get my child to eat a good meal. I have many sneaky ways & tricks that I use to help with the process, but that only works if she likes what she is eating.

She has a long list of gripes about her food:

“It’s too spicy.”
“It’s too cheesy”
“Not warm”
“Too hot”
“Noodles are disgusting”

You get the idea. Planning meals just plain stresses me out. At 2 1/2 years old our little girl still only weighs 25 pounds, so I will pretty much feed her anything that will get her to eat. Here lies the challenge. It is not uncommon for me to have several different meal options out at one time.

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After rejecting meal 1 & meal 2, we try for a 3rd option. It is very frustrating. People tell you, they will eat when they are hungry, but yet I have seen my girl goes days without barely taking a bite.

I try to make food as fun & easy to eat as possible. She has recently taken a liking to hot dogs, just the hot dog, no bun. Tonight’s menu, corn dog bites. These are fun & super easy.

Ingredients:

2 boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix (2/3 cup of milk & 2 eggs)

1 package of hot dogs

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp ground mustard

pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400. Slice hot dogs into chunks about 1 1/2″ long about 1/5 of the hotdog. Prepare the corn muffin mix according to directions. Mix in the parmesan cheese, ground mustard & pepper. Dunk the hot dog chunks in the mixture one at a time coating them well. Place on two greased baking sheet. Do not worry about them being covered perfectly. You can top off any bare spots my spooning mixture over the chunks once on the sheet. Leave plenty of space on the baking sheet between corn dog bites. Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool & serve with ketchup or mustard.

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Corn dog bite made out of cornbread mix & cut up hot dogs. Easy to make & fun to eat for my picky eater

 

It was a dinner time victory tonight. It even warranted a thumbs up from my finicky little girl. A sigh of relief & one more meal down. Until tomorrow….

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Tomato Curry Turkey Meatballs

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tomatocurryturkeymeatballs.jpgI am a big fan of curry. My mother cooked with it a lot when I was little. Curried chicken with potatoes and carrots were one of my favorite dishes. I know it is either a love/hate spice with many people. For the curry lovers out there, you will probably be interested to know that curry powder holds a lot of health benefits. It is said that it may help prevent cancer, heart disease and high cholesterol. It helps in aiding with digestion and also improves brain function. This makes me love it even more.

It is a bit too spicy for my daughter so I don’t often cook with it, but tonight mommy flew solo & was feeling dangerous.
I chose to make porcupine meatballs in a tomato curry sauce for my dinner alone tonight.

Ingredients:
20 oz of ground turkey
1/2 cup of uncooked rice
1 egg
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp of Kosher salt

1 8oz can of tomato sauce
1 6oz can of tomato paste
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp of curry powder
2 tsp of brown sugar
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp of pepper

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, combine tomato sauce, tomato paste, 1/2 cup of water. curry powder, cumin, ground ginger, pepper & sugar & stir well. In a separate bowl combine turkey, rice, garlic, egg, salt. Add a 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce mixture to the meat. Form 1 1/2 inch meatballs & place in a large frying pan. Add another 1/4 cup of water to your sauce and stir well. Pour the sauce over meatballs. Heat until bubbling. Reduce heat to a simmer & cover. Cook for about 45 minutes. Cook times may vary.

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Related Topics:

http://adaytobethankfulfor.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/curried-squash-and-carrots/

 

Oven Baked “Fried” Chicken

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1171I love fried foods. The problem is they don’t feel the same way about me. With all my tummy issues, it is impossible for me to eat anything deep fried. I miss french fries, chicken wings & fried chicken. Luckily, all of these naughty foods can also be baked in lieu of frying.

Oven Baked “Fried” Chicken

Ingredients:

A family size package of drumsticks (about 12 drumsticks)

2 cups of Panko bread crumbs

1 cup of parmesan cheese

1 cup of flour

2 eggs beaten

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp paprika

Pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425. Combine the bread crumbs, parmesan, oregano, garlic salt, paprika & pepper in a large bowl. Pat the chicken dry. Dip the chicken in flour & then dip into the egg. Put a 1/4 of the breadcrumb mixture into a large Ziplock bag. Put 3 chicken legs in the bag & shake until well coated. Dispose of the leftover contents of the Ziplock bag. Do this 3 more times until you have coated all of the chicken legs and have used all of the breaded mixture. Place the breaded drumsticks on a foil lined baking sheet & bake for 45 minutes.

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Related Topics:

http://realisticcookingideas.com/2014/05/12/braised-balsamic-chicken-with-shallots/

http://morriseatstheworld.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/sweet-chilli-chicken-goujons-with-tescos-herby-potatoes/

http://myhoustonmajic.com/3139690/quick-meal-monday-chicken-francaise-recipe/

Maple & Swiss Turkey Meatballs

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0071As you all well know, my daughter is a picky eater. There are very few things that I put in front of her that she will eat. We have our old standbys that usually work. For breakfast french toast balls or nanna’s pancakes are a sure fire hit. For lunch a basic cheese sandwich with ranch dressing will usually do the trick and for supper meatballs or meatloaf are a safe bet. As of the past month our daughter has begun commenting that her food is “too spicy”. This is a strange comment as mommy never makes spicy food. She has developed a fear of her old favorite the meatball over the “too spicy” concern, Mommy thought she would squash this fear by making her some sweet meatballs & since one of her favorite things to eat is maple syrup it was the perfect combination.

Maple and Swiss Meatballs

Ingredients:
20oz of ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup of wheat bread crumbs
1/3 cup of real maple syrup
1 cup of shredded swiss cheese
1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400. Combine all the ingredients except the cheese in a large mixing bowl. Add the cheese and mix in with your hands evenly distributing the cheese throughout. Shape mixture into small balls about 1″ round. Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil & spray with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked fully through. Cook times may vary.

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In a stroke of pure genius from my husband, he made cocktail meatballs by sticking pretzel sticks in the middle of them. What a great idea instead of a toothpick. I will be trying this at our next party.

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Mai has been practicing with her chopsticks and getting pretty good at it. She gobbled up her meatballs and they were not too spicy.

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Related Topics:

http://trialanderrorkitchen.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/turkey-meatballs/

http://ktoonkooks.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/succulent-spaghetti-meatballs/

http://meggoesnomnom.com/2014/05/01/gingery-pork-meatballs-with-noodles/

Barbecue Ham Fried Rice

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friedrice1.jpgBeing Vietnamese, I grew up eating rice. I ate a lot of rice. As an adult not much has changed. It is one of my favorite side dishes to a meal, but rice doesn’t only have to be a side dish. Sometimes it can be the main course.

Ingredients:

Day old rice – 2 cups measured before cooking.

2 ham steaks, cubed

1/2 cup of chopped onion

1/2 cup of thinly chopped or shredded carrot

1/2 cup of chopped baby corn

1 can of chopped water chestnuts

1 cup of frozen peas

2 eggs

2 tbsp of olive oil

Sauce

1/4 cup of raspberry jam

1/4 cup of bbq sauce

1/2 tsp of minced garlic

2 tbsp of seasoned soy sauce ( Green mountain or Maggi are my favorites,) They have a completely different taste than Kikkoman or La Choy.

Pepper to taste 1 tbsp of water

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir well.

Directions:

Cook 2 cups of white rice. Refrigerate overnight. This is important. Fresh rice will make for mushy fried rice.

Cut the skin of the outside of the ham steaks & cube into 1/4 inch chunks. Chop and set aside all vegetables except the peas.

Scramble the eggs with a splash of water. Water makes for fluffier eggs. Spray a large frying pan or electric skillet with cooking spray. Turn the stove or skillet to medium- low heat. Add the egg. When the bottom of the egg firms, flip it quickly. Let cook briefly. You want them just firm and fluffy. Transfer to a bowl and set side.

Turn up the heat to medium – high heat. Add a tbsp of olive oil. Add the ham & stir, cooking until the edges brown slightly. Add all the vegetables. Stir until the peas have thawed and onions have tendered. Pour the sauce mixture over the vegetables. Stir until evenly coated. Pour vegetables into a bowl and set aside.

Add another tbsp of oil & add to the pan or skillet. Add the rice. The rice will be hard and need to be broken apart as you stir. Spread out in a flat layer & and fry until the edges brown slightly. Pour the vegetable and sauce mixture over the top and stir until the rice, vegetables and sauce are evenly distributed. Remove from the heat & toss in the egg. Serve hot.

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I love to eat with chopsticks when I can.

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Mai wanted to learn too.

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This was a huge hit. My husband ate 3 full plates worth. That is all the applause I need.

Related Topics:

http://aimslicious.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/chicken-biryani/ http://angeladelight.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/risotto-broccoli-gruyere/

Pasta La Carbonara

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LaCarbonara.jpgYesterday was an emotional day for me. Not only was it the anniversary of my mother’s passing, but I received a phone call at work from my brother-in-law letting me know that my husband had been in a car accident while on duty. Luckily, my husband left the accident with only a few aches and pains and a dented cruiser. I was very happy to have my injured hubby home in one piece. It was definitely an occasion for comfort food & comfort for my husband start with bacon.

Pasta La Carbonara

While this is a fairly simple recipe to make, timing is very important in preparing this dish. The egg is added to the dish at the very end & is cooked by the heat of the pasta. It is very important that the past is hot, so the bacon must be ready before or at the same time as the pasta. Also, be sure to have your egg mixture ready before you finish your pasta.

Ingredients:

1/2 package of extra thick cut bacon (chopped into 1 1/2 – 2 inch pieces)

1 lb of pasta

3 eggs (room temperature)

1 cup of parmesan

1/2 tbsp of minced garlic

1 tbsp of olive oil

1/2 tbsp of garlic salt

Pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large skillet add olive oil & bacon. Cook over medium heat. Cook the bacon halfway through & add the minced garlic. Cook until just under crispy. Drain excess grease, leaving a little in the skillet to toss the pasta in & flavor. Cover & set aside until the pasta is ready. Make sure that the bacon is finished before the pasta. You need the pasta to be hot.

In a mixing bowl beat the egg. Add the parmesan, garlic salt & pepper. *Prepare this before the pasta is finished cooking. It must be added to the pasta while still hot as the heat of the pasta is what cooks the egg.*

While the bacon is cooking, cook the pasta. Drain the pasta & immediately add to the skillet & toss with the bacon. Remove from the heat and add the egg mixture and toss together. The egg will cook as you toss it & form a creamy sauce. Enjoy!

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My husband may have been in pain, but he had a happy belly & even had room for seconds.

Related Topics:

http://inmamastephskitchen.com/2014/03/18/dinner-in-10-one-pan-spicy-tomato-pasta/

http://cookingandmyfamily.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/ragu-and-pasta/

http://yourperfectburn.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/shrimp-curry-with-cream-sauce/

Here’s One For The Hubby – Bacon Cheeseburger Stuffed Shells

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It is difficult sometimes trying to cook for a family with so many different tastes & dietary needs. I try to eat healthy as often as I can. I cut out extra fat as much as possible, leaving out butters & oils, trading in regular bacon for turkey bacon and switching refined pastas & breads for whole wheat products. This works fine for me, but often leaves my husband missing his full fat options. One substitute he is not so keen on is turkey bacon in place of regular pork bacon. He loves his bacon. So this one is for you honey. Enjoy.

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Cheese Filled Turkey Meatballs

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Tonight was a dinner-time victory for mommy. Every evening it is a roll of the dice as to whether we will actually get our picky little monster to eat dinner with the family. The biggest cause of stress currently in my life is my daughter’s diet. She hates to eat. I have spoken to the doctor, talked to fellow mommies & Googled advice on how to get Mai to eat. Nothing works. She eats on her terms.

Mai likes bite sized foods & anything in ball form. Meatballs are hit or miss with out finicky eater, but tonight it was a rare win. I am a very happy mama tonight. Maybe these meatballs will be a hit with your picky munchkins as well.

Cheese Filled Turkey Meatballs.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb of ground turkey

2 egg whites

1/2 cup skim milk

1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce

3 sticks of mozzarella string cheese

1/2 cup wheat bread crumbs

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp garlic salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400. In a medium sized bowl combine turkey, bread crumbs & spices.  Add egg whites, Worcestershire sauce, milk & mix well. Add parmesan cheese & mix until all ingredients are well blended. Slice string cheese into 3/4 inch pieces & set aside. Grab a spoonful of mixture, place a piece of cheese in the middle & roll  a 2 inch ball around it. Place on a cookie sheet. Continue until you used all of your mixture. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

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“Meatballs good, mama”

Related Topics:

http://susancancook.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/baked-pasta-with-meatballs-and-spinach/

http://hestayedforthefood.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/waikiki-meatballs/

http://foodisthebestshitever.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/baked-pasta-with-pork-and-sage-meatballs-and-kale/

Chicken Cordon Bleu Risotto

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I recently discovered that my little girl loves ham. It was an amazing discovery considering that she does not eat anything. Mommy wanted to make a family dish tonight using ham in hopes that my little picky eater would gobble it up. Did it work? Join us for dinner & see.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Risotto

Ingredients:

2 cups of rice

1 1/2 cup of diced ham

1 1/2 cup of cubed cooked chicken

6 slices of swiss cheese

2 cans of heated chicken broth

1/2 cup of water

1 cup of heated milk

1 tbsp of olive oil

1/4 cup of grated parmesan

1/2 tbsp paprika

1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:

In a large skillet, add oil & ham. Cook over medium heat just for about a minute or 2 stirring the ham and browning slightly. Add the water and rice. Stir constantly until all liquid is absorbed. Stir in chicken broth, adding only a 1/2 cup at a time, letting all liquid get absorbed in between adding more. Continue until you have used all of the broth. Add the chicken, parmesan & spices. Stir in milk a 1/2 cup of milk and stir until it is absorbed & then add another 1/2 cup, also stirring until absorbed. Remove from the heat & add the cheese and stir until melted.

*Risotto is meant to be al dente but if you prefer a softer texture you may continue to add liquid until you reach your desired consistency.

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Unfortunately, the little one refused to eat mommy’s risotto but hubby, Nanna & me all enjoyed it.

Related Topics:

Beet Risotto

Spanish Quinoa “Rice” with Mushrooms

Kale & Mushroom Risotto