If January felt like the month that would never end, February certainly seems like the month that flies by – and it helps that it’s only 28 days! In Saskatchewan we’ve been in the midst of a deep freeze for most of the winter, and that means that comfort food is always a great idea! Unfortunately, while the pretty pictures and amazing stories on social media make me a hungry mom, they don’t help much in the way of actually organizing those meals to happen from purchase to table. Often times, I’m figuring out dinner a few hours before, and feel like I’m the only one adding recipes to a folder in my computer rather than sitting down to them with the family. Then the mom guilt kicks in.
It turns out I’m not alone. A recent poll conducted by Catelli uncovered about half of Canadian parents feel at least one pressure when it comes to ensuring they’re feeding their family good, healthy meals. Parents are most concerned with pressure from their own family or friends (30%) or the media (28%), and that of course includes social media. It’s hard not to feel pressure or that mom-guilt when your social media feed is full of delicious meals and smiling kids.
Catelli wants to remove the guilt associated with family dinnertime by exploring the modern Canadian dinner table. They say it’s time to unload the guilt parents feel, mainly that parents don’t know what they’re doing, they’re not doing it right or as a parent, they’re just not doing enough in general. It’s time to accept that life isn’t perfect. It’s real, it’s raw and it isn’t always pretty. This year, I’m part of the Catelli Families Network and we’re going to get real about parenting because…Real Feels Good!
One of the mealtime challenges we have in our household with three kids is finding new recipes that the kids will try and hopefully love. While it’s important to introduce new tastes and textures early in childhood, my kids are 13, 6 and 10 and they’ve “been there, done that.” They have their preferences and favorites already! Now, it’s a matter of figuring out new recipes they will eat, instead of having the same three meals on repeat throughout the week.
I think it’s important to ask the kids for input on our weekly meal planning, but what typically happens is that they keep suggesting their favourites over and over. A strategy (yes, mealtime has a strategy in many households) we use is to look at those favourites the kids already love and then build new recipes utilizing those tastes and textures to hopefully open their palate and minds to new ideas. This way, the kids feel some control over their meal time choices and parents know that the recipes they’re bringing forward will have flavours the kids are already familiar with and ones they love.
So, why not build on recipes my kids already love – in this case chicken parmigiana – while introducing a new recipe and meal – chicken parmesan soup! Then, here’s the mom-badge part; by adding in Catelli Smart Veggie Penne, I’m also including the goodness of carrots and cauliflower, giving them half a serving of vegetables plus 32% of their daily recommended fiber intake and per 85g serving! That same survey I mentioned earlier found that 26% of parents feel guilty that they don’t know how or what to prepare as a healthy meal for their children. Enough with the guilt – let’s just get cooking!
- 2 chicken breasts
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 tbsp Italian dry seasoning
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 cups diced tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup Catelli Smart Veggie Penne
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Place 2 chicken breasts in a baking dish, drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil and then sprinkle each with Italian seasoning. Turn to coat.
- Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and slice chicken into bite sized pieces (some may even shred at this point, that’s okay too)
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot. Add onions and garlic and sauté for about 5-6 minutes, until soft.
- Stir in tomato paste and red pepper flakes.
- Pour diced tomatoes and chicken broth into the pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add chicken and Catelli Smart Veggie Penne to the soup pot and allow to simmer for 10 minutes for al dente pasta.
- When ready to serve, mix the mozzarella and parmesan cheese into the pot (if you do it too early, it will melt and start to collect at the bottom).
- Garnish with parsley and serve!
Chicken Parmigiana is a favorite of my kids so I knew that they’d like this soup based on the flavors involved. This recipe allows us to have a meal I know my kids will love, in a comforting, warm bowl of soup, with minimal effort. It also makes me feel good as a mom because I know I’m not only giving them a meal with protein (chicken) but also fiber and a half serving of veggies (Catelli Smart Veggies Pasta), not to mention all the goodness from the cheese (mmmm, cheese!)
Mealtime shouldn’t be a time for guilt for parents. Food is for nourishment and meal times are a time to come together as a family and reflect on our day. I hope this quick recipe helps you sometime soon when trying to determine what to make for dinner! I also hope the idea of building on foods your kids already love to create a variation of that in a new recipe gives you some, ahem, food for thought!
What about you, what meal time strategies do you use to introduce the kids to different foods? Share in the comments below! You can learn more about the Catelli Real Feels Good movement at the link!
Disclosure: This is a post written in partnership with Catelli as part of the Catelli Family Network. All opinions are, as always, my own.