Chicken, Anyone?

Say “chicken salad” and immediately a soggy chicken salad comes to mind. People have the notion that this is a way to use up left-over chicken by just adding some mayo.

Well, chicken salad can be anything but soggy when you add in a few veggies that not only add nutrients but increase the crunchiness and fiber.

Kids can help with the chopping and grating of vegetables and become part of the kitchen crew – which might also tempt them to try something new.

Here is a recipe for Crunchy Chicken Salad taken from Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids by Amy Houts. It is a perfect spring-time recipe, especially if using new green onions and lettuce just out of the garden.

Crunchy Chicken Salad

1 cup cut-up chicken
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup cut-up onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 (1.7 oz.) can shoestring potatoes

Children can help with chopping celery, grating carrots, and perhaps cutting up the onion. Mix vegetables with chicken and mayonnaise.

Just before serving, mix in the shoestring potatoes. Serve on lettuce leaf.
Yield: 4 servings

Need more springtime recipes? Order Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids for more springtime and anytime recipes now.

Best to you,
Lee Jackson

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Copyright (C) 2012 Lee Jackson, CFCS  All rights reserved.

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Vegetable Garden Benefits

vegetable garden, detail

Image via Wikipedia

Everyone would benefit from growing a vegetable garden. Vegetables, especially those grown above ground, should provide one of the main staples of our daily food pattern.

We are blessed and very fortunate to have such a wide variety of food available to us. Yet many people do not choose foods wisely. Too often the sweets and fats take center stage and too few plant based foods and healthy proteins are included in our diets.

Vegetables are excellent providers of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and flavonoids, as well as the good carbohydrates everyone needs. Flavonoids are a class of antioxidants.

Vegetables also contain many other essental macronutrients that cannot be replicated in any pills or any other type of food. Their nutrients build and repair cells, organs and tissues and are rich in fiber, which aids in digestion.

The vegetables with the brightest colors are generally the ones richest in nutrients. For example, red onions, versus yellow or white onions. Bright green of spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce, versus the light green iceberg lettuce, which has almost no nutritional value. There are exceptions to this, too. Cauliflower, a generally white vegetable, as well as cabbage are very rich in nutrients, particularly vitamin C.

Those vegetables grown below the ground such as carrots, beets and potatoes are higher in carbohydrates and are called starchy foods. Potatoes can almost be considered a grain, as they are high in simple carbohydrates and act on the body the same as sugars and grains.

To gain the most nutrients from vegetables, eating them raw is the preferred way. Organic vegetables are usually much higher in nutrients and often taste better, too. It is good to buy vegetables locally from garden farmers or produce growers, if you can’t grow your own.

There is no doubt about it, vegetables are packed full of health-giving nutrients. Would that we could all grow vegetables in our very own vegetable garden.

To your health,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
For more information about healthy eating, sign up here on the right
for a Special Report for you and your kids

To find vegetable recipes, order Amy Houts’ latest children’s book,
Cooking Around the Country With Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities

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Easy Easter Bunny Salad for Kids

Make a bunny salad with your kids this Easter. They will love making it and the way it looks and tastes.

Bunny Salad

1 can pear halves
Red cherries, candied or maraschino
Shredded cheese

Drain juice from pears. Wash lettuce and put a lettuce leaf on individual plate.

To make bunny:
Place pear halve face down on lettuce leaf.
Put 2 raisins on the pear for the eyes.
Use a red cherry for the nose.
Put several pieces of shredded cheese on each side of face for whiskers.
Cut two marshmallows in half and use for ears of bunny.
Add a marshmallow for the bunny’s tail.

There you have it – one sweet bunny. These salads multiply well for any number of guests. Recipe taken from Amy Houts first book in the Food and Fun series, Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun. See more at Cooking/Calendar.

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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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