Meals without meltdowns: 3 toddler-approved recipes

Recipes provided by Leigh Ann Chatagnier

HOUSTON – Whether you have picky eaters at home, or you're simply looking for new options to add to your family menu, cookbook author, Leigh Ann Chatagnier shares three easy recipes to help you master meal time. 


Mini Green Monster English Muffin Pesto Pizzas


  • 1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil + 1 tsp.
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. pine nuts (can omit for nut allergies)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 English muffins
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh bocconcini balls (mini mozzarella balls), strained from liquid on a paper towel to remove excess moisture
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Slice tomatoes thin, and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes caramelize slightly and release some of their liquid.
  • Make pesto by combining spinach, basil, pine nuts if using, garlic, parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper, and blend until smooth.
  • When tomatoes are done, slice English muffins in half and place onto a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes to toast slightly.
  • Remove muffins from the oven and top with pesto, shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 tbsp. per muffin) tomatoes, and bocconcini.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted. Top with peas for the last 2 minutes of cooking.
  • Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator and/or freezer for easy lunch box additions.

    Cottage Cheese Parfaits


    • 1/2 Cup Cottage Cheese
    • 2 Cups Fresh Strawberries, Hulled
    • 1/8 Cup Water
    • 3 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
    • 1 Tbsp. Honey, Maple Syrup (if desired)
    • 1/4 Cup Fresh Diced Pineapple
    • 1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds (for topping)


    • Make strawberry chia jam by combining strawberries, water, chia seeds, and sweetener of choice in a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat until strawberries break down and jam thickens, stirring regularly for about 5-10 minutes.  Turn off heat, place into a mason jar, and chill throughly.  Will store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
    • Layer jam, cottage cheese, and pineapple in a bowl and sprinkle with chia seeds.
    • Serve immediately or store in mason jars for easy make ahead breakfast.


    Veggie Loaded Sloppy Joe Sliders


    • 1 small onion
    • 2 peeled carrots
    • 1 zucchini
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • ½ cup mushrooms
    • 1 Lb. extra lean ground turkey
    • 1 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
    • 1/2 cup bbq sauce of choice
    • 1/2 cup no-sugar-added ketchup
    • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
    • 1 tbsp. chili powder
    • 1/4 cup vegetable stock (can sub water)
    • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 Tbsp. avocado oil
    • 1 tbsp. coconut sugar if desired
    • Slider buns (or buns of your choice)


  • Chop onion, carrots, zucchini, garlic, and mushrooms very finely. Can alternatively put all ingredients into a food processor and process until finely chopped.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add avocado oil and vegetables. Season with 1/2 of the salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes until veggies are tender.
  • Add in ground turkey at this time and season with the rest of the salt and pepper and break up with a wooden spoon to combine with the veggies. Sauté for another 5-10 minutes until turkey starts to brown.
  • Combine bbq sauce, ketchup, tomato paste, chili powder, stock, and Worcestershire in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Add the sauce to the turkey and vegetable mixture and stir to combine.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes. Taste test and add coconut sugar at this time if desired and stir to combine.
  • Serve immediately on slider buns and store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.

    To connect with Leigh Ann and for more information on these recipes, click here

    For more information on the cookbook mentioned in the segment above, click here.