You may have heard that the definition of casserole is "all the things your children like in one dish and won't eat." I don't know who said that, but it's brilliant. I wish it weren't so true, though, since casseroles are easy to make, to bake, and to freeze. They're everything busy mom's look for in a meal. I've got good news, though. I've stumbled on three other options that my kids will actually eat: the soup, the salad, and the quesadilla.
My mom used to make leftover soup, and to this day it's one of my favorite comfort foods. I made it one night with little hope that the kids would eat it. They've become quite picky in their food choices. I was looking forward to this childhood favorite though. And, lo and behold, they enjoyed their soup and asked for more! After that I discovered they'll eat things that they normally like even after I put them in broth. Occasionally I puree a little something to add extra umph, like sweet potatoes or butternut squash, and as long as they never see it, they don't notice.
When we were first married, Scott had a mental block to meat on salad. To him salad was a side dish and even if there was an entire chicken breast on the salad he scoured the cupboards after dinner for something to fill him up. He's now logged enough hours at the table to realize he's really not hungry after a meal of Chicken Cesear Salad. Our kids have the opposite problem. If I put steak next to the salad they taste it, make yucky faces, and spit it out. If I chunk up that same meat and put it on top of the lettuce with sugar snap peas, carrots and dressing they gobble it up. Gracie enjoys a little cucumber on hers from time to time as well.
Lastly, the quesadilla has become a dumping ground for meats and veggies of all sorts. We've tried pepperoni, chicken, sausage, ham, turkey, broccoli, corn, mushrooms, and spinach. Don't overfill them...if the insides fall out and the kids can tell they're eating something green you might be done for. Also, I suggest adding cheese (it helps hold everything in, and it's yummy) and having the appropriate dipping sauce. My children enjoy ranch, blue cheese, spaghetti or pizza sauce, and guacamole.
Hopefully you too can find comfort in leftover soup or some other throw-it-all-in meal if your kids are like mine and can't even be bribed to eat a casserole.