Here we are again. My child is quickly spiraling towards a hunger meltdown I have zero plan for dinner. I’ll openly admit that this is a scenario we find ourselves in approximately twice a week. As much as we try to eat dinner with our daughter there are nights when that just doesn’t happen. So, what do I do? Here’s a checklist of how I narrow it down:
Tips and Tricks for speeding up your cooking time for kids:
- While roasting will be most flavorful there’s no time to preheat the oven. And there’s no way we can wait for water to boil. Use a combination of sautéeing and steaming on the stove top for the fastest cooking time.
- Unless we have some leftover cooked meat in the fridge, cooking meat from scratch is too difficult in small portions and once again a time issue. Vegetarian is a super option any night of the week.
- Just because I’m in a pinch doesn’t mean I want to carbo load my kid. I need to make something that while fast, contains protein. Adding beans is a great answer, so I always keep a few cans in the pantry. Chick peas and black beans are most popular in our house.
- Don’t be afraid to keep that half a carrot, a third of a sweet potato or a big slice of leftover apple in the fridge. I know in our case these little bits of food have a tendency to get lost in the corners of our fridge, but if you’re organized, these small amounts of vegetables can be used to diversify your kid’s dishes.
- Fast does not equal bland. Don’t be afraid to add spices to your kid’s food. It doesn’t have to be spicy, and there are plenty of warm spices like cinnamon, allspice, and clove, as well as dried or fresh herbs, that will get your kid accustomed to more complex flavors and improve the likelihood that they will enjoy even the simplest preparations.
On this particular evening, I used every one of these tips to come up with this simple dish. Have a kid clinging to your leg and don’t know what to feed her? Try these tips and let us know how it goes!
Sweet Potato, Turnip, Chick Peas and Apple with Allspice
- 1/2 parsnip
- 1/3 sweet potato
- 1 large apple slice
- 1/4 cup chick peas
- sprinkle of allspice
- tiny pinch of kosher salt
- olive oil
Peel the parsnip and the sweet potato and cut them into small cubes. The easiest way to do this is is by cutting them into long strips, then lining 3-5 strips up and cutting across them to make cubes. Cut the apple into small cubes as well.
Preheat a small sautée pan on medium heat. You should choose a pan that has a cover, or one what you can throw any cover over. Once the pan is hot, add a splash of olive oil and 10 seconds later add the parsnip and potato. Toss them around in the pan for several minutes so they get slightly brown. After 4 or 5 minutes, add the chick peas, apple and allspice. Toss these around the pan for several minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon of water to the pan and put a lid on it to let the dish steam. After 1-2 minutes remove the cover and make sure everything is soft. Add a tiny pinch of kosher salt if desired.