In my feeble attempt this week to derail my carb cravings (and I mean feeble) I made a wonderful soup Tuesday night for dinner. The soup was fantastic and healthy. However, I’m not sure the two glasses of wine and loaf of fresh Everything Bread from Great Harvest Bread Company helped support my detox.
I know how hard it is to make quick meals for a family that are both economical and healthy. My plan is to start adding a recipe a week that will hopefully encompass both of these goals. I am not a baker, but I really do love to cook, time permitting. My house also has two of the pickiest eaters, so I am not going to lie, not everything I cook is well received by these young critics. So, I have stopped cooking for them, hung up my short-order cook’s apron and just gone back to cooking the way that I think we should eat. Both girls used to eat everything that I put in front of them, but the last few years have been a series of food wars. I’ve heard lots of advice on how to get picky eaters to eat. (Most of them don’t work, by the way, but thanks anyway.) Two bits of information have stuck with me the most:
1. Don’t offer anything else – they’ll eat when they are hungry.
2. Always have at least one thing at the table each child will eat.
The first rule of thumb never worked for us. I do see how it could be effective, but The Hare is quite content to skip any meal that doesn’t suit her. We tried this wisdom and found that she would skip dinner almost every night, and for a growing little girl who is also a team gymnasts, that was just unacceptable.
The second nugget has worked like a charm. It may mean that we have a bread or pasta (whole wheat) at every meal but so what? Everyone eats something. Our general family rule is that you can not have seconds of the item you like the most unless you have finished the other things on your plate. We also require them to taste everything served. It used to be three bites of everything…I have since caved a little and just expect one bite. If you wanted to be really mean, you could still put three bites on their plates, which means to get another piece of bread they would still have to consume three full bites. Sneaky, right? We still have food fights – crying, complaining, dry-heaves…but much less than when we required them to participate in the clean plate club.
Tomato-Cheese Tortellini Soup
total time: 13 minutes
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
3 cups frozen cheese tortellini (about 12 ounces)
1 small zucchini, sliced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add tortellini, zucchini, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 7 to 8 minutes or until pasta and zucchini are tender.
Yield: 4 (1 1/4-cup) servings
* The original recipe suggested frozen ravioli but I prefer the size of the tortellini for little mouths.