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Easy Recipes

I Got My Picky Kids to Eat Fish

Kid-friendly fish recipe: parmesan crusted cod

That picture is so not Pinterest pretty, but it’s a real life weeknight dinner that my kids actually ate and liked. What made it so exciting for me was I finally found a kid-friendly fish recipe. Yes, my kids actually ate fish. Granted, the fish was masked in all kinds of breaded cheesy yumminess, but still, they ate fish. Victory.

My goal this year is to find FIVE weeknight dinner recipes the whole family will eat. No more short order cook in this house. I got fed up (no pun intended) and went on a mission.

Successful recipe number one was this no work chicken. It’s a goodie, put that one in your back pocket. Here is successful recipe number two.

Kid-Friendly Fish Recipe

I found this recipe for Parmesan Crusted Alaskan Cod  on Thank Your Body.  Super quick and easy prep, just mix bread crumb mixture, dip cod fillet in egg, then coat with yummy crust and bake for 15 – 17 minutes. It was DELICIOUS and my kids gobbled it up. Happy dance.  She suggests freezing half the crust mix for future ease. Did it.

Sides

Weeknights are no joke as far as limited time to prep so I am in the queen of easy-peasy sides. Pair the cod with some Trader Joe’s organic frozen peas, Trader Joe’s instant mashed potatoes (so delish if you haven’t tried) and good old Trader Joe’s apple sauce for the girls.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes over with your kids!

Tacos in a Bag

tacos in a bag

Our family hosted a playdate and dinner for our good family friends last week. While I was doing my grocery shopping for our dinner, a store employee saw me wandering back and forth in the aisle and gave me a suggestion for tacos in a bag.

Here’s the deal – I don’t really cook.  I mean, I feed my family as nutritiously as possible, but I don’t enjoy cooking.  There, I said it.

For as much time as I spend on Pinterest pinning delicious recipes, it’s amazing that I don’t take more of an interest. My mom jokes that the “cooking gene” skipped me.

All you need to make tacos in a bag is all the fixings for tacos, but instead of serving them to the kids in the traditional fashion, you can have them participate in making their own – in a messy, fun way. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

- Ground beef or ground turkey – your preference – cook taco meat thoroughly
- Shredded cheese (I picked up a Mexican cheese blend, already shredded)
- Iceberg lettuce (I chopped and shredded this as well)
- Chopped tomatoes
- Sour cream
- Salsa (or as my kids prefer, ketchup)
- Any other favorite taco topping
- Fritos or tortilla chips (to act as the taco “shell”)
- Sandwich ziplock baggies

Here’s what to do:

- Set out all of the taco ingredients out in little, easy-to-handle bowls.
- Give each child a baggie.
- Have them spoon whatever they want into each bag to make their “taco.”
- Once all ingredients are in the bag, close the bag and have them mix the stuff all together (a lot of giggles happened at this part in the process).
- You can either have the kids eat out of the baggie with a fork OR pour the mixture onto their plate.
- Enjoy!  YUM!!

Once I conducted this little dinner experiment, I realized that this type of fun food activity only works for kiddos who don’t mind their food touching.

Note to self – my kids were upset with different ingredients mixed. But the visiting kids had a blast and smashed and smushed away, enjoying the experience and the yummy result.

What’s your favorite kid recipe?  Any fun family dinner ideas?

Let me know how your taco in a bag experience goes!

No Work Chicken

family friendly meal

My girlfriend and I sit at gymnastics every week and lament about how hard it is to find weeknight dinners the whole family will eat. How many of you moms are completely sick and tired of making multiple items for dinner? Yeah, me too. So when I found this recipe for no work chicken even my kids ate, I had to post.

You see, I am on a quest this year to keep trying and trying to find dinner ideas that even my picky kids will eat that expands beyond noodles, nuggets or pizza. Also be sure to check out this post on ideas Christy shared on getting her picky eaters to try new foods.

One dinner for all, and all dinner for one. Huh?

My gymnastics girlfriend also did a picky test on her kids and it was a hit over in their household as well. I think we have a winner.

No Work Chicken 

The magic recipe is from Weelicious and is called No Work Chicken. If you don’t already know Weelicious, you should. Full of family-friendly recipes. Bookmark her. She’s awesome.

Incidentally, the chicken recipe truly is NO WORK. Super easy to make ahead and then you just pop it in the oven when you are ready to eat.

Click here for the No Work Chicken recipe.

Sides 

I am a huge fan of the Trader Joe’s Frozen Organic Brown Rice so I did that on the side. My kids love that rice too.

And then I did some yummy roasted broccoli and cauliflower as the veggie side. Surprisingly enough my girls gobbled it up.

Essentially I just cut the pieces into roughly the same sizes, put into a bowl, coated with We Olive Garlic Olive Oil (the BEST but you can use Extra Virgin), a little salt and put in a 450 degree oven for roughly 15 minutes.

At the very end of the cooking, I sprinkled some shaved parmesan cheese on top and let it melt on it a little. They LOVED it. I did too.

Curious if anyone else tries this, please let me know if it passes your “picky test!” Good luck!

3 Super Easy Crock Pot Dinners

slowcookerrecipes

I know we are all super busy this week. Class parties, Christmas shows, teacher gifts, oh my!  My friend Melanie recently shared three super easy crock pot recipes with me, because in busy times, the slow cooker saves me.

Here is what she wrote…

Winter is my favorite season. I love the change in the weather, even if it is just slight!  It always feels like time to bring out the slow cooker for EASY and SIMPLE meals.  Also, we have a few weekdays this fall that are jam-packed. I’ve been trying out some delicious super easy crock pot recipes I’d love to share to save you time and energy!  Sometimes I double the recipe to freeze some for another night.

Salsa Chicken Tacos Crock Pot Recipe

This is so easy but so tasty that my husband asks for it regularly!

1-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (you can use breasts as well)

1 jar salsa (any kind will work, I am going to try mango salsa next time)

You literally put both items in the crock-pot and cook on low for 8 hours.  Then shred and mix it all up in the crock-pot so the salsa covers the chicken.  Serve with tortillas and taco fixings, beans and rice for a complete meal! Doesn’t get any easier than that, does it?

Drip Beef Crock Pot Recipe 

My friend from the midwest told me about this a few years and then I just saw it again on the Pioneer Woman.

2-4 lb Beef Chuck Roast (the more you make the more leftovers!)

1 jar Banana Peppers (make sure check the spice level, my kids don’t like spicy)

1 cup beef broth

Put in the crock-pot on low for 8 hours.  Serve with bread as sandwiches with salad, or on top of rice or noodles with a veggie.

Carnitas Crock Pot Recipe

Another versatile Mexican recipe your family will love!

Pork Shoulder

Green Salsa

Same idea.  Put everything in the crock-pot and cook on low for 8 hours.  Serve with tortillas or on top of rice.

Then ENJOY your weekday peace with dinner ready when you get home with these super easy crock pot recipes. 

Summertime and the Gazpacho is Eaaaassssy

Easy Gazpacho Recipe

About 11 years ago my dear friend Melisse brought me back this Gazpacho dish from her visit to Spain. She was near the end of her trip and the shop she bought it from didn’t offer shipping so she lugged it through the rest of her travels to fly home with it as a carry on. One of the coolest, most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received. The girl must have totally understood my obsession with Gazpacho. Every summer I make Gazpacho and put it in this special dish and I call or text to thank her.

So I thought I’d share my favorite easy Gazpacho recipe.  I’ve tried many different versions and this is super simple and doesn’t rely on store bought tomato juice.

Serve with quickly seared shrimp skewers for a full meal.  Oh, and if one of your diners thinks they don’t like cold soup, put out some tortilla chips and watch them dig in!

Easy Gazpacho Recipe

Ingredients:

2 inch piece baguette, crust discarded

2 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons salt

2 Tablespoons Sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar works too)

1 teaspoon sugar

2 1/2 Ripe tomatoes, cored + quartered

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

english cucumber, very small dice

yellow or orange bell pepper, very small dice

goat cheese, crumbled

Ready, Set, Cook! 

Soak bread in 1/2 cup water for a minute, then squeeze dry, discarding extra water.

Mash garlic + salt into a paste using a pestle + morter (or if you don’t have one, just mince garlic with salt, using your knife to really squish and turn it into a paste).

Place in a blender the garlic/salt paste, bread, vinegar, sugar, and tomatoes.  Next, with the motor running, gradually add extra virgin olive oil in a slow stream, blending until as smooth as possible.  About 1 minute.

Transfer to a glass bowl and chill, covered, until cold, about 3 hours.

To serve, garnish with diced cucumber, bell pepper + goat cheese.

Enjoy!

XO,

Your Sus Chef

(adapted from a recipe found on epicurious.com)