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Deconstructed dinners

At that moment where day meets night, when the family gathers peacefully around the dinner table to share stories and enjoy every delicious forkful, I smile and feel content in the knowledge that my family loves and appreciates what I've prepared. Pfft! Yeah, RIGHT! More often than not my kiddos get uneasy when I bring dinner to the table, resorting to "I don't want it" or "Do I have to eat that?" to drive the rejection home. Yeah. So much for feeling valued. But I know I'm not alone. The reality is a lot of parents end up making separate meals because they just don't want to argue, they're tired of being rejected, or they don't have French kids who eat everything (le precious). Trust me, even that mom who brags that her kids "looove sushi" it turns out it's ALL they'll eat. We all have our challenges with getting the kids to eat what we make but we Keep. On. Trying. Part of what I like best about writing this blog is being able to connect with other home cooks as a sort of mutual high five, like, "Hey, I appreciate and acknowledge how much effort you put in." Seriously, because I know you do. You're rockin' it on a regular basis.

To reduce the nightly rejection in my house to maybe every other night, I've been resorting to deconstructed dinners. I make a simple dinner for me and Mr. Feedbag, then I divide up the meal into its individual, familiar ingredients for the kids, such as this pizza pasta. Here's how it works:

Spaghetti in tomato sauce tossed with chopped pepperoni, fresh basil and topped with grated mozzarella.

Bowls of plain spaghetti. On the side: fresh tomatoes, slices of pepperoni and grated mozzarella.

With deconstructed dinners the kids start to accept that we're all eating the same things, and I save a little bit of my sanity comforted by the fact that we're all eating the same darn things. It's not perfect, but it's close enough for me.

What are your biggest challenges in feeding your kids? Got any deconstructed dinner ideas? Share 'em!