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
Lettuce

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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Fall Foods Provide Nutritional Meals for Families

Cooler fall temperatures call for foods to warm you up. Here is a recipe that will make your kitchen smell wonderful, taste great, and

Vegetable Soup for a Crowd

Image by lynn.gardner via Flickr

ward off the chill of the season. You may want to add a fresh green salad and bread, muffins, or whole wheat crackers. You will have a quick and easy nutritional meal for your family.

I always enjoy recipes I can put together without having to run to the store for ingredients. This one will have you using what you have on hand and finding it easy for children and others to put together.

Colorful Fall Stew

2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
6 medium potatoes, unpeeled, cut into small cubes
1 large green pepper, seeded and diced
1 large red pepper, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon mixed Italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen

In a large kettle over medium-high heat, add water and chopped onions. Cook until onions are softened. Children can help cut potatoes and peppers into small pieces. Add the vegetables and seasonings, except salt and green peas. Cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Taste to see if the stew needs salt or more seasonings. Or, if family members need to cut down on salt, you can eliminate it. At end of cooking period, add green peas and cook until just heated through.

This recipe retains the goodness of the vegetables and is prepared without any fat. Leftover soup can always be reheated easily for an almost instant nutritious meal.

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson

Food and Family Living Advocate
http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

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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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Going Food Shopping at the Farmers’ Market

Onions

Image via Wikipedia

Going to the local farmers’ market with your child helps him or her learn where their food comes from. Here your child will see the many varieties of fruits and vegetables that are grown right in your own region.

Understanding that the corn in the can or frozen package really started as corn in the husks on the cob is sometimes hard for children to comprehend. Seeing carrots with bushy tops and not perfectly scrubbed clean in plastic bags can be eye-opening for them as well. Even seeing the quantities of melons in the back of pickups and truck beds piled high with corn is really quite a sight.

I always think of the hard work that goes into growing this food and getting it to market. I know that those who work the soil are always dependent on Mother Nature to bring the rain and sunshine just at the right moments. The fruits of their labor relies on cooperation from the elements.

Even though farmers’ markets offer food at the peak of freshness, we still must be concerned with maintaining the freshness and keeping it safe for eating. It’s always a good idea to go right home to get perishable foods in the refrigerator.

Some produce can be ripened on the kitchen counter and then stored in the refrigerator. Foods such as peaches, nectarines, pears, and plums fall into this category.

Some foods taste best at room temperature, such as onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and squashes. They need to be stored in a clean, dry, well-ventilated place, away from direct sunlight and areas where meat is prepared.

I always like to prepare what I bought as soon as possible. The last time I went to market I bought some beautiful looking onions. I hadn’t baked onions for a long time but remembered how my grandmother used to just set the onion on the top of the cover from a metal coffee can. (I suppose because aluminum foil wasn’t readily available and the juices do run out – can you remember the time before aluminum foil)??

Anyway, baked onions are delicious.

This is what you do…and it’s easy enough that kids can help and be part of the “going to market and then using the fresh food” experience.

Baked Onions

Cut off both ends of the onion and peel the outer skin. Cut an X in the center of the onion and dribble on some olive oil or add a dab of butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place each onion on a piece of foil and wrap tightly. Set in a baking dish. Bake for about 1 hour, or until tender. You can sprinkle top with freshly grated Parmesan, or crumbled cooked bacon, or some fresh herbs.

Serve with any meat dish or pasta.

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