Easy Fast Cheap Meals Needed that my 3 year old will actually eat!

Colette - posted on 03/24/2009 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I'm looking for some NEW recipes to add to my easy to make dinner list. I always have meals I default to; they're easy, fast and cheap and as healthy as I can do with limited time and money. Can you share some of your default meals that you always go back to. I thought this would help me get out of a rut and get something new on the table! I also have the problem that my 3 year old hardly eats anything I serve. I find myself cooking 3 different meals. One for my 10 month old (bland & soft), one for my 3 year old (yummy but usually not so healthy) and then one for my husband and I (we always have leftover that again only we can eat)! HELP!

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Rebecca - posted on 03/27/2009

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Some staples in our house are crumbed chicken, and zuchini & carrot rice. I know the last one sounds a bit dicey to get a toddler to eat, but my 3 y/o loves it!! Basically you grate one carrot and one zuchini (as thick or as coarse as you like) Get a saucepan going on a medium heat with a little olive oil, add about 150g of rice, fry it for a minute or so, add the veg, a stock cube (I use a vegetable based one) and add enough water to cover the rice by about 2 1/2cm. Bring it to the boil, then simmer for 10 - 15 mins (covered) until the rice is cooked. As with any rice, let it stand with the lid on for about 10 mins before serving. I freeze whatever's leftover in batches for lunch times, but it's a great alternative to packet side dishes for dinners. You can experiment with this one, try tossing in some peas, corn or spinach (finely chopped).
When we go shopping, I sometimes buy about a kilo of chicken, crumb it and freeze it in batches, that way all I have to do is defrost it and fry or bake it. Last night I made it and put oregano and parmesan cheese in the crumb mixture, it was yummy!! Another good idea is to use sao's (cream crackers), bash them in a bag or use a food processor to crumble them, put a bit of garlic, lemon zest and parsley in the food processor with the biscuits and you have a gourmet crumb mixture!
My time saving secret is freezing. I try to make a double batch of a family favourite e.g bolognese sauce and freeze what's left for the nights I don't feel like cooking. As far as fussiness goes, don't underestimate the power of flavour. The crumbed chicken I made last night was devoured by my daughter almost immediately, when I make a plain crumb, it takes her forever to eat it. There are lots of different herbs you can use to add flavour, but it does take time experimenting to find the ones your toddler likes.

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Rachel - posted on 04/06/2009

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Noodles & eggs - quick, easy, cheap and my daughter lives it. Cook any shape noodle, drain and return to the pot. Stir in an egg or 2 or 3, enough to coat the noodles generously. Add chopped or grated cheese and a little salt if you like, then cook the whole thing over low heat while stirring for a few minutes, until the eggs are cooked through and the cheese is melted. Also good with some steamed broccoli or cauliflower pieces mixed in.

Tanna - posted on 03/24/2009

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It is tough for toddler who are picky. One thing I know that is you have to introduce a food multiple times before a toddler will sometimes like it. My toddler was picky about somethings, not all but we always put it on his plate, reguardless of whether he ate it or not. Eventually many of those things he didn't like (green beans, tacos, noodles, fish, etc) he now loves. So even though your toddler may not like it still put it on his plate. Chances are one of the times you do that they will try it because they see you eating it!  One thing that our family seems to love, especially in the winters, is soup. Some soups do take a while (1-2hours) while you can find recipes that are quick. Another plus with soups is that vegetables can be easily disguised for the picky toddler! Here are a couple of our favorite quick dinners.



1)Salmon: I just put it in tinfoil with lemon pepper, dill and lemon juice and bake for 25-30 minutes. Add mashed potatos or your favorite rice and steam your favorite veggie.



2)Lentil soup: Put 1 1/2 cups brown lentils, 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, 2 medium onions diced, 3 large carrots diced, 2 bay leaves, 2 garlic cloves minced, 1/4 tsp marjoram, and 1 tsp olive oil in a large pot bring to boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer 1 hr 30 min. If soup gets to dry add more broth. Before serving stir in 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar. Serve with rolls and a salad. Both my kids love this meal even as infants!

Christine - posted on 03/24/2009

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soft tacos are 1 thing that my 3 year old loves. The only problem comes when the thinks it's falling apart! Your 10 month old can eat the chicken or beef, depending on how you season, the cheese - shreded cheese is easy for both kids, if you get the bagged mixed  lettuce you can get red cabbage shred carrots and lettuce easy for the babe and yummy for the adults. You can spice it up depending on age....



Spagetti -  I mix ground beef into doctored bottle stuff... My 3 yr old doesn't like the sauce but loves the parm cheese and noodles, again, babe can eat the noodles and the ground bee, maybe the sauce, again , adults can spice it up on their plate.



homemade fries again something my kids love! I slice washed potatoes with a crinkle cutter (or a knife) lay 1 layer on a lightly greased baking tray over lap slightly lightly sprinkle with salt bake til cooked through. very yummy as a side dish to whatever is on the menu!



 

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