Five Easy Recipes for “Make Your Own Dinner” Nights

We have all been there - you plan as well as you can, search for recipes, go grocery shopping, make dinner – and your child refuses to eat.  You then have to make the decision whether to stand your ground and make him eat what you’ve made, or avoid the whining and make that box of macaroni and cheese.  

Ideally, your child would realize that perfectly balanced recipe you’ve spent time preparing is both nutritious and delicious, but in the real world, this is rarely the case.  

The five “Make Your Own Dinner” night recipes below are designed to let everyone make their meal how they like it best, without creating a separate menu for each person in your family.  An added bonus to these recipes is that they allow children to take ownership of their nutrition and promote autonomy and independence in eating habits.  

Parents Preparing Family Breakfast In Kitchen

1. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

What you need:  

Bread, butter, varied types of cheese (American, swiss, provolone, etc.);

Tomato Soup;

Goldfish crackers, shredded cheese, croutons, crumbled bacon, chicken breast, sour cream – the possibilities are endless!  

What you do:

Let each person pick out what type (or types) of cheese they want on their sandwich, heat up some tomato soup, and let your cooks get creative dressing up the soup and creating flavor combinations.

2. Tacos

What you need:

Hard or soft taco shells;

Meat (ground beef, chicken, steak or pork);

Lettuce, tomato, sour cream, guacamole, hot sauce, salsa, rice, beans, corn, onions, peppers, etc.

What you do:

Use a mild taco seasoning on the meat of your choice and let your family choose the spices, veggies, and sauces they like best.  Cook the meat, cut the veggies you need, and put everything in bowls for your family to pick and choose from.  If your kids are a little older, let them help dice the tomato or chop the onions.  

3. Pizza

What you need:  

Traditional pizza crust, flatbread, or get creative with biscuits, bagels or even English muffins;

Sauces, which can be red (tomato) or white (usually alfredo sauce);

Any type of shredded cheese;

Toppings, toppings, toppings!  Again, the possibilities are endless.  Vegetables, meat, fruit, barbeque chicken.  Your choices are only limited by your imagination.

What you do:

If necessary, bake the pizza crust according to directions.  Set out the sauces and toppings and see who can make the most unique, tasty pizza!  

4. Baked Potato Bar

What you need:  

Russet potatoes;

Shredded cheese and meats for protein, sour cream, ranch dressing, onions, chives, broccoli, etc.

What you do:

You can do so much with a simple baked potato.  Have a Mexican baked potato by adding ground beef, taco sauce, lettuce and tomato.  Make it more traditional by adding cheese and broccoli, or go all out with turkey, cheese, onion and bacon.  

5. Kabobs

What you need:  

Steak, chicken, cubed pork, or shrimp;

Seasoning;

Assorted vegetables (peppers, zucchini, onions, etc.) and even fruit (pineapple and pork is a delicious combination!);

Skewers

What you do:

Each person can stack their kabobs to their liking.  Encourage your cooks to experiment with combinations or something they’ve never tried before.  Maybe your son swears he hates shrimp, but may be surprised when he tries it grilled with tasty vegetables and seasoning.

Grill the kabobs (this doesn’t take long) and serve with rice or another side of your choosing.

Let’s Eat!

Spend quality time with your family while making delicious, nutritious meals together.  Do you have a favorite, go-to recipe you make often?  Think about how you can turn it into a “Make Your Own” night!  The five recipes above are just the beginning of inclusive family meals.

 

 

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