One dish CAN please both picky kids and gourmet grown-ups. These recipes can be tweaked for each. By Monica Bhide
One Dish, Two Ways
It's the classic family dinner dilemma: Finding a dish your kids will eat and you can enjoy, too. Don't dumb down your dinner or cook separate meals. Just pick recipes that can adapt easily for both picky eaters and sophisticated palates. Use each of these nutritious recipes as a starting point, then add a playful twist for a kid-friendly meal and an upscale adaptation for a gourmet dinner you'll love.
1. Grilled Teriyaki Shrimp Kebabs
Top-rated by readers, these simple kebabs are sure to please kids. (Who doesn't love a meal-on-a-stick?) If you don't want to fire up the grill, sauté the shrimp and veggies in pan, or try a grill pan.
For Kids: Sweeten the marinade by adding orange juice. Boost the veggie quotient by adding bell peppers, broccoli, or onions to your skewers. Serve it to kids on a bed of brown rice for a wholesome meal.
For Adults: Include scallops on the skewers. To add depth and flavor to the marinade, add grated ginger and minced garlic, Dijon mustard, and red pepper sauce to the marinade. Serve it on top of brown rice or lemon orzo.
2. Lemony Green Beans
This wonderfully adaptable recipe will become a go-to side dish that works alongside fish, chicken, poultry, and many other main dishes.
For Kids: Skip the lemon juice and sweeten the dish with a touch of honey or maple syrup. Serve on top of steamed white or brown rice along with a piece of grilled chicken for a complete meal.
For Adults: Try a spicy variation to the dish: add crushed red pepper, cumin, and slivered unsweetened coconut to the hot oil. Sauté for a minute or two, then add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve garnished with a mixture of mint and cilantro leaves. Complete the meal with brown rice and grilled chicken.
3. Crab Cakes
Crab cakes are equal parts yummy and elegant. The key to making sure that these fragile crab cakes don't fall apart during the cooking process is to refrigerate the uncooked patties for a few hours before pan-frying them.
For Kids: This dish is very mild, and kids will enjoy these cakes burger-style, tucked in between buns with a touch of mayonnaise and ketchup.
For Adults: Serve the crab cakes over a bed of seasonal greens and top them with a red pepper mayonnaise: Diced red pepper, a touch of garlic, cayenne pepper, and mayonnaise mixed well.
4. Strawberry Agua Fresca
This refreshing frozen drink is best with summer-sweet berries, but can be made year-round with other readily available fruit.
For Kids: Use berries of their choice. For a fun presentation, let them help you freeze individual berries with some water in ice-cube trays to create whimsical ice-cubes that add playfulness to this drink. Sweeten with honey instead of sugar, if you prefer.
For Adults: Make this drink a frozen cocktail with the addition of silver tequila and a touch of Triple Sec.