There are many considerations when it comes to cooking for your family during a pandemic: How can we afford to feed our family now that we’re all home—all the time? What recipes are most cost effective? How can we eat healthy without using all fresh ingredients? What can we make from ingredients in the pantry? How can we get kids excited about helping in the kitchen?
Meaghan Butler, registered dietitian for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, suggests preparing recipes that can be adjusted to suit family members’ preferences. Children should determine their own portion sizes and should not be obligated to eat anything they don’t enjoy. The most effective ways to influence a child’s eating habits are to lead by example and to make fruits, vegetables and grains readily available for them.
Now she’s sharing a kid-approved recipe that’s cost-effective and healthy too: Black Bean and Zucchini Tacos. The tacos base is extremely versatile and relies largely on shelf-stable foods that are readily available in grocery stores. Plus, it’s a recipe that the whole family can prepare together. Children can help by draining and rinsing the beans and corn, measuring out and mixing the spices and portioning out the toppings. This meal is especially ideal for picky eaters because each family member gets to choose their own toppings.
Black Bean and Zucchini Tacos
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Servings: 6
2 medium zucchini, diced*
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces frozen or canned corn (drained)
15-ounce can black beans, drained
12 small corn tortillas
Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Add all seasoning ingredients to a bowl and mix together. Set aside.
Heat oil on large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté diced onion for 2–3 minutes or until translucent.
Add zucchini. Cook until tender, 5–12 minutes. (If using grated zucchini, cook for 2–3 minutes only.)
Add drained black beans, corn and taco seasoning. Stir over heat until combined and warm.
Meanwhile, heat tortillas individually on a separate skillet, or heat altogether in the microwave or oven.
Remove taco filling from heat and serve over heated tortillas.
Allow family members to add their own favorite toppings.
*If your child is reluctant to eat “green foods” or is skeptical of certain food textures, try grating zucchini or cooking it separately.
Pro tip: You can make the taco base in advance and then refrigerate. Older children can use the base to make black bean quesadillas or burritos for themselves.