Saturday, June 8, 2013

Only a Kid Might Like (ok even a big kid)

Does it ever seem you spend so much time running around that you do more eating in your car than at home?

So the feeling that your child turns their nose up at more food than they actually eat is not that far from the truth.  Lets not forget the fact when sitting at the table and pretending to eat, there is the food shuffle or Fido slip going on.  Anything is possible and the fact is you want to pull your hair out cause feeding your kids big or small is a challenge.  

Your kids can be notoriously difficult to please.  So how about trying some family friendly meals that have a lot of love, not a lot of fuss, and Fido may have to go out for his own dinner now.

I really think that moms and kids alike are sure to love these kid-friendly recipes for dinners, oh and the big guy will love it to.

Chicken Tenders with Creamy Honey Mustard

This is fast food you can feel good about eating. Children and grown-ups alike will love not only the crispy chicken, but also dipping it in the sweet, tangy sauce.

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
coarse salt and ground pepper
4 cups crisp rice cereal
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders (tenderloins)
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
4 medium carrots, cut into sticks
1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into sticks

  1. Preheat oven to 475. 
  2. Place flour in a shallow bowl, and egg in a second one; season both with salt and pepper. 
  3. Pulse cereal and oil in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Season with salt and pepper; transfer to a third shallow bowl.
  4. Coat chicken: first in flour, shaking off excess; then with egg, letting excess drip off; and finally in cereal mixture, pressing to help it adhere. 
  5. Place on a baking sheet, and bake until light golden brown and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes, turning over halfway through.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together sour cream, mustard, and honey; season with salt and pepper. 
  7. Serve tenders and vegetables with creamy honey mustard on the side.

Macaroni and Cheese

If you like, use just one type of cheddar or mix with another melting cheese, such as pepper Jack, Muenster, Swiss, or mozzarella.

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound elbow pasta
4 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
4 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, (optional)
1 1/4 cups shredded yellow cheddar cheese (5 ounces)
1 1/4 cups shredded white cheddar cheese (5 ounces)
8 ounces ham, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 slices white sandwich bread

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until aldente; drain and reserve. 
  3. Meanwhile, in a 5-quart heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in flour to coat onion. In a slow steady stream, whisk in milk until there are no lumps.
  4. Cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick and bubbly and coats the back of a wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in cayenne, if using, and 1 cup each yellow and white cheddar cheese. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  5. Toss pasta with cheese mixture; fold in ham. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or individual dishes. Set aside.
  6. In a food processor, pulse bread until large crumbs form. Toss together with remaining 1/4 cup each white and yellow cheddar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. 
  7. Top pasta with breadcrumb mixture. Bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes.

This recipe makes enough to fill eight 12-to-16-ounce baking dishes. Divide the macaroni and cheese evenly, sprinkle with topping, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden.

Brown-Sugar Barbecue Chicken Drumettes

A simple, sweet barbecue sauce will please even finicky eaters. Make a big batch of this scrumptious stir-together barbecue sauce, refrigerate up to two weeks, and have an easy chicken dinner.

2 cups ketchup
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
6 pounds chicken drumettes, patted dry

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together ketchup, sugar, Worcestershire, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Set aside 1 cup sauce for tossing raw chicken; use rest for baked chicken.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds; line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil.
  3. Divide drumettes between baking sheets, and toss with reserved 1 cup sauce.
  4. Bake chicken until opaque throughout, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating sheets and tossing chicken halfway through. 
  5. Toss baked drumettes with 1/2 cup sauce, and serve with remaining sauce on the side.

Chicken drumettes are actually part of the chicken wing -- just the right size for kids to nibble on. To store, refrigerate, up to 2 weeks.

Mini Spinach-and-Cheese Pizzas

Bocconcini are just small round pieces of fresh mozzarella. They can be found in most grocery stores now. They're usually packaged in water for freshness. 

4 mini whole-wheat pitas (3 inches each), split
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, pushed through a garlic press
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 pint bocconcini (about 20 balls), halved

  1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil; arrange pita halves on sheet, cut side up.
  2. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, oregano, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Dividing evenly, spread ricotta mixture on pitas, and top with spinach and bocconcini. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Broil until cheese is melted and starts to brown, 4 to 6 minutes, rotating sheet from front to back halfway through baking. Serve immediately.

Baked Corn Dogs

Baked corn dogs, a new take on a state-fair snack, put fast, fun food at your fingertips. Of course you need to make sure to buy ice-pop sticks. Serve with Speedy "Baked" Beans and Tangy Coleslaw.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting sausages
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2/3 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 precooked smoked chicken sausages (13 ounces total)
Ketchup and mustard, for serving (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Make a well in center; add milk, eggs, and oil. Mix just until combined.
  3. Insert an ice-pop stick into one end of each sausage, leaving a 1 1/2-inch handle. Dust with flour; tap off excess. Using handle, rotate each sausage over bowl as you spoon batter to coat evenly. 
  4. Place on sheet; bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Using a spatula, reapply batter that has slipped onto sheet. 
  5. Return to oven; bake until golden, 20 minutes. Serve with ketchup and mustard, if desired.

Speedy "Baked" Beans

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cans (15 ounces each) white beans, such as cannellini or navy, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon mustard powder

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. 
  2. Add beans and 1/2 cup water; simmer until beans have softened, 5 to 7 minutes. If beans are not soft after 7 minutes, add more water and continue to cook.
  3. Add molasses, ketchup, mustard powder, and another 1/2 cup water. Simmer until sauce has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day; reheat over low.

Sloppy Joes

Soft buns work best with these classic kid-friendly sandwiches. Serve them with pickles or potato chips. The beef mixture can also be served over pasta

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 hamburger buns, split and toasted

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add ground beef to skillet. Cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Stir tomato sauce, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce into beef mixture in skillet. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Season the mixture with more salt and pepper, as desired. 
  5. Spoon onto buns, and serve immediately.

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