The closest thing to sushi you’ve gotten in the last year is fish fingers rolled up in bread and dipped in ketchup. Will your kid eat anything that isn’t pizza, chicken tenders or requires a smiley-face decoration and a song and dance?
Because you really miss adult food of the fancy kind. You vaguely remember it — sitting down in an unstained T-shirt in a place that’s not your house and savoring the brown butter sauce. If a recipe contains more than three words with many nouns, adjectives and prepositions, you can bet your kid will probably turn their nose up at it. However, here are five fancy foods your kids will probably eat.
Choose a flaky white fish like cod to make these tasty fish cakes with a sweet chili dipping sauce. Your kid gets to use their fingers for these fancy fish bites and discover a whole new layer to the word “sweet.” Panko bread crumbs, onion and ginger make the recipe more crunchy than slimy, so it’s a perfect way to introduce your kid to real fish.
Start with a bite-sized shape and move up to the fork-and-knife stage. Serve these for a cocktail party at home, and you get fancy and kid-friendly.
Miss chicken pot pie? Your kid looks at it like you’ve done a despicable thing because pie’s supposed to be sweet.
Send them for another brain loop that will pique their curiosity enough to try something new. Your kids can make these chicken pot popovers, too. The littlest ones can mix the batter and shred the chicken. You use a muffin tin for the ready-made batter of vanilla, baking powder, eggs, milk and flour. Cook the broth with flour on the stove, adding in spices, vegetables and chicken.
The recipe calls for peas and carrots, but ask your child to help pick out which colorful vegetables to add. Spread the creamy chicken on top of the popovers and destroy it.
This fancy lobster mac-and-cheese is easy as you please, and its creaminess welcomes both child and adult to enjoy it in a familiar cheesy form. Boil water for the pasta, and saute the lobster until it’s translucent. Cook onion and garlic until translucent, adding broth and later heavy cream and cheddar cheese.
Mix the three and include a drizzle of truffle oil and chives. Leave adding the last “green stuff” up to your child.
Has your child graduated to broccoli and cheese? If so, they’re ready to move on up to broccoli cheese emerald nuggets. Notice the fancy and familiar phrasings? Expect eyebrow shenanigans, but your kid will eventually cave.
You can use frozen or fresh broccoli, but fresh is likely to enhance the meaty, earthy flavors of the Thai basil herb and the chipotle panko crumbs that coat the broccoli. Pick your favorite cheese to customize the recipe. Sneak the nuggets into a bowl with cherry tomatoes and other grudgingly acceptable healthy noms for fancy flair.
Put food on a stick, and it’s both fun and fancy. Can’t argue with that logic! Plus, the recipe has a fun name — zigzag chicken skewers. Don’t forget to soak the skewers to prevent burning of the wood.
Slice chicken lengthwise, then cut each piece into strips. Add a piece to a skewer, and then add a slice of red pepper, halloumi or feta cheese and a sage or oregano leaf. Wrap chicken on top of the leaf to make a zigzag pattern and continue the order.
These five recipes may make your kid’s eyebrow twitch at the fanciness, but the twists of familiarity and curiosity will quickly overcome their skepticism. Meanwhile, you get your fancy food and a potentially less picky eater. Dare you invite other adults over?