This recipe for Broccoli Rabe and Chicken Pizza came to me after I sat down a few weeks back to brainstorm ideas for March and my mind filled with endless ideas for St. Patricks Day recipes, too many ideas even. I couldn’t decide which ones to try out or decide which ones you would enjoy most. So I chose a few so now you’ll be seeing more green this week (along with my Healthy Shamrock Shake from last week!).
Today, since we’re focusing on green I thought I would share a little bit about how I get my 3 year old to eat green foods, and how to overcome pickiness. Pickiness in kids eating habits occurs in every house, EVERY house, including ours. Just because you see my instagram feed filled with healthy meals, lots of veggies, fruit, whole grains etc, doesn’t mean my kids loves every meal we bring to the table. So if you have a picky eater in your family, I get it, I’ve been there, and I’m still there in many ways.
Several years ago Josh and I got certified to be foster parents, though it never panned out for us to actually foster any kids (God had a very different plan for us), we still learned a lot during the process. One of the classes I took to get my certification hours was a class on picky eaters. It was fascinating, and even though I was child-less at the time, I knew I would hold onto the info for later use.
Here are some of the ideas that really help with picky eaters:
Keep familiar and favorite foods on rotation. You can add in vegetables here and there to these familiar foods or change them up slightly but it’s good and healthy for kids to have some familiarity with meals. This broccoli pizza is a perfect example of matching familiar (pizza) with a veggie. I can honestly say Everett was skeptical but ended up eating 3 regular sized pieces.
Make sure your kids are seated comfortably. I recently moved my 3 year old back into a booster seat at home because he was getting in and out of his seat too much during dinner time. Now he sits comfortably during the whole meal. Think now only about the seat but also about there feet dangling too much.
Make sure they’re hungry. This is a really important one at our house. If Everett has snacked too much around dinner time then it’s my fault he won’t eat a full meal. If your kids re starving and dinner isn’t ready, try for distraction, save a favorite 15 minute show for them to watch or toy to play with (reserved for these times).
Start with small portions. I actually learned this one from a friend who is currently fostering 3 kids. She said she starts all of the kids with a very small portion so they don’t get overwhelmed with how much they have to eat of a food they aren’t familiar with or don’t like. Then, if they are still hungry they can ask for more.
Have the kids help pick produce and help with the cooking. I’ve found that when Everett is involved in the cooking process weather its picking out one or two veggies at the store, helping press the button on the blender for a smoothie, or helping tear off broccoli stems (like in this recipe) then he’s more likely to enjoy the ‘fruits of his labor.’ I’ll often remind him at dinner, look here’s the broccoli you helps tear apart or this is the squash you picked out at the store. If you have a garden in the summer, this tip is really helpful. I got Everett to eat purple lettuce in salads all summer because he was the one watering it and harvesting it before dinner time.
What are your tips or problems with picky eaters? I’d love to hear.
Without further adeau I give you this month’s line up of seasonal recipes. Try one of these with your family this week and with the tips above I hope that even your pickiest of eaters will like it!
Creamy Vegan Kiwi Lime Avocado Pie by Letty’s Kitchen
Chana Aloo Gobi Masala: Chickpea, Potato, and Cauliflower Curry by Food for My Family
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Chickpeas, Asparagus and Arugula by Floating Kitchen
Spicy Lemon-Ginger Tonic Tea by Suitcase Foodist
Hot Chili Blistered Asparagus with Sriracha Aioli by Kitchen Confidante
Glazed Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake with Candied Lemons by Simple Bites
Frozen Chocolate-Dipped Kiwi with Sea Salt by Project Domestication
Tempura Cauliflower with Spiced Yogurt Dipping Sauce by Completely Delicious
Easy Lemon Thyme Roasted Artichokes by Flavor the Moments
Healthy Shamrock Shake by Joy Food Sunshine
Curry Roasted Cauliflower by Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Lemon Chimichurri by She Likes Food
Thai Curry Cauliflower Soup by Mountain Mama Cooks
This Broccoli Rabe and Chicken Pizza was inspired by a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
Broccoli Rabe and Chicken Pizza with Basil White Sauce
- 1 dough ball for a large pizza*
- 1 cup broccoli rabe, torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon garlic oil
- 1/3 cup cooked chicken, torn into bite sized pieces
- 3/4 cup Mozzarella
- 1/4 cup Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup milk, I use 2 %
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and set a pizza stone in the oven if you have one. Prepare a rimless baking sheet with parchment (I use this instead of a pizza peal but you can use a pizza peal if you have one).
- Tear up the broccoli and chicken and toss the broccoli with the teaspoon of garlic oil. Set aside.
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and stir quickly for 30 seconds, until it's all absorbed into the melted butter. Gradually whisk in the milk. Add the minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Continue stirring for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Stir in the chopped basil and remove from heat.
- Roll out your pizza dough and place on the parchment lined baking sheet. Spread the sauce on top. Add the mozzarella then the broccoli and chicken. Top with Parmesan.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the outer crust starts to brown.
This pizza looks amazing, and I love your tips for getting kids to eat well! I always make sure to have some cut up veggies sitting on the counter while I’m cooking dinner. That way, when they wake up from their afternoon nap hungry they have something to snack on that’s healthy but won’t fill them up! Then I am less concerned about their veggie intake at dinner too, since they just ate half a cucumber or red pepper! 🙂
Love this idea Laura! I will put this one into action asap!
My kids get pretty picky, but I agree with you — it’s so much easier to get them to try new things when they’re incorporated into familiar foods and when they’re good and hungry! This pizza looks amazing Becky! I’ve never made one with a creamy sauce like this and really need to give that a try!
It was my first white pizza too! Sooo good! I always like the classic too of course 🙂
Mmm…this looks so good, Becky. I love white pizza. And actually it was the first type of pizza I really liked. Because I was the pickiest of eaters (I literally ate nothing for 18 years!) and hated all things tomatoes/tomato sauce and that even included pizza. Can you imagine? Ha ha ha. Now I love everything. I’ve come a long way!
OH MY GOSH!! I love knowing this about you! I have heard that picky eaters often become foodies later in life and your so proof of this! But no pizza?!!
What an enticing pizza! I am so happy broccoli raab is more and more common in supermarkets these days!
Me too! I love how much more delicate it is!
What a pleasant change after seeing way too many artificially hued green foods for the upcoming St Patty’s day. I’ve been eating baby broccoli like it’s my job the past few weeks- I buy a big bag of organic at Costco! While I’ve simply been roasting it with olive oil and garlic salt, me thinks a white pizza is in my near future. Happy Spring! xo
Oh! I do love your tips for helping a picky eater dig in! So very relevant for me right now with one of my little nieces …
Broccoli Rabe is one of my very favorite ingredients. I love adding it to a pizza!
Oh good! Glad it could be helpful! Hope you and your niece find some fun things to cook together!!
My 7 month old hasn’t quite warmed up to food as much as I was hoping and I’m so scared he’s going to be a picky eater! I guess I’ll just have to put everything on a pizza haha! I could eat pizza every single day and i’m loving this creamy sauce pizza with that broccoli rabe!
hahah!! Yes everything on pizza!! My little gal hasn’t warmed up to food yet either. Everett was so ready to eat at 6 months but Ruthie has been slower so I think she’ll bring some new challenges with eating too. We’re in this together!!
Pizza is the perfect vehicle for broccoli rabe — and ever since I made your chicken pesto pizza last year, I think of you whenever I see my pizza dough in the freezer. Time to defrost it and make this; I know it will disappear quickly 🙂
I absolutely love broccoli rabe! Great tips too. Especially about the kids being hungry. My younger daughter gets really hungry every afternoon so it is a struggle to get her to keep her appetite for dinner. I do the tiny portion thing with her. Like ridiculously small portions. Ha! Then on the times when she doesn’t eat dinner, I never make a fuss about it, since that would be a reinforcement too.
That’s so wise to not make a fuss over it when are kids won’t eat! I’m going to remember that when I’m tempted to!!