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Make Over Your Holiday Meal

Morgan Kelly Burke
Nov. 10, 2011

The Meal Makeover Moms give 3 healthy recipes they swear your kids will eat as part of the Care.com Interview Series

The Meal Makeover Moms Janice Bissex and Liz Weiss say that their kids are just like any others when it comes to food - they're picky. These savvy moms overcame the dinner time whines with patience, persistence and a few meal makeovers.  Here's their hint: don't stress about how much of each thing you kids eat, just provide enough selection and they might have nibbles of each.

The duo, whose second cookbook No Whine with Dinner, offers delicious recipes and tips from real moms for getting picky eaters to try new, healthy foods. Here are a few excerpts for your holiday table.

See our kid-friendly holiday menu »


Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Makes 12 Servings.


  • One 12-pound fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped, divided
  • 1 small apple, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Remove the neck and giblets and discard. Rinse the turkey and cavity thoroughly with cold water and pat dry. Brush both sides of the turkey with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine the rosemary, half the onion, half the apple, and the garlic and spoon into the body cavity.
  2. Place a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Place the turkey, breast side down, on the rack. Arrange the remaining onion, apple, and water, in the bottom of the pan. Cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 2 hours, remove foil and baste with the pan drippings. Bake an additional 30 minutes, uncovered.
  3. Turn the turkey so it is breast side up. Continue to cook, uncovered, for 1 hour or until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 180°F, basting every 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, remove from pan, and reserve drippings for the gravy. Place turkey on a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil until ready to carve.
  4. To make the gravy, use a strainer and then pour the pan drippings into a large gravy separator. Let stand 10 minutes; the fat will rise to the top.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk together 2 cups all-natural chicken broth (such as Imagine Natural) with 1/4 cup all-purpose flour. When the pan drippings and fat have separated, pour the pan drippings back into the roasting pan, stopping before the fat layer reaches the opening. Add the chicken broth to the roasting pan (make sure the flour and broth are well blended).
  6. Place the roasting pan over medium high heat. Bring the liquid to a boil, whisking constantly. Lower the heat and continue to simmer, stirring constantly, until the gravy is thick, about 2 minutes.

Tip: To make the gravy thicker, whisk 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour with 1 tablespoon cold water, and whisk into the simmering gravy.

Nutrition Information per Serving: 220 calories, 7g fat (1.5g saturated), 170mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 34g protein, 15% iron


Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Makes 4 servings


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 2 slices nitrite-free bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 1/2 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • A few pinches of freshly ground black pepper


  1. Trim the stem ends of the Brussels sprouts using a sharp knife. Peel off the loose leaves around the stems and slice each sprout in half lengthwise.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts, bring the water back to a low boil, and cook, uncovered, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. While the sprouts are cooking, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is crisp and the onions are softened, about 7 minutes.
  4. Add the cooked Brussels sprouts, maple syrup, salt, and pepper and toss until the vegetables are coated.

Nutrition Information per Serving (about 15 halves): 80 calories, 2g fat (0.5g saturated), 190mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 5g protein, 15% vitamin A, 150% vitamin C


Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Makes 16 servings


  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1¼ cups)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • Powdered sugar
  • One 16-ounce container fresh strawberries, sliced
  • Light whipped cream, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan and dust the bottom with granulated sugar. Set aside.
  2. Place the chocolate chips and oil in a medium saucepan over low heat and stir until the chips melt, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Whisk together the sugar, flour, and cocoa powder in a large bowl until well combined. Whisk in the eggs until well blended. Add the melted chocolate and stir to combine.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely. When cool, remove from the pan, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with the strawberries and the whipped cream as desired.

Nutrition Information per Serving (1 slice): 230 calories, 13g fat (3.5g saturated, 0.7g omega-3), 25mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 4g protein, 25% vitamin C

All recipes have been republished with permission from No Whine with Dinner

Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD and Liz Weiss, MS, RD are The Meal Makeover Moms, and together, they're on a mission to help busy families eat a healthy and delicious diet. Their latest cookbook, No Whine with Dinner (M3 Press, 2011) features 150 healthy, kid-tested, mom-approved recipes and amazing secrets for getting picky eaters to try new foods, especially vegetables. For credible nutrition advice and easy, affordable family recipes, visit their award-winning blog, Meal Makeover Moms' Kitchen.

Image used with permission by Liz Weiss and Janice Bissex

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