Taco Night! Baja Fish Tacos the Healthy Way (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 14)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on April 15, 2013 0 Comments
taco night baja fish tacos


Taco night! An easy dinner that makes it fun to try a few new foods.


Build your own taco night is a surefire hit in our house. And it is for others too! Taco Night consistently ranked in the top five favorite meals to cook with kids in a recent informal poll I conducted with Crunch a Color families. Why? It’s a dinner where everyone can get in the act – chopping, sizzling and slicing fresh ingredients to serve up family style. It’s also an easy opportunity to sample a few new foods.

With a big batch of mango salsa and some deliciously fresh Halibut from Whole Foods on our hands, we decided to make Baja fish tacos the healthy way! It’s week two in our Whole Foods Challenge (we’re celebrating the launch of our games in their stores).

What we Liked: Hardcore Baja fish taco fans will tell you to bread and fry the fish for your tacos, but I couldn’t disagree more! Baking the fish with a little salt and pepper, and finishing it off with a squeeze of lemon or lime, is the best way to bring out its naturally delicious flavor. Plus, it’s healthier!

Baja Fish Tacos the Healthy Way

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 to 12 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
Crunch a Color points: 10 Protein plus additional colors for the veggies you add. 2x points for each new food you try.

Ingredients:

taco night baja fish tacos ingredients


1 ½ lb Alaskan halibut*
6 whole wheat tortillas
1 batch mango salsa
1 cucumber
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 red pepper
1 red onion
1 Meyer lemon
1 lime
Cilantro for garnish
Salt and pepper

*Note: Choose your fish wisely. Check Seafood Watch for a list of fish to buy and avoid.

Let your kids add a few veggies to the list. Head to the local market together and encourage them to pick a few favorites, along with something new to try. This week my daughter added fava beans – one of her favorites. Peppers and red onions made another appearance this week as a new food to try (again) in our mango salsa recipe.

taco night baja fish tacos picking veggies

taco night mango salsa recipe


A trip to Whole Foods made even more fun by spotting Crunch a Color in store!

crunch a color healthy eating game whole foods


Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Peel, chop and dice your fresh ingredients. Let each family member get in the act! Washing and tearing the iceberg lettuce is perfect for beginners, peeling and chopping the cucumber works for intermediate kid chefs, and full on dicing is great fun for kids who are ready to be more independent in the kitchen.

3. Squeeze a little meyer lemon on top of your fish, add salt and pepper, wrap it up in parchment paper or aluminum foil and place on a bake sheet (I had aluminum foil on hand this week, so that’s what I used, but I tend to prefer parchment). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Be careful not to over bake the fish, which will dry it out.

taco night baja fish tacos step 2


4. Serve up your ingredients family style, so everyone can add their favorite fixings to their taco.

5. Cut a few extra tortillas into small wedges and encourage everyone to try a taster of the new foods on the table that they may have been shy about adding to their taco. This makes it easy for them to give new foods a try, without having to pitch their whole taco if they don’t like the taste of something.

taco night baja fish tacos step 5


* Have you tried Baja fish tacos? What’s your favorite Taco Night recipe? Share your ideas!

Craving more easy recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s new food: Mango Salsa.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color® -- award-winning nutrition games that make 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 kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.

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Mango Salsa Recipes for Picky Eaters (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 13)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on April 10, 2013 2 Comments
mango salsa recipes


These simple mango salsa recipes make it easy and fun for picky eaters to try a new food (or two) lots of different ways – the key to getting past peas and pasta!


Fresh, organic mangoes gave the market a bright splash of color. Impossible to resist, we decided to make them our new food of the week. A fun way to start our Whole Foods Challenge!

As part of our 52 New Foods adventure, we’re heading to Whole Foods to scout out our new food each week this month. It’s how my kids plan to celebrate the launch of Crunch a Color at Whole Foods markets! We hope you’ll join us. Be sure to snap pictures of the new foods you are trying and share them with us on Facebook and Twitter. Bonus points if you spot Crunch a Color in store!

mango salsa recipes whole foods


Now back to those mangoes. You may be thinking, “It’s not hard to get kids to try mango!” This is true, but there’s a secret. Familiar foods like mango are your ticket to more challenging foods like onion and pepper. Here’s how:

Set the ingredients up assembly line style, and let your kids create a mango salsa tasting bar. Encourage them to build their own recipes, moving from just one or two ingredients (mango and lemon) to a full on salsa with all of the fixings including those tough to try foods like red onion, cilantro and pepper. Let them taste a bit of each version and figure out the right mix for them! They may decide that they don’t like the recipe with red onion, but it’ll get your kids having fun tasting a new food a few different ways, which is your goal! It’s one of the keys to getting past peas and pasta.

What we Liked: This little game worked wonders with my picky eaters! First, it got my daughter Catherine to finally try (and like!) cilantro. Surprise! The mango salsa recipe with onion and pepper was a little too strong for her palette, but I celebrated that she gave it a try (and we agreed to do it again). As for my son James, his reaction to the full on version of our mango salsa – mango, lemon, lime, strawberry, cilantro, red onion and pepper – can only be summarized one way. A picture is worth a thousand words!

mango salsa recipes for picky eaters


Mango Salsa Recipes for Picky Eaters

FOR A PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE CLICK HERE.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Crunch a Color points: 5 Yellow / Orange, plus additional points for the other colors that you add.

Ingredients:

mango salsa recipes ingredients


2 mangoes
2 medium strawberries
2 slices of red pepper
2 slices, Meyer lemon
2 slices, lime
1 Tbsp red onion, chopped fine
1 handful, cilantro

Directions:

1. Prepare your ingredients. Mangoes and strawberries should be cut into ¼” cubes. Lemons and limes sliced into wedges. Peppers and onions chopped fine! Cilantro can be left as is.

mango salsa recipes step 1


2. Setup your ingredients assembly line style, starting with the simplest recipe on the left (mango, lemon, lime) and moving to the most challenging recipe on the right (red onion and pepper).

mango salsa recipes step 2


3. Prepare your mango salsa recipes, moving from left to right. The recipes build on each other. For example, the last recipe includes red onion and pepper, along with all of the ingredients that came in the earlier versions (lemon, lime, strawberry, cilantro).

mango salsa recipes step 3

mango salsa recipes step 3b


4. Give ‘em a taste! We tried our mango salsa recipes with a slice of whole wheat tortilla.

mango salsa recipes step 4


5. Vote for your favorite!

mango salsa recipes step 5


* How do you like to enjoy mango? Do you have a favorite mango salsa recipe? Share your ideas!  

Craving more easy recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s new food: Eggplant Parmigana.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color® -- award-winning nutrition games that make 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 kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.

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Eggplant Parmigiana (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 12)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on March 25, 2013 0 Comments
eggplant parmigiana


The secret to making eggplant parmigiana courtesy of the Italian grandma’s who know their stuff when it comes to family-style cooking!


“The trick to eggplant parmesan? Don’t use eggplant.” Standing in my friend Cheri’s kitchen, chatting about the best way to make eggplant parmesan, this is the quip that I hear from the peanut gallery. It pretty much sums up the reaction I got from most of my friends when I announced our new food this week: eggplant. But for each vehement opponent, there was a passionate follower like my mom, who absolutely loves eggplant.

A classic love hate relationship.

Eggplant parmigiana (or eggplant parmesan as some like to call it), is a dish that regularly showed up at our Sunday night family dinners when I was young. It was the one that I always passed on. Something about the texture just didn’t catch my fancy, until I discovered a few simple tricks.

So what’s the secret? A couple of phone calls to the resident Italian grandmas and we had our answer:

1) Slice it thin. No more than ¼”.
2) Flour first. Then egg. Then the breadcrumb and grated parmesan mixture.
3) No bake. Lighting frying in olive oil is the only way to get it crispy.
4) Good sauce. Enough said.

What we Liked: The first time through, I left the eggplant sizzling in the pan a little too long. But my mistake turned into an opportunity. The extra crispiness of the eggplant was what did the trick for my kids (and me) – no mushiness at all!

Eggplant Parmigiana

For a printable version of this recipe CLICK HERE.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
Crunch a Color points: 15 Purple

Ingredients:

eggplant parmigiana ingredients


2 medium eggplants
¾ cup grated parmesan
¾ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
6 cups tomato sauce (preferably use our homemade tomato sauce, but if not choose one from a jar with all natural ingredients)
3 large eggs
A few sprigs of fresh basil
Olive oil, for sautéing

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Slice. Cut the eggplant into slices no more than ¼” thick!

eggplant parmigiana step 1


3. Dip. First in flour, then in egg, then in the breadcrumb and parmesan cheese mixture. Set it up like an assembly line and let the kids have fun!

eggplant parmigiana step 2


4. Sizzle. Over medium heat, lightly fry the breaded eggplant slices in olive oil. Refresh the oil between batches. Let the eggplant slices dry on a cooling rack before moving to Step 4.

eggplant parmigiana step 3


5. Assemble. Start by putting a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Add a layer of eggplant, a little basil, then cheese. Repeat.

eggplant parmigiana step 4

eggplant parmigiana step 5


6. Bake. Pop it into your preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

eggplant parmigiana


* What’s your trick for making the perfect eggplant parmigiana? What other ways do you like to enjoy eggplant? Share your ideas!

Craving more easy recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s new food: Roasted Garlic.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color® -- award-winning nutrition games that make 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 kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.

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Roasted Garlic (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 11)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on March 18, 2013 4 Comments
roasted garlic


The subtle flavor of roasted garlic was an eye-opener for my picky eater.


When I think of Italian cooking, I think of garlic. The distinct smell of it simmering in the pan transports me back to my Gram’s house and I find myself longing for a taste of one of her homemade dishes. In my mind, our 52 New Foods adventure in Italy wouldn’t be complete without a close encounter with this quintessentially Italian ingredient.

But for many kids, particularly picky eaters, the taste of garlic can be overwhelming. The solution? Roast it! One of my favorite dishes that Gram used to make was garlic bread with real roasted garlic. Roasting those little white bulbs, with a touch of olive oil, transforms them into an incredible soothing and almost sweet spread that is perfect for lavishing on a crusty Italian loaf. Add a few sautéed mushrooms for even more deliciousness.

What we Liked: Letting my daughter Catherine take the lead on making this dish was the key to getting her to like it. I call her our “super sensor.” She experiences touch, taste and smell in a much more intense way than I do. This project was absolutely perfect for her. First, peeling and picking off the flakey layers of the garlic bulbs, then using her fingers to massage a little olive oil into the garlic, and finally, enjoying the unexpected and wonderful surprise of a soft and delicious flavor instead of the sharpness that she normally associates with the smell of garlic. Mission accomplished!   

Roasted Garlic

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: Makes 6 heads
Crunch a Color points: 15 White

Ingredients:

roasted garlic ingredients


6 heads of garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Peel away the flakey outer layers of the garlic bulb, but leave the cloves in tact.

roasted garlic step 1


2. Cut off ¼” to ½” of the tops of the bulbs, exposing the inner cloves.

roasted garlic step 2

roasted garlic step 2b


3. Place the garlic bulbs on a baking sheet or in a muffin tin. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, then massage the oil into the cloves with your fingers.

roasted garlic step 3

roasted garlic step 3b


4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cloves are soft when pressed. Allow the garlic to cool, then spread on a crusty, whole grain roll to make garlic bread.

roasted garlic pinterest


* What is your favorite way to use roasted garlic? Share your ideas!  

Craving more easy recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s new food: Italian Style Homemade Chicken Soup.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color® -- award-winning nutrition games that make 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 kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.

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Italian Style Homemade Chicken Soup (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 10)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on March 09, 2013 0 Comments
italian homemade chicken soup


The easiest homemade chicken soup ever!


My littlest one was home sick this week. When those rosy red cheeks and tired eyes show up, chicken soup is first on the menu. It used to be that I would reach for a can of chicken soup from the pantry, but we’ve come so far in our 52 New Foods journey that when I grabbed that little red can this week I just couldn’t do a heat and eat. “I need to make it from scratch.” I resolved. My husband, the sweetheart that he is, headed out to the market at the crack of dawn with a simple list – carrots, celery, and an onion. I had some leftover Italian chicken in the fridge from dinner the previous night.

The beautiful thing about this recipe is that it is so darn easy to make and it results in a delicious, wholesome soup full of healthy ingredients. My son asked, “Why does chicken soup help to make me feel better when I am sick?” This question is one I’ve asked myself many times over. “I’m not sure,” I replied, “why do you think it helps?” His little hands wrapped around the bowl, sipping slowly he pondered this question and then responded, “Maybe the vegetables chase the bugs away.” I smiled a big smile and hugged him tight, “You know, I think you may be right. I’m glad that you’re feeling better.”

What we Liked: This easy Italian style homemade chicken soup isn’t just for chasing cold bugs away. It’s the perfect busy weeknight meal. Make our easy Italian chicken and save a few pieces as leftovers. Then use that tasty chicken to make this soup the next day. Serve it up with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich for a quick dinner, or pack it in the kids’ lunchboxes with a few whole grain crackers for crumbling.   

Italian Style Homemade Chicken Soup

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
Crunch a Color points: 10 protein, 10 healthy grains, 10 green or orange

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

Ingredients:

italian homemade chicken soup ingredients


4 cups organic chicken broth
2 cups cooked Italian chicken
2 cups cooked pasta (I like to use rotini)
1 cup water
3 celery stalks
2 carrots
½ onion
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Chop the onion, carrots and celery into ¼” to ½” size pieces.

italian homemade chicken soup step 1


2. Heat a stockpot over medium, then add the olive oil, garlic and onions. Simmer gently until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and simmer 2 to 3 minutes more.

italian homemade chicken soup step 2


3. Add the chicken broth, water and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes.

italian homemade chicken soup step 3


4. While the broth is simmering, chop the chicken into bite size pieces. Add to the pot with the cooked pasta and heat 2 minutes more.

5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm with a few sprigs of fresh thyme.

italian homemade chicken soup


* Do you have a favorite homemade chicken soup recipe? Share your ideas!  

Craving more easy recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s new food: Mini Asparagus Frittata aka Savory Muffins

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color® -- award-winning nutrition games that make 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 kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.

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