Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Week 5, For the Kids.....

If you are like me, then the last thing you want to do every night is make several different dinners for all the picky eaters in your house. The worst is when you take time to make a nice, healthy dinner for your family, and then end up opening up a box of macaroni and cheese because your three year old refuses to eat!

I came up with, what I hope, are four "kid-friendly" meals. Sausage and Cheese Calzones, Fish and Chips, Paella, and Carne Asada Tacos.

Don't be afraid to substitute for what you know that your children will like the best. For instance, any pizza topping can be used with the calzone recipe, and instead of flank steak you can use chicken, ground beef or ground turkey for the tacos. You know your family the best! Also, get your kids in the kitchen to help you out! I find that when my three year old helps out, even in the most insignificant way, she is more willing to try and eat her dinner-because she "cooked" it. It also helps teach your kids that healthy food doesn't come out of a box!

Check out these websites for more tips and ideas on how to get your kids in the kitchen:

Cooking with Kids

Kids Cooking Activities

Growing Cooks

Items already in the pantry or fridge:
flour, salt, black pepper, white pepper, 2 eggs, corn flakes, olive oil, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, dried oregano, chili powder, white vinegar, soy sauce, corn meal, Parmesean cheese, milk

Shopping List**:
3 pounds flank steak
1 1/4 pound of chicken cutlets
1/2 pound of pork sausage
1 1/2 pounds of cod fillet
1/2 pound small, cooked, peeled shrimp
2 limes
1 bulb of garlic
1 large tomatoes
4 large potatoes
2 onions
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
8 oz frozen peas
3 cups long grain rice
1 10 oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese
1 10 oz bag of shredded mozzerella cheese
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 box of taco shells
1 tube (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 jar favorite pizza sauce
3 cups chicken stock
sour cream

**Most recipes are for 4-6 servings. If you are making more, or less, you will need to adjust the shopping list accordingly**

Sausage and Cheese Calzones (makes four calzones)
1/2 pound of pork sausage
1 medium onion
1 clove of garlic
1/2 yellow bell pepper chopped
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp of dried basil
2 cups of mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup of parmesean cheese
ground black pepper
8 oz of ricotta cheese
1 egg beaten
1 tbsp of water
2 tbsp of cornmeal
1 tube of refrigerated crescent rolls
1 tbsp of olive oil

Brown the meat in a skillet. Drain and remove to a large bowl. Using the same skillet, add 1 tbsp of olive oil. On medium to high heat saute the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the bell pepper and cook on medium heat for an additional 5-6 minutes. Add the oregano, basil and pepper to taste.

Add the onion mixture to the sausage. Add the mozzarella and Parmesean cheese.

Grease the cookie sheet and sprinkle with the cornmeal.

Unroll the dough onto a floured surface, and separate into 4 rectangles. Press each into a 7 x 4 inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Add 1/4 of the sausage mixture to the center of the rectangle, add 2 tbsp of ricotta cheese to the top of the mixture. fold the dough over the filling; firmly press edges with fork to seal. Brush the top of each with an egg. With a fork, prick top of each to allow steam to escape.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Serve with warm pizza sauce for dipping.

Paella (6 servings)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/4 pounds of chicken cutlets, cut into chunks
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp of tumeric
1 tsp chili powder
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup peas (if frozen allow to thaw slightly)
3 cups long grain rice
3 cups of water
3 cups chicken stock
2 chicken or turkey sausage
1/2 pound small, cooked, peeled shrimp

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place sausage on broiler pan and into oven for about 15 minutes, or until cooked through; set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a very large skillet or paella pan over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Place the chicken cutlets into oil and sear until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes; set aside.

Stir in onion and garlic, cook until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 1 minutes. Add green and red bell pepper, stirring for 1 minute. Stir in the rice, tumeric, chili powder and saute for 1 minute.

Pour in the water and the stock, stir well, then simmer for 15-20 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently to make sure the rice does not stick

Add the peas. Slice the sausages on the diagonal and then add to the rice with the shrimp. Allow to heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fish and Chips (4 servings)
1 1/2 pounds cod fillets
4 large potatoes, peeled
2 cups finely crushed cornflakes
Salt and Pepper to season
3 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 lightly beaten egg
1 cup of milk

Halve the potatoes lengthwise, then cut each piece into 4 sticks. Pour 1 1/2 tbsp of oil into the roasting pan, and place the roasting pan in a preheated 400 degree oven for 2-3 minutes.

Transfer the potatoes to the roasting pan. Toss in the oil until well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Return to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until crisp on the outside but tender.

Meanwhile, season the flour with salt and pepper. In a separate dish beat the egg with the milk. Coat the fish pieces in the flour, then dip them into the egg/milk mixture, and roll in the crushed cornflakes.

Heat the remaining oil in a skillet, on medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook thoroughly. Serve with the potatoes.

Carne Asada Tacos (four servings, two tacos each)
3 pounds Flank Steak
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 box of taco shells, or soft taco tortillas
1 large tomato diced
2 cups shredded lettuce
Shredded cheddar cheese for serving
salsa for serving
sour cream for serving
guacamole for serving

Lay the flank steak in a large glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, 4 cloves of garlic, juice of two limes, and olive oil. Season with salt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, cumin and paprika. Whisk until well blended, then pour over the steak in the steak in the dish. Turn over once to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for 1 to 8 hours. Grill (or broil) the steak for 7 to 10 minutes per side, turning once, until medium-rare. Remove the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to settle. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal.

Place the desired amount of steak into warmed taco shells, garnish with tomatoes, lettuce, cheddar cheese. Serve with salsa and guacamole. Spanish rice accompanies this dish well.

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