A vegetarian-kid-friendly menu for those who hate summertime cooking (anytime)

July 10, 2008

Have I mentioned here before that M. has been a self-proclaimed vegetarian since age 3? He actually has disdained meat all his life, but we threw in the towel when he came home from preschool with the revelation that some of the kids and one of the teachers choose not to eat meat. He even had a word for them: vegetarians. That’s what I am! he proclaimed.

I’m fine with it most of the time, but we tend to grill several times a week in the summer — steaks or chicken or meaty kabobs or hamburgers — and he usually winds up supping on a few pieces of cheese from the pack that we’re using to top the burgers. But last year we came up with a menu that includes him and still manages to please the rest of us. And it keeps me out away from the oven and the stove, which can’t be overrated!

Grilled Cheese

Prepare your favorite bread and filling, then toss the sandwiches on a grill brushed with oil (you do have a silicone basting brush, right??? They’re indispensable for grilling!) to achieve golden-brown deliciousness. They cook fairly quickly on our gas grill, less than five minutes per side, so you’ll probably want to do the corn first.

Microwaved Corn on the Cob

My mom showed me this trick: Shuck the outer couple layers of husk from each ear, leaving the kernels protected by at least one husk on all sides. Cut off the top bit of silk just to the top of the cob; don’t worry about the rest. Put four large or six small ears in the microwave at a time and nuke them four minutes per ear for large or three minutes per ear for small. When the timer beeps they should be slightly soft to the touch. Let them cool briefly (or use your silicone gloves and work while they’re hot for best results) and shuck them the rest of the way; the silk should come off easily too. Salt or butter to taste.

Grilled Peaches

I can attest that this year’s peach crop is on farmstands and ready to go — we bought a peck last week in southern Illinois and enjoyed every drip of juicy goodness.  They’re superb on the grill: Cut each peach in half and grill it cut-side down for a couple of minutes, just until it’s starting to brown. Turn it over and fill the indent from the pit with brown sugar. When it melts, the peach is ready to be served.

Grilled Banana Split

If you’re looking for a more impressive dessert, try this recipe for Grilled Banana Splits from Midwest Living. It calls for fresh pineapple, and that’s important — canned won’t work as well. Buy one of those handy corers from Bed, Bath and Beyond ($9.99) and the kids will clamor over themselves to help you with it.  Grilled pineapple is extremely versatile — try it with whipped cream and shortcake too.

Frozen Red Grapes

Some say these should be a dessert, akin to sorbet, but I like to have them as an appetizer because they cool the kids down but don’t fill their tummies right before supper. About.com has instructions here; it omits the step of dipping them in powdered sugar if you’re serving them as a dessert.

So there you have it — and easy, kid-friendly, vegetarian meal with no stove time!


One Response to “A vegetarian-kid-friendly menu for those who hate summertime cooking (anytime)”

  1. A new resource being use to improve kid’s nutritional status is a new book “The ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond.” Out only a few months and already being bought in quantity for class use. I hope parents and teachers interested in getting kids to develop a friendly attitude towards fruits and vegetables should take a look at it.
    It is designed for kids of all ages as it is two books in one – children first learn their alphabet through produce poems and then go on to hundreds of related activities. Coauthored by best-selling food writer David Goldbeck and Jim Henson writer Steve Charney. More at HealthyHighways.com

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