When my kids refuse to eat something, I’ve found it’s for one of two reasons. One is because it really, truly tastes horrible and disgusting to them. Then we do things like trying it different ways, or trying it several times over a long period to see if they’ll eat it. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. I myself have tried broccoli hundreds of different ways over the years and I still think it tastes like feet.
But the other reason they won’t eat is because mealtime has turned into a power struggle. When that happens, I’ve found that things like breakfast bars and dinner bowls help tremendously. Set out several things for the kids to pick from and let them build their own dinner. I believe this is what The Experts call “choices with limits.” So kids feel like they get some choice in what they’re eating, but they’re still eating the stuff you’ve set out for them to choose from.
These chicken taco salad bowls are one of my kids’ favorites, and they come together quickly so they’re great for hectic nights when you don’t have long to get dinner on the table.
And the best thing about dinner bowls — just use what you have on-hand for the most part. No tomatoes? Skip ’em. Green onions you need to use up? Toss ’em in there. Don’t overthink it, just raid the veggie drawer, see whatcha got, and offer it up.
Chicken Taco Salad Bowls
- 2 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 Tb olive oil
- taco seasoning
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- romaine lettuce, washed and torn into large pieces (though if you have another kind on-hand, use it!)
- chopped vegetables like green, yellow, or red bell peppers, large tomatoes, cherry or grape tomatoes, green onions, shredded carrots, celery, olives, or cucumbers
- 1/2 c your favorite salsa
- 1/2 c ranch dressing
- tortilla strips (optional — found next to the croutons in the salad aisle)
Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. While oil is heating, cube chicken. Toss chicken in pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper (if you choose…my kids are black-pepper-detecting-ninjas who act like I’m trying to poison them when they find it, so I skip the black pepper), stir and cook for two minutes. Add taco seasoning and continue to stir over medium heat until chicken is cooked through (6-8 more minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
- For the dressing:
Combine 1/2 c of your favorite salsa (we like this one) and 1/2 c ranch dressing and stir until combined.
- To assemble:
Place one or two large pieces of lettuce in the bottom of each bowl. Add chicken. Let each person add the vegetables they wish, and top with ranch-salsa dressing and tortilla strips.