meal planning

Pork Sirloin Steak with Quinoa and Brown Rice

Tonight’s meal was a bit of an adventure for the little toddler mouths in our household. It was Liam and The Bean’s first experience with pork and quinoa. I was wandering through the grocery store earlier in the week with the toddlers in the front car section of the cart happily playing with the steering wheels and horns while making “vroom” noises when I stumbled upon a package of pork sirloin steak. I thought to myself, this could be interesting and tossed it into the cart. It was something new to try my hand at cooking… An adventure in the kitchen.
After I brought my prize home I spent the toddler nap-time perusing recipes online. There really were not a lot to choose from. The one I decided to go with was from Allrecipes.com… I made a few modifications though as I was missing a few ingredients.  Instead of using green onions I used a sweet onion, and instead of garlic cloves I used 1 tsp of garlic powder.  The result was this:

 

 

This turned out absolutely delicious.  I served it the pork with an organic  brown rice and quinoa packet from the natural food section of my local grocery store and steamed broccoli.  The sauce that this creates is absolutely delicious (for obvious reasons…  butter!) so I spooned a teaspoon or so over the servings of rice.   My husband and the toddlers all loved it (I totally judge how much of a hit the meal is with the amount of “mores” I receive from the toddlers).  It was so good that Liam and the hubs even enjoyed it as leftovers.  It’s safe to say that this meal is going to make it into the month repertoire.

 

 

Grilled Ham, Spinach, and Cheese

After yesterday’s big event we have a ton or leftovers that need to be consumed; mostly deli meats and cheeses. So today I went back to an old staple for lunch, grilled ham, spinach, and cheese with a deconstructed salad (every meal sounds fancy if you put the word deconstructed in).

I use organic white bread and actually slice the slice half width wise so instead of it being 1 cm thick he has thin bread to munch on. I find this makes it easier for him to chew and since we only make a half a grilled cheese for him it leaves me one half a slice of bread to screw up cutting before I get it right 🙂

He gets one piece of cheese split in half, today it was cheddar (his favorite). We layer on two baby spinach leaves without the stems, and 1/4 of a slice of deli ham (it’s a high salt meat so he doesn’t get much). We do not butter the bread but do apply a one second squirt of aerosolized olive oil or vegetable oil to the pan. Fats are important for brain development but I prefer these types of fats for my little guy, and it makes the sandwich less greasy and easier for him to handle. We layer the sandwich like this: bread, 1/2 slice of cheese, spinach, ham, 1/2 slice of cheese and then grill away.

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Today’s deconstructed salad is cherry tomatoes, cucumber, celery, and carrots.

Liam never fails to eat the sandwich while somehow managing to slide the spinach out and discard it… Someday I will convince him he likes spinach. At least he enjoys the cut up raw veggies 🙂

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I suppose tomorrow is where we will have to start really getting creative with the leftovers. Tonight is a Daddy feeding night because Momma has to work.

Toddler Tacos

Since Liam and The Bean have entered the finger foods stage I have been working hard to find ways to make mealtime into more of a family experience. In other words; Momma isn’t making two separate meals. The toddlers eat what the parents eat, though sometimes with some slight variations.

This first meal we toddlerized (oh yeah, totally made that word up) is tacos. Taco night is probably my favorite night, and it absolutely cycles through our meal planning on a biweekly basis. I have an extreme obsession with fondness for moderately spicy Mexican food. Obviously with toddlers involved we had to tone down the spice action, so this is how I solved that problem and still created a tasty meal for everyone involved.

This meal received 4 of 4 toddler thumbs up, 6 of 12 puppy paws up, and 3 of 4 parent thumbs up (the hubs isn’t as big of a Mexican food fan as I am)

Chicken Taco Meat:
1 cup of shredded chicken
1/4 cup of McCormick Taco Seasoning
1/3 cup of water
1 – 15oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed

Dump it all in a pan and simmer for at least 15 minutes (until it is reduced to the amount of liquid you prefer).

I personally tend to keep things like shredded chicken on hand because it is so easy to make and so useful in many different recipes, especially toddler friendly ones. Liam will not eat cut up chicken (too much effort to chew, he prefers a more instant gratification) but he loves shredded as long as it is flavorful.

I quartered all my veggies (tomatoes and peppers) so they were toddler sized… I figured that also meant we could for more vegetables in each taco shell, which makes me feel like the meal is healthier 😉

I swapped our usual Mexican cheese blend out for a plain shredded cheddar (spiciness sacrifices). My husband (an acid reflux sufferer) and the toddlers both appreciated this. My token nod to adding some life to my meal was to purchase a spicy salsa for myself. This allowed me to not really feel like I was sacrificing my meal for theirs (with the added bonus of only cooking one meal). I also gave the kids a single tortilla chip rather than an overwhelming large (for them) and splintery taco shell. The last substitute I made for the kid’s meal was yogurt (one split between the two of then) instead of sour cream.

The results:

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They loved the meal and the yogurt “dessert”, and I had my first toddler/parent combo meal win. Now let’s hope for many more!

Need an easy recipe for shredded chicken? Love your crockpot as much as I adore mine? Try this!

Place 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 6-8 boneless skinless thighs) in a 5 quart crockpot. Dump a 32oz box of low sodium chicken broth into the pot. Add spices as you see fit, I typically toss in 1/2 tsp of sage and call it a day. Cook on high for 4-5 hours. Cool in fridge overnight, then remove chicken from the pot and shred with two forks.