I feel like last week’s “come hell or high water the Bug WILL eat something green” comment may have been misconstrued. Don’t get me wrong. There is a war going on in my kitchen. But it’s an intellectual one.

We are not a family that forcefully coerces veggie eating (either with rewards or shaming). It’s more or less thoughtful and strategic encouragement – – or, as indicated in last week’s Toddle Eats post, flat out hiding the green stuff.

Honestly, I just couldn’t deal with the frustration every night of whipping up some delectable veggie dish only to have the pint sizer chuck it on the floor or clamp her mouth shut and violently shake. Been there. Done that and yes — I’m SURE I have the t-shirt stains to prove it. Frustration serves no one in this situation.

So months ago, Pat and I purposefully decided to stop making ‘eating a rainbow’ such a big deal.

Before you think this post is an excuse to high tail it to the frozen food section of your local grocery store and load up on prepared chicken nuggets and fries, allow me to introduce you to Ellyn Satter, author of How to Get Your Kid to Eat … But Not Too Much. Satter stresses her “Golden Rule” of parenting: parents are responsible for what is presented to eat and the manner in which it is presented. Children are responsible for how much or even whether they eat.

Bottom line? Be mindful of what you offer but STOP stressing. And forget the crazy-difficult animal food sculptures. Cute, but not necessarily effective.

NPR recently quoted Satter in their article To Win Toddler Food Battles, Take A Softer Approach.

“The rule of thumb is the harder you work to try to get food into your child, the less likely your child will eat,” NPR quotes Satter.

So, in celebration of mentally chucking the “clean your plate” strategy we all grew up with, I give you a recipe for quesadillas. And they’re not yo mamma’s cheese and chicken ones.

Like all recipes we post, these are Bug approved.

Carmelized Onion, Apple and Chicken Quesadillas

1 gala (or similarly sweet) apple, thinly sliced
1/2 Vidalia onion, sliced into thin strips
1 cup Shredded cooked chicken (I used left over from a roasted chicken)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tsp brown sugar
Garlic Powder
Celery Salt
Black Pepper
Shredded Colby Jack or Mozzarella Cheese
Flour or Whole Wheat Tortillas
2 tbsp olive oil

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions. When translucent, add brown sugar and carmelize.

When the onions are brown, add mushrooms and season with garlic powder, celery salt and black pepper. Add chicken to heat.

Heat Panini Press grill to medium heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Layer quesadilla: tortilla, sprinkle cheese, apple slices, sprinkle cheese, chicken/onion mixture, sprinkle cheese, flour tortilla. Close press. Cook until cheese is melted and tortilla has slightly browned.

**Note, it does NOT take a lot of cheese to make this work, but I purposefully did not include a cheese amount because everyone has their own preference. I would say I used about 3/4 cup of finely shredded cheese.

Makes 2 full quesadillas.