You love dining out. You love your kids. Sometimes it may seem impossible to combine these two passions, but never fear. To dine out successfully with small children, you just need a solid restaurant-selection strategy. Here are four restaurant categories to zone in on.
Tag: kids & family
Need a faster way to get dinner on the table? Give yourself a head start by cooking one hearty pot roast, then transform the leftovers into two more dinners, each with totally different flavors, later in the week.
Dinner #1: Start with Ree Drummond’s Perfect Pot Roast (pictured above). This easy recipe has more than 470 user reviews and a 5-star rating; how can you go wrong? It’ll take a few hours to make, but in that time your house will smell amazing. Bonus: If you tease your family with the delicious scent of dinner for this long, you can practically guarantee excited kids at the table when that roast is finally ready.
Some parents meticulously pack their kids’ lunches the night before, ensuring a smooth start the next day. I am not one of them. My husband takes our kids to school every morning at 7:30 a.m. And every morning at 7:15 a.m. I start making lunch. “OK, we’re in the No Request Zone,” I’ll announce to all four small fry who are still eating breakfast, not yet even starting to wonder where their shoes are. But with a few handy strategies for banging out healthy lunches in a hurry, we rarely have a lunch-related disaster. (Getting all the kids out the door and buckled into their car seats, however, is another matter. See: shoes.) That’s thanks to this list of reliably quick lunch ideas:
DIY Cucumber Sandwiches: Think Lunchables with a fresh twist. Chop up a cucumber and put it in the lunchbox. Then set a small pile of turkey, ham and/or cheese next to it, and let the kids put together their own sandwiches at lunchtime.
We have four young kids and the oldest turned 6 this year. That means we’ve hosted 14 birthday parties — so far. With many, many more to go, we stick to these guidelines for fun parties without frazzled parents.
1. Invite a small number of kids. No one has fun at a party that feels like a mob. It’s loud. It’s chaotic. See above, it’s no fun. Remember that old rule about inviting as many friends as you are old? It’s perfect. Five, six or eight kids plus a parent each makes for plenty of revelers.
2. Create a simple theme or activity. Host a tea party. Or have everyone come in costume. This year our 4-year-old had a tea party where everyone wore costumes. Put together a scavenger hunt with hidden clues, a karaoke sing-along or outdoor Olympics based on simple games (like relay races, a water balloon shot put and so on). Pretend it’s 1988 and channel your mother; she put a Barbie doll in the middle of your cake and called it a day.
And by all means, put the birthday child to work. That same 6-year-old LOVED creating signs for her party, directing people where to go and telling people what to put where.
It’s that time of year again, folks. Get back in the swing of the school year by tricking out your kids’ lunchboxes with colorful, tasty recipes for every day of the week. These easy-to-make, take-to-school lunch ideas can take you from Monday through Friday, and they’re sure to take the cafeteria by storm.
Fill a thermos with Guy Fieri’s hearty, satisfying turkey chili recipe (pictured above). A single batch can easily feed two kids for the better part of a week — plus, chili is as freezer-friendly as it gets.
I’m totally the type of person who goes to bed excited about her morning coffee and breakfast. I’m sure this psychotic enthusiasm warrants some sort of therapy, but whatever. Mornings are my FAVORITE. The air is still. The streets are calm. My baby gremlins have yet to emerge from their caves.
Aside from the coffee buzz I satisfactorily achieve by 6:20 a.m., I can almost guarantee that my breakfasts are better than yours. Don’t be mad! But it’s true.
And I’m not exaggerating when I say I eat this exact breakfast sandwich nearly every. Single. Morning. I may switch out the spinach for kale, the red onions for sliced mushrooms, the sun-dried tomatoes for fresh garden Romas, but the principle is the same: runny yolks, melty cheese, all in my face.
And I’ve made a painfully simple version for your kids. We take out the fancy-pants adult toppings, and simply scramble up some fluffy eggs, place them on a toasted English muffin and top them with a mountain of cheddar.
“Healthy smoothies” sounds a little repetitive, right? Smoothies are good for you! They’re loaded with fruit! The truth is, like granola bars, smoothies can sound healthy but sometimes actually have so much added sugar that they’re really more like milkshakes. (And those granola bars are basically candy bars.) But these homemade smoothies are all low in added sugar, full of fruit and some are even full of veggies too.
Orange Banana Smoothie (pictured above): Spring for fresh OJ to make Ina Garten’s recipe once and you’ll be hooked on this healthy smoothie forever.
Light, energizing and easy to prepare: That’s the elusive after-school snack trifecta. When store shelves are lined with chips, sugary fruit snacks and other empty calories, shopping for something that fits the bill can feel a lot like searching for a needle in a haystack. The obvious alternative is to skip store-bought options in favor of something homemade, but few people have time to prepare snacks in addition to dinner. Beat the after-school crunch by preparing healthy foods over the weekend and keeping them on hand for later in the week. Homemade granola bars and trail mixes are a great place to start. Fresh veggies can be washed and cut in mere minutes, and vegetable-based dips such as guacamole or hummus make crudites seem appealing. Here are some more quick, nutritious, kid-friendly snacks to tide your family over till dinner’s ready.
These nutty bars studded with dried fruit will stave off hunger pangs between lunch and dinner for only 167 calories per serving. Make a batch over the weekend so your family will have them on hand for quick and convenient after-school snacking throughout the week.
Whether it’s a backyard garden or the bargain bin of your supermarket, by this stage of summer one thing is clear: Tomatoes have taken over. Cherry tomatoes, heirlooms, red, yellow. They’re inexpensive, sweet, juicy and packed with vitamin C. The problem? Tons of kids just won’t eat them. Until now. These recipes are the kid-tested turn-’em-around tomato dishes that my kids eat happily, and it’s a good bet that yours will too.
Cheesy Bagels with Sliced Tomatoes (pictured above): These are toasted bagels like your kids have never had before. Melted cheddar works perfectly with a slice of cool, sweet tomato right on top. It’s like pizza for breakfast, if pizza made your taste buds do the cha-cha.
The idea of cooking a hot dinner in the summertime reminds me of asking my kids to clean up their rooms, because the answer to both is the same: “I’m too tired!” That’s why I love this list of cook-ahead or no-cook ideas for easy summer dinners. Each one is kid-tested by my own four rascals but delicious enough for every adult at the table to enjoy as well.
Capellini with Tomatoes and Basil (pictured above): Just another 5-star recipe from Ina Garten, this one has tender noodles soaked in sweet tomato juices. These noodles practically beg to be slurped, so have those napkins ready.