Veggie Recipe for Kids

English: A pack of organic cherry tomatoes, fr...

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Vegetables have received a bad rap when it comes to being accepted by kids. But what other food is as colorful and as varied in taste and texture as vegetables? As parents we need to get across to kids that vegetables are really a most interesting and colorful food.

The way vegetables are presented and talked about in the family makes a real difference. If big brother or sister says that some food is yucky, then chances are, that is what the younger child believes. It’s amazing what lasting effect words can have on children. Then there are the positive words you can use as well: It will make you grow big and strong. It will make your hair shine. It will give you rosy cheeks. What a difference words can make!

Here is a recipe from the childrens cookbook, Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids – Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun by Amy Houts, that shows kids just how good and juicy and fun vegetables can be – if you believe tomatoes are a vegetable, otherwise, go with the fruit definition. Botanically, a tomato is a fruit; however, it has a much lower sugar content than other fruits, and is therefore not as sweet. It is considered a vegetable for most culinary purposes.

Cherry Tomatoes with Dip

Cherry tomatoes

Dip:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Combine all ingredients for dip in a bowl. Mix until smooth. Cover bowl and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

When ready to eat, wash tomatoes and cut in half. Stick a toothpick into the tomato. Give each child a small container of dip.

You can also use carrot and celery sticks, cauliflower or broccoli, or other vegetable with this dip. If children are very young, you will need to cook the vegetable a short time to soften them slightly.

Let’s keep them healthy,

Lee Jackson
Child nutrition advocate, author
http://www.healthykidseatingtips.com

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Crock Pot Roast Beef & French Dip


With the busy holidays upon us, oven space may be at a premium. That is another good reason to use a crock pot. But best of all, I like to use the crock pot for meals that you can begin and forget.

Here is a wonderful recipe made by my good friend, author, and chef, Amy Houts. We had this for lunch recently when her mother from New York was visiting. She served it with relishes and chips and had apple cake for dessert –  another one of my favorites!

You can find this in Amy’s new cookbook, Cooking Around the Country with Kids – USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities on p. 206.

French Dip for Roast Beef Sandwiches

3 pounds beef chuck or arm roast
2 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
Dash pepper

12 hard rolls

Place roast in a crock pot. Children can help measure and add water, soy sauce, and spiceds to crock pot. Cook 5-6 hours on low heat setting or 3 hours on highs. Remove bay leaf from pot. Slice or shred beef and cool in refrigerator. Remove fat that has hardened on the surface of the dip. Heat again over stove or back in crock until hot. Place on hard rolls. Pour broth into individual serving dishes, about 1/4 cup per person. Dip sandwich into broth and enjoy!

Serves 10-12

Soup Supper Idea

Vegetable Soup for a Crowd
Image by grand grrl via Flickr

Do you need a quick meal that is filling, nutritious, and doesn’t take long to make? I want to share a soup I made for a large group at my house recently. We had a mix of older folks and younger ones. They all wanted recipes so that is always a good sign. I hope you will enjoy it, too.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup mild picante sauce
1 (15-ounce) can ranch-style beans, undrained
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
½ teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
2 cups chopped cooked skinless chicken breast
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Tortilla chips, optional
Shredded Cheddar cheese, optional
Sour cream, optional

Heat olive oil in large pan like a soup kettle or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, and garlic. Cook until onion is tender, about 7 minutes.

Add broth, tomatoes, picante sauce, beans and spices. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Add chicken and cilantro and heat thoroughly.

Ladle into soup bowls. Top with tortilla chips, cheese, and sour cream if desired. Serves 8.

We served crackers, Dilly bread, and cornmeal muffins with it, as well as a relish assortment.

Tomorrow I’ll post the other soup we served – totally different and totally good!

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Pre-School Kitchen Activities

Home Cooking Party: Appetizer - Tomato-Basil B...Image by panduh via Flickr

Most pre-school children love to “work” in the kitchen, just like grown-ups. Cooking with children can be a challenge, but it can also be a great experience for both child and adult.

Here are some jobs many preschoolers can do in the kitchen with a little supervision:

  • pre-measure ingredients for recipes
  • stir ingredients in a bowl
  • set the table
  • wash foods in a colander
  • core, tear and rinse lettuce
  • tear spinach
  • snap beans
  • shell peas
  • prepare garlic cloves
  • peel bananas
  • stem strawberries
  • pit cherries
  • peel oranges
  • knead dough
  • crack cooked eggs
  • beat with rotary beater
  • spread filling on bread
  • grease pans
  • cut dates with blunt scissors
  • cut soft foods using a rounded point knife, no paring knives

With a little help and encouragement, children can become competent and enthusiastic cooks.

Happy and healthy cooking with kids,

Chef Crombie

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Cooking at Home – Meal for Four in Less than 25 Minutes

Burrito at Papa Chevo'sImage via Wikipedia

Why go out to eat if you can whip up a tasty meal in less time than it takes to stop for fast food. You may need to add a few ingredients to your grocery list so you have them on hand. Planning is the key.

This is an easy recipe kids will enjoy. Adult may need to do the cooking of the meat, depending on young helper’s age. But children can help prepare vegetables and roll up their finished product.

These burritos use the “other white meat – pork” for the protein. With a skillful blend of vegetables, spices and seasonings, you will have a delicious meal ready to go. Here is the recipe. It is an adaption from the Minnesota Pork Producers Association.

South of the Border Burritos

1 pound lean ground pork
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup green pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 cups coleslaw mix with carrots
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon cumin
4 (10 inch) whole wheat tortillas, warmed
Garnish with fresh cilantro, chopped

Cook pork in large frypan over medium heat. Break up meat with fork while it cooks. Add onion, garlic, green pepper, and ginger. Cook until vegetables are soft and pork is not longer pink. If there is excess fat, pour it off.

Add coleslaw mix and stir-fry with pork until vegetables are wilted.

In small bowl, combine oil, soy sauce, juice, and honey. Add to fry pan. Cook, stirring gently until all ingredients are heated through and blended.

Spoon burrito mixture evenly onto warm tortillas and roll up. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Makes four servings.

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How to Make Hot Soup on a Cold Day

New England clam chowder. Source: http://pdpho...Image via Wikipedia

This late January weather is reminding us we are still in the winter season. Many places have lots of snow and ice. Staying warm can be a problem. What better way to warm up than with a bowl of hot soup?

Today I want to share a thick, veggie-filled soup recipe that will have you chopping and enjoying its rich aroma. So get out your chopping boards, a large soup pot, and lets get to it.

Veggie Chowder (“chowder” means it’s a soup with fish, clams, or vegetables, with potatoes, onions, and other ingredients and seasonings).

1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
5 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cloves chopped garlic
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
16 oz. frozen corn
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, saute carrots, celery, and onion in butter over medium heat. Onions should be transparent, or clear, and soft. This will take about five minutes.

Add the canned vegetable stock, spices, and garlic. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, you can peel and dice the potatoes and add them to the pot. Add the frozen corn and bring mixture back to a boil.

Reduce heat. Stir in the cream and half-and-half and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Do not let this mixture boil, but only let it simmer.

In small bowl, add cornstarch. Slowly add 1/2 cup of water while stirring, keeping it free of lumps until it is very smooth. Then pour this mixture slowly into the hot soup, gently stirring until the soup thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Add a little chopped parsley for garnish, or chop green onions (with some of the green stem) and sprinkle over top. Mmmm, very tasty.

Now you have soup that took just a little longer than opening a can of commercial soup but just look at the wonderful ingredients you have added! You know what is in your soup. You made it yourself and it tastes great.

For other soup recipes, check out Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids by Amy Houts. In it she provides a wonderful Easy Chicken Noodle Soup recipe. Check it out!

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