TOP #10 HISPANIC KID-FRIENLY DISHES
Some of the most delicious food in the world comes from Hispanic traditions…
Dane Fishbaugh, Kids’ Club Spanish School, San Francisco, CA
25  January 2021
Hispanic food is diverse, deriving from the Caribbean, North and South America, Mexico and Central America. Full of a mouth watering mix of flavor, color, texture, freshness and fun, Hispanic food is one of the world’s most beloved foods. Since kids can be picky eaters we thought we would add some ideas for Spanish language kid-friendly dishes! Quick and easy recipes that are also chosen with health and nutrition in mind. Read about our top 10 recommendations!
1.- Mexican Street Corn

This is a Spanish language kid friendly dish which is grilled corn on the cob smothered with a creamy spread and then sprinkled with a Mexican cheese topping.

What kid doesn’t love corn! For that matter what adult doesn’t love corn? Sure you could boil it, serve it up with a little butter and salt and call it a day, but why not change things up a bit and throw the corn on the grill to give it that wonderful, smokey, street food flavor.

If grilling isn’t an option another wonderful way to cook the corn is roasting it in the oven. Roasting brings out a caramelized richness and is even easier than boiling the corn. Simply remove the silk at the top of each cob and throw the corn directly on the oven rack without removing them from their husks. Once cooked you can spread a thin layer of a creamy spread made up of mayonnaise and sour creme as a tasty alternative to butter. Next squeeze some lime juice on the corn to counter the richness of the spread. You can top it all off by rolling the corn in some Cotija cheese. Sprinkle some garlic salt. cilantro and paprika (pending child approval).

Using essentially the same ingredients. You can get the corn off the cob and into a salad bowl with this Mexican street corn salad idea. It’s a less messy, more kid friendly way to eat corn. This salad proves the fact that vegetables aren’t boring, it’s just the way that people prepare and serve them can be. Kids will never think vegetables are boring again after eating such a fresh, colorful and flavorful Kid salad!

2.- Enchiladas

Warm and cozy, soft and cheesy goodness. My goodness what a wonderful delight the enchilada is! Enchiladas are known as a comfort food and have a reputation for not being all that healthy, but there are some easy ways to make this meal a healthy and kid friendly meal.

What gravy is to the mash potatoes, red enchilada sauce is to the tortilla. Starting with a red sauce that is not processed and filled with lots of sugar and preservatives is a must, and will make you feel so much better about making this for your kids. The best part is that it’s about as easy as making a homemade gravy. Just take some flour, whisk in some vegetable oil, chicken broth, spices an 8oz can of tomato sauce and a few other simple ingredients. We’ve added the red sauce recipe here.

Another way to make this a healthy, Spanish language kid friendly meal is to not pack the enchiladas full of chicken, rather use a small amount for taste. Use this delicious cheesy opportunity to get your children to eat their nutritious vegetables. This recipe calls for packing the enchiladas with spinach, bell peppers, onions and corn. They will forget that they are eating vegetables when they are smothered in such cheesy scrumptiousness.

3.- Tacos

Tuesday night isn’t the most exciting day of the week, so spice things up a bit and get your Taco Tuesday night on! before running off to Taco John’s or that other place with the bell, consider making tacos en casa.

The best thing about homemade tacos is that it’s an opportunity to get the kids involved in the kitchen. Let them take the cheese out of the bag or assist them with shredding the cheese. They can rip the lettuce up with their washed hands, scoop those olives out of the can, or that sour cream out of the tub. Let them choose whether to nestle those yummy toppings in a hard or soft shell or even within a salad. With all the toppings to choose from and the many different ways to use those toppings it’s a food that can change from week to week and not get boring.

Tacos are also something that you can keep super simple one week but then get more ambitious the next and try out some delicious taco recipes. We found a very healthy recipe made with seasoned black beans, an easy corn salsa, fresh avocado and an absolutely delicious cilantro pesto.

4.- Quesadillas

Our 4th pick for Spanish language kid friendly dish is the Mexican cousin to the American grilled cheese sandwich is the fabulously wonderful quesadilla!

It’s about as quick and easy to make as a grilled cheese sandwich too, and perfect for those portable lunches on the go for the kids or the perfect appetizer to bring to a party. Of course they are at their best if they can be eaten pronto after coming out of a lightly oil-lined frying pan. That crispy outside and gooey inside is what makes the quesadilla a party on the palette wherever or whenever you eat them.

Traditionally quesadillas are as simple as placing  some queso in between a flour or corn tortilla and calling it a day. To give your quesadillas some extra nutrition and protein for those growing kiddos we’ve added a recipe that incorporates beans, corn, onions, garlic and bell peppers. There’s even a sour-cream cilantro and lime dip that’s a part of this recipe which you can make to add even more fun to this quesadilla fiesta.

 

5.- Pollo Guisado Dominicano

If flavorful, fall-off-the-bone-tender chicken sounds good to you, look no further than this Pollo Guisado recipe.

This variation of a stewed chicken combines the wonderful flavors of caramelized sugar, soy sauce, tomatoes, onions, lime, cilantro and carrots. Pollo Guisado is commonly served with arroz blanco (white rice), a side salad and beans, but is sometimes also served with mashed potatoes with the delicious broth as a gravy dripped over the top of the potatoes. Pollo Guisado is a classic staple at mealtime all over Latin America, and once you make this for your family it will certainly be a requested staple in your home as well.

6.- Empanada Argentina

These hand-sized pies are perfect for kids because they are a portable, healthy fast food that is easy to eat and makes for a perfect snack or compliment to their school lunch.

These delicious, crispy, dough-filled pockets are made from essentially the same ingredients as a pie crust and are most commonly filled with beef, chicken ham and cheese or black beans. Other ingredients that are common in the filling are onions, garlic, egg, cumin, red bell pepper, green olives and potato. The best thing about these are that you can get creative and fill them with whatever leftover meats and/or vegetables you have. Another creative idea is to fill them with apple pie filling for a fun, delicious dessert! Your children will be begging for more of this Spanish language kid friendly dish!

 

7.- Guacamole Mexicano

The eight simple ingredients that make up guacamoleavocados, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, lime and salt together are pure and simple as Mexican food gets. Once you dip, you won’t be able to quit.

This classic Mexican dip is without a doubt the best thing that ever happened to the tortilla chip. The real trick to perfecting such a simple dip is choosing the right avocados. The best guacamole comes from ripe avocados, but not too ripe which will leave you with a mushy dip. The best way to choose the best avocados are by not pushing on the sides, but rather by pressing on the top of the avocado next to the stem. The way to push is to push with the same amount of pressure as you would while clicking on a mouse. If while pressing it indents a little bit but then pops back into shape it is what you’re looking for. If your finger leaves a dent that remains, then most likely it is overripe and will be no bueno.

8.- Paella Española

Paella Española originated from the Mediterranean town of Valencia and is one of Spain’s most famous dishes.

The original recipe interestingly enough is quite different than what we think of Paella today. Originally it was made predominately of either chicken or rabbit, green and white beans and snails. Of course now Paella is synonymous with rice and saffron, shrimp, mussels, mixed with vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, peas, onions and garlic. Even so there are many variations of Paella which interestingly is due to its origin as essentially being a dish of leftovers.

Paella’s history comes from Arabic conquerors when they introduced rice into Valencia. The word “paella” stems from the Arabic word “baquia” which means “leftovers” so don’t be afraid to be creative and throw those leftovers into your paella dish. This dish has a reputation of being a challenge to make so we added an easy, straight-forward recipe to try.

 

9.- Arepas Venezolanas

Arepas are corn patties made from maize flour in the shape of an English Muffin which are commonly stuffed with fillings but can also be eaten alone to accompany a meal.

The most common way to stuff them are to use shredded beef, cheese, black beans, and cheese. They make an excellent breakfast food and can also be stuffed with eggs, cheese and ham. This is another food that is commonly stuffed with whatever leftovers are left around so enjoy getting creative and mixing things up with this one.

In Venezuela the Arepas are found everywhere and are about as common as the baguettes in France, the tortilla in Mexico or the biscuit in the United States. We found an easy recipe to make the corn patties that requires just 30 minutes, 1 bowl and 3 ingredients.

10.- Ceviche Peruano

One of Peru’s staple foods is the bold, yet light and refreshing ceviche recipe.

It’s a staple in many other Latin American countries as well. It is made by marinating or “cooking” raw fish (usually white fish) in lime juice and peppers, for those who like spice. This “cooking” process is the key to wonderful ceviche. If the fish cooks for too long in the lime juice it will end up being very tough and way too bitter. The right amount of cooking time is essential and is conveniently only around 15-20 minutes which makes this a quick and easy, divinely delicious dish.

What’s unique about Peruvian ceviche are the ingredients used to balance out the tartness of the fish mainly sweet potatoes and corn. The particular limes used are very important and are called limon sutil. This lime has a much stronger acidity than Mexican limes or Key limes have which is why it only takes about 15 minutes to “cook” them.

We hope you find ways to incorporate these delicious ideas into your weekly meal rotation and that your children continue loving and requesting these Spanish language kid friendly dishes for years to come.

If you would like your children to have an even more authentic “Spanish” experience, sign them up for a free Spanish language immersion class with Kids’ Club Spanish School after dinner!

Our classes are a fun and dynamic way for kids to learn the Spanish language and to learn culture related to the Spanish speaking world. Sign your child up for a free trial class to help them begin their language learning journey.

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