Tag: kids & family

Chicken Nuggets You Don’t Have to Feel Guilty About

by in Family, June 11th, 2013

Chicken Nuggets You Don't Have to Feel Guilty AboutWe moved to the United States from Italy about six months ago, and the adjustments have actually gone pretty smoothly. Our family is indeed American, but a four-year project took us to Rome, where all three kids were born. Now they’re in the thick of learning all things American first-hand, including chicken nuggets.

So when I found a recipe for a homemade version online, I made a few updates and came up with a new staple for a tasty dinner that travels well, too. These nuggets have been to the park, the playground and our own table.

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Punched Up! Colorful Potatoes Kids Love

by in Family, June 5th, 2013

Colorful Potatoes Kids LoveFrench fries aside, my kids don’t exactly clamor for potatoes. I’ve made them all sorts of ways: oven-roasted fries, mashed with kale and Parmesan cheese, smashed with Greek yogurt, steamed with butter and herbs — and while those options have all had their ups and downs, this technique is the one that brought actual squeals to the table.

The trick was a simple bag of colored potatoes along with a set of vegetable cutters. Together they produced a giggle fest of interest before our girls even tried the potatoes. Before I even baked them. What color will the potato be inside? Will there be stars or hearts? Can I mix them up in the oil?

For roasted potatoes, my favorite way to go is extra-virgin olive oil, garlic pushed through the press, salt and a couple rounds of pepper out of the grinder. Dump all that along with the potatoes right onto a baking sheet, mix with bare hands, spread out and roast at 425 degrees F for about 25 minutes, depending on the size of the potato pieces. Flip them once along the way.

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3 Ways to Make Kids Say, “Yay, Asparagus!”

by in Family, May 25th, 2013

3 Ways to Make Kids Say, Kids don’t always love eating the green stuff. But instead of offering less of it, one of my favorite techniques is adding things they do like to any given dish. Take asparagus. Our toddler loves lemons, so it’s a go-to trick for encouraging her to try new foods. (It also works for previously refused foods, but I’m sure that never happens at your place.)

1. Our favorite way to make asparagus is sauteed in a pan with olive oil and a handful of peas. Add a few shavings of salty Parmesan cheese on top and let the kids squeeze their own lemon at the table.
2. Or try asparagus on homemade pizza with big drops of fresh ricotta cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano.
3. Never underestimate the power of roasting veggies. A pan of asparagus with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a dash of salt will be amazing after 10 minutes of roasting at 425 degrees F. You might even get a cheer, but I always settle for at least a bite.

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Smart Choices: Foods to Fuel Kids at School

by in Family, May 18th, 2013

Whole-grain Breakfast PorridgeNow that the days are getting noticeably longer and the weather considerably warmer, summer is on everyone’s mind, including your kids’. They’re likely eagerly awaiting a sunny, stress-free summer vacation, but before they can close the books on another school year, most will be forced to endure a few weeks of final exams, projects and reports. As moms and dads, you may not be able to help out your kids with their advanced algebra problem sets or their comprehensive timeline of World War I, but you can surely send them to school with a hearty breakfast in their bellies. Just in time for test-taking season, Food Network checked in with Julie Negrin, M.S., a nutritionist, who shared Nutrition 101 for Parents and Kids. Among other benefits, following her suggestions for serving must-have wholesome foods “can lead to kids who feel calmer, sleep better … and study more.” Read on below for some of her top tips, plus find family-friendly breakfast recipes to give your kids the fuel they need to succeed.

In place of cold cereals that are likely packed with unnecessary sugar, swap in a bowl of warm oatmeal. “Stick to whole food carbohydrates that are packed with nutrients,” Julie recommends, explaining that they “take longer to digest.” Food Network Magazine‘s Whole-Grain Breakfast Porridge (pictured above) is packed with healthful ingredients like red rice, steel-cut oats and barley, plus it’s sweetened with just a single cinnamon stick, fruit and a bit of brown sugar. Since the porridge is made entirely in the rice cooker, it’s a no-fuss breakfast that requires little attention. Your child is not an oatmeal eater? Try serving Food Network Kitchens’ Whole-Grain Waffles, which can be partially prepared the night before you plan to cook them.

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Making Mashed Potatoes More Kid-Friendly

by in Family, May 12th, 2013

Making Mashed Potatoes More Kid-FriendlyMashed potatoes are a new item on our three kids’ menus — ages 3 1/2, 2 and 10 months. We’ve lived in Italy for the last four years, where potatoes aren’t very starchy, so we didn’t eat them this way often. Now we’re in North Carolina, where the local spuds are organically grown and perfect for mashing. Because they’re novel, I’ve got a few tricks to make them a successful part of the meal.

Always: Use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream and buttermilk for cream — both add protein and cut fat, two habits I’d like our kids to get used to early.

Sometimes: Add finely diced veggies to the boiling water during the last few minutes of cooking. Shredded spinach, kale or carrots can always be called “confetti.” Or get more clandestine with turnips or cauliflower.

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Easy Mother’s Day Desserts for Dads and Kids to Tackle Together

by in Family, Holidays, May 11th, 2013

Lemon Tiramisu TrifleListen up, dads. Even though Mother’s Day is just a few hours away and you may not have bought the devoted mom in your life a worthy present yet, there’s indeed time left to gift her something from the heart, a present that she’ll surely appreciate. Instead of resorting to a bouquet of flowers from the local bodega, gather your kids in the kitchen and commit to making Mom an extra-special Mother’s Day dessert. While there’s a time and a place for fancy, intricate sweets, Mother’s Day isn’t it, especially if they are to be prepared by little hands. Can-do desserts are the treats of choice instead — those that deliver tried-and-true results every time. Check out a few of FN Dish’s favorite easy desserts below, then browse Food Network’s Mother’s Day Central for more recipe inspiration and entertaining tips.

A no-bake recipe that can be prepped in only 20 minutes, Food Network Kitchens’ Lemon Tiramisu Trifle (pictured above) relies on store-bought goodies like lemon curd and ladyfinger cookies to ensure that this dessert is a cinch to prepare. Once you and your kids have arranged the first half of the cookies in a dish, start layering them with lemon syrup, lemon cream and fresh berries. While the trifle is essentially done as is, it needs to chill for at least eight hours so that the flavors of the lemon, berries and cream marry and the ladyfingers become soft with syrup. This means that it’s best to make the dessert tonight or first thing tomorrow morning, so it will be ready to enjoy after dinner.

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Tacos, Nachos and Churros: Go-To Recipes for a Kid-Friendly Cinco de Mayo

by in Family, Holidays, May 4th, 2013

Tacos Carne AsadaWhile some elements of Cinco de Mayo — the spicy salsas, spiked margaritas and too-green guacamole among them — may be no match for little ones and their picky palates, others like soft-shelled tacos, cheesy nachos and sweet churros are go-to bites that are practically made with kids’ appetites in mind. These dishes, although guaranteed kid-pleasers, are also some of the most-classic picks for traditional Mexican fare, so by serving them at your Cinco de Mayo celebration, you can be sure that grown-up guests will be happy to enjoy them, too. Whether you’re hosting a big-bash fiesta tomorrow or simply spending a quiet day at home, mark the fifth of May with a family-friendly spread of Mexican eats. Check out a few of FN Dish’s favorite tacos, nachos and churro recipes below, then browse Food Network’s Cinco de Mayo Central for more go-to recipes and entertaining tips.

Tyler’s top-rated Tacos Carne Asada is a must-try meal if you’re cooking for kids, because you can control the ingredients of the steak marinade and pico de gallo, making them as spicy or as mild as you want. Tyler opts for a jalapeno and a few garlic cloves in the mojo-style marinade and a serrano chile in the salsa, but little ones may appreciate less heat. After letting the meat marinate, grill it until juicy and tender, then serve it in warm tortillas. Let your kids assemble their own dream tacos by setting up a spread of traditional toppings like shredded lettuce, Jack cheese, white onion and fresh pico de gallo and inviting them to help themselves. Watch this video to see Tyler make this can-do recipe.

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Meals to Make With Your Wallet in Mind

by in Family, Recipes, April 27th, 2013

Beef and Black Bean SlidersWhether you’re grocery shopping to feed just yourself or an entire family of 10, it’s easy for your total bill at the checkout counter to reach an uncomfortably high price, even if you’re stocking up on essentials alone. But you shouldn’t have to sacrifice nutrition for the sake of your wallet, and indeed eating well on a budget is easy to do. The key to making wholesome meals without breaking the bank is knowing which products to buy — and knowing how to best put them to use to get the most out of them in dishes that your family will enjoy. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite money-saving tips below, plus get can-do, kid-friendly recipes that are easy to prepare on a budget.

Make Each Ingredient Go Further
To stretch the value a somewhat pricey ingredient, like meat, mix it with far more inexpensive products that won’t distract from the overall taste or texture of the dish. The next time you make tacos, burritos or burgers, try swapping out a portion of the beef or chicken for mashed beans or rice; the supper won’t suffer, and you’ll use less meat to feed more people. In her recipe for Beef and Black Bean Sliders (pictured above), Ten Dollar Dinners host Melissa d’Arabian combines ground beef with cooked black beans to create moist, flavorful burgers on a budget. She forms the mixture into traditional patties, grills them and serves them on toasted buns with tangy coleslaw for a fuss-free 10-minute meal.

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Breakfast in a Hurry: Easy Recipes for Quick-Fix Morning Meals

by in Family, Recipes, April 20th, 2013

Egg-in-a-HoleIn the midst of the hustle and bustle that is inevitably your morning routine, it can seemly nearly impossible to serve your kids a breakfast of anything other than cereal, and while of course weekdays are no time for leisurely prepared flapjacks or made-to-order omelets, it’s important to send your little ones to school with a wholesome meal in their bellies. Quick-fix recipes that can be made easily and eaten in a flash are welcome timesavers, and kid-friendly picks like egg-in-toast, breakfast-style pizza and better-for-you ganola bars are go-to classics. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite simple-to-make recipes below for no-fuss morning meal ideas and must-see tips.

The ultimate all-in-one weekday breakfast, the Pioneer Woman’s Egg-in-a-Hole (pictured above) is a kid-friendly favorite that’s ready to eat in only five quick minutes. Using the rim of a round glass, remove a hole in the center of a piece of bread — whatever kind you have on hand will work — then drop it in a buttered skillet and fill the hole with a cracked egg. In less than a minute, the egg will have begun to set within the bread and it will be ready for a gentle flip. Ree recommends letting the egg cook just until the yolk is soft — any longer and it won’t be runny.

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Picky Eater-Approved: Meals to Make Dinnertime Easy

by in Family, Recipes, April 13th, 2013

Pepperoni Pizza PocketsAre family dinners a struggle in your home — you all but begging your little ones to eat something other than packaged pizza, chicken nuggets, and macaroni and cheese while your kids stare back at you, adamantly refusing even a taste of something more wholesome? If so, know that you could be in for more manageable suppers simply by letting them eat the meals they want but opting for homemade versions of them, instead of relying on store-bought varieties. While it’s indeed best to attempt to patiently introduce children to diverse groups of food, that approach may prove unrealistic in many homes. In those cases, embracing kid-friendly foods in from-scratch recipes for pizza, chicken nuggets, and mac and cheese may make for happier times at the dinner table. Your kids will be pleased because they’ll think they’re enjoying their favorite meals, and you’ll feel better knowing they’re eating wholesome, home-cooked food. Check out Food Network’s top takes on classic kid-approved picks like pizza, chicken nuggets, and macaroni and cheese below to find must-try meals that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters in your home.

Just like traditional pizza, Jeff Mauro’s Pepperoni Pizza Pockets (pictured above) boast creamy mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and a crunchy crust, but they’re formed into easy-to-eat pouches instead of an open-faced pie. The secret to Jeff’s recipe is starting with prepared pizza dough; having one on hand makes meal prep a cinch and ensures that these golden-brown beauties can be ready to eat in less than an hour. Serve each pocket with a side of Jeff’s sweet tomato-basil sauce, and let your kids indulge in this eat-with-your-hands meal with deliciously simple dunking.

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