Kicking off the week with Halloween is sure to make the rest of it a little rougher around the edges – the kids will likely be overtired and hopped up on mini Snickers, so I planned meals that are nutrient-dense yet simple to pull together. Monster nachos for the Big Night, then black bean pizza, ziti with zucchini and sausage and quinoa salad to act as ballast for the inevitable junk. Don’t give in to the pizza guy! I’m always happy to have fed everyone from scratch.
On Halloween night, it’s tough to contain the kids’ excitement and get them to sit down at the table for a proper meal. Instead, try setting out a platter of monster nachos and let them nibble as they finish up pumpkin carvings and put finishing touches on their costumes. It’s culinary genius from the brilliant and not at all spooky Brooke of Cheeky Kitchen!
Photo credit: Brooke of Cheeky Kitchen
Black beans are loaded with fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals – perfect for the day after Halloween, and easy to get your kids to eat when they’re on top of a pizza. Made with spinach, tomatoes, cheddar and Monterey Jack, you can adjust toppings to suit your taste.
Photo credit: SaskPulse.com
Summer ran late this year, and zucchini is still abundant in our produce markets. This is a great way to use it – with chicken sausage and chunky pasta – rotini or penne would work as well as ziti. The boys love chunky pasta they can stab with a fork, and this comes together quickly.
Photo credit: Jaime of Sophistimom
This chunky quinoa salad practically jumped off my computer screen straight to the top of my must-make list, and is now in heavy rotation at our house. A large, shallow bowl is enough to make a meal – and a meatless one, if you try to go meatless on a regular basis – but also makes a great side if you want to roast a chicken or piece of fish. It’s all you’ll need.
Photo credit: Jan of Family Bites
Make your own panini night is a fun switch from the usual pizza – put together a do-it-yourself sandwich bar with a panini press on the end, and let the family build and grill their own. It’s a great fridge cleaner – leftover roast chicken, ham, salami, cheese ends and veggies are delicious in panini, as is pesto and roasted red peppers if you have some in the door of your fridge. If you don’t have a panini press, cook your cheesy sandwiches on the stovetop in a skillet, grilled-cheese-style. The difference between a grilled cheese sandwich and a panini is the pressure from the top – to simulate this on the stovetop, weigh your sandwich down with another skillet set on top.