Bust out of your dinner rut, and treat your kids to the delicious flavors of Thai, Indian, Greek, and more.

Falafel Sandwich

Falafel is a delicious Mediterranean "meatball" made from ground chickpeas -- great for the vegetarians in your family!

  • 1/2 of a 10-ounce box of falafel mix
  • 2 Tbs. chopped parsley
  • Oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup shredded cucumber
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp. each salt and sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 pita pocket breads
  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 1/3 cup thin tomato slices
  • Lettuce leaves
  1. Prepare falafel mix according to package directions. Stir chopped parsley into falafel mixture, then fry falafel according to package directions. Drain on paper towels. In bowl, combine cucumber, yogurt, salt, sugar, and garlic.
  2. Cut pita breads in half and open. Spread one side of each with hummus and the other side with cucumber sauce. Fill with tomato, lettuce, and falafel.

Nutrition per serving: 406 cal; 16g protein; 10g fat; 63g carb; 137mg calcium; 6g fiber

Miso-Glazed Cod

Look for Japanese miso paste in the refrigerated produce section of your supermarket.

  • 1 lb. cod or scrod fillet
  • 3 Tbs. miso paste
  • 2 Tbs. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 lb. edamame in pods
  • 8 oz. soba noodles
  • 1 Tbs. teriyaki sauce
  1. Line a baking pan with foil. Cut fish into 4 pieces. In medium bowl, whisk together miso, vinegar, and sugar. Add fish and gently toss to coat.
  2. Heat broiler. Place fish on foil-lined baking pan and broil for 5 minutes, or until it's cooked through and browned. Cook edamame and noodles according to package directions. Toss noodles with teriyaki sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 526 cal; 45g protein; 10g fat; 66g carb; 48mg calcium; 8g fiber

Grilled Steak and Chimichurri Sauce

A classic Argentinean steak is flavored with an amazing herb sauce that you can whip up in minutes.

  • 1 lb. sirloin steak, at least 3/4 inch thick
  • 1 Tbs. steak rub
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinaigrette
  • 1 package frozen herb-potato wedges, prepared according to package directions
  1. Heat grill or grill pan. Sprinkle both sides of steak with steak rub. Combine parsley, cilantro, and red wine vinaigrette in blender with 1 Tbs. water and puree until smooth.
  2. Grill steak to desired doneness, about 6 minutes per side for medium. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with sauce and potato wedges. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 301 cal; 21g protein; 20g fat; 9g carb; 25mg calcium; 0g fiber

Shrimp Pad Thai

This popular Thai noodle dish is a big hit with kids.

  • 1/2 of a 14- to 16-ounce package of wide rice noodles
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup sliced snow peas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 cup diced firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions, optional
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts, optional
  • 1/3 cup pad thai sauce
  • 2 Tbs. lime juice
  • 3/4 lb. cooked, peeled shrimp
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  1. Place noodles, shredded carrots, and sliced snow peas in large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit 7 minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water. In small bowl, whisk eggs with 1 Tbs. water and set aside. Heat 1 tsp. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and scramble eggs. Transfer to clean bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat remaining 2 Tbs. oil in skillet over high heat; add diced tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes. Add cooked noodles and vegetables, green onions and bean sprouts if using, and cook, stirring continuously, until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in pad thai sauce, 1/3 cup water, and the lime juice, and cook 1 minute more. Stir in shrimp, and cook until shrimp is hot, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 538 cal; 33g protein; 21g fat; 54g carb; 203mg calcium; 4g fiber

Tandoori Chicken

The yogurt in this fragrant, not-too-spicy dish makes the chicken extra tender and helps infuse the tandoori flavors.

  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. tandoori spice (Sharwood's)
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 lb. chicken breast
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen peas, thawed
  • Mango chutney, optional
  1. In large bowl, combine salt, cumin, and tandoori spice. Stir in yogurt. Add chicken and coat well, then set aside.
  2. Cook rice according to package directions. Stir in peas when rice is cooked; cover and let rest while chicken is cooking.
  3. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat, spray with cooking spray, and grill chicken, turning once, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve with rice and top with mango chutney, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 343 cal; 36g protein; 3g fat; 47g carb; 59mg calcium; 3g fiber

How We Compute Our Nutritional Analysis: When there are ingredient choices, the first choice is used in analysis. Optional ingredients are omitted from analysis. When yield is listed as a range of servings (for example, 4 to 6 servings), analysis is always based on the first figure.

Copyright September 2006. Originally published from the September 2006 issue of Parents magazine.

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