Looking so an easy way to bring fun to dinner time? This Under the Sea Fish Stick Dinner is super simple and uses kid-friendly fish sticks to make dinner one to remember!
When I was a kid, my dad would tell us that when he was little, he would make up stories about his food, creating intricate dioramas and narrating the whole thing. He made mashed potato volcanoes with gravy lava, broccoli trees, and demolition sites out of meatloaf.
I should also note that I don’t actually see this happening, or more importantly, my grandmother allowing this to happen. But that’s neither here nor there.
It was a fun way for him to encourage us to actually eat dinner. My brother was a picky eater and I was just a pain – I can only imagine how painful dinner time was with us as kids. My boys can be total pains and they’re 21 months apart – my brother and I liked to ‘out-difficult’ each other and we are 15 months apart. No. Thank. You.
Anyway, I think that’s one of the big reasons I like playing with the boys’ food – I know first hand how it can make meal time easier and encourage reluctant kiddos to eat more without complaint.
This dinner is an homage to the imaginative meals of my youth – except instead of mashed potato mountains and broccoli, I’m using green beans, carrots, and roasted potatoes to make an irresistible seascape your kids will beg to eat.
Start with Gorton’s fish sticks. I grew up on these – my dad was a single dad who knew absolutely nothing about cooking, so we ate a ton of ‘kid staples’ growing up. My dad loved that it was something simple and easy that he could rely on and we loved it because, what kid doesn’t love fish sticks?
I recently remembered that I hadn’t give the boys fish sticks yet, and immediately went out to rectify it. Without even checking out other brands, I grabbed Gorton’s fish sticks because it’s a brand I will probably be loyal to until I die – I know they taste awesome, use great fish, and upon further research, I love that they have put initiatives for quality and sustainability with their Our Trusted Catch program to minimize environmental impact and meet crazy high standards. Done and done.
Under the Sea Fish Stick Dinner
After you grab your fish sticks, you’ll need to prepare your veggies – I use potatoes, carrots, and green beans. Boil and blanch your green beans before shocking in cold water to keep the green color bright. Slice your potato in .5 inch slices and use a small star cookie cutter to cut little ‘starfish’ out of the potatoes. Rinse in cold water, dry, and season with oil, salt and pepper.
To make carrot sea shells, peel your carrot and make 2 long cut about .25 inch in, about .25 inch apart at a deep angle. Then shave of any sharp edges before cutting into coins about .5 inch thick. Season with oil, salt, and pepper.
(confused? I’ll be making it live on Kid Food Made Easy this week – make sure you like the Morgan Manages Mommyhood page and turn on notifications!)
Bake your fish sticks as per the package. I baked my potato stars and carrots at the same time and everything was done at the same time. Lay a few on your plate.
Cut slices of cheddar cheese to create a tail and find for your fishies, as well as a slice of an olive for an eye.
Layer the fish features on the fish stick to create a little school of fishies.
Pile up some green beans at the bottom of your plate as your sea grass. Season however you want- this was just salt and pepper, but sometimes I do olive oil or butter and garlic sauteed for a bit.
Top with your roasted carrots and potatoes to create an adorable and healthy seascape your kids aren’t going to be able to resist.
My goal is always to show you how easy it is to add just a little bit of fun to your kids meals without spending hours – just a few extra minutes can bring you a load of fun and a meal where you kids actually want to eat vegetables. This fish stick dinner is a perfect example of that – a few thought out cuts creates a veggie-packed meal your kids will ask for again and again.
Looking for more easy ways to encourage your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables? Grab your FREE copy of Eat the Rainbow – 10 fun and easy fruit and vegetable snacks that will take less than 1 minute. Your kids will be begging to eat these fun fruits and vegetables.
This under the sea fish stick dinner takes a family favorite – super easy Gorton’s Fish Sticks – and transforms it into a fun meal for everyone. Your kids will love eating the fun fishies (or if your kiddos are older, they’d love to help construct them as well!) and won’t even mind snacking on the fun veggies.
Okay, so tell me – what was a family staple in your house growing up? What about now Would your kids like this fish stick dinner? Let me know in the comments!
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