All Posts By Foodlets

Charity Curley Mathews dreams of raising kids who eat (and enjoy) real food. A former VP at MarthaStewart.com, she's a contributor to The Huffington Post and heads up Foodlets.com: Mini Foodies in the Making…Maybe. Together with her husband and three small children, she now cooks in North Carolina.

Egg Sandwiches with a Kid-Friendly Kick

by in Family, October 9th, 2013

Egg Sandwiches with a Kid-Friendly KickOur kids love eggs. We make hard-boiled eggs with bunny faces for breakfast and snacks all the time. But now we’ve moved on to a lunchtime classic: egg salad sandwiches. The kiddie update? Pickles. These sandwiches are simple: just eggs, real mayonnaise, a squirt of mustard and diced dill pickles. High-protein, easy to prepare and even easier on your wallet, these have become a lunchtime staple for the preschool set at our place. Try them with your kids this week.

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Kid-Friendly: Spaghetti Nests with Bird Eggs

by in Family, October 1st, 2013

Spaghetti Nests with Bird EggsGetting kids to eat spaghetti probably isn’t too hard, but night after night it can be a bit dull. That’s why I like to throw a few surprises at the little guys when I can — especially when it’s this easy to make a big impression. Here’s how:

Cook spaghetti for 3 minutes less than the package suggests and drain. Add marinara sauce (you don’t even have to heat it up), plus one lightly beaten egg. Butter a muffin pan and fill each cup with half a cup or so of pasta and sauce, then use your fingers to push the pasta up along the edges, making a well in the middle. Pop the pan into the hot oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. During the last minute, add two small mozzarella balls to the “nest” and you’ll have eggs. Keep an eye on the nests and if they melt down, that’s OK — now you have snowcapped mountain-tops.

Kid-Friendly Breakfast: Bacon, Eggs and Broccoli

by in Family, September 26th, 2013

Kid-Friendly Breakfast: Bacon, Eggs and BroccoliWe make breakfast for dinner all the time because it’s easy, inexpensive and the kids love eggs, so I know it will be a peaceful evening. But since most people don’t eat a side of broccoli with breakfast, it can be tricky to figure out where a veggie comes in. (In fact, kids often have a hard time eating a side of broccoli at dinnertime anyway.) So, I say mix it right in.

Get a bag of broccoli slaw — easily available at grocery stores (a fact I happily discovered after moving back to the United States from Rome this year) — and use an oven-safe saute pan to cook the green stuff on the stovetop along with two slices of bacon (cut into small pieces) and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Add 8 eggs that have already been whisked together with 1/2 cup of milk, then put the whole thing in the oven to finish off. I bake it at 375 degrees F oven for about 15 minutes. When it’s puffy and golden, it’s done — and so are you.

Zucchini Casserole Castles

by in Family, September 17th, 2013

Learn How to Make Zucchini Casserole CastlesI don’t make a lot of casseroles, but I do bake many muffins. This idea combines both — and it made an otherwise ho-hum dinner something so special that our 4-year-old is still talking about it. And that was a week ago.

Mix up 3 cups freshly grated zucchini with 1 cup cottage cheese, 2 cups cooked brown rice, 1 cup grated cheese, lots of fresh herbs, salt, pepper and one hard-working egg — then pour the whole thing into oversize muffin tins instead of a casserole dish. Bake them at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes, then invert the “muffins” onto tiny plates. Add one homemade flag (bamboo skewer + painter’s tape) and ta-da! A casserole becomes a castle.

A Cherry Tomato Salad Kids Can Appreciate

by in Family, September 10th, 2013

A Cherry Tomato Salad Kids Can AppreciateFirst things first, don’t call a dish a “salad.” Most kids don’t like salad or the thought of a salad. Try something more fun like, “We’re having a cherry tomato surprise!” Most kids like surprises.

Next, let them get involved. For this particular easy late-summer dish, even the tiniest hands can help. I slice the tomatoes and my 2-year-old puts them into a bowl. Same goes for the basil. I handle the onions (and more on this in a second), then our 4-year-old adds the olive oil and helps to gently stir.

So the onions. Yes, I left in the long slices of red onion. I know most kids don’t like onions, but there are usually two ways to approach this: Make the onions so small kids won’t see and taste them or make them big enough to easily avoid. We went with the latter. And it worked.

The Better Side of Broccoli

by in Family, September 3rd, 2013

The Better Side of BroccoliIf there’s one complaint I hear over and over from Foodlets readers, it’s about getting kids to eat more vegetables. And to that I have one piece of tried-and-true advice: Roast them. I’ve roasted carrots, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, asparagus and now broccoli. It’s so easy and so delicious; I can’t believe I haven’t tried it before. Here’s what you do: Slather a few cups of broccoli florets with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and roast in a hot oven (around 400 degrees F).

When the edges are crispy, but the centers still soft, you know it’s done. Encourage anyone who’s had a bad broccoli experience in the past to try just one bite. They may not immediately become a fan, but over time, this is the recipe that’ll win ‘em over.

Get the full recipe for Roasted Broccoli here.

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1 Slow-Cooker Pork Loin Becomes 3 Kid-Approved Dinners

by in Family, August 27th, 2013

1 Slow Cooker Pork Loin Becomes 3 Kid-Approved DinnersWhen it’s screaming hot outside, the last thing I want to do is slave over a stove. That’s why I set up the slow cooker and let that little miracle worker make dinner for me three times.

Dinner #1: For this mouthwatering pork (pictured above), set a large pork loin (or two) into the slow cooker, slather with whole grain mustard, olive oil, salt, pepper and dried thyme. Cook for four hours, then let it fall apart, right onto your kids’ miniature plates. Save the rest.

Dinner #2: Using a mix of BBQ sauce and plain ketchup (even sweet BBQ sauce is usually “too spicy” for our small kids), heat up the remaining pork in a pan and serve on toasted buns.

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The Heirloom Tomato Pie My Preschooler Loved

by in Family, August 20th, 2013

Heirloom Tomato PieWhen I saw the heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market, I was in. And I wasn’t alone. That afternoon, my 4-year-old and I set out to make this Heirloom Tomato Pie. It took a long time, with many steps, but the results were delicious and best of all, both of us thought so.

The secret to this tart’s success was twofold: fresh, sweet tomatoes, plus the truest rule of getting kids to try new food — let them help cook. Because she had so much skin in the game, our preschooler was nothing but proud of the tart once it came out of the oven. Carefully delivering a teetering plate to each person at the dinner table, she only looked happier at one other moment of the meal: when she tasted the first bite herself.

You can’t win ‘em all, but boy, isn’t it nice to have a hit?

4 Ways to Make Kids Excited About Zucchini

by in Family, August 14th, 2013

Zucchini Chocolate Chip CookiesThis time of year, nothing is easier to find (and afford) than zucchini. Finding ways to get the good stuff into your kids, however, can be more elusive. I’ve tried all sorts of things (some hits, many misses) and these are the most popular zucchini dishes according to our three kids:

  • Stovetop Pork and Rice with Zucchini: If you can make rice, you can make this — and your kids will swoon. Just add mustard, cooked cubes of pork and chicken broth to plain brown rice. Throw the zucchini in for the last few minutes. Tada!

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Kid-Friendly Asian Flavors

by in Family, August 7th, 2013

Kid-Friendly Asian FlavorsGetting kids to try new foods and flavors can be about as easy as putting them to bed early. Practically impossible. That’s why I do a few things with our brood:

  • Keep It Sweet: When I make Asian noodles at home, I use a combination of honey, soy sauce and a very small amount of fresh ginger.
  • Include Known Favorites: I like adding three veggies, including at least one that each child likes and, if possible, one new one for them to try (or try again). That way, everyone is already excited by what they see on the plate.

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