A Special Menu for Kiddos

As with most kids, my daughter tolerates the meals that I serve on most nights. I prefer a Cajun Alfredo on a fresh nest of Fettuccine or a Ham & Chive Scramblette where she would be fine with a plate of Kraft Mac & Cheese or a PopTart. To keep her happy, I create kid friendly nights every so often to remind her that she is special.

Tonight, I will start with a Love, Olivia Watermelon Wine from Trader Joes (for the adults of course). Dinner will be Shugary Sweets’ Copycat Panera Bread Mac & Cheese, Good & Gather’s Slow Cooker Raspberry Chipotle Meatballs and a versatile yet simple family favorite Walnut & Grape Salad. We will finish with the rest of the Cannoli Dip served with Eggo Liege Maple Waffles.

Copycat Panera Bread Mac & Cheese

Source: Shugary Sweet
Course: Main Course
Makes: 8 servings

What You Will Need

  • unsalted butter
  • all-purpose flour
  • milk
  • heavy cream
  • shredded white cheddar, (I used Cabot seriously sharp cheddar)
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • dry mustard
  • pasta, cooked (cavatapppi, shells, or elbow)

What You Will Need To Do

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions while making the sauce. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a large pot on medium high heat, add butter until melted. Whisk in the flour and cook for about one minute. Reduce heat to medium and add milk, heavy cream, salt, dry mustard and pepper. Continue whisking until it begins to bubble. Reduce to low and add white cheddar. Stir until melted.
  3. Add cooked pasta, stirring until combined. Remove from heat and allow to sit about 5 minutes to thicken.
  4. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  5. ENJOY.

Slow Cooker Raspberry Chipotle Meatballs

Source: Good & Gather
Course: Side Dish
Makes: 4 servings

What You Will Need

  • Good & Gather Frozen Beef Meatballs, or other brand frozen beef meatballs
  • Chili Sauce
  • seedless raspberry preserves
  • chipotle chilie in adobe sauce, chopped

What You Will Need To Do

  1. Combine all ingredients except meatballs into a slowcooker.
  2. Add meatballs and coat.
  3. Cover and cook for 1.5 – 2 hours on Low.
  4. Meatballs should be heated through and sauce is thickened.
  5. Serve with picks.

Walnut & Grape Salad

Source: Jeanie Jo Original
Course: Salads
Makes: As many servings as you need

What You Will Need

  • romaine lettuce
  • chopped walnuts
  • red or green grapes, halved
  • Italian dressing

What You Will Need To Do

  1. Chop walnuts.
  2. Half Grapes
  3. Cut up lettuce into bite sized pieces.
  4. Stir in serving bowl.
  5. Top with dressing.

Cannoli Dip

Source: Belly Full
Course: Desserts
Makes: 10 servings

What You Will Need

  • mascarpone cheese
  • full-fat ricotta cheese, (drained of any excess liquid)
  • powdered sugar
  • heavy whipping cream
  • vanilla
  • orange zest, optional

Add Ins

  • miniature chocolate chips

Delicious Dippers

  • waffle cones, pizzelle, pretzels, or fresh fruit, for serving

What You Will Need To Do

  1. Place the top 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat until completely combined and creamy. (If the texture seems too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar. If it seems too thick, use a bit more cream. Keep it mind it will thicken as it sits and chills.)
  3. Add in chocolate chips and fold.
  4. Serve right away or chill for later.
  5. Delicious dippers include waffle cones, pizzelle, pretzels, or fresh fruit.

Jeanie Jo Menu Notes:

  • Make sure to have room temperature butter at the time of preparation. Southern Living suggests, ” To soften butter, we recommend leaving it on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes to an hour.” Sally’s Baking Addiction adds, ” Room temperature butter is cool to the touch and about 65°F. When you press it, your finger will make an indent. Your finger won’t sink down into the butter, nor will your finger slide all around.
  • Make sure the wine is chilled for dinner. Food & Wine states that “in the fridge, it took 2.5 hours for red wine to reach its ideal temperature of 55° and 3 hours for white wine to reach its ideal temperature of 45°.” (check out the post for suggestions on cooling in the freezer and in an ice bucket).
  • First, I will start the meatballs in the slowcooker. This should take 1.5 – 2 hours. Once they start cooking, I placed 1 hour and 10 minutes on the timer.
  • Enjoy the wine after it has been able to breathe. Oregon Coast Winery says, ” This breathing process—known as oxidation—helps to soften the flavors and releases its aromas. Most red and white wines will improve when exposed to air for at least 30 minutes in a decanter (SPEC’s Key Club referral code q66m6nge0z). I will take my wine out of the fridge to breathe as there is about 30 minutes left.
  • Then, I will make the Mac & Cheese.
  • As the Mac & Cheese rests, I will put the salad together.
  • Lastly after dinner, remove Cannoli Dip from fridge and warm the Liege Waffles using the package instructions.

What are your kid friendly meals in your home? Let me know in the comments below.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Until next time ….

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