One of the reasons I originally started making a different meal each week night was to get my kids to try new foods. I thought that if I didn’t repeat a dish they would finally be willing to try new foods and flavor combinations. I learned quite a bit over the last 2 years.
I learned if they are hungry they will try anything. This came from our first pediatrician when my daughter was born. Her theory was if kids are hungry enough they will eat. Don’t start them on sweet fruits but start with bitter vegetables so they don’t associate foods with sweets. We started with green beans and then peas. I don’t know if this is what did it but both of my kids love raw vegetables to this day.
I didn’t force them to eat endless meals of things they didn’t like but I always serve a salad with the meal and sometimes that was all they ate but they at least tasted the rest of the food too. I asked them to at least take one tablespoon of each food even if they knew they wouldn’t like it. I did allow us each to have one food we could say we hated. My daughter has onions (she eats them all the time but if she sees them then she picks them out), my son is ricotta cheese (the best part of having lasagna in my book), my partner doesn’t like big chunks of chicken (I don’t understand that one but we roll with it) and I HATE strawberries (childhood trauma). But, other than that we all try everything at each dinner.
I learned I wasn’t as adventurous I though I was in tasting new foods. I shied away from raw tomatoes, peas and mushrooms. I thought foods flavored with cinnamon (other than breads or cakes), lemon, lime and anything other than garlic, onion or oregano were weird. But, through this game I have been playing not only have my children become fearless tasters so have I. I still don’t particularly care for raw tomatoes or mushrooms but I will try them in a dish and if they enhance the dish and are not the dominating flavor I will gladly eat them.
This is a dish that we would not have tried two years ago. Allspice and cumin in ground beef? Onions and parsley? That is too much. But, I bought a few cook books last week at the local library book sale and one of them had a recipe for Kafta Kebobs.
This version is more Lebanese with a bit of Greek thrown in with the Tzatziki sauce.
This was a huge hit. This is what my son has in his lunch today. The same meal as above. How many 6th graders want to take Kafta Kebobs with Naan and Tzatziki sauce in their lunch? My family loves flavor and this had tons of it. We like our Tzatziki with extra garlic so that ramps the flavors up even more!
I served this with a mixed spinach salad on the side. For my mostly gluten-free son we used gluten-free tortillas in place of Naan.
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 1 bunch of parsley finely chopped and dried well
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons all spice
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- salt and pepper
- If cooking on an outdoor grill soak wooden skewers for 20 minutes in a pan of water to avoid burning.
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Pack a handful of meat around the skewers. Do not make them too thick or the meat will burn before cooking through.
- Once all the skewers are made, place them on a grill over medium heat. Grill for 10-15 minutes or until meat is cooked completely through.
- Remove skewers from grill and serve with Naan and Tzatziki if desired.