Ham & Cheddar Waffles

Original Recipe HERE
Winner winner, waffles for dinner.  I shook things up and stepped away from the standard or dessert-leaning waffles of days past.  These were a successful adventure.
I doubled this to feed four of us.  I got 12 square waffles using three rounds of batter (my iron makes four squares at a time).  It may not sound like enough, but the waffles were filling.

The original recipe says to, ideally, allow the batter to sit for 20-30 minutes before baking because the waffles will be fluffier.  I did have the time, so I waited.  I have nothing to compare the final product to, but the waffles weren't dense or heavy, so maybe they were the proper amount of fluffy?

Being waffles, my kids wanted to use maple syrup with them.  I was fine without it, but they tasted fine either way.  The sweetness paired well with the cheese and ham...kind of like a McGriddle (not that I would have any familiarity with how a McGriddle tastes...).
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard [I used ground mustard]
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese [do not use pre-shredded]
1/2 cup finely chopped deli ham
1 heaping tablespoon chopped chives or thinly sliced green onions [I used dried minced onions]
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
(1) In a large bowl, whisk together flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and dry mustard.
(2) Add cheese, ham, and chives (or onions) and lightly toss.
(3) In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, oil, and egg.
(4) Add wet ingredients to dry; stir until everything is just incorporated.
(5) Preheat waffle iron.  Spray with non-stick spray.
(6) Ladle batter into iron.  Cook according to iron's instructions to achieve lightly golden waffles.

Kid Participation:
* Whisk dry ingredients
* Whisk wet ingredients
* Stir all ingredients togehter
* Experiment with dipping and drizzling options

Broccoli & Cheese Tots

Original Recipe HERE

Making vegetables dippable and combining them with cheese are my go-to ways of getting the kids to eat them (though I know I'm lucky that the boys are usually willing to at least taste something new, and I can usually count on *N* to eat at least a whole serving).  These tots do both.  The flavor wasn't anything amazing, but they served their purpose.

I used fresh broccoli and didn't measure; I chopped up just under a head-and-a-half.  I also eyeballed the amount of onion and cheese.  They turned out fine, though when I portioned them onto the baking sheet (using a small cookie scoop), I was worried they weren't going to hold together and thought I should've used more egg whites.  The kids dipped them in ketchup or barbecue sauce, and the entire batch of 24 was eaten.  Success.
2 to 2 & 1/2 cups (12 oz) broccoli florets
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion [I used regular onion]
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
salt & pepper
(1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil, or grease it.
(2) Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add broccoli; cook for 2 minutes.
(3) Add chopped onions to water (if not using green onion); cook another minute.
(4) Drain and rinse under cold water.  Dry with a dish towel.
(5) Finely chop broccoli and onions.  Transfer to a large bowl.
(6) Add all other ingredients to broccoli.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
(7) Spoon heaping tablespoons of the mixture onto the baking sheet.  Flatten slightly.
(8) Bake tots for 16-18 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, or until golden.

Kid Participation:
* Stir together all ingredients
* Spoon broccoli "dough" onto baking sheet


Ritz-Topped Vegetable Casserole

Original Recipe HERE
The amount of mayonnaise in this recipe made me cringe, but I thought it was worth trying because the bulk of the dish was straight-up vegetables.  And I'm not above smothering veggies in sauces, condiments, whathaveyou in order to get my kids to eat them...as I pretend that I'm not negating their health benefits by doing so.
I couldn't find American cheese in a block, so I diced up several of the individually-wrapped slices.  The pieces stuck together, so I was worried that it would mean pockets of cheese in the finished product instead of a uniform distribution.  Whatever ended up happening with the cheese wasn't an issue, but I would take more time to do it properly.
Next time, I will mix the melted butter with the crushed crackers before spreading them over the top.  The coverage was uneven doing it as the original recipe instructed.  Also, I bet this would be even better with the French's fried onions on top (because most things in this world would be).
Each kid asked for multiple rounds of this and told me to make it again.  It was super easy, and the original post said that it can be made up to a day ahead.  I'm sure that this convenient meal will be repeated.  Also, I learned that my kids like lima beans (from the frozen veggie medley)...they've been lucky to be spared the dreaded legume thus far, but it turns out it was for naught.
1/4 cup salted butter, divided
1 cup finely-chopped celery
1/2 to 1 cup finely-chopped yellow onion
2 to 3 cloves finely-chopped garlic
1 bag (32 oz) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup (or 4 oz) finely diced American cheese
¾ cup mayonnaise [I used 2/3 cup mayo and the rest Ranch dressing]
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
(2) In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt half of the butter over medium heat.
(3) Saute celery and onion until softened, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add garlic toward the end.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
(4) Add mixed vegetables, corn, American cheese, mayonnaise, and Ranch (if using) to the bowl.  Combine thoroughly.
(5) Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.
(6) In a small bowl, mix together crushed Ritz and melted butter.
(7) Evenly sprinkle the crushed Ritz over the top of the casserole.
(9) Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
Kid Participation:
* Mix vegetables and sauce
* Measure mayo and Ranch
* Crush Ritz
* Sprinkle Ritz