The Strategy: As tough as it sounds, Marie needs to stop cooking separate meals and gently coax her husband and kids to expand their range. Incorporating some of their favorite things—like noodles—is a start. A nice presentation also helps: "My children love food that is colorful and attractively arranged. I think it actually entices them to eat more," Marie says. A one-dish supper like sautéed chicken with cherry tomatoes over spinach angel hair pasta is extremely bright, incorporates vegetables, and involves only a short amount of cooking time, much of it unattended. Barbecued chicken breasts and chopped leeks over noodles made crispy in the broiler is an alternative. And by experimenting with different types of noodles—tomato linguine, soba (Japanese buckwheat), rice sticks—Marie can expose the kids to new tastes. Pizza can stay on the menu as long as it's homemade; using time-saving premade dough from the supermarket, the kids can help assemble pies with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and toppings like grilled peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, and shredded carrots. "My husband eats too much red meat," says Marie, calling the chicken in the dishes below a "healthier choice." "And the children love pasta—the noodle dishes are the icing on the cake."
Sautéed Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes over Spinach Pasta
Crispy Noodle Cake with Barbecued Chicken