Taute Cuisine, Recipe 1
Ever see those frozen “Kid Cuisine” dinners at the grocery store? They all contain the same bland fast food items that are linked to an increase in childhood obesity. Tater tots, mac and cheese, pizza, chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers. You are supposed to feed this to your growing child while you have a regular dinner. Niiiiice. Nothing says love like trans fats and starch. Toddlers do NOT need special junk food meals. Yes, they are picky creatures. But not impossible.
With this in mind, I have begun creating recipes that toddlers and the whole family can enjoy together. Healthier options with a lot of flavor. This is the first post in the series, though you can find my Vegetable Parmigiano recipe (toddler tested) at my other blog site, Eatlocalchallenge.com. The sum of all these will be a book of recipes that I give my child when she grows up. Not being rich, this is the legacy I have to offer.
Getting toddlers to eat is probably the world’s greatest culinary challenge. Genetically, I know, mine has the advantage. Two hard-core foodies can only beget another. Add the abundance of top notch noshes in the household and you get, well, you get a little one that won’t eat very well at the school cafeteria.
She has a definite preference for artisan bread, and will turn up her button nose at the regular old white stuff that passes for American bread. She eats aged Gouda and Parmesean, fresh-made mozzarella, even the more exotic goat cheeses. The cheese guys at Whole Foods dote on her and offer up exotic samples. She loves it. But the one thing that is the hardest sell to all toddlers, even mine, seems to be meats. Even steak and prime rib. Just the flavor of it takes getting used to.
So, I just had to try everything I could and see what worked. It was a bit of a shock. Sausage, go figure. Chicken scallopini, barbecue, Italian sausage, turkey pastrami … in other words, meat, but with a lot of flavor. The filet migon served bleu, with port wine reduction and blue cheese is a long way off still. A long way.
Intent on trying to create healthy meals that kids will actually eat and adults like as well, I set to work to build the perfect toddler meat dish beginning with an American classic and adding all of our favorite flavors. The recipe follows. If you are wondering if it worked, my kiddo will out eat any adult at the table when I serve this. Plus, you can over bake it and it will stay moist, but holds it shape when cut. When I tested it on a two, five and seven-year-old, it went over well.
Looking for this recipe? It will be part of an upcoming book co-authored with Ali at Cleaner Plate.