"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Top ten crap dinners to make your kids

by Julie Tilsner on November 12, 2007

in Adventures in Parenting, Kid Food, Dinner

All the women’s magazines say I should sit down every Sunday and plan a weekly menu. That’s the best way to have a meal planned for every weekday dinner and be assured that I have all the necessary ingredients on hand. I would save time; no more running out to the store for the third time to buy one spice.

No more staring into the pantry at 6 p.m. Tuesday with starving children clawing at my pants and realizing there was nothing to make (nothing they’d eat, anyway). I would save money as well, which is important these days. Anyone else notice that milk has gone up an entire dollar?

I can stand behind this idea. I support it full bore. It makes perfect sense to me. But it’s never going to happen. I am simply too disorganized to sit down on a Sunday and write out a weekly menu. Such a task would cut too deeply into the time I spend staring into the middle distance, or checking my email, or painting my porch the wrong color. It smacks too much of June Cleaver. I can’t bring myself to do it, even though I support it in theory.

It’s in this spirit of resignation that I offer you my Top Ten Crap Dinners to Make Your Kids.

These aren’t really crap dinners. They’re nutritious, more or less. And the kids will eat them. And what good are nutritious meals if the kids won’t eat them? Exactly.

Try these when you haven’t given dinner a single thought until your children look up at you, gaunt and hollow-eyed, and ask you what’s for dinner.

1) Scrambled eggs and buttered toast.

Throw in a green (frozen peas? Edemame beans?) and you’ve got yourself almost a meal.

2) Peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches.

Like lunch, only for dinner! Substitute turkey or tuna if one child won’t eat peanut butter. Make sure you sit down at the table and put your sandwiches on a plate. Otherwise your kids won’t count this as “dinner.” Frozen peas. Grapes.

3.) Lentil soup over rice.

In the 25 minutes it takes to make rice, your kids can enjoy a protein-packed meal of the kind the kids over in the Third World enjoy every day!

4.) Frozen pizzas.

And oranges cut in half.

5.) Mac & Cheese.

Even better when you can get the microwavable stuff. Serve with cherry tomatoes in a dish.

6.) Soup from a can and sliced baguette.

A baguette is a meal that lasts from the time you buy it (tear off a chunk in the car) until it’s finished, long after dinner, gobbled by the kids with their honey tea. Worth every cent.

7.) Corn on the cob and hot dogs.

Buns aren’t as important as condiments.

8.) Cheerios or corn flakes.

Inquire about whether they’d accept blueberries on top of their cereal. They might fall for it…Cup of tea to wash it down.

9.) Dino nuggets and rice.

Something for everyone!

10.) Carl’s Junior kiddie meal (drive thru).

For those nights when you just have to say f*** it. You can make this option feel more virtuous by refusing to buy the Coke and making them drink milk instead.

My 10-year-old daughter reminded me about this last, very excellent, very crap, option. I salute her.

Go ahead and smirk. And send me your crap dinner options while you’re at it.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim November 13, 2007 at 12:30 am

OMG, having you been peeking in on my kitchen? This sounds too much like Chez Moldofsky in recent weeks.


Chris November 13, 2007 at 8:18 am

I love this! It is so great! My favorite is the lentil soup over rice. I need to serve that to my family and then before we eat, pray that we never have to eat like this daily.


elfini November 13, 2007 at 9:07 am

Dear little Miss Julie T ~ you are not taking into account the kids who won’t even eat 10 different meals! Kyle has a 3 meal rotation of Mac-n-Cheese, Spaghettios and chicken nuggets with the occasional quesidilla thrown in for variety! Help me Tom Cruise!


Biggie @ Lunch in a Box November 13, 2007 at 10:03 am

Bwah hah ha — classic! Have you read The Three Martini Playdate? I’m in the middle of it now and laughing like crazy; I think you’d appreciate it as well.


BaddAss MisterJ November 13, 2007 at 2:08 am

You know one of these days, your kids will start an online blog entitled “Can you believe what my mom made me eat today. . .”
This would be soooo funny!


bad home cook November 13, 2007 at 11:19 am

Of COURSE I’ve read the three-martini lunch date…and laughed my arse off. My kinda mom. But since I don’t even bother with mixed drinks, I can’t teach my nits those skills.


Jackie November 13, 2007 at 6:37 pm

tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich. come to think of it, that’s MY favorite crap meal as well.


Cate O'Malley November 13, 2007 at 3:49 pm

Too funny…


eliza November 14, 2007 at 9:10 pm

aahh?? lentil soup over rice…my son will gag on that. he’s not too keen on soft texture like lentil, mashed potatoes. but yes, toasted bread with boiled egg is one of his favorite foods of all time. no bread no problem, make that 2 boiled eggs please 😀


AT November 14, 2007 at 2:41 pm

..fortunately, “boyfriend” isn’t in the title..


Angela November 15, 2007 at 2:08 pm

#1 Fried egg on top of rice with some of those Japanese seaweed sprinkles.
#2 Egg sandwich ( eggs feature a lot – we’ve got chooks)
#3 $10 bucks for take-away


Sherry November 15, 2007 at 11:38 am

I salute you. I admire your integrity and lack of hypocrisy…and I’m laughing my butt off! My 4 year old will only eat the following:
Dry blueberry Eggos
any and all potatoes
At least that’s been the options for the past couple of weeks. He randomly will ask for cereal and strawberries or the infrequent PBJ.


dogcostumes March 5, 2010 at 5:33 pm

I love cheerios for dinner. That’s top notch healthy eating right there. Lowers Cholesterol and everything!


jen June 13, 2011 at 10:13 pm

How come people in other countries can get their kids to eat fish heads and monkey brains and my kids won’t even try feta cheese? Are we doing something wrong?! And if we don’t feed them the junk they want…they will just go to some other mom’s house and love her for feeding them! You can’t win!


Julie June 13, 2011 at 10:33 pm

I think you just have to give up control when they get into school. They’re gonna eat what they’re gonna eat, trading their hummus for Ho-Hos at school. But I’ve found that if you just don’t keep a lot of crap around (I don’t buy soda, for example..except on rare occasions like pizza night or a party) they learn a healthy disdain for it…
…plus, if they get hungry enough…they’ll eat anything….


Aimee January 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm

So fun finding you! I’m a single mom, work full-time, have 2 hungry sons, ages 10 & 12. One will eat anything, one (the oldest) is pretty picky. Once upon a time I was Mrs. Nutrition, home-cooked meals, organic, etc. Now I’m Ms. What is remotely healthy that we can eat on the fly, after I get home from work, before we head out to sports practice 4-5 nights a week? I love your suggestions. An easy one I make is pasta, broccoli (fussy one can pick it out), ricotta cheese, salt & pepper, a few (just a few) red pepper flakes), butter & parmesan cheese. Throw the broccoli in the pasta for the last 3 minutes of cooking (buy it pre-chopped out of the salad bar if necessary!); drain the pasta & broccoli; toss it with a spoonful of butter (or a tablespoon of olive oil), a few hearty tablespoons of ricotta cheese; salt, pepper, red pepper flakes if using, parmesan. Use whole wheat or part whole wheat pasta to ramp up the fiber. The ricotta is a great source of protein. Cheers!


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