Penne with Sausage, Eggplant and Feta
I go back and forth about whether my 7-year-old son is a picky eater. Sometimes I think he is, but than other times, he surprises me. He is very much like his dad, with his near total disdain for green vegetables. He will eat cucumbers, artichokes and salad. That's it. I don't think I can call him a picky eater the way he inhales artichokes. None of his friends will touch them.
He never had any interest in artichokes until a few months ago. He was watching me peel the leaves off the choke and dip them into a vinaigrette.
"Do you want some?" I asked.
"No, thank you."
"Ok, more for me," I said and went back to peeling and dipping.
Minutes later he said, "I changed my mind. I'll try some."
He tried one. And then another. And then he just took the whole artichoke out of my hands. Ever since then, every time he sees them at the grocery store, he asks for them. I just read an article about raising non-picky eaters and one of the things it mentioned was to keep eating what you enjoy in front of your kids because as they continue to see the food item, and your enjoyment of it, they might come around on their very own. It totally worked on my son with the artichokes, without me even knowing it at the time. Heck, even my 18-month-old daughter eats them now. I love that she knows just which part of the leaf to eat.
Now when it comes to eggplant, we were in unchartered territory. No one in the house is a big fan. I'll eat it if it's there and like it fine, but usually don't go looking for it. I was pretty sure my son wouldn't be interested, so it's just not something I make that often. Until recently.
I happened upon a recipe for Penne with Sausage, Eggplant and Feta in a special Fresh and Easy publication from Cooking Light. Both my kids love penne, sausage and feta, so I knew it would be a homerun. But what about the eggplant? Skip or leave in? Decisions, decisions. I ended up leaving it in; it had been awhile since I had it and thought this might be another opportunity to introduce it to the kids, much easier when there are so many other flavors in the dish that they already like.
And the verdict? They totally ate it. I'm pretty sure it's because they didn't look closely enough to pick it apart from the sausage, but I'll take it. If you haven't tried this recipe yet, do. It comes together really quickly, makes a perfect weeknight meal when dinnertime becomes the witching hour, and hey, it just might get your kids to eat eggplant too.