The familiar yum factor of fried potatoes and melted cheese just might persuade your family to give greens a chance -- and because it's all so perfectly mixed together, they will just have to. Plus, this luscious hash -- with a side of fried or scrambled eggs, if you like -- feels an awful lot like breakfast for dinner, which everybody loves.
Don't call this Caldo Verde, or your Portuguese grandmother will tell you that the broth should only be made of potatoes and the sausage should only be chorizo. That's okay. It doesn't need to be authentic -- it just needs to taste great. And boy does it. Filled with deep green kale (of the I-bought-it-but-now-what? variety) and skin-on spuds, this is soup at its most delicious and nourishing best. And the bites of smoky sausage will appeal to even the smallest skeptics.
That sounds fancy, right? It's a way of describing how something the kids may never have eaten (fennel) is going to persuade them to love something they may never have liked (fish). Do you know fennel? The bulb is crisp and white, like a pale, overgrown celery bottom, and it smells yummily like licorice. It's delicious raw -- let your kids crunch on some while you're making dinner -- but caramelized until it's meltingly sweet? It's out of this world. Fish can be hard on the budget, but this dish is so packed with flavor that you can plan on small servings.
Macaroni and cheese are the blue jeans of the food world for kids, and you can count on simultaneous exclamations of "YUM!" from the whole family when this dish is served for dinner. While Velveeta cheese melts beautifully in this recipe, you may wish to substitute it for full cheddar for a more healthful dinner.
Here, stale bread gets new life as the world's easiest, cheesiest soufflé. Call it "savory French toast" if that will encourage your kids to eat it -- and make it in the spring, when asparagus is fresh and plentiful. You could also try using sauteed mushrooms, steamed broccoli florets, roasted zucchini, or whatever vegetables catch your eye at the market. Likewise, although the tarragon and chives go beautifully with asparagus, use whatever fresh herbs your family likes best. Serve the bread pudding with fruit for brunch or with a crisp salad for dinner.
This is a real workhorse of a recipe: a cheap, virtually instant supper that is yummy and nutritious. I have always felt profoundly nourished by an honest plate of beans and rice, but you may want to make the beans and scoop them up with warmed tortillas or wrap them up with cheese into plump little burritos. Of course, if you need to make these beans this minute and have no smoked anything in the house, you can add cumin or regular paprika or both, and they will still be very good.
This nearly-instant recipe for Carrot Salad is infinitely adaptable: you can substitute lemon juice or vinegar for the lime juice, sugar for the honey, and tamari for the fish sauce, you can omit the peanuts, you can use your favorite green herb (honestly, in the winter I often use celery leaves from the inside of the bunch, because that's what we have), and you can even add a splash of olive oil if the salad tastes too pickle-y to you, though I like the clean flavor of the oil-free version.
Ah, tofu. We eat a lot of it. It's inexpensive, it's incredibly good for you, our kids love it, and you can treat it like a blank canvas. The trick is to use tofu's mild sponginess to your own advantage, preferably by impelling it to soak up a lot of salt and butter. Hence the following, which is our current go-to recipe, and we eat it at least once a week. Allowed to brown in a pan with soy sauce and lemon juice, the tofu gets crispy-edged and tangily addictive. Just be sure to buy extra-firm tofu, since any other style will fall all to pieces in the pan -- especially "silken tofu" which has the texture of jellied library paste.
No Thanksgiving spread would be complete without this Disney centerpiece.
Named after the famous Italian tomato-mozzarella salad, this is a nearly instant, super-fresh recipe that's bursting with the summery flavors of juicy vine-ripened tomatoes and fragrant basil. Use as much of the fresh mozzarella as your budget will allow -- although if you're eating this as a side dish rather than a main course, you could skip the cheese altogether. And feel free to improvise: use halved cherry tomatoes, if that's what you've got, or add a few tablespoons of pesto, if you can't scare up any fresh basil.