Awhile back I published an article on picky eating and discussed preparing ‘bar’ night. A ‘bar’ includes one main idea and then providing topping or ingredients to allow your child to customize their food. As a mother I realize a need to help keep dinner festive and keep the dinner time fears at bay.
This week I am doing something similar, but we are going abroad. I really enjoy making food from other areas of the world and then discussing with my children where the food originated and what that particular culture is like. This is a fairly new idea in our household, so we haven’t visited too many places yet, but I’ll show you what I have concocted and from where.
Germany: I make chicken schnitzel with mushroom gravy, dumplings, sauerkraut, and a fruit strudel. I like to put the chicken over the dumplings and the pour the gravy on. The dumplings sort of take the place of mashed potatoes. I make the strudel out of crescent roll sheet and fill it with apples or cherry pie filling that I made over the summer and canned.
Greece: My favorite so far, I have made turkey and mint meatballs, you could use ground lamb to be more authentic, but we do not have that available in our area. I toast pita bread on my stove top grill. I make tzatziki sauce. I offer several types of olives, feta cheese, and marinated tomatoes. This would also be a good time to have kabobs i.e. shrimp, chicken, lamb, etc. combined with zucchini, squash, tomatoes, mushrooms. Kids love to pull the food from the stick. Make sure you soak the sticks in water for an hour or so before grilling to not burn the stick.
Asia: Asia is so broad, and I am not familiar with what food exactly comes from where, I could do more research to be more specific to a region. What I usually make is eggrolls, fried rice, potstickers, and then some kind of beef and noodles or sesame chicken, what I have on hand that is convenient. Asian food couldn’t be easier if you have a few simple ingredients on hand. I keep sesame oil, seeds, and wonton wraps as well as ginger and vegetables for stir fry.
Mexico: This is fun to do any time of year, but we try to also make Cinco-de-Mayo an occasion at our house. I like to make enchiladas (chicken or beef) black beans, lime cilantro rice and mock-a-ritas (blended ice and lemon/lime soda and club soda) and warm tortillas makes a very festive night. We make a ton of salsa each summer and can it, but making it fresh for the night, or some pico do gallo really hits the spot.
Italy: I like to make a variety of noodle and offer various sauces like marinara and alfredo as well as garlic and butter sauce. I like to offer several proteins for this meal such as meatballs, grilled chicken, and eggplant parmesan. I will make a big batch of each and freeze separately for this meal times 2 and make again about a month later. I make a plate of garlic bread, olives, artichoke hearts, and salami as an antipasto appetizer, my kids really like this part of dinner.
During these dinners you could pull up fun facts about the country or area the food is coming from and share fun facts such as inventions, animals, flag, weather, points of interest, and famous people from there. This is a good way to have conversation during dinner, get all family incorporated, and cherish family dinners.
©bay area mothers club