Posted in Cooking with the Kiddies

Cookbook Trials – Week #3

Monday – Mac ‘N’ Cheese Please page 56 The Family Dinner

The main ‘go to’ in our house for comfort food as well as an easy meal when we leave the kids with a babysitter is Macaroni and Cheese.  We have many different recipes that we use so I thought that it was about time to try The Family Dinner‘s version.  I will start by saying overall it tasted pretty good but this is the first recipe in this book that I had a few problems with.  For starters the crunchy topping calls for panko bread.  I have been looking for panko for a while now with no success.  It was nice that in this recipe I was given an alternative of using crushed saltines.  For cheese we used Monterey Jack, one of our favourites, and I liked the fact it called for evaporated milk – it gave the cheese sauce a lighter feel.  As always we used whole wheat pasta.  The main problem I had was with a few of the instructions.  It told me to mix the sauce ingredients in a ‘small’ bowl – but I ended up switching bowls three times until I was using my largest bowl.  It was the only way to fit all the ingredients.  Also it is very important that when you have all the ingredients together in the pot you hat it very slowly. I had my stove on medium but it was still too hot and some of the eggs began to set.  Beyond wanting a few clearer instructions this mac and cheese was pretty good and will probably be made again.  On a side note I found that later in the week it didn’t reheat very well, compared to some of the other macaroni an cheese recipes I have made.

Tuesday – Leftovers: We had a lot of them!

Wednesday – Crispy Black Bean Cakes with Guacamole, “Grilled” Corn, and Slaw

This week we switched our Meatless day from Monday to Wednesday to make sure Gord was home to try this dish.  I followed the recipe exactly for this one.  The Guacamole, Cabbage Slaw, and “Grilled Corn” were made according to the recipes in the book.  Every summer/fall we make our own salsa so we used ours instead of the recipe.  We did leave out the green chilies because we love flavour but not too much spice in our food.  When all was said and done (and cooked) we were amazed how much we loved this dish!  Not something I would normally think to make but it was a hit with everyone except Kaitlyn, and I am not sure if she didn’t like it or if she was just being fussy.  I was so proud of myself I had to take a picture.

Thursday – Asian Beef Stir-Fry page 48 The Family Dinner

I am making an alteration to next week’s meal plan.  Where I write down the meal for each night I will indicate any advance prep or marinating time needed.  Again this week I went to make dinner and realized that I didn’t leave enough time.  Fortunately on Thursday I only needed to marinate for 3o minutes (the minimum) so we didn’t eat too late.  I picked this recipe because I wanted to use some of the awesome local asparagus available around here.  I couldn’t find Asian fish sauce and almost substituted oyster sauce until I googled the and learned they are not interchangeable.  I thoroughly enjoyed this stir-fry but the flavour would probably have been a bit better with the fish sauce.

Friday  – Pea Nutty Noodles page 128 The Family Dinner

As recommended on twitter this was a recipe we had to try.  It was very much a kid friendly, hands on meal.  The girls picked bow-tie pasta and it worked nicely.  For toppings we had: tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, and pickles (all picked by them).  I didn’t have enough smooth peanut butter left so we used a combination of smooth and crunch and the peanuts added a nice texture.  It turned out really well and the kids like it.  I am not a huge peanut butter fan so I would probably not make this for myself but I am sure the kids will ask for it again!

Saturday – A Better Burrito page 34 and Popcorn Three Ways page 26 Kids Cooking

I found the cookbook Friday night when I was cleaning my desk area. It had fallen between the desk and the wall.  We decided to make the Better Burrito that we were going to make last week, and Kaitlyn has been asking me to help her make the popcorn since she first opened the book.  For the burrito we used mozzarella cheese, refried black beans, tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa.  They turned out pretty good but again Kaitlyn was frustrated that she couldn’t do more.  There was a fair bit of prep on the stove and even I had to be careful around the burners.  This recipe was also very basic but in this case it was explicit in that you are to modify and add what you want for fixings.  Michael especially liked the burritos and they were all over his face.

The popcorn was an educational experience.  We like popcorn in our house, and my kids often request it when they watch their movie on Saturday nights.  We have boxes of light microwave popcorn in the pantry at all times.  I had never made popcorn on the stove before so it was kind of cool and much easier than I would expect.  Not sure about the health aspects cooking it in oil so that is something I need to look into.  We tried the Cheesy Italian Popcorn seasoning and it turned out pretty well.  It was funny, however, because we normally eat light popcorn the amount of butter in this recipe seemed a bit overwhelming – but the girls didn’t complain.

Sunday Breakfast – Cinnamon Apple Grits (page 16) and Double Strawberry Toast (page 20) Healthy in a Hurry

Sunday is our big breakfast day so we tried a few new recipes.  The first was the Cinnamon Apple Grits.  I thought this would be more of a side dish but it ended up being quite large so I probably didn’t need to make anything else.  It tasted pretty good but didn’t seem healthy at all.  One serving had 517 calories and to me that seems like a lot for breakfast.  We eat mostly low fat and low sugar foods to the taste was very sweet for us.  The Double Strawberry Toast was much better and had a lower calorie count at 399 calories per serving.  If we were to make it again I would simply use sliced strawberries maybe with a hint of lime juice – the honey was just unnecessary sugar.  The french toast worked out well but you have to make sure to cook it long enough or the inside of the sandwich is a bit soggy.  As a nice treat we used one of jars of freezer strawberry jam from last year.  We are almost out but no worries because strawberry season starts this week!

Sunday Dinner – Soy Good Maple-Glazed Salmon page 46 The Family Dinner  & Disgustingly Rich Brownies page 60 Kids Cooking

My mom was looking through my books last weekend and commented that this recipe, and the accompanying picture, looked really good so I thought we would try it.  This Sunday it was just the 5 of us, we didn’t have any company for a change.  Again I didn’t have the Asian fish sauce so I had to leave it out but it tasted great without it.  I very often over cook fish out of a fear of under cooking them.   I decided today I would follow the directions carefully, and this was difficult because I don’t trust my broiler (for no reason in particular). For the first time I cooked salmon perfectly!  We serve it with brown rice, steamed green beans and cauliflower.

For desert we made the Distgustingly Rich Brownies.  The directions were nice and easy for Kaitlyn to follow.  They tasted good but not the best brownies I have every had.

One more week to go. I have enjoyed this experiment with the three cookbooks but am looking forward to the freedom to make whatever I want for dinner.

Posted in Cooking with the Kiddies

Cookbook Trials – Week 2

Monday Breakfast – French Toast with Strawberry Butter, page 12 Kids Cooking

We had a family dinner for Baba’s birthday on Monday but we thought we would try another breakfast recipe.  Kaitlyn wanted to make the French Toast with Strawberry Butter and Daddy left for a business trip to China, so I decided it was a good morning for a family breakfast.  This recipe was much more appropriate for the age of my girls.  Kaitlyn helped gather all the ingredients, washed and cut the strawberries, measured the ingredients, blended the butter and made the egg batter.  All I did, other than supervise, was dip the bread slices and cook the French Toast.  I was a bit hesitant about the strawberry butter but it was better than expected.  The strawberry flavour on the French Toast was very good but the excess butter felt unnecessary.  I would have preferred a light strawberry sauce but it was definitely a more kid friendly recipe.

Tuesday – Aloha Shrimp Stir-Fry, page 92 Healthy in a Hurry

The girls love shrimp and frequently ask for it so I thought this would be a perfect recipe to try.  Overall this one was pretty good, and it only took 10 minutes to prepare – I actually had to make white rice instead of brown or it wouldn’t have been ready in time.  I was surprised how hard it was to find uncooked large shrimp that were peeled and deveined.  I had to purchase ones with tails on and pull the tails off but it wasn’t a big deal.  The only substitution I made was that I used defrosted frozen mixed stir-fry vegetables.  This probably made it a bit faster to prepare.  Next time I make this I will add more cornstarch, the sauce didn’t thicken very well.  A nice light dinner.

Wednesday – Speedy Pasta in a Pan, page 44 The Family Dinner

I love getting comments on my posts or responses from my tweets so I was thrilled when The Family Dinner responded to my tweet:

May we next suggest: speedy pasta in pan, black bean cakes, peanutty noodles?All so good! RT@KEMmommy: CookBook Trials –

I had already done my meal plan for the week but I modified it to inlcude the Speedy Pasta in a Pan.  It was a good day to do this recipe because  I had a couple of hours at home in the afternoon so I could prepare the dish and then after spending an hour at the school I could just cook it for the last 15 minutes.  I also doubled the recipe to have another dish for another night so this was a bonus.  This time I made the basic recipe and it was good, however it would be much better with sausage or vegetables added.  I also may reduce the amount of mozzarella cheese on the top of the dish.  My girls loved it.  They rarely ask for seconds but today they both did.

Thursday – Personal Pizzas, Kids Cooking

Some time between Thursday and the weekend I have misplaced copy of Kids Cooking so I can’t tell you the page right now.  It has to turn up somewhere.  These pizzas were made on english muffins, and we decided to use whole wheat.  The kids enjoyed them and they were easy to make but again they were nothing special.

Friday & Saturday

Friday night we were at the dress rehearsal for the dance recital until 7:00 so instead of left overs we drove through Little Caesars and picked up pizza.  Saturday we went to Gramma & Grampa’s for dinner

Sunday – The Family Dinner: Organic Chicken Legs (page 42) & Chocolate Pudding Fast (page 213)

Gord was still in China so we had Gramma & Grampa over for dinner.  I learned a valuable lesson – read your recipe many times very carefully.  I some how missed that I needed to cook the chicken in the oven for 45 minutes.  I had the roasted potatoes, asparagus and carrots done a good 30 minutes before the chicken but amazingly everything seemed to work out.  Normally I don’t like chicken drumsticks but these weren’t bad.  I went to the poultry counter at the market and asked for chicken legs and they gave me drumsticks, so I cooked a lot more than the 4 that were called for.  The tomatoes, onions, and garlic were a great sauce but I think I will try it with chicken breasts next time.

We always have homemade desert on Sundays and we were planning on making the brownies in the Kids Cooking  books but since we couldn’t find the book we had to improvise.  I found a recipe for chocolate pudding in The Family Dinner which I had all the ingredients for in my pantry & fridge and my girls love chocolate pudding.  I have never made homemade pudding before (not sure why) so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Normally our pudding comes out of a box or plastic container.  I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was and I thought it tasted pretty good.  Kaitlyn liked it but Eileen did not like it.  I used semi-sweet chocolate and hence it was not overly sweet.  I am going to find some good milk chocolate and try it again.

Next week we are using mostly The Family Dinner in our menu plans with a couple additions from Healthy in a Hurry.  Hopefully Kids Cooking shows up soon.

Posted in Cooking with the Kiddies

China Festival Family Style – The Feast

We couldn’t have a chinese festival without chinese food – and I don’t mean American Chinese food – real chinese food!

One of my favourite shows on T.V. is Ann & Kristina’s Grocery Bag.  This was my first stop in the search for a good authentic chinese cookbook.  They reviewed The Chinese Kitchen by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, and it didn’t get the A&K stamp of approval.   My next stop was the local public library.  They only had one Chinese cookbook: Cooking Chinese by Deh-Ta Hsiung.  I put it on hold and decided to give it a try.  While I was looking for cookbooks I also came across The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee.  This book is a look into the world of Chinese restaurants – American Chinese restaurants.  I am not finished reading it but so far it is fascinating.  The world that most of us know of Chinese food is not at all similar to the food actually eaten in China.  Fortune cookies aren’t even Chinese.  This is a fun read that I am going to sign out again this summer as an easy read at the cottage.

So back to the dinner.  Cooking Chinese by Deh-Ta Hsiung was the perfect cookbook four our feast.  It had 50 recipes to choose from and each was broken down into 3 steps.  Some ingredients were a bit exotic but most I could find in our small town.  The most helpful part was the back of the book where there was a page entitled “The Chinese Meal”.  I was trying to make this dinner as authentic as possible so this was a huge help in my planning.  I first learned that in an informal dinner all foods are placed in the centre of the table with everything ready to eat.  A lazy susan is a asset.  To make my life a little easier in my preparation I decided to make a 4 course dinner, more like a formal Chinese dinner.

As suggested our first course consisted of both cold dishes and hot dishes:

  • Chicken with Mustard Sauce (cold)
  • Spicy Beef (cold)
  • Vegetable Salad with Spicy Dressing (cold)
  • Hot and Sour Cabbage (warm)
  • Vegetarian Egg Rolls (warm)
All these dishes turned out very well.  I was nervous about the egg rolls but they were delicious and everyone wished I had made more.
It was interesting to learn that soup was never served as the first course.  Drinks are usually not served during a meal and clear-based soups are used in their place.  I decided to serve the soup between the first and the main course.
  • Wonton Tang Soup
  • Tofu and Fresh Vegetable Soup
As I was trying to make this as authentic as possible I didn’t take any shortcuts and made my own Chinese stock.  This was used in the Wonton soup to  great success but in the Tofu and Fresh Vegetable Soup I substituted vegetarian vegetable broth to meet the needs of our vegetarian guests.  It was lacking a bit of flavour but we think this was because of the substitution.  As with the egg rolls I was very proud of myself with the success of the wontons.
We took a short break after the soup course so I could get the main course ready.  If I was to do this again I would definitely have 2 woks.   My wok broke a couple of months ago so I borrowed my aunt’s electric wok.  It was awesome to use but it was our bottle neck.  I was grateful for my warming drawer so all dishes could be served warm.
  • Stir-Fried Shrimp with Snow Peas
  • Kung-Po Chicken
  • Cantonese Beef
  • Red, Green, and Yellow (ie. tomatoes, cucumbers and eggs)
Most of these dishes turned out excellent.  My favourite of the entire day was the Cantonese Beef – awesome!  The Red, Green and Yellow wasn’t my favourite but I think it was just ingredients that my pallet didn’t like together.
Chinese don’t normally have desert but that wasn’t going to fly in our house.  The cookbook did give a recipe for Almond Junket, also known as Almond Float.  Basically this is jello type cubes served with fruit salad.  It was not a big hit, but probably an acquired taste.  Of course we had to have Jasmine tea with our desert.  When I was doing my grocery shopping I came across Hello Panda Chocolate cookies.  I am not sure if these are really Chinese but I found them in the asian section so we are saying they are – and they were a hit with both the adults and children.  Even though they are not Chinese I did pick up a box of Fortune cookies.  We had fun with them but we made sure everyone knew that they are an American invention.
A couple of notes about our dinner.  I have to give a huge thanks to my amazing husband.  He stopped at an Asian grocery store when he was in the city to pick up some of our more unusual ingredients an it was a frustrating experience for him to say the least.  After much searching we did have two recipes with ingredients missing but we didn’t seem to notice.  In the Spicy Beef we didn’t add the rock candy and in the Hot and Sour Cabbage we were missing the Sichuan peppercorns.
And finally you can’t have a Chinese feast without chopsticks.  We had normal bamboo chopsticks for the adults but I wanted to find something a little easier for the kids to avoid frustration.  My favourite online kitchen store, Golda’s Kitchen and great one piece chopsticks that were perfect.  The only problem I have now is that my kids want to use them everyday.
An awesome dinner and I definitely am looking into purchasing Cooking Chinese by Deh-Ta Hsiung.  I don’t think I will make all those recipes in the same day again but can definitely add a few to our weekly meal plans.
Posted in Cooking with the Kiddies

Cook Book Trials – Week 1

As promised we are cooking exclusively from our 3 new cook books for the next 4 weeks.  The only exceptions will be a few dinners we have at family gatherings at other houses.

Monday – Ricotta Rotini page 104 Healthy in a Hurry

Trying to stick to our routine Monday is Meatless.  The thing I like about the Company’s Coming series of cookbooks are the very clear instructions.  We started with this recipe because most of the ingredient were familiar to our family but we still had one new ingredient: artichoke hearts.  As promised this recipe was done in less than 30 minutes, and that including preparing all the ingredients.  We made one substitution using shredded Parmesan cheese rather than grated but it worked out fine.   My only complaint is that even though it was considered heathy it still had 702 calories per serving.  The serving was a good size but I thought there could be ways to reduce the calorie count.  For example it called for regular ricotta cheese and we used light instead, and the flavour seemed fine.  Not an amazing dish but O.K. for meatless Monday.

Tuesday – Gary’s T-Night Tacos page 9 The Family Dinner

When I was making my weekly menu last Sunday I opened up The Family Dinner I realized that I probably needed to read this book  before cooking too much from it.  I decided to tackle the first recipe in the book as I figured I could ready the 8 pages leading up to Gary’s T-Night Tacos.  This is no normal cookbook – it could more realistically be considered a parenting book.  The Foreward by Harry Karp had a great quote that I think show the focus of this book:

I encourage you to think of family dinner as your child’s nightly dress rehearsal for adulthood, a protected space for him or her to master patience, conversation, an cooperation … one meal at a time.

The foreward is followed by an introduction by author Laurie David and then the recipe we tried.

We are a pretty traditional Taco family so I was not sure how this was going to go.  Our tacos usually come from a kit with ground beef, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce added.  We have had some luck in the past trying the non-traditional so I thought we would just go for it – and we were pleasantly surprised.  The texture of this recipe is a big softer than I would normally like but the favour was great!  I asked Gord what he thought and his comment was: “Surprisingly pretty good”.  There were many ingredients in these that my kids would not normally eat, eg. avocado, but they devoured them in the tacos.  It wasn’t amazing but was pretty good and probably a make again.

Wednesday – Tarragon-Poached Fish page 91 Healthy in a Hurry

For the next couple of weeks Wednesday’s are still pretty busy for us, until swimming lessons finish at the end of the month.  Because of this I picked a really quick recipe for Wednesday.  This recipe definitely met my criteria.  It took less than 10 minutes to prepare and was very easy to clean up.  This was a nice light fish with a mild flavour.  Again not an outstanding recipe but good for a weeknight.

Thursday & Friday – Thursday afternoon and evening were crazy busy with a visit to the Naturalpath, make up dance classes, and our Family Fit exercise class, so we decided to make it a leftovers night.  Most of the dishes were left over from our Chinese feast last Sunday but the Ricotta Rotini from Monday re-heated pretty well.  Still not a big fan however.  On Friday it was a gorgeous day so we decided to treat ourselves to a hot dog from the Arbor in Port Dover after dance class.

Saturday – Alphabetter Soup page 32 Kids Cooking

Saturday is our kids “Cooking with the Kiddies” day so it was the perfect day to try out Kids Cooking.  I picked the Alphabetter Soup because it looked pretty easy and it wasn’t anything too strange for the kids.  I really like the way this cook book is set out for kids.  The ingredients and tools are listed both with pictures and words.  Then the recipe was divided into Getting Reading and Cooking.  Kaitlyn helped read the recipe using both the pictures and any words she knew or could sound out.  The steps are pretty well laid out and it tells which steps to have an adult do.  We did have one problem as it tell the child to “Open the can of tomatoes and carefully pour them into the pan”.  This is a step that an adult should do – when Kaitlyn was pouring them in the oil in the pan splashed up on her hands.  She doesn’t take too well to pain, like any child would react, and it took her a bit to come back in the kitchen to finish dinner.

The cookbook seems very kid friendly and very well laid out but there seemed to be a lack of creativity in the recipe we tried and in short it was not very good.  I think the problem was two fold.  First it needed more flavour.  Other than a bay leaf there were no spices added and they would have been a welcome addition.   Secondly it called for 4 bouillon cubes in the soup.  We never use bouillon and now I remember why.  It didn’t say which type to use so we used chicken bouillon.  Upon first taste I knew something wasn’t right.  It wasn’t until Gord mentioned it that I figured out what it was – SALT.  It tasted like I was eating pure salt.  It was sooooo strong that you couldn’t taste the flavour of the vegetables.  I went to check the bouillon package and quickly noticed the first ingredient listed is salt – no surprise.  This recipe would possibly have been much better if made with low sodium vegetable broth instead of the water and bouillon, or possibly even just using the water and adding more natural spices.  A very disappointing dinner.  Hopefully the next recipe we try from Kids Cooking will be much better.

Sunday Breakfast – Egg in a Frame page 15 Kids Cooking

Normally Sunday is pancake day but none of our three new cookbooks had a pancake recipe.  Instead we decided to try one of the “Four Ways to Cook an Eggceptional Breakfast”.  My girls had never had them before so we made “Eggs in a Frame”.  Again there was not a lot Kaitlyn could do in this recipe.  She used a cup to create the hole in the center of the bread but Mommy had to do the rest as it was over the stove.  I am starting to think this cookbook is for much older children.

Sunday Dinner – Simple Beef Broccoli page 75 Healthy in a Hurry

Normally Sunday night is our big family dinner and we invite extended family over for dinner.  This week we were suppose to go to a BBQ for my father-in-laws birthday but that was cancelled so we made a dinner we were suppose to have early in the week (but decided to go out instead).  Simple Beef Broccoli was a very easy recipe.  The most time consuming thing was cutting up the meat and veggies.  I purchased a whole steak instead of pre-cut beef stir-fry strips so it took me a few minutes longer to prepare the meat.  Instead of the suggested rice I served the beef over a bed of whole wheat egg noodles.  Sometimes it feels like we eat brown rice every day so this was a nice change and a nice pairing.  We did make one substitution in the recipe.  It called for 2 tbsp of dry sherry, which I did not have and did not want to buy a whole bottle for one recipe.  I found a great website that gave substitutions for different types of alcohol in your cooking.  It called for vanilla extract, orange juice or pineapple juice.  I couldn’t imagine using vanilla in this recipe and I didn’t have orange or pineapple juice so I used apple juice, a staple in our fridge.   The substitution seemed to work fine.

So that was our first week of cookbook testing.  We tried a few recipes from Healthy in a Hurry and Kids Cooking and I am really looking forward to next week and trying more from The Family Dinner.

Posted in Cooking with the Kiddies

New Cookbooks

This has become the week of new cookbooks, and it is only Tuesday.  This was totally unplanned but very welcome.

Yesterday at the grocery store I made an impulse purchase of Company’s Coming Healthy in a Hurry.  It is still a few months away but I am trying to prepare for cooking for my family once I go back to work. I don’t want to sacrafice our healthy meals for speed.

Also yesterday Kaitlyn brought home from school a cookbook we ordered through the Scholastic book order: Kids Cooking.  I am hoping this will help give ideas for our Saturday Kid friendly meals.

Finally I was very excited to receive my copy of The Family Dinner in the mail today.   I won it at a twitter party last month and am very excited to try it out!

My goal is to cook exclusively from these three books for a month starting next Monday.  We have our big China party on Sunday so we won’t start until after  that.  Check back in June and I will post my thoughts.

Posted in Cooking with the Kiddies

Wheat and Dairy Free – Take 2

So I am trying to blog while watching the election results so hopefully this sounds O.K.  I am already worried about the results and they just started coming in a couple of minutes ago.

I thought I would give reviews on a couple of products we have tried.  Last Wednesday Gord and I had a dinner out, we went to see General Rick Hillier speak, so I made the girls macaroni & cheese – dairy and gluten free style.  I purchased a box of Road’s End Organics Dairy Free Penne & Chreese.  I used the almond milk to add a creamy texture.  It wasn’t too bad, but I found it rather bland.  It didn’t taste like cheese but it didn’t have a bad taste. Maybe I could get more flavour if I tried a homemade recipe.  If anyone has any great dairy or gluten free recipes please pass them on.

Today I went to a grocery store I don’t normally go to in an attempt to try and find some more food options.  I usually shop at a Sobeys near my house but today we went to the Real Canadian Superstore.  I don’t normally like going there as they have lousy customer service and won’t bag my groceries, even if I have a screaming child, but they have a large natural food section.  I managed to find a number of new products to try. One I found was Soypudding.  My girls love their chocolate pudding and the one thing they have found difficult is their desserts.  I always let them have a sweet treat for dessert so letting them have chocolate pudding made them very happy.  I tried a bit of Eileen’s pudding and it was pretty good.  It was much more expensive than regular chocolate pudding.

Today is Monday so it was Meatless Monday for dinner.  We have been having so much rice pasta lately that I wanted to try something different so tonight I made Mexican Brown Rice with Tomatoes and Corn from Anne Lindsay’s New Light Cooking.  It was really good and the girls love it.  The best thing was that I didn’t have to use any new weird ingredients.

Posted in Cooking with the Kiddies

Saturday in the Kitchen – Using your hands

Todays recipe for Fun Food Saturdays was one we have been using for a while but it is always a favourite: Walnut and Cranberry Chicken Tenders.  I am always on the look out for new recipes and this one came a couple of years ago in an insert in a magazine.  This one is kid friendly, quick, easy and most of the ingredients are always in our house, we just had to pick up the cranberry sauce and egg substitute.

Chicken tenders are one of those foods that most kids love, but buying the frozen ones in the grocery store is not always the healthiest option.  They are very easy to make and by baking they are warm and juice for little mouths.  The best thing about this recipe is getting the kids to help.

I get three of my pasta bowls out and mix up the three different stages of dipping before even getting the kids in the kitchen: 1 – the flour, 2 – the egg mixture, 3 – the bread crumb mixture.  As much as the girls didn’t want to get messy making the Mini Turkey Burgers last week they were all in for dipping the chicken.  This recipe is also very forgiving so don’t stress when they don’t evenly coat every piece of chicken – they still taste great.

One other thing we have added is letting the girls pick their own vegetables.  It encourages them to eat healthy but empowers them with choices.  On Thursday we all headed to our local farmers market and I told them they each had to pick a vegetable for Saturday dinner.  One picked green beans and one picked yellow beans.  I should have expected that!

Tonight was a huge success and everyone’s plate was clear with no left-overs!

Posted in Cooking with the Kiddies

Kids Cooking with Martha Stewart

For this Saturday’s dinner I found a couple of cute ideas on Martha Stewart’s website that promised to be a hit with the kids. The key for our Saturday dinners is not just that the kids will love eating them but that they will love making them.  This week was all about getting messy.

Our main course was Mini-Turkey Burgers.  They were very yummy, very easy to make, and the perfect size for tiny hands.  I thought it would be fun for the girls to get  their hands in the mixture and make the burgers themselves but they were too worried about getting their hands messy.  Whenever cooking with kids make sure they wash their hands before and after touching anything.  This isn’t usually a problem in our house, the problem is usually the bathroom flooding!  The only thing difficult to find in this recipe was the mini buns.  Gramma came to the rescue again and found Slider Thins Mini Burger Buns made by President’s Choice.  It was nice having thin buns as we could make our burgers a bit thicker an they were still not too large for little mouths.









My girls belive that dessert is a requirement at every meal.  The key is to give them healthier options so they don’t end up with chocolate pudding or something out of the treat bowl.  Today we made Mini Banana Splits.  We used french vanilla frozen yogurt but you could use any flavour.  I cut up the banana for them but they assembled everything themselves.  We only added bananas but you could add whatever fruit you have in the fridge and your kids love.  As a special treat they each got a squirt of chocolate sauce on their sundae!

As always I am always looking for great cooking ideas with the kiddies so please offer your suggestions in the comments!

Posted in Cooking with the Kiddies

Saturday in the Kitchen

I woke up this morning made myself a cup of tea and enjoyed a nice banana muffin, which I made with the girls last night.  In an attempt to make my life easier I now do weekly meal plans for my family.  On Sundays I sit down and make a plan for dinner for each night of the week.  I try to have some sort of format and Saturday night are fun dinner nights.  This means we make dinner together. It may not always be our healthiest meal of the day, and is usually is our messiest, but it is also the most fun.

Last night was pizza night – a very easy dinner to make with the kids.  We make dough in the breadmaker but you can usually find dough in any grocery store.  Yesterday was a bit of an adventure as our breadmaker stopped working but Gramma came to the rescue and made a batch for us in her breadmaker.  Another easy tip is to get pizza sauce in the easy squeeze bottle – it is very kid friendly.  I just keep filling it up with the cheaper canned variety.  The best thing about pizza is that everyone can put on their favourite toppings.

Now back to those banana muffins.  We had a bunch of bananas that were getting a bit old so we did what any person would do – we made muffins.  I pulled out Kaitlyn’s Kids Do Snacks cookbook, and found a recipe for “Fanana of Banana Muffins”.  This is a great cookbook for kids that gives them clearly laid out steps.  My kids are still a bit young to follow the steps themselves so this is a great activity we do together.








The most important thing when baking and cooking with kids is to go with the flow.  It sometimes is difficult to do but don’t worry about the messes.  At one point Eileen poured half a tsp of baking powder all over herself – I just simply brushed her off and game her another tsp.

I am always looking for new hands on dinner ideas with the kids – if anyone has any suggestions please add them in the comments.