It’s no secret that I’m a huge proponent of family dinner, something my husband and I have worked hard to make happen almost nightly for close to two decades. However, there’s one night a week that we never eat with our kids and we affectionately refer to it as date night at home.
I’ve written about date night here before, and also covered how to make date night work through the different ages and stages of the kids, but I haven’t really talked about what we feed the kids for dinner on the nights we aren’t dining with them.
I have two rules for what to feed the kids on date night. The first: dinner for the kids needs to be super simple. Who wants to spend all their time cooking a meal they won’t even eat? Plus, if you’re cooking something special for your date night in, you probably don’t want to make two separate meals. The second rule: it needs to be fun for the kids. I always loved the idea of making a meal one night a week that I knew the kids would be super excited about it, and our date night seemed just as good a night as any. So, when you combine simple and fun you really get a great combination to work with. Here are some examples of what I’ve fed my kids on date night:
- Cheese, crackers, veggies and dip, and cold leftover chicken.
- Egg McMuffin sandwich with fresh fruit.
- Crepes and smoothies.
- Breakfast for dinner.
- Popcorn, veggies and dip, apples and almonds, hard-boiled egg.
- Salsa, guacamole, and tortilla chips.
One of the their other favourite date night dinners is what we call kiddie pad thai. It’s super simple to make, reasonably healthy, can introduce new flavours to young eaters in a fun way and obviously looks great on the plate. I always have the ingredients on hand in the fridge/pantry so this dish comes together quickly with little thought or effort.
Tell us, do you do date night at home? What do you feed the kids for dinner on this night?
Recipe serves 2-4.
Good to Know:
- If you choose to make a face on the plate like in the photo above, slice a few rounds of zucchini for the eyes before spiralizng the vegetable. Thinly slice the pepper so you have a strip to use for the mouth. Use two peanut halves for the eyes.
- For an extra protein boost, add an egg to the recipe. Do this in step 5. One the noodles are cooked in the oil for a minute or two, push them to the side of the pan and add an egg. Scramble and stir into the noodles. Then add the sauce as per the recipe’s directions.
- 4 ounces wide, flat rice noodles
- 1 zucchini
- 1 red/yellow/orange pepper
- 3 Tbsp fish sauce
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil, divided
- ½ cup peanuts, chopped
- Optional: ½ cup fresh herbs like cilantro, green onions, and basil, chopped
Prep and Cook
- 1Cook the rice noodles according to package directions. Drain well and set aside.
- 2Spiralize the zucchini and pepper red pepper, or cut into very thin stripes. Set aside.
- 3Combine the fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice and soy sauce in a lidded jar and shake well. Set aside.
- 4Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Add the vegetables and stir fry with tongs for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- 5Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Drain the noodles and add to the hot pan. Using tongs to toss, cook noodles in the oil for a minute or two. Add the sauce and stir fry for another two minutes, or until it thickens and clings to the noodles. As soon as it comes together remove the pan from the heat.
- 6Add in the vegetables, toss together, and remove from heat. Stir in the peanuts (and the herbs, if using) and serve immediately.