Mini Baked Asparagus Frittata aka Savory Muffins (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 9)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on March 04, 2013 3 Comments
baked asparagus frittata savory muffins


Baked with asparagus, onions and eggs, this deliciously easy asparagus frittata recipe was a huge hit with my family. “Savory muffins!” my daughter exclaimed.


With spring on the horizon, my mind is dreaming of brunch. It is one of my most favorite meals to host because the cooking is easy (and can often be made ahead) and it’s usually during a bright spot in my day when I’m feeling energized and the kids are in a good mood.

No brunch would be complete without my Gram’s asparagus frittata. Having grown up in a big Italian family, there was always lots of food around when we gathered together. Each of my aunts had their domain – crispelles, ravioli, tomato sauce. The list goes on for miles. Among my Gram’s specialties was a simple Italian frittata chock-full of asparagus and ricotta. The smell of this dish simmering always transports me back to her kitchen at Easter time.

“Let’s take our 52 New Foods adventure to Italy” I cheered. There was no debate at the family table, as Italian dishes are some of our favorites. The only condition was that we make homemade pasta – which will be fun but challenging. I still haven’t mastered Gram’s pasta recipes. In the meantime, we decided frittata was an easy place to start.

What we Liked: Thinking the ricotta cheese might be too much for my picky eaters’ palette, I replaced it with mozzarella. To make it more fun, we made the frittata in individual muffin cups. We each personalized our “muffins” – some with more asparagus, some with less. To her surprise, my daughter even enjoyed the ones with asparagus. She liked them so much that she named them Savory Muffins. Bonus: they make an easy addition to your healthy lunchbox.   

Mini Baked Asparagus Frittata aka Savory Muffins

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: Makes 12 muffins
Crunch a Color points: 15 green

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

Ingredients:

baked asparagus frittata savory muffins ingredients


1 bunch asparagus
10 eggs
1 potato
½ onion
½ cup shredded mozzarella
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp kosher salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a muffin tin with oil.

2. Chop the asparagus, onion and potato into ¼” to ½” size pieces. When the kids are chopping, remind them to make a fist to keep their fingers safe!

baked asparagus frittata savory muffins step 1


3. Heat a frying pan over medium. Add the olive oil, then the onions. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Add the potatoes to the onions and sauté 3 to 4 minutes more. Finally, add the asparagus and mix together with the potatoes and onions. Simmer in the pan an additional 3 to 4 minutes (about 10 minutes total). Set aside in a small bowl.

baked asparagus frittata savory muffins step 2

baked asparagus frittata savory muffins step 2b


4. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and salt.

baked asparagus frittata savory muffins step 3


5. Pour the egg mixture into the greased baking cups, filling about halfway. Add a spoonful of the cooked vegetables to each cup and sprinkle with mozzarella. Add extra egg mixture to fill the cups almost all the way to the top.

Quick Tip: Let your kids personalize their muffins by adding the amount and kind of vegetables that they feel is right for them. Encourage them to make a couple of variations to give different tastes (and new veggies) a try.

baked asparagus frittata savory muffins step 4

baked asparagus frittata savory muffins step 4b

baked asparagus frittata savory muffins step 4c


6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes. Serve warm!

baked asparagus frittata savory muffins lunch


* Which veggies do you like to feature in your frittata? Share your ideas!  

Craving more easy recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s new food: Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries.

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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Crispy Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 8)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on February 24, 2013 13 Comments
crispy baked sweet potato fries


How to make sweet potato fries so crispy and tasty they’re worthy of a French bistro.


I have a weakness (well, maybe more than one). Frites. When we meet, I have a terrible time resisting their unhealthy whispers. I know better. I want to set a good example for my kids. I don’t want to like them. But I do. This relationship kind of reminds me of high school boyfriends.

In the final stretch of our 52 New Foods adventure in France, it would be impossible not to mention one of my favorite French bistro meals: steak and frites. Instead of avoiding it, I decided to give it a healthy makeover, starting with the frites. Not only are these fries tasty and easy to make, they are nutritious. According to Mark Bittman of The New York Times, their recent rise in popularity is due in no small part to their nutritional profile.

Most of the recipes I’ve tried in the past have resulted in soggy sticks, so I worked diligently until I figured out how to make sweet potato fries crispy like their unhealthy cousins. The trick? Cut the fries a little thinner, avoid layering them on the pan, and be sure to bake until the color turns to golden brown with dark edges and the skin is a little bit puffy. Serve them piping hot to avoid letting sogginess sink in. Trust me, that won’t be hard to do.

What we Liked: These crispy oven baked sweet potato fries are easy to make and feel like an indulgence. I never have to encourage my kids to try a bite of these healthy frites. More often, I sit at the table thinking, “I should have made a bigger batch!”

Crispy Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 to 30 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Crunch a Color points: 15 yellow / orange

Ingredients:

baked sweet potato fries ingredients


2 lbs sweet potato
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp kosher salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Peel and slice the sweet potato. Cut into ¼” to ½” wide sticks to ensure crispy frites! This is a fun and easy job for the kids to do. After peeling, have them cut through the middle of the sweet potato first, then set the flat side down to cut in half again before slicing into sticks.

how to make baked sweet potato fries step 1


2. Place the sweet potato fries on a lined bake sheet, drizzle with olive oil and salt, then toss with your hands. This step helps to save on cleanup.

how to make baked sweet potato fries step 2


3. Bake at 450 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, turning halfway through. Serve hot!

crispy baked sweet potato fries 2

how to make baked sweet potato fries


* How do you like to make sweet potato fries? What’s your trick for making them crispy? Do you have a favorite spice that you like to add to these healthy fries? Share your tips and tricks!


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

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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An Easy Apple Pie Recipe: Simple Apple Galette (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 7)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on February 17, 2013 0 Comments
easy apple pie recipe apple galette


This easy apple pie recipe is a simple French twist on a favorite sweet treat: apple galette.


“Get the galette!” shouted my 6-year-old son with the tenor of a football captain cheering on his teammates toward the game-winning touchdown. Called into the kitchen by the sweet smell of warm apples and cinnamon, my kids raced to the table and huddled around our delicious French creation, hoping to be the first to snatch a bite of this sweet treat.

It was no surprise to me that they were excited about trying apple galette. A perfect combination of their favorite flavors and textures – crisp apples, gooey cinnamon, and flakey, buttery pastry – it was a new food I knew everyone would enjoy. After my failed leek soup attempt last week, I needed an easy win. So much for no emotional eating!

Inspired by Martha Rose Shulman, we decided to add this French-style, easy apple pie recipe to our list of 52 New Foods. Without a doubt, this will become a regular part of the lineup at our family table!

What we Liked: Although this is a sweet treat, this easy apple pie recipe has a minimum of sugar. Like Martha says, “It’s all about the apples!” That’s what we loved.

An Easy Apple Pie Recipe: Apple Galette

Prep time: 15 minutes (plus 45 minutes in the freezer)
Cook time: 60 minutes
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
Crunch a Color points: 5 red

Recipe inspired by Martha Rose Shulman’s Apple Walnut Galette

Ingredients:

easy apple pie recipe apple galette ingredients


2 lbs Braeburn apples
¼ cup brown sugar plus 1 Tbsp
1 small lemon
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg
1 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 premade dessert pastry pie crust (12” diameter)

Note: When I have the time, I love to make my own apple pie crust. But with busy weekdays in full swing I wanted to find an easier solution so I made our apple galette with an organic, pre-made pastry crust. If you go this route, be sure to pick a crust that has five ingredients or less. The ingredient list on ours was: unbleached organic flour, butter, water and salt.

easy apple pie crust


Directions:

1. Peel and slice the apples. Wedges should be between ¼” and ½” at the widest part.

easy apple pie recipe apple galette step 1


2. Toss the apples with the juice from one small lemon.

easy apple pie recipe apple galette step 2


3. Heat the pan over medium, then add the butter. When the butter is bubbling (but before it turns brown) add the apples and ¼ cup of the sugar. Toss gently in the pan. Simmer 5 to 7 minutes, or until the apples are brown on one side. Then add the vanilla and half of the cinnamon / nutmeg mixture and turn the apples gently. Simmer another 5 minutes until the apples are golden brown and fragrant.

easy apple pie recipe apple galette step 3


4. Place the cooked apples on a parchment lined bake sheet and let cool. While the apples are cooling, remove the pie crust from the freezer and allow it to thaw slightly (about 10 minutes).

easy apple pie recipe apple galette step 4


5. Place the pie crust on a lined bake sheet. I like to use a Silpat liner for easy cleanup. Add the apples and then fold the pastry around the edges of your pie, pleating as you go. Place the galette back in the freezer for 45 minutes. This will help to keep its shape when baked.

easy apple pie recipe apple galette step 5


6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the galette from the freezer. Beat the egg together with the milk to create an egg wash and brush over the edges of your galette. Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon / nutmeg mixture and 1 Tbsp brown sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

7. Serve warm or cool, whichever you prefer. Either way, enjoy with friends and family!

easy apple pie recipe apple galette 2


* Do you have a favorite easy apple pie recipe? Have you tried apple galette? What other ingredients have you tried with this rustic French pie?

Craving more easy recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s new food: A healthy leek soup recipe

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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My French Food Flop (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 6)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on February 11, 2013 3 Comments
healthy leek soup recipe


Resiliency is the parenting manifesto du jour. But as a busy parent, being resilient (especially in the kitchen) is something I find hard to do.


All I wanted was to make the perfect leek soup. I wanted to get it done, have my kids rave about it, and move onto the next thing. In my racing mind I was thinking, “I’m busy, I’m tired, and I just need to get this recipe done for the week.” The last thing I wanted was to fail.

Resiliency. Like “happiness” was last year, “resiliency” seems to be the new parenting manifesto. During a lively discussion about Paul Tough’s new book, How Children Succeed, a friend suggested that maybe what our kids need is “resiliency camp.” A funny mental image, to be sure, but that may be missing the point. What experts are encouraging us to do as parents is to let our kids fail, in the service of building grit and character, and to set a good example by modeling this behavior ourselves -- welcoming failure and using it as a springboard to learn and grow.

I don’t know about you, but as a busy parent I have very little resiliency. In the rare moments when I do have it, I need to work hard to get it. This weekend, I had no resiliency. Absolutely none.

Like a well-mapped domino run, it was a series of missteps and errors on my part that led to my French food flop. After a year of getting my kids to try new foods, I should have known by now what works and what doesn’t work. Instead, I unwittingly proceeded down the path to failure with the force of a dragon.

Mistake #1: Not letting my kids choose.

When we started 52 New Foods, I made a pact with my kids: “You choose, we make it together.” The key to our success was putting my kids in charge of the adventure. Heading to the market on our typical weekend outing, my daughter wanted to make lemon tarts. “Deliciously French!” I thought. But I was unable to find a single recipe that wasn’t loaded with sugar and egg yolks. So I decided to make leek soup. How did I go from lemons to leeks? Worse, I didn’t ask. I just decided.

Mistake #2: Forcing the issue.

My first attempt at leek soup was a complete flop. “French Glue” would have been a better description of my concoction. But blinded by my busy-ness, I went ahead and served it to my family. “It doesn’t look good.” my daughter complained. “Just try it!” I coaxed. “James, you try everything I make. Come on, just give it a taster!” He sniffed, he sipped, and then he shouted, “Blech!” That was not what I wanted to hear. “It can’t be that bad!” I retorted.

But it was.

My husband, my cheerleader and biggest supporter, slowly took a sip of soup. “I think you need to try this one again.” he encouraged. Not only was my soup the texture of Oobleck, it was overloaded with salt. In the final steps of the recipe I had forgotten to add the seasoning. So I put a dash of salt in the pot, and got distracted, forgetting to blend it all together. Ready for lunch, I served up a cup, scooping from the top of the pot. Et Voila! Simmering, salty Oobleck.

Mistake #3: Adding insult to injury.

In a huff, I grabbed my reusable grocery bags and stomped out the door. “You’re back!” greeted the clerk at our local market. “How did it turn out?” I grimaced. She backed away. I wasn’t making friends. Re-stocked with the fresh ingredients I needed to give my recipe another try, I raced home. “Did you just drive to the market?” my husband innocently enquired. Our favorite local market is two blocks from our house. “Yes, I did!” I snapped. So much for setting a good example of how we can take care of the environment by walking to the store.

In the end, I was able to make a delicious soup. A simple and soulful French Vichyssoise that would make Julia Child proud. I hope you will learn from my mistakes, and then try this healthy leek soup recipe (and enjoy it) with your kids. It will be a long time before my kids venture to try leek soup with me again, whether it’s tasty or not. I guess I’ll be dining alone at lunch this week. I hear leek soup is on the menu.

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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A Healthy Leek Soup Recipe (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 6)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on February 11, 2013 3 Comments
healthy leek soup recipe


A healthy leek soup recipe that your kids will love (but not mine)!


This week I ventured to try a simple, healthy leek soup with my kids. Classically French and easy enough for a five year old to make, I decided it would be the perfect addition to our 52 New Foods adventure in France this month. The problem was that I decided, not my kids.

Despite this being a soulfully simple and delicious dish, a healthy remake of Vichyssoise that would make Julia Child proud, my kids did not like it. Blinded by my own boldness, this recipe turned into a French food flop for my family. It was the perfect storm – a series of well-timed mistakes that kept me barreling down the path to failure. It all started with me taking control of the menu instead of letting my kids choose, a cardinal 52 New Foods rule. Be sure to read my post on our French food flop and (hopefully) learn from my mistakes so your kids won’t grow up with a fear of leek soup.

With the wisdom of 20/20 hindsight, I hope you will enjoy making this healthy leek soup recipe with your kids. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by for lunch. I’ve got loads of leek soup to share.

A Healthy Leek Soup Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 to 30 minutes
Yield: Makes 6 servings
Crunch a Color points: 15 white

Ingredients:

healthy leek soup recipe


4 leeks
4 russet potatoes
2 ½ cups of low sodium chicken broth
2 cups milk
2 Tbsps butter
1 tsp Kosher salt
Chives for garnish

Directions:

1. Chop the leeks.

healthy leek soup recipe


2. Wash the leeks. Be sure to give them a good bath to rinse away all of the dirt. Then rinse again in a sieve.

healthy leek soup recipe step 2


healthy leek soup recipe step 2b


3. Peel and chop the potatoes.

healthy leek soup recipe step 3


4. In a stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks, sautéing lightly until golden brown and fragrant. About 5 minutes.

healthy leek soup recipe step 4


5. Add the potatoes, broth and salt to the leeks. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

healthy leek soup recipe step 5


6. Working in small batches, transfer the soup to a blender. Pulse gently until just combined. You may need to add a bit of milk to the mixture to get it to blend. It’s okay if there are a few chunks of leeks and potatoes remaining.

WARNING: Do not over blend! Over blending was the reason my first version of this recipe turned into French Glue.

healthy leek soup recipe step 6


7. Return the potato leek mixture to the pot and add the milk. Stir gently. Simmer a few minutes more, until the soup is heated through.

8. Garnish with chives. Serve warm.

healthy leek soup recipe

 

* Have you tried leek soup? What is your favorite way to enjoy this simple French dish?

Craving more easy recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s new food: A healthy, easy crepe recipe. 

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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