I’m not a great cook.

I make awesome soups (thank you, slow cooker) and a mean lasagne. I’m a decent baker, when the mood strikes. (Does anyone else miss Sweet Dreams on the Food Network? I love that Gale Gand. This reference is so old, dating back to the early months of 2002 when I watched while nursing my now 7-year-old in front of the TV, that I can’t even find a link for you…) But otherwise, I’m so-so.

Lately, after feeling guilty about all of the Trader Joe’s prepared food my little people eat, I’ve made some laudable (if I do say so myself) attempts at cooking for the kids, only to be met with — at best — mild enthusiasm. Even if they sort of like it (it being something like chicken fried rice or bow-tie pasta with lemon and broccoli) the first night, by the time I bring out the leftovers a day or two later, they announce that they don’t like it after all. (This even happened with those usually beloved spinach brownies I blogged about!!!) Plus, like most siblings, my little people prefer wildly different foods – I’ve got a fruit/lentil/yogurt lover and a cheese/pasta lover who is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Meanwhile, my husband prefers that they don’t eat pork or beef.

Sooooo… I’m tempted to resume heating up soy corndogs in the microwave and call it a day. But I know that we can do better than this.

Do you have either of these two books?

cooksillustratedbook

everydayfoodbook

They’re two in my collection (note the emphasis on “fast”). Can you recommend any sure-fire recipes from either of them? Or do you have a tried-and-true, healthy, fast recipe from another source that kids will love? If so, let me know. And stay tuned for a future post: Lunch Box Battles…

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