Cooking with a Toddler Archives - A Crafty Spoonful

Chicken Parmesan Bites – The Perfect Toddler-Approved Meal

These chicken parmesan bites are the perfect toddler-approved meal for busy weeknights! They come together in less than 30 minutes and pair perfectly with spaghetti and marinara sauce and vegetables. 

I have been trying to come up with healthy, fun dinners that my preschooler would be more interested in. Lately, all the kids want are carbs and sweets so turning a typical chicken dish into more kid-friendly meals is my goal. I’m pretty sure I’ve succeeded in that goal with the help of some inspiration from Lady and The Tramp. 

A craving for chicken parmesan hit when we were watching Lady enjoy a big bowl of pasta with Tramp and it hit me! Why not turn chicken parmesan into chicken parmesan bites!? Put a side of noodles and sauce on the plate and I had a meal that all of the kids would enjoy. Including the preschooler. Right? Right!

So the next night as we were watching Lady and the Tramp again for the 3rd time since receiving it to review, I plated up these delicious chicken parmesan bites for the kids to enjoy with a side of spaghetti noodles topped with marinara sauce and a scoop of broccoli florets. I placed the plates of dinner in front of the kids and they went to town! And the best part? I used only 2 chicken breasts to feed the whole family dinner. Isn’t that awesome? And budget friendly! Plus the kids will love helping put this meal together. 

Chicken Parmesan Bites 

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 4 tablespoons 1% milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup Italian-Style Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Place chicken breast pieces in a bowl and cover with milk. Let soak for a few minutes while prepping the other ingredients. Place 1/2 cup of flour into a gallon size zippered plastic bags. Measure out 1 cup of breadcrumbs and place into a container with salt and pepper. Grate 1/2 cup parmesan cheese into the same container, stir to combine and set aside. Place egg white in a small bowl.

Take chicken and place in bag with flour. Shake vigorously until the chicken is well coated. Put coated chicken in the bowl with egg white and stir to coat chicken. Place bread crumb mixture in the bag you just used for flour. Put chicken back in the bag and shake again coating the chicken with breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add coated chicken to the pan and cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes. When chicken is cooked thoroughly remove from pan and serve with spaghetti and marinara sauce. Add some steamed veggies or a nice salad to make this a complete meal.

How are you getting your little one involved in different foods? 

Make sure to pick up your own copy of The Walt Disney Signature Collection Lady and The Tramp now available on Blu-ray and enjoy your own pasta experiences with the family! 

For some fun activities to do with the kids, click on the button below:

Love this recipe? Try these other toddler-friendly meals, tips, and ideas!

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Quick Toddler Lunches: 5 Easy Solutions

5 Easy Solutions for Quick Toddler Lunches

One meal that I find the hardest to make for my children is lunch. I don’t know what it is but every time I go to fix lunch my mind draws a blank. So I’ve come up with 5 easy solutions for quick toddler lunches. That means that in less than 10-15 minutes your kids will have a healthy, delicious meal to eat for their mid-day meal.

Frozen Foods and Pasta

Grab a bag of whole grain pasta out of the cupboard. Or let the kids decide what pasta they want. Then go into the freezer and grab a few nitrate free hot dogs and some frozen (or fresh) veggies. Now you’re ready to make lunch in under 10 minutes!

  1. Boil water
  2. Add Pasta and set timer (cook for however long the bag says)
  3. 1/2 way through, add frozen hot dog. 
  4. When 2-3 minutes remain, add a handful of frozen veggies
  5. Drain, cut up hot dog, and serve!  – cutting up is optional for children over 3*

Usually takes less than 10 minutes and the kids love it!

Change it up! Don’t want to use hot dogs? Toss the noodles and veggies in some olive oil or butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Toss some pepperonis or deli meat in for a change in flavor or cube up some cheese.

Mmmm!

*If cutting up the hot dog, remember to cut up length wise first, then width wise to reduce the chance of choking.

Roll Ups and Fresh Fruit

Another lunch idea that takes less than 10 minutes. Simply pull out some lunch meats and cheeses and put them on a plate along with a few veggies. When your kids are deciding what to put in their roll ups, wash and cut up some fruit to go on the side!

Once they’ve decided it’s time to start building! Here’s what you do:

  1. Place a slice of meat down
  2. Add some mayo or mustard (or other spread)
  3. Add cheese on top
  4. Sprinkle with veggies (easier to slice up or shred)
  5. Roll up and eat!

Serve with some fruit on the side and enjoy.

Quesadillas 10 Ways

Quesadillas are super easy. The most work spent on them is the time prepping what goes into them. And that can be done in as little as 5 minutes. You just have to know what you want in them! Here are a few suggestions for what to put in your quesadilla:

Now it’s time to make your quesadilla!

  1. Heat up pan and butter one side of tortilla. 
  2. Put tortilla in heated pan, butter side down
  3. Sprinkle with cheese and other ingredients
  4. Fold over into a half moon and cook until golden brown
  5. Flip, cook other side, and serve!

I love serving my quesadillas with some left over rice and some ripe avocado and salsa. The kids love theirs with apple slices and tortilla chips.

Pizza Perfection

What kid doesn’t love pizza? In our home pizza comes in all shapes and sizes. Don’t have pizza dough? That’s ok! Grab one of the following to get started:

1. Base
Tortilla
Whole Wheat Pita
English Muffin

Then move on to the sauces. I love just grabbing whatever jarred pasta sauce we have in the pantry:

2. Sauce
Pesto
Marinara
Meat sauce
Alfredo sauce

And for the fun part!

3. Toppings! Toppings can range anywhere from veggies to meats to cheeses. And variety is key. When you give your kids a few options you’ll be surprised to find what they choose for their pizzas.

Simply go in this order: Base, Sauce, Toppings when creating your pizza pie masterpieces.

Then just use the oven (or a toaster oven) and cook at 400 degrees for a few minutes or until cheese is bubbly and slightly golden brown! Looking for a great pizza dough recipe? Check out this one here.

Salad Bar

Just because your two year old hates lettuce, don’t rule out the power of an awesome salad bar! And as always, get the kids involved. Ask your kids to pick 5 fun toppings to add to their salad. I suggest having fruit, veggies, nuts, and some sort of crunch for them to choose from.

Then give them a few lettuce options. Spinach is a favorite in our house with romaine coming in close second. But they also love the crunch of cabbage and the pretty shapes and colors in micro greens.

Here are a few great ideas for Salad Bar fixings:

Once the kids have chosen their 5 topping choices I give them dressing choices as well. From oil and vinegar to ranch dressing and everything in between, giving them 2-3 options makes our salad bar a success.

What’s your favorite lunch time fast fix?

Food, Nutrition, and Health Tips for Kids

Food Nutrition and Health Tips for Kids - great snack and meal ideas

One of the biggest problems I have when it comes to my toddler and eating is that he doesn’t eat meals like I do. He would much rather snack all day then have large meals.

So in order to get him to eat during the day I let him have small snacks every two to three hours versus a set breakfast, lunch and dinner. And because it’s so easy to grab a pre-packaged snack from the cupboard I needed to find some simple, quick, healthy snack ideas to keep him fueled throughout the day. [Read more…]



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