Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kid's Recipes: Pizza Grilled Cheese and others

There is a series of posts that I run about how to read recipes and I was tempted to group these following ideas under a post around grilled cheese or sandwiches. My son came up with a few of the suggestions and I realize that there is something to be learned from the process of involving your kids in cooking and menu planning.

Many folks are impressed by what our kids will eat. To them, it looks as if our kids will eat anything and try anything happily. This is only partially true. Our kids may be less picky than others but that is largely to a rule that is enforced at our table - 'Everyone must try one good bite before not liking something." That includes me and fish, my wife and brussels sprouts and anything the kids have decided they don't like that day. Eventually this practice has translated in willing to try one bite of everything.

I don't often cook with my kids but I involve them in planning the food. This does not mean that they decide what we are going to eat but it allows me to prepare them for what is coming and avoid meltdowns when it is clear that they are in no mood to try anything new. So, when they come up with a recipe, they create and make the whole thing. Here are two that have been a hit.

Apple, Peanut Butter and Cheese Roll Up 
I forget the original name that my son gave it and for that, I will be going to the list of bad parenting. Just kidding, there is no list. Just guilt. The original suggestion was to add ketchup but the chef was talked out of it. However, sometimes let them try it and they will let you know if it is good.
Take a tortilla and slather it with peanut butter or another nut butter, add tart apple slices (used Granny Smith) and a mild cheese (provolone works well). Roll it up and cut it into pinwheels.
Variations: Change the cheese. Add dried fruits. Add greens such as sprouts or lettuce. Use no nut butter. 
Pizza Grilled Cheese 
 This came up around a discussion about leftovers. My son suggested that we fold over pizza and put it in a grilled cheese sandwich. That discussion led to the following idea.
 Use your regular grilled cheese sandwich recipe but slather each piece of bread on the inside slice with spaghetti sauce and use mozzarella cheese in addition to your regular cheese. Pepperoni or salami is optional but always appreciated in our family.
Variations: Any toppings that you would put in a pizza will work. Just keep it to a reasonable amount so that the insides will warm through and the cheese will get all melted. Fig jam and asiago cheese are a combo that works well. Used fig jam with many different sharp cheeses and it is usually a success. Prosciutto and ham brings it into croque monsieur category but sometimes classic flavours are used in many applications. 
What I have really learned about kids and in fact, adults, is that it is easy to introduce new flavours and foods when you couch them in familiar terms like: this is a pizza with the stuff from that pasta you like... or these noodles are in the soup that you like. As long as there is a relation to something that they are familiar with and like, the process of trying new foods can be largely painless.

A little story to end this post... A friend of mine hates cranberries. I found out when I served a roast beef that was glazed with soya sauce and cranberries. She was polite but her husband told me right away that she wasn't going to like it. She surprised us by asking for the recipe and making it for her family several times. She still doesn't like cranberries by themselves but if they are part of an overall taste then they can be quite delicious for her.

1 comment:

  1. Your whole family has a great relationship with food. One of my favourite memories is of us at your dining room table and everyone taking turns talking about what our meals would be if we could have anything we wanted. Variety and passion ensued!

    bill will love the pizza grilled cheese idea!