I was watching the show “Wife Swap” the other day and I had an idea (uh-oh). What if they did a Kid Swap? What if you sent a terrible eater (assuming no food allergies or sensory issues) for 2 weeks to a family that provides only one healthy family dinner? The interesting part of this experiment is that when it is not your child, the anxiety and emotion is removed. It’s a heck of a lot easier to say to a child that is not your own, “oh well, too bad you don’t like dinner, maybe you’ll eat breakfast”. Assuming the dinners were simply prepared, fresh foods, do you think the child would starve? It would be like a food boot camp. Only instead of 100 push-ups, the child would be given fresh roasted chicken and vegetables with rice. Who’s interested? I live at 234 Main Street……potty trained please.
Caponata (quick Italian Veggie Stew)
This is a traditional Italian dish but I simplified the recipe and the flavors to accommodate families of all ages. It’s a great side dish or spoon this over barley or brown rice for a hearty meal. This is so great in the winter and re-heats perfectly the next day for lunch.
- Cook ½ onion and 2 garlic cloves in about 3-4 TBS of olive oil in a heavy pot.
- Cook until soft about 6-7 minutes.
- Add 1 peeled/diced eggplant and 3 peeled/diced zucchini and 1 bell pepper (any color).
- Cut up and add 4-5 tomatoes (these will break down when cooked – could also use 1 can of diced tomatoes).
- Add 2 TSP salt and 1 TSP pepper and some basil (fresh, 1 TSP of powdered or 1 TBS from a tube).
- Cook until soft at least 10-15 minutes. Add some water or broth if it gets too dry – should look like a tomato-based stew.
Note: This dinner warms your soul and is a perfect meal for your toddler! You can also add celery, carrot and/or mushrooms to this recipe.
- Barley takes a while to cook but it’s worth it – so nutritious. It’s like pasta but so much better!
- TIP: Put a paper towel between the top of the pot and the lid to absorb the moisture – this will make your barley/rice fluffier.
What Can the Kids Do?
- Smash the garlic.
- Use a chopper to chop up the onion.
- Learn how to use a peeler (if ready) and help peel the zucchini (soft skin).
- Set the table and get the drinks.
Did You Know?
- Many Caponata recipes are made with olives, celery and capers and traditionally have more of a sweet and sour taste. Some versions of the recipe include octopus or swordfish.