How to Create Nostalgic Kid Cuisines (For Big Kids)

I guess because the impending quasi-independence of college hit me, recently I've been reverting to ten-years-ago-me. Painted every nail a different color, fell into rapture when I found my Hello Kitty UNO cards, got excited when I saw Kid Cuisines at Publix...

I almost picked up some right then and there, but remembered that a) they come with a lot of single-use plastic packaging and b)I could probably finish one in two bites.

Sure, there's no shortage of frozen meals for big kids, even ones that come in biodegradable packaging like Luvo or Amy's, but none of them have FUN SHAPES.

Everyone, regardless of their age, deserves to play with their food. Here's how to make your own Kid Cuisines.

1. The tray. When I was younger, I loved that each part of the meal came sat in its own separate compartment of the tray. For this, I reused a tray we got from Chinese takeout; a lot of people have reusable bento boxes with plenty of compartments. Or, you could use several small bowls/plates.

2. The vegetable. What is a Kid Cuisine without that little square of cheerful watery corn? I used canned corn.

3. The entree. The two Kid Cuisines I always got were the chicken nuggets and the mac 'n' cheese. Here are my "big kid" versions:

Shark-shaped Tofu Nuggets
I started with a tofu nugget recipe from Under a Lemon Tree, but I didn't follow the recipe exactly: I let my tofu drain for about a half hour before slicing it and making the nuggets, and I didn't marinate it beforehand. I think if I made this again I would add a little sugar to the breading, or maybe some maple syrup or honey to the milk, for sweetness.
I cut the tofu into fearful little sharks with a cookie cutter, baked until they were crispy sharks, and dipped in ketchup. The aforementioned recipe has several sauce recipes if ketchup's not your speed.

Hello Kitty Mac 'n' Beer Cheese
Hello Kitty-shaped pasta from World Market + beer cheese dip from one of my favorite baking blogs, Sally's Baking Addiction. I made the dip to go with homemade soft pretzels for my dad on Father's Day, and this was a great way to use the leftovers. It was super easy because all I had to do was cook the pasta then spoon sauce over top.
Okay I know I'm all like, "reject plastic packaging!" but my Publix accepts this type of plastic bag for recycling. It's not ideal, but it's better than nothing.

4. The dessert. I almost forgot about the dessert section! My most vivid memory of Kid Cuisines desserts is chocolate pudding that came with a little packet of star-shaped sprinkles to stir in. Once, there were Pop Rocks and I had never tried them before and my sister had to walk me through eating them because I was scared when they exploded in my mouth.
I forgot about these until I was writing this post, but I think the dessert part worked out because right around the time I made my Kid Cuisine replications, I also replicated Lofthouse cookies, which are just as playful!

Did you make your own Kid Cuisines? Or are you too high and mighty to have fun? Let me know in the comments below, via email, or on Facebook or Instagram

Heyo to my readers age 18 and up! The Florida state primaries are August 18th, but early voting runs August 8th-15th. For people in my county (you know who you are), I recommend the county website for helpful information on what district you're in, what races you can vote in, mail ballots and polling location. So be an adult, eat your Kid Cuisine, and go vote.

World peace and love,

Heather <3

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