Wildly nutritious broccoli gets a starring role in this zingy, substantial pasta dish. For the highest yum factor, try to get your hands on a bunch of super-freshly grown broccoli -- and don't discard the stems! Peeled and sliced, they add a sweet, mild crunch to this lightly sauced and deeply flavorful pasta.
Vegetables, smoky-sweet from the grill and zingy with lime juice, transform simple cheesy tortillas -- comfortingly familiar to children -- into something sublime. Other fresh, seasonal, vegetables, such as eggplant or fennel, would make a lovely addition to the line-up here. And do try to hunt down the chipotle peppers, which add their own delicious hit of smokiness: they're available canned, in the Mexican foods aisle, and you can puree the entire can and store it in a jar in the refrigerator for instant flavor-boosting. (But if your kids are spice-shy, stick with the paprika.)
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.
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.
Cabbage is famously inexpensive, packed with nutrients, and a classic accompaniment for pork. Look for naturally raised chops on sale, then buy more than you need and freeze them for easy meals such as this one, where they're paired with braised cabbage that has gone meltingly tender and sweet in the oven.