You know how they say there are five stages of grief? Well, I cycle through Five Stages of Feeding a Toddler almost every day. First, there’s the Overenthusiastic Flourish stage, during which I present plates of food with exclamations like, “WOW, DOESN’T THAT LOOK YUMMY!” and “AREN’T YOU EXCITED TO TRY SOME OF THIS!” This stage is followed by the Suspicious Examination stage, whereby one or both of my children sniff, poke and prod said plate of food. It’s not long before we’re solidly in the third stage, Pronounced Refusal, which can involve anything from emphatic headshaking to regurgitation (sometimes Gravy Too will go as far as putting the food in her mouth and then letting it all tumble out like a masticated waterfall) to bloodcurdling screams, depending on whether or not the child in question had a nap earlier in the day (which has 5 stages of its own, I’ve found). After that, I enter the Edible Advocacy stage, using all of the tricks I know and that parents have probably used since the dawn of time, such as Pretend Fork/Airplane Strategic Missile Launches or Progressively Extreme Bribes. The fifth and final stage, of course, is Tears. On both sides.
Of course, like any grief, my battle is relative. I am well aware that the hubby and I won the lottery when it comes to having generally open-minded eaters, and we also actively try to promote good, healthful eating in our family. That being said, I still find it easier if I cook foods within a spectrum of what I know the kids really love to eat. I’m constantly testing and tweaking recipes I find to make them more kid-friendly.
Enter our most recent hot item: teriyaki salmon soba soup. I’ve been making Skinny Taste’s Honey Teriyaki Salmon for well over a year, pairing it with rice and any other sauteed vegetables I have on hand. However, whether the kids would eat those vegetables tended to vary wildly. After months of trying, I finally made this teriyaki salmon soba soup.
Behold he empty bowl and the Gravy Baby’s half-closed eyes of total dinner bliss. Mom: 1, Kids: 274
The kids devoured every last drop. For those without kids, this recipe is a really easy weeknight meal; it takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish, and is a perfect light meal for a cold winter night (and hopefully, we’re done having those for awhile).
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- 3 tablespoons sake
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 steelhead or other wild salmon filet, skin on and cut into four pieces (approximately 1 pound), skin on
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ package buckwheat soba noodles
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or more to taste)
- 2 tablespoons sake or dry white wine
- 1.5 cups fresh or frozen shelled edamame (soybeans)
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced on a diagonal
- 1 green onion, chopped
- In the morning, stir together the ingredients for the salmon marinade in a gallon ziploc bag.
- Add the salmon filets, seal the bag tightly and turn it over a few times to coat the salmon filets well.
- Place in a dish in the refrigerator to marinate (note: this can also be done later -- about 30 minutes is enough time for the fish to marinate and absorb some of the flavors).
- In the evening, combine broth, soy sauce and sake in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add carrots, reduce heat and simmer.
- Prepare noodles according to package directions.
- While the water for the noodles is coming to a boil, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet until it shimmers.
- Remove salmon filets, draining excess marinade off but reserving remaining marinade.
- Place salmon filets in the skillet, skin side up, for 2 minutes.
- Flip salmon filets over and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
- Pour remaining marinade into the skillet and immediately lower heat to a simmer, then cover and cook salmon for another 2-3 minutes (note: the fish will continue to cook when you add the broth, so do not cook the salmon to total doneness while it is in this pan).
- Remove salmon filets and place on a plate to cool slightly.
- Add edamame to broth.
- Drain noodles and divide between bowls.
- Spoon broth and vegetables over noodles, then place salmon filets on top.
- Garnish with green onion. Serve immediately.