When Kidlandia meets Foodlandia – Part 1: Chicken bits and potatoes

Chicken bits with potatoes2 Servings

How do we get our kids to eat right? This is a billion dollar question. Well, let me tell you what I think: the secret lies in the parents’ cooking skills.

When it comes to food, Italian kids belong to a very fortunate category of human beings. I’m not talking about the quality/freshness of the products because it is indisputable that when God created my country, he was in a great mood. 😉 I’m talking about the care and, sometimes, the financial sacrifice with which most Italian families feed their kids.

Food and culinary tradition run in our veins and many Italians pride themselves in educating their kids’ palates pretty much since they can start eating solids so they can have a balanced and healthy diet. After all, we teach them to walk, read, write, function as decent human beings, don’t we? Well, eating is not any different and many Italian families (parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts) dedicate a lot of time to grocery shop and cook meals for their little ones.

Today’s recipe is my aunt Pia’s creation. A while ago, my daughter was making a fuss about eating some grilled chicken breast because, according to “her majesty”, it was too dry notwithstanding the dressing sauce on top of it. Now, I know children loooooove fried chicken and my daughter is not any different, but fried food can be unhealthy in the long run. So my aunt, wearing her superhero apron, came to the rescue and shared the following recipe with me. My daughter loves it and Stefano is always eager to eat any leftover. 🙂

Ingredients:

2 Chicken breasts
2 Tbsp, extravirgin olive oil
4 potatoes
2 cups, broth
salt

Directions:

Cut the chicken breasts and the potatoes into small bits. In a large non-stick skillet, pour the olive oil. Add the chicken bits and cook them, stirring occasionally, until they are seared. Add the potato bits, some salt (to taste) and the broth. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally, until the broth evaporates and the chicken and potatoes are cooked and moist.

PS: When I happen to cook this dish for grown ups or older kids, I like to add a little twist. When the chicken bits are seared, I pour about 1/3 cup of dry white wine and I keep cooking the bits until the wine completely evaporates. Afterwards, I add the potatoes, the salt and the broth.

PPS: I’m trying to educate my daughter’s palate but… you know the saying “careful what you wish for”? She is becoming my most ferocious food critic, ready to “chop” me for the slightest of mistakes. I think I’m creating a monster!!! 😉

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About Francesca

I am a cook and the founder and art director of Flora's Table, the fine cooking and wine blog. Check us out at www.florastable.com :-)
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33 Responses to When Kidlandia meets Foodlandia – Part 1: Chicken bits and potatoes

  1. Darya says:

    Growing up I ate almost nothing. But this dish sounds like something I would have loved and asked for over and over again. Oh… and I think even now that I am an “adult”, I am sure I would love this dish!

  2. This is both kid and grown up friendly (especially with the wine, yum!) I love how simple this is something you can put together quickly and its tasty and nutritious. I grew up in a food centric household and when I had my daughter it was the same.

    • Francesca says:

      You know me, Suzanne. Simple is all I’m looking for! 🙂
      Your daughter was (and still is) lucky to have a mother like you. I’m sure you spent endless hours to cook for her and teach her cooking skills and I wouldn’t be surprise if the student has surpassed the master. 🙂

  3. A very touching narrative, Francesca. Indeed God was in good mood when he created your country/Italy, in food, nature and many other arts/contributions of humankind.
    I can go for this simple chicken and potato anytime. 😀

  4. Sometimes good food doesn’t have to be complicated. 🙂

  5. I absolutely love the elegance and simplicity of this recipe! I agree with you 100 percent that kids eating right is the responsibility of parents. Something delicious doesn’t necessarily have to take hours to prepare as your recipe shows. But it is certainly more healthy than a box of macaroni and cheese. Your daughter and Stefano are luck to have sampled this 🙂

  6. Hi Francesca! I so love that you are feeding your daughter GOOD food. She is a lucky girl to be born into an Italian family. I love this cuisine so much! My best friend from high school was Italian and I used to try and stay for dinner every night!! So rude of me but the deliciousness of the food made me do it!! 🙂

    • Francesca says:

      Hello Kim! I loooved your comment because I’m experiencing the same thing. A bunch of my daughter’s friends try to find their way to our table more than once a week and, having my daughter as their ally, they usually make it. My only hope is that they all will end up having great palates. 😉

  7. Fig & Quince says:

    God was in a very good mood when he created la bella Italia – that’s indisputable for sure! (I love Italy!) BTW, something I’ve wanted to share with you, awhile ago listened to Carla Bruni on a podcast and she was talking about languages (English, French, Italian) and said how musical the Italian language is and she put it in such a nice way, she said: “even reading an Italian menu out loud sounds musical.” & it’s so true! Ok, on point: I so want to try your aunt Pia’s recipe, the kiddy version, sounds like my kind of food, comforting and simple and delicious.

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you, Azita. I agree with the ex premiere dame about Italian. It is very melodic.
      I personally love Carla Bruni: she is beautiful, chic, smart and talented but, unfortunately, she is not “loved” by many Italian women. Carla is guilty of living her life without caring what other people think and this – my friend – is an unforgivable sin for some women. I honestly think that they are green with envy and the new Bulgari ad campaign featuring her – more gorgeous than ever – is not going to help. 🙂

      • Fig & Quince says:

        I knew we were sympatico in more ways than one! I kind of LOVE Carla Bruni too and my guilty pleasure is listening to her music (a lot!) I particularly like her “Je suis une enfant” There is something very compelling about her beauty and I like that she’s not a bimbo and has an artistic soul. Interesting that she’s not beloved by Italian women … you’d think she’d be embraced as a great ambassador of Italian beauty and style. Ah well, the green eyed monster as you say …

  8. Well said Francesca. I think Italians are born with a love of good food coursing through their veins. My mother grew up in Pescara before emigrating to Australia. I learnt to cook almost by osmosis. in my mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens. These days my very Aussie children adore visiting their nona and sitting down to lunch at a table positively groaning with platters of food. And so it goes…in Italian families the love of food is passed down a tavola through the generations.

  9. This is great, Francesca. I am forwarding it to my daughter for her to prepare for our granddaughters.

  10. Reblogged this on The Literate Chef and commented:
    For Mom’s on the Go. Rue logged from Flora’s Table.

  11. Dear Francesca,

    I love that you say that when God created Italy he was in a good mood and even thought I have only seen parts of your country I would strongly concur. You are also lucky, I think, that your country places such importance on educating childrens’ palates. I like the sound of this recipe. I hope you settled back into life in America and are enjoying the fall after a summer spent in Italy.

    B xo

    • Francesca says:

      Did I sound too pompous? That was not my intention. I mean … God was in great mood when he created many other countries including yours. 🙂
      The beginning of my fall seasons are always chaotic. So much to catch up! But now I’m back to my routine and it feels great. After a busy summer, I love to get back to my secluded, boring life. 🙂

  12. Mary says:

    Wonderful recipe and LOL, kids rule – right?

  13. Dear Francesca,
    that sounds really yummy. And great to give a recipe for two portions! Our Bookfayries Siri and Selma eat nearly nothing they feed on light and love.
    Have a happy evening
    Klausbernd & Dina, Siri and Selma, the happy Bookfayries 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Francesca says:

      But of course! They are magical creatures not meant to eat the food of mere mortals. 🙂
      F. Xx

      • Dina says:

        🙂 🙂 I love this recipe, dear Francesca, thanks a lot for sharing. Big hug to her Majesty! ♥
        Sir and Selma are really thrilled to be called magical creatures. 🙂 Happy fayriedust is on its way to you and the rest of the royal family. ♥
        Dina Xx

      • I hope they don`t read that because then they will not eat anything anymore I suppose. I think a bit of substantial is necesseray for their grounding.
        Love
        Klausbernd

  14. Francesca says:

    But they are magical!!! To be honest with you, I think there is a magical allure all around the four of you! 🙂
    F. Xx

  15. Lucky ‘monster’ !!! I have a friend who is a fabulous home cook and her daughter was born with a very sophisticated palate. My friend went through a phase when this ‘monster’ flatly refused to eat supper some evenings because she didn’t like the taste! It didn’t last long! Brava zia Pia. And yes, chicken breast can be really dry and ‘orrible. My sister used to hate the petto di pollo they served at her school – she said it was like trying to eat a door-stop! I love your posts Francesca …

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you, Jo!!! You are way too kind!!! 🙂
      I totally relate to your sister’s feeling. When I was a kid I used to hate chicken breasts. They reminded me of shoes soles! 😉 And now that I’m a grown up, things are not getting any better because chicken breast is synonym of diet to me. Either way, not my kind of food at all! 🙂

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