How to make Caesar Salad a New Food Favorite! (52 New Foods, Week 16)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on April 21, 2012 0 Comments

Spin up a healthy side! Teach your kids how to make a Caesar Salad your whole family will love and add this classic dish to their list of new food favorites.

How to Make Caesar Salad

Salad is the Mount Everest of new foods at our house. It remains a mystery to me what is so daunting about the notion of a bowl overflowing with beautiful green leafy ruffles drizzled in creamy, homemade dressing. It seems so simple and enjoyable, but it’s a trail my kids haven’t been willing to hike. How will we get over this mountain together?

Feature Recipe: Easy, Caesar Salad

As with any adventure (culinary or otherwise), it’s always more fun and interesting to put the kids in charge of the journey – it’s a surefire way to get them having fun making, sharing and trying new foods. Salad is no exception, so this week my kids and I had great fun learning how to make Caesar Salad.             `

How to Make Caesar Salad

Ingredients:
1 bunch organic Romaine lettuce
½ tsp minced garlic
½ cup organic mayonnaise
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp table salt
Juice from 1/2 lemon
½ loaf of herbed Italian bread

Directions:
For the croutons:
1) Slice the bread into ¼” cubes.
2) Toss in 1 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt.
3) Bake in a 250 degree oven for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned.

For the dressing:
1) Place the garlic, mayonnaise, cheese, olive oil, salt and lemon in a food processor. Blend for 2 to 3 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Pull it all together:
1) Wash and dry the romaine lettuce. Tear into bite size pieces.
2) Add the dressing and croutons and toss until fully coated.

Dressing recipe inspired by Amy The Family Chef.

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: I’ll try a “taster”

What we liked: This easy Caesar salad dressing is fun for the kids to make with no worrisome ingredients like raw eggs. At its first appearance on our table, my kids hesitantly tried a “taster”, but they weren’t sold. So I worked in a few other cameos over the next few days: as a dipping sauce for snacktime vegetables, as a spread on fresh, chewy herbed bread, and as a dip for their favorite chicken wings. Slowly but surely they are warming to the taste, so we’ll keep trying. It’s important to remember, it can take up to 10 times of exposure to a new food before some children will like it, so don’t give up if they’re not gobbling up the dressing on the first try.

Do you have a family favorite salad dressing? Share the details!

Next up: May is the month for Mothers. To celebrate, we’ll be featuring a fun lineup of my favorite recipes. Be sure to tune in.

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Easy, Italian chicken

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit children’s nutrition programs including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and FoodCorps. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor on Facebook and Twitter to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.

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How to Make Italian Chicken the Easy Way! (52 New Foods, Week 15)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on April 16, 2012 2 Comments

Need an easy recipe for busy weeknights? Here’s how to make Italian chicken that's deliciously simple and tasty. Less than 15 minutes to fabulous!

There’s no doubt that Chicken Parmesan will please most crowds, including the crowd at my house. But it’s a bear to make on weeknights and a healthier version without the breadcrumbs and cheese would certainly be a welcome addition to our stable of recipes. Here’s how to make Italian chicken that’s so simple, easy, and tasty it is sure to become a regular on your weeknight menu!

Feature Recipe: Easy Italian Chicken from The Family Chef

how to make Italian chicken

My kids love roast chicken (and Chicken Parmesan, of course!) but tend to be hesitant to try chicken any other way. Same goes for lots of other foods. So at our house, I award bonus points for trying a food my kids already like, prepared in a new way. This keeps me out of the recipe rut and makes it fun for my kids to try familiar foods prepared in an unfamiliar way. When Amy The Family Chef showed me how to make Italian chicken, I jumped at the chance to give it a try. Not only is it a new twist on an old favorite, it is a simple recipe my kids can make in less time than it takes to order a pizza! 

How to Make Italian Chicken (the Easy Way!)

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 20 min

Ingredients:
1 lb organic boneless chicken breast
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup white wine
2 Tbsp butter

Directions:

1)    Wash and trim the chicken. Cut the breasts in half lengthwise to create thin slices. Dry completely.

2)    In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder, thyme and salt.

3)    Sprinkle about ½ of the seasoning mixture onto the chicken (leave the remaining half for when you turn the chicken in the pan).

4)    Heat a pan to medium high heat. Once heated, add olive oil, then the chicken, seasoning side down. Do not move the chicken in the pan.

5)    Add the remaining seasoning mix to the chicken.

6)    Once the chicken is browned and turning white on the sides, flip and cook the other side. Cook another 3 to 5 minutes or until the chicken is firm when you press it, and nicely browned.

7)    Remove the chicken and set aside.

8)    Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup of white wine. Be sure to scrape up all of the tasty bits.

9)    Add mushrooms to the wine mixture; simmer lightly for about 3 minutes.

10)  Add butter to the sauce. Mix to melt completely.

Serve the chicken with a side of fettuccine and garden fresh broccoli. Drizzle the mushroom sauce over the chicken and pasta. Enjoy!

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: Fast and fabulous!

What we liked: This delicious recipe can be made start to finish in less than 15 minutes. A weeknight winner! Pair it with my easy, homemade tomato sauce and a dash of Parmesan cheese, and you’ve got a healthier (and easier) version of Chicken Parmesan. My favorite tip from Amy: “Put the chicken in the pan and step away from the stove! Let the pan do the work.” Brilliant! Gives me enough time to clean the dishes before serving up a fast and fabulous supper.

What is your favorite weeknight recipe? Dish it up!

Next up: Healthy Caesar Salad

Our Italian dinner party wouldn’t be complete without Caesar salad! Tune in next week when we toss up a fantastic recipe for Healthy Caesar Salad.

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Easy, homemade tomato sauce.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit children’s nutrition programs including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and FoodCorps. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor on Facebook and Twitter to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.

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Easy, Homemade Tomato Sauce (52 New Foods, Week 14)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on April 09, 2012 4 Comments

That’s amore! No longer will plates be brimming over with boring buttered pasta. Enjoy a boost of color with this deliciously easy, homemade tomato sauce that will have your whole family singing the praises of simple Italian cooking.

My grandmother and her sisters were amazing cooks. Growing up in a traditional Italian family, as young women they learned the art of simple Italian cooking. Learning to cook and enjoying food was at the heart of the family experience. Each one had a specialty and worked it to perfection. I’ve never experienced anything quite like my grandmother’s homemade tomato sauce – but I guess it’s hard to replace what was a delicious, handcrafted weeknight staple at our house. You can imagine my shock and dismay when my daughter announced, “I don’t like tomato sauce!”

Feature Recipe: Grandma Yola’s Homemade Tomato Sauce

Buttered pasta and pizza without sauce just doesn’t cut it in my books! To get my daughter past her picky palate, I needed to bring her into the inner circle. Like my grandmother patiently taught me, it was time for me to teach my daughter the secrets of how to make a deliciously simple homemade tomato sauce. I certainly don’t have time on weeknights to whip up a homemade sauce. What I love about this recipe is that you can make it ahead, and enjoy the fruits of your labor in different dishes all week long. The sauce can be used for dressing homemade pizza, pasta, and chicken dishes – saving busy parents time and making weeknight dinners a breeze!

Grandma Yola’s Homemade Tomato Sauce

homemade tomato sauce

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: about 2 hours
Makes about 16 to 20 servings

Ingredients:

5 28oz cans, Italian packed tomatoes
1 28oz can, tomato juice
½ large white onion, finely chopped
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
3 slices extra fine prosciutto
1 slice pancetta, cut into ½ inch pieces
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp marjoram
1 tsp sugar
A few handfuls of fresh basil and parsley
Salt and pepper to taste



Directions:

1)    Over a large mixing bowl, run the tomatoes through a food mill with the finest sieve attachment (no seeds allowed!).

2)    Add the tomato juice to the strained tomatoes. Set aside.

3)    In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.

4)    Fry the pancetta until crisp, then remove.

5)    Fry the prosciutto.

6)    Reduce heat, add the garlic, then the onions and shallots.

7)    Add the marjoram and sugar. Mix well.

8)    Add the tomato mixture to the pot. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Bring to a strong boil.

9)    Add a handful of parsley and a few twigs of basil.

10)  When the sauce reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

11)  Serve with whole-wheat pasta and top with a sprig of fresh basil.

Cooking tip: If you’re lucky enough to have fresh tomatoes from your garden, chop them into ½” dice and add a cup or two to the sauce during the last 20 minutes of simmering. This is a great way to add fresh, seasonal veggies to your delicious, homemade sauce.

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: Delicioso!

What we liked: Making homemade tomato sauce is a wonderful Sunday afternoon activity. Together, we gathered our fresh ingredients and spent the day sizzling, simmering and stirring up a delicious meal. Putting my daughter in charge of the dish, and letting her add a few of her special touches like parsley from her garden, was the key. She proudly served her carefully prepared meal at our family dinner, and was eager to give tomato sauce another chance. Arrivederci bland white pasta, ciao ciao colorful, authentic Italian homemade tomato sauce!

What is your favorite Italian dish? Share your comments!

Next up: Italian Chicken

Chicken Parmesan is the perfect partner at any Italian dinner, but I was looking for a healthier alternative. Next up: a simple Italian chicken recipe that is so tasty you won’t miss the cheese and breadcrumbs!

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Kale chips.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit children’s nutrition programs including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and FoodCorps. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor on Facebook and Twitter to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.

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52 New Foods: Week 13, Kale Chips

Posted by Jennifer Lee on April 03, 2012 0 Comments

Snack attack! We all have them (kids and adults included). The trick is to make the snacks you grab healthy. Here’s how!

It’s that dreaded no man’s land between the end of school and the start of dinner. My kids barrel through the front door after a fun and active day – and they’re hungry! A freight train drives into the kitchen and throws open the refrigerator door. “What’s for snack, Mom?”     

Feature Recipe: Kale Chips, A Fast and Healthy Snack Idea

Fast, healthy snack ideas: Kale ChipsOn the food love spectrum for my kids, potato chips are like a “high-school crush” and kale is more like a “first and last date." When I discovered kale chips I paused and pondered, “Could this relationship change?” Crunchy, colorful and deliciously satisfying, it was a match made in heaven. Kale chips are the answer to our daily snack dilemma!

 

Crunch a Color’s Kale Chips

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: about 18 to 20 minutes
Makes about 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 bunch lacinto ("dino") kale
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 250°F.

2) Wash kale. Peel or cut leaves from center stalk. Chop into medium size pieces. Pat dry.

3) Toss in 1Tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.

4) Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.

5) Bake about 18 to 20 minutes, or until crisp. Cool then serve.

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: Crunch!

What we liked: Kale chips are a colorful, healthy snack food that my kids love (their nutty flavor is akin to seaweed). They are easy enough for a 5 year old to prepare, which wins them more points in my book. This is the kind of snack food I can get into.       

What is your favorite healthy snack? Do tell!

Next up: Spaghetti with Meatballs

Having grown up in an Italian family, it’s impossible to imagine a week without spaghetti and meatballs! Next up, a deliciously healthy Italian dinner that will have you singing, “That’s amore!”

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Asparagus with Ginger-Soy Glaze.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit children’s nutrition programs including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and FoodCorps. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor on Facebook and Twitter to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.

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52 New Foods: Week 12, Asparagus with Ginger-Soy Glaze

Posted by Jennifer Lee on March 27, 2012 3 Comments

Celebrate spring with the perennial harbinger of buds and butterflies: asparagus. With bushels of bright green spears crowding our local markets, we decided to welcome asparagus to our family table.

A perfect spring meal at our house always includes asparagus. Beautiful and easy to prepare, asparagus is a welcome guest at our table for the few weeks that it is in season. Asparagus recipes abound, but this deliciously simple recipe is one that my family loves.     

Feature Recipe: Asparagus with Ginger-Soy Glaze

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables. Its delicate flavor always reminds me of playful spring brunches with my family and simple summer outdoor meals. Grilled or broiled and tossed with a touch of olive oil and salt, it epitomizes wholesome, simple cooking. It’s also a fun way to start the conversation with your kids about colorful, seasonal vegetables. Can you name a few?

Asparagus with Ginger-Soy Glaze

asparagus with ginger-soy glazePrep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 8 to 10 minutes
Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Ingredients:
2lbs thin asparagus
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced ginger
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
Juice from one lime
Salt to taste

Directions:

1) Set oven to broil.

2) Snap off ends of asparagus.

3) Toss with olive oil and salt. Lay on a baking sheet.

4) Broil for about 8 minutes, turning halfway through.

5) Whisk soy sauce, ginger, honey and lime juice together in a small bowl.

6) Arrange asparagus on a platter. Drizzle lightly with ginger-soy glaze.

A special thanks to Aida Mollenkamp for the beautiful pictures of this family-friendly dish. Check out her take on our Asparagus with Ginger-Soy Glaze, along with her other wonderful recipes, at aidamollenkamp.com.

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: Let’s celebrate!

What we liked: This recipe is delicious, colorful and easy enough for kids to prepare. Make it more than a meal! Stop by your neighborhood farmers’ market, scout out locally grown asparagus, and enjoy swapping recipes with the people who grow the food we eat.       

What is your favorite colorful springtime recipe? Share your comments.

Next up: Kale

kale chipsMy kids love potato chips but they haven’t been willing to try kale. Could a healthy, colorful twist be the answer? Tune in next week for the latest in our new food adventure: kale chips.

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Whole wheat banana pancakes.

 

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit children’s nutrition programs including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and FoodCorps. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor on Facebook and Twitter to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.

Read More