Honey chicken and Kent's pasta

Our weekly lunch club has temporarily been moved to Tuesdays, due to the free carousel rides on Mondays at lunchtime this summer. Today's menu included honey chicken, adapted from Annabel Karmel's First Meals cookbook, and fiori pasta with carrots, peas, and cheese sauce.

Kent picked out a shape of pasta at the store last week, and we talked during our shopping trip about what he might like to put in the pasta. He settled on carrots and peas, and I decided to make a mild mozzarella sauce to go with it (flour, butter, milk, and fresh mozzarella).

We were looking through First Meals this morning to get some inspiration, and the recipe for honey chicken caught my eye. I wish there were more pictures in this cookbook, because I think Kent could get more excited about something if he saw what the end result would be, but I know they can make a cookbook for much cheaper if it doesn't have photographs of everything. So I tell him about the recipes, highlighting the ingredients I know he'll like, like honey. I changed her marinade based on what I had, mixing together about a tablespoon each of honey, soy sauce, olive oil, and orange juice. I cut a chicken breast into strips and marinated them for about an hour. Then I put them into a skillet with a bit of oil, cooked them on one side, flipped them over, and had Kent add red pepper strips to the pan. I reserved the marinade and brought it to a boil in another pot (very important, to cook out the raw chicken nastiness), then topped the cooked chicken and peppers with the reduced sauce.

The chicken was amazing. I loved the sweet and sour sauce, and the red peppers were perfect with it. For me, anyway. Kent liked the chicken and sauce, but not the peppers. I wasn't surprised, since he's rejected them in the past, but I consider it a major victory when he even tries something like red peppers. He tried to tell me he was all done after two bites of chicken, but I reminded him of the rule that he needs to try everything, so he reluctantly took a bite of pasta. Seriously, what is up with this pickiness? It's flower pasta. A shape he picked out. He fights so hard about trying anything that isn't completely familiar to him. It drives me crazy sometimes, and it's like a huge mental exercise for me to figure out how to get him to try something without giving him food ultimatums, which I hate (i.e., "if you eat x, you can have y"). I thought a cool shape of pasta, with familiar veggies he likes, would be an easy hit, but it was a tough sell. Anyway, once he tried it, he declared, "I LOVE these flowers!" and he was okay with the carrots and peas, though I could tell he wasn't too excited.

So he ate chicken and pasta, not big news since those are two of the only things he eats regularly, but they had new sauces and vegetables with them, and some of that stuff got in his mouth, too. Baby steps, baby steps.

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This is such a sweet tradition! It's a way for you two to do something special together, and it's also a really creative idea to get him to try new things. I love hearing what he picks out.
You should really try the carrot bread at one of these meals. E was crying all afternoon yesterday from his teeth trying to kill him and the only thing that made him stop was carrot bread.
Also, I want the chicken sauce on some tofu. Maybe for dinner tomorrow...
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