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“While Dad’s Away” Meal Makeovers

With the anticipation of my husband traveling even more this year, I am challenging myself to come up with some healthier, easier, well balanced dinners for myself and my kids while he is away.  The goal is to introduce my kids to some new foods AND avoid preparing a new meal that causes my children to turn their noses up.  It certainly won’t be an easy task.  Here are some of our most recent “while dad’s away” dinners that I think could use a makeover:

  • Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, corn and dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets
  • Tuna Noodle Casserole:  Egg Noodles/Tuna Fish/Cream of Chicken Soup/Peas
  • “Twirly Pasta”:  Pasta Roni with broccoli, carrots and peas and dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets on the side
  • Cheese Tortellini with Pasta Sauce, parmesan and a side of mixed veggies
  • Turkey Tacos with Mexican rice

You’ll notice a few patterns in the above… Pasta or rice is always present, the meal often contains cheese or heavy dairy and some of our go-to’s are processed foods.  My goal is to balance this all out.  If anyone has any good recipes, please share.  I love to cook and would love any help I can get in making my goal easier to meet.


  1. Melissa April 26, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Mealtimes can be a challenge and it’s often easier to fix things you know your children will actually eat than branch out and waste time and food. That said, I suggest replacing some of your rice and pasta with some similar but healthier options. Instead of plain rice try wild rice or couscous. My son likes to act “wild” during and after eating wild rice which makes it fun. Instead of plain pasta there are whole wheat alternatives or even some whole grains such as quinoa. They can be livened up a bit with citrus, herbs, or even cheese and are an excellent healthy substitute. Good luck!

  2. Crafty Mom April 30, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Check out I have become a huge fan and have tried tons of her recipes – all healthy and family-friendly. The chicken rollatini, the five spice chicken, the stuffed pepper soup and the parmesan roasted green beans are all faves in my house.

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