by Laura Onstot | Laura Onstot, registered nurse and mom of 2 young kids, rarely pees alone, only frequents restaurants with Kraft Mac N Cheese, and blogs at Nomad’s Land. In her spare time, she can be found sleeping on the couch while she lets her kids watch endless episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Her parenting advice is questionable, but at least she’s honest.
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Are you one of those Type A parents who pre-plans fun holiday meals for your kids? Or maybe, you are a Type B parent who is looking at this at 3 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, trying to figure out how to make a cute green meal that your kids will actually eat.
Look no further. I’ve compiled some kid-tested and approved green recipes that don’t involve spinach or Brussel sprouts, though that did sound festive to me.
Before we begin, let’s acknowledge that green food coloring plays an important role in St. Patrick’s Day. Without it, there would be no green beer- a true travesty. BUT, if you are wary of using regular food coloring for concerns of health or otherwise, there are some great natural food coloring products that you can use to attain the same adorable green results.
Product link for McCormick Nature’s Inspiration Food Colors:Natural Food Coloring
#1 Green Milk in a Sprinkle Rimmed Glass
Who says milk needs to be boring? A sprinkle rimmed glass makes everything more fun and is super easy to make. Win-win!
Green Food coloring
Green Frosting (or white frosting with green food coloring mixed in)
Step 1: Prep two plates: one topped with green frosting, and the other with sprinkles.
Step 2: Find the cups you will be using, and dip the rim of each cup into the frosting.
Step 3: Then, immediately dip it into the plate with sprinkles.
Step 4: Pour milk into the cups, careful to avoid hitting the rim. Add a couple of drops of food coloring to the milk and stir it in with a St. Patrick’s Day themed straw.
Product Link for Sprinkles:Sprinkles
Product Link for Straws:Straws
#2 Shamrock Ham & Pickle Rolls
Let’s get the party started with Ham ‘n Pickle rolls!
There are two versions of this recipe: one for the type-A parents and the other for the type B parents, who ain’t got time to dye their ham.
Ham deli meat, 8 slices
Cream Cheese, 8 oz, softened.
Baby Dill Pickles, 16 fl oz Jar
Celery stick cut into thin strips
Green Food coloring
- If you are feeling festive, you can brush green food coloring onto your ham before starting. Be warned that anyone who touches the ham will get green fingers, and from what I’ve researched, no one has developed washable food coloring yet.
- Add a couple of drops of green food coloring to softened cream cheese & mix to combine.
- Spread the cream cheese onto the ham.
- Drain your pickles and dry them off before placing them onto the ham & cream cheese.
- Roll up & slice.
To make a shamrock-shaped grouping of pickle rolls, shape each roll into a heart shape by pinching the bottom and pressing a divet into the top. Group 3 rolls together and place a celery stick stem in the bottom.
Try not to eat 50 in one sitting. If you do make this mistake, as I have in the past, make sure you are near water.
#3 Rainbow Fruit Plate
with Fluffy Cloud Fruit Dip
Different colored fruits
I used: Strawberries, kiwi, orange, plum
Other ideas: pineapple, bananas, blueberries, raspberries, watermelon… the sky’s the limit!
Cream Cheese, 8oz, softened
Marshmallow Crème, 7oz
Sprinkles Product Link:Rainbow Sprinkles
Step 1: Arrange the fruit on a platter in the shape of a rainbow
Step 2: Make the Dip! Beat together the cream cheese & marshmallow fluff until smooth. Create a mound of dip on either side of the rainbow. Add sprinkles!
Short on time? Buy pre-cut fruit. You can also buy pre-made fruit dip, which can usually be found in the produce section of the grocery store.
Get the kids involved: Cut the fruit in small, bite-sized pieces, set out the fruit options, and let each kid make their own rainbow!
#4 Green Pasta for Picky Eaters
This recipe starts as a pesto & includes ideas all the way down to plain green noodles for the pickiest of eaters. (See below recipe)
2 cups Basil
1-3 cloves Garlic, depending on how much you love it
A squeeze of Lemon juice
¼ c Almonds or Pine Nuts
½ c Grated Parmesan cheese + Extra to top pasta with
½ c Olive Oil
½ teaspoon Salt
10-12 oz Pasta of your choice
*Save about a cup of the water that the pasta cooks in
Put the basil, garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil in your food processor. Blend until smooth.
Cook the noodles according to the directions on the box. Once noodles are cooked, save about a cup of the water they cooked in, and then drain them. Put the pasta in a large bowl, add the pesto, and toss to coat, adding the hot water as necessary to help coat the noodles in pesto.
Recipe Variations for Picky Eaters
Now, look. Some kids are boring and have horrible taste. If that is the case, don’t trouble yourself with making this pesto, and instead, buy a jar of Alfredo sauce and a bag of frozen broccoli. Lightly steam the broccoli, and blend the steamed broccoli and Alfredo sauce.
If your kid hates broccoli, mix green food coloring into Alfredo sauce & coat your noodles with it. If your child doesn’t like Alfredo sauce, you could add a ton of green food coloring to the water while you boil the pasta, giving you green noodles, or you could buy green spinach pasta. If your child likes none of these ideas, just give up and trade them in for a new kid.
Product Link for Green Pasta:Green Pasta
#5 Leprechaun Cake Pops
1 box of white or yellow cake mix, prepared per the directions on the box, adding green food coloring to the batter before baking. (I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme White Cake Mix)
1 tub of white frosting (any flavor is fine, as long as it is white)
Green food coloring
Treat Sticks Link:Treat Sticks
Step 1: Make the cake batter by following the directions on the box, adding green food coloring until the cake achieves the perfect shade of green. Bake the cake according to the instructions on the box.
Step 2: Once baked and at room temperature, crumble the cake into small pieces in a large bowl.
Step 3: Mix green food coloring into the frosting.
Step 4: Add a large spoonful of frosting to the crumbled cake, mixing until it has the consistency of playdough- adding more frosting if necessary. I use my hands for this, but you could also use a potato masher. Or, if you are brave, let your kids do it.
Step 5: Form the cake dough into tablespoon-sized balls.
Step 6: Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler, or place it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave the chocolate in thirty-second increments, stopping to mix the chocolate after each 30-second increment until it is smooth.
Step 7: Dip one end of your candy sticks into the white chocolate, and then push it into the center of the cake ball. Once you have a stick in each cake ball, put them in the fridge to harden. This step will help prevent your cake pops from sliding down the stick.
Step 8: Once the cake pops are ready for dunking, you may need to re-heat your white chocolate- be careful not to burn it!
Step 9: Dunk your cake pops in the melted white chocolate, or drizzle white chocolate over them until they are covered.
Step 10: Add green and gold sprinkles.
Step 11: To avoid flat tops when the chocolate dries, push the sticks into a Styrofoam block, a colander, or a cardboard box with holes pre-poked into it.
Step 12: When the chocolate is dry, your leprechaun cake pops are ready for eating!
Just remember that consumption of food coloring can turn poop into weird colors, so prepare yourself for a panicked call to the bathroom & enjoy the view.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, y’all!