Meal Reviews: New Concept to Encourage Children to Eat/Try Their Meal

Rustic Potpie

Rustic Potpie

I tried something new tonight to encourage the kids to eat their dinner WITHOUT COMPLAINT.  They have no problems eating, trust me!  Usually at dinner, though, there is some complaining about certain things in the meal or not wanting to eat or try everything.  I believe that variety is a good thing, and obviously I want my kids to eat all kinds of vegetables and try new foods. Historically they enjoy meals where all the food is separated.  As of late, though, this is harder and harder for me to do, mainly because of time constraints.  I do a lot of dropping off and picking up kids, and with swim team every day and all the other things that go on in a day, it is much easier to make a hearty meal or soup in the slow cooker.  Tonight I served a recipe made from Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson.

Rustic Potpie

Rustic Potpie

I left out the mushrooms, used less wine than called for, and also used Tofurkey sausages as the protein.  My version is below.  I told the kids that I needed their help, and I wanted them to answer some questions to “review” the meal.  In order to participate in the review (which would be published on the blog), they had to eat their whole meal without complaint, and if they didn’t like something take at least two bites to try it.  Well, give them an opportunity to break out the computer and give their opinion, and let’s just say we had a quiet, quick, uneventful meal!  Y.E.S.!!!

Rustic Potpie Topped with Chive Biscuits  (from Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson)


  • 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 Cup plus 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. dry red wine
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Cup vegetable broth
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1 package seitan or other meat substitute (I used Tofurkey Chick’n and Apple links)
  • 1 Cup frozen peas
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp. fresh chives
  • 1/2 Cup plain unsweetened soy milk
  1.  Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray.  Saute carrots and onions in 2 tsp. olive oil for 5 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste, thyme and marjoram and cook for another minute.  Sprinkle on 3 Tbsp. flour and stir for 30 seconds.  Add wine, soy sauce and broth and stir to combine.
  2. Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker.  Add potato, meat substitute, salt and pepper to taste, and peas and cook on low for 4-6 hours (I cooked it for 4).
  3. In a bowl, combine remaining flour, baking powder, chives and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Quickly stir in the milk and 2 Tbsp. of oil until just blended.  Drop by spoonfuls on the surface of the simmering stew in the slow cooker.  Turn setting to high and cook for another hour.

The two youngest gave me answers verbally, and the two oldest typed theirs out independently.  It was interesting to hear and read what they had to say.  It is actually really helpful in determining whether or not to cook the dish again, and if so, what, if anything, to change about it.


Here is their review of Rustic Potpie:

What was your favorite part of the dish?

2-yr old:  Two things.  Sausages and carrots.

4-yr old:  I have three best parts.  Potatoes, carrots, the sausages and the biscuits.  That’s four.

7-year old:  I had two favorite parts. Sausages and biscuits.

9-yr old: My favorite parts of the dish were the biscuits and potatoes.

What, if anything, did you dislike about the dish?

2-yr old: Biscuits:  I changed my mind.  Sausages.

4-year old:  The broth and sausages were kind of spicy.

7-year old: I did not like the taste that the wine gave the broth.

9-year old: I liked everything about that dish.

Would you eat this again?

2-yr old:  Yep.  Yep, I can eat that again.

4-yr old:  Yes, I would eat it again.

7-yr old: yes I could eat that again.

9-yr old: Definitely.

If you could add one more vegetable to this dish for next time, what would it be?

2-yr old:  Cauliflower.

4-yr old:  Sweet potatoes.

7-yr old:  No more vegetables; I liked it the way it was.

9-yr old: Little chunks of broccoli.


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