Like any parent I am concerned that my child eat healthy well balanced meals. However, I have a 3 1/2 year old with definite opinions about what to eat and what might possibly KILL him if he even takes the tiniest bite. Sigh. Dinner time can be somewhat challenging day in and day out.
One thing that usually works in our house though is risotto. I always have a big glass jar of risotto in the pantry. It is an easy go to and generally a crowd pleaser for both kids and adults. It is so easy to make and so variable that we eat a lot of risotto around here. It can easily be vegetarian, a savory side, a main or even dessert.
Tonight I made Wyatt plain risotto and I had some leftover meatballs that I cooked in chicken broth with about 1 TBS tomato paste and I threw some carrots in there and voila! Dinner.
Usually when I am making risotto for Wyatt I just use broth (chicken, beef, vegetable or whatever you have on hand), onions, butter, olive oil, a little salt and that’s it. Then i cook veggies and or meat and serve it on the side. He doesn’t like his food to “touch” the other food. The veggies usually consist of carrots and peas and meatballs is always a popular side.
Tonight his dinner took me all of 20 minutes and when he was eating he actually said “mom, you made me a good dinner tonight.” I kid you not. This from a kid who would happily consume an ice cream sunday followed by S’mores for every meal!
P.S. The next day you can make risotto balls-just form the risotto into balls and stuff with 1 small square mozzarella cheese and some ham and fry in olive oil. Or flatten balls and makes pancakes.
Risotto for kids:
2 cups dry risotto
About 6 cups liquid (broth or water)
1 sweet onion, diced
Salt and Pepper
Heat broth to boiling and then turn down to simmer. In another deep pot add olive oil and heat up (about 2 tbs) then add diced onions and saute until translucent. Add risotto and stir until olive oil is absorbed. (At this point if I am making for adults I will add 1 cup of dry white wine)
Add 1-2 ladles full of liquid and stir. When liquid is absorbed add more liquid. Continue to do this for about 20 minutes until rice is plump and tender. Add 1-2 tsps of salt and about 1 cup grated fresh parm. Add 1 Tbs butter and turn off heat and cover. Let sit about 5 mins and then serve.
This is really kid friendly risotto. If your kids are more ambitious add veggies directly to the risotto. There is really no end to the variations you can try.