Does it feel like you have been in an endless cycle of cooking since quarantine started? Are you struggling to come up with tasty dishes that your children will actually eat and enjoy? Toledo Parent consulted the experts and rounded up some delicious, healthy and quick meals that the whole family can enjoy!

Pad Thai

Contributed by Sarah Womack of Old Orchard, mother of Raegar and Rowan, who are developing their palate for world cuisine.


For the sauce:

  • ⅓ cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce (sub: more soy sauce or omit)
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp natural style peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (sub: white vinegar or more lime juice)
  • 1 tsp chili sauce (omit if spice is not tolerated)
  • 1 tsp minced or grated fresh ginger, or ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

For the pad thai:

  • 4 oz. rice noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 chicken breast cubed (optional)
  • ½ lb shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut in half (optional)
  • ½ cup bean sprouts

For the garnish:

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chopped peanuts
  • Lime wedges
  • Sriracha, or thai chili sauce


  1. Whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside
  2. Cook noodles according to package direction. Rine and set aside in a colander
  3. Preheat a skillet over medium heat and add oil. Add chicken breast, if using, and cook until brown and almost cooked through
  4. Push the chicken to one side, pour in the egg, and scramble using a spatula
  5. Add the shrimp, if using, and cook for another minute
  6. Add the noodles to the skillet and pour the sauce over the noodles
  7. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring until the sauce starts to thicken
  8. Add the bean sprouts and remove from heat
  9. Top with desired toppings and serve

Cacio e Pepe

Contributed by Elicia Eddy of Lambersville, mother of 4 and amateur chef extraordinaire!


  • Kosher salt
  • I Tbsp chicken bouillon
  • 6 oz pasta (I prefer bucatini)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • Optional: lemon juice, or white wine
  • ½ – 1 cup grated parmesan
  • ½ – 1 cup grated pecorino romano


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil with the chicken bouillon
  2. Add pasta and cook according to packet directions until al dente. Drain and reserve a cup of the pasta water
  3. In a separate large skillet, saute the garlic in EVOO and add the cracked pepper
  4. Add the cooked pasta and the pasta water to the pan
  5. Reduce the heat and add the parmesan
  6. Add a bit of salt and a squeeze of lemon or splash of white wine, if using
  7. Take the pan off the heat and add the pecorino romano, stirring and tossing until the cheese melts and the sauce coats the pasta
  8. If the sauce seems a bit dry, add another splash of pasta water
    Voila! The best and easiest meal you’ve ever eaten

*Serve with grilled chicken or shrimp

Lemon Couscous with Sweet Potato and Kale

Contributed by Amanda Vail Lute, mother of Rory, Oliver and Theo, TPS teacher and meal swap star of Old Orchard.

Amanda Vsil Lute & Oliver


  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1 large bunch kale, torn or chopped
  • 2 cups uncooked Israeli couscous
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (plus extra for steaming kale, if desired)
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 ½ Tbsp lemon juice, plus zest
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley


  1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees
  2. Spread the diced potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, and bake for about 15 minutes (or until tender and starting to brown)
  3. Saute the kale in a pan with water or vegetable broth until tender
  4. Heat a large pot over medium heat, and add 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  5. Once heated, add the couscous and toast for about 5 minutes, stirring often
  6. Add 2 cups vegetable broth to the couscous, reduce heat to low, and cover
  7. Let it simmer for 8-10 minutes without lifting the lid! Then stir and make sure the liquid is gone and the balls aren’t clumping
  8. Add the spices, kale and potatoes into the couscous and mix
  9. Flavor with salt & pepper, and serve!

Baking Powder Biscuits

Contributed by DIY queen Aubry Hall, mother of 2, and Imagination Station bigwig.

Aubry Hall


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cream of tartar
  3. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs
  4. Make a well in the center of the mixture, pour in the milk, and stir with a fork just until moistened
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by folding and pressing until the dough comes together
  6. Pat into ¾ in rectangular slab and cut out biscuits with round cutter
  7. Place on an ungreased baking sheet 1-in apart
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes
  9. Enjoy with jam, gravy or any way you like!

Tomato Dal (Lentil with tomatoes)

Contributed by Dina Sobhan, mother of 2 picky eaters. This recipe is an everyday Bengali staple, found in every household in the country.


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne powder
  • 2 Tbsp chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
  • 2 green chilies, pared
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 Tbsp sliced onion
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt


  1. Wash lentils in running water until water runs clear
  2. Simmer lentils, turmeric, cayenne and salt in 4 cups of water for 40 minutes
  3. Skim any foam that floats on the surface with a slotted spoon
  4. Add tomatoes and cook until softened
  5. Add coriander leaves and green chilies and bring to a boil
  6. Remove from heat
  7. In a separate skillet, heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until golden brown Pour into the lentils and stir
  8. Serve with rice and/or naan bread

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