One Dish Meals Kids Love
The Virtual Chef
Copyright 1994, All Rights Reserved

Kids can really be picky about what they eat!  And, unfortunately, the easiest things to fix
are often the biggest turn off to them. However, if you apply a few rules to food
preparation for children, a compromise can be reached. 

1. Kids are picky about textures. They don't seem to respond well to mealy things...the
texture of, say, lima beans, is automatically repellent to little kids. They might play with
it, but the can be downright suspicious of things with unusual textures. 

2. Kids don't like a whole LOT of different flavors in a single dish. If you have one
overriding flavor that is set off by others, that works, but a confluence of sharp, mild,
tangy, salty, sweet, hot and lord knows what else is a little overwhelming for them.

3. Kids like sweet things that are uncomplicated - fruit, chocolate, simple flavors.

4. Kids like most things you can put catsup on.

5. Strong flavors like cabbage, sauerkraut, mustard, and such are not usually among kids

6. Kids don't like things that are hard to chew (unless they are jawbreakers). They get
tired of chewing really tough things. That is why steak isn't a real popular dish with kids
but hamburgers are fine.

7. Kids like to be able to identify what they are eating, so really strange dishes are out of
the question.

With these rules in mind, here are some one dish meals that you can slip in on the
family. They are easy to fix, can be made ahead and heated up quickly on a really busy
evening and can be rounded out with some cinnamon applesauce or carrot sticks, a glass
of milk, and a slice of bread to be a well-balanced meal.

Country Cornbread Casserole

1 pound hot dogs, sliced on the diagonal in 1/2 inch pieces
2 1 pound cans baked beans
1/2 C ketchup
1/2 C water
1 tbsp. prepared mustard
1/4 C tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. finely chopped onion

3/4 C sifted flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 C cornmeal
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 C milk
1/4 C cooking oil
1/3 C finely chopped onion

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the hotdogs, beans, ketchup, water, mustard,
brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce in a 9 x 13 2 inch pan.
In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the cornmela. Add
the egg, milk, oil and onion, stirring only until all the items are combined. Spoon the
cornmeal mixture over the beans in dollop Bake for about 40 minutes until cornbread is
done and golden brown.

Shepherd's Pie

This dish combines kid favorites of hamburger, tomato sauce, mashed potatoes and
cheese...and what the heck, you even squeak in some green beans.

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
2 eggs, separated
dash of salt
2 tbsp. butter, divided
1 pound ground beef
salt and pepper
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 `16 oz can  sliced green beans, drained
1 C grated cheddar cheese
Heat 1 tbsp. of the butter in a skillet and brown the onions. Add the ground beef and
brown. Drain and return to skillet. Season with the salt and pepper and add the tomato
sauce and green beans. Stir to blend. Lightly grease a 9 inch square pan. Add the meat
and green bean combination to the pan. 
Add the egg yolks to the prepared mashed potatoes. Beat the egg whites with the dash of
salt until stiff and fold into the potatoes. Spread over the meat mixture. Sprinkle with
cheese and dot with remaining butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or until nicely
browned and bubbly.

Kids love sandwiches, and here is one that never fails.

Tuna Cruncho Sandwich

1 can (6 1/2 oz.) tuna, drained and broken up
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
2 slices Swiss Cheese
4 slices white bread
1 egg beaten
2 cups potato chips, crushed
2 tbsp. butter

Combine the tuna, celery, and mayonnaise. Place one slice of Swiss cheese on each of
two slices of bread. Spread half of the tuna mixture on top of each and top with
remaining bread slices. Dip each sandwich into beaten egg and then into the potato
chips.  Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a skillet or on a griddle. Brown sandwiches one one side and
then on the other until the cheese is melted. Serve with carrot sticks and milk.

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