I love simple meals. And really, with 3 young kids, I need them.
I medicate a bad day or boredom or even happiness with cooking, but standing for at least 4 hours cooking doesn’t always work. But this recipe will not be a 4 hour meal. It will be good, fun to eat for your kids, and make you feel really healthy.
Think of this recipe like Costco samples. Kids love them, my husband loves them, who doesn’t?! You get lots of variety in cute little cups. By eating this recipe in the lettuce, the kids feel like they have something new to manipulate. It might not be a small cup, but small pieces of lettuce can be just as enticing.
I’ve used romaine, small headed romaine, and butter lettuce. Really, whatever crunchy green leaves you have will probably work. I hope you like it.
Now, in case you wonder if my kids really do eat mushrooms (I know you’re saying there’s NO WAY you’re kids will…mine don’t in any other recipe), they can actually be slightly disguised in this meal. The first couple times they had no idea. However, they are getting quicker at identifying foods now. But the plus to this is the texture of mushrooms is masked by everything else, so it’s a great new meal to try. I remind my kids they’ve tried this and like it before. And again, the eating with your hands part really wins them over.
When I made these a while ago (before this blog was created), I told the story about how far we’d come in helping our kids eat healthy by comparing our kids with some other kids at a dinner party. (I’m not saying comparing children is ever a good idea…just that I was trying so hard to help my kids and was happy to see progress in our own family that I hadn’t recognized. I understand all children respond in different ways and in different speeds to change.) I’d second that post by saying it’s possible to change. As an adult and as kids. It takes a lot of consistency, encouragement, and excitement in trying new things. But I believe it’s totally possible and worth the effort.
I still hear, “why do we always have to eat vegetable!??” with loud whining and stomping. You’d think they’d figure it out already. But in all, they know the routine and just try to push the boundaries, making sure we mean what we say. We do.
And then there’s the times my 5-year-old asks for a salad for lunch or my 2-year-old eats his salad at dinner before his other food with no prompting. Baby steps, people, baby steps.
- 32 ounces mushrooms, small dice
- 3 green onions, small dice
- 2 red bell peppers, small dice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 zucchini, small dice
- 1-2 tsp sesame oil (add to taste)
- 2 large carrots, shredded
- 1 head butter lettuce, leaves washed, separated, and dried (romaine, small heads, etc)
- Sunflower seeds
- 1/4 - 1/2 bottle Bangkok Padang Peanut Sauce (This is spicy for kids, so add 1/4 and taste test.)
- 1/3 cup Asian Toasted Sesame dressing
- 3-4 dashes soy sauce
- 1 tsp dried ginger
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- Add diced mushrooms, onions, peppers, garlic, and zucchini to a pot and saute. After about 5 minutes, add sesame oil and sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes until liquid is reduced and vegetables are soft and well blended. If the vegetables need more liquid to soften, add a small amount (like 2 ounces) and cook some more. Stir in grated carrot. Add salt to taste if needed. Add sunflower seeds on top (optional). Serve with brown rice and lettuce leaves.
- Taking one of your leaves, put a small amount of rice on it then layer the veggie peanut combo on top. If you want it a little spicier, leave the bottle of Padang peanut sauce on the table for those who want to add more.
Adapted from "A Feathered Nest"
How does it work feeding vegetables to your kids?
What’s your favorite recipe that masks ingredients?