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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Easy Dinner Recipes for Your Family


Sometimes, it’s tough to get your kids to eat a balanced diet. However, if you get them involved in the kitchen and put yummy, wholesome meals on their plate, they will surely eat everything up with a smile on their face. Here are some easy dinner recipes for family that will have your kids going back for seconds.

Almond-Crusted Chicken Fingers

Every kid loves chicken nuggets. Instead of deep-fried nuggets, try chicken breast  tenders, dipped in egg, then coated in seasoned almond and whole-wheat flour crust. Just oven fry to a golden brown and serve with low sodium ketchup and a side of broccoli, seasoned with salt and just a touch of olive oil.


Mac n’ Cheese

Mac n’ cheese is an American staple that both kids and parents can enjoy. Introduce some fiber into this meal by making your mac n’ cheese with black beans or add any extras your kids will eat. You can use 1% low fat milk for the macaroni and garnish with salsa and corn, instead of drowning the plate with fatty cheese.


Rethinking Breakfast

You can make everyday meals healthier, just by rethinking to incorporate more fruits and veggies into dishes that your kids already love. For example, why not opt for a granola oats pancake with sliced strawberries, rather than a buttermilk pancake with strawberry jelly? You can also serve oatmeal with flaxseed, blueberries, and pecans for some added nutrition.

As long as you keep health in mind as you prepare your meals, your little ones will become accustomed to eating healthy and, for the most part, continue to grow into young adults who make healthy decisions. One day, they will even prepare a side of broccoli on their own! Just instill them with good habits and your kids will surely grow up healthy and happy.

See more easy kids meal ideas 

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Making meatballs

Today the kids helped make meatballs. We mixed ground chicken and ground beef together for our meatballs.

This is a great project for kids especially if they don't mind getting messy. It is also a great example of "many hands make light work"- meaning lots of help makes the job go faster.

After the meatballs were done we froze half of the batch for another cooking day and used the other half for sweet and sour meatballs.

Here are some meatball recipes.

Our sweet and sour meatballs had chopped red and yellow peppers, pineapple and diced carrots.

Serve with rice and Yum!

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Boys Can Cook Too! Interview

Kelly Lambrakis is author of several fun kids cookbooks geared toward getting boys in the kitchen cooking. She entwines a boy's love of sports in her first cookbook called Boys Can Cook Too!: An Inspirational Cookbook for Sports Lovin' Boys of all Ages. Two more cookbooks are centered on some favorite kids food-snacks and cookies.

In this interview she tells us how and why she got started with her series of  cookbooks. She also gives some great tips on getting kids involved in the kitchen.


What gave you the idea of writing Boys Can Cook Too?
I have always felt that it's important to teach my boys to cook by giving them
the opportunity to learn the basics of the kitchen in order to become self
sufficient when they become adults.

So during the holiday season, I began looking for a few cookbooks for them. I was surprised that I couldn't find anything specific for boys. My boys have always loved sports, so I began to write a cookbook specific for boys that love sports. It's a great beginner cookbook for boys that want to learn how to cook fun and easy meals for their family and friends. The cookbook also has fun sports trivia games to play and inspirational messages for young athletes of all ages.

At what age did your boys start helping cook?
I think boys learning to cook is a vital and healthy part of growing up, so
I've had my boys in the kitchen since they were toddlers, and put them to work
at an early age. Initially, I would start out keeping it simple and easy.
Things that use few ingredients and are one-dish meals are good to begin with
for young cooks.

What is your kids favorite recipe?
I found with my own boys, I've tried to teach them first how to cook their
favorite dishes. It's all about getting them involved and letting them
experiment. I try to bring them in the kitchen and teach them the basics. If
they never cook, they will never learn how.

My boys favorite thing to bake is cookies and brownies. Boys Can Cook Too! - Incredible Cookies is an awesome cookbook for kids that love to bake. My boys favorite recipe is the Double Chocolate Brownies. It's super quick and easy, and turns out perfect every time.


How do you fit cooking into your kids busy schedule?
My kids love making snacks. Almost every day after school they make a favorite
snack from Boys Can Cook Too! - Fast Snacks. It's a cookbook filled with
healthy and easy snacks that kids can make in less than 15 minutes. On the
weekends, or when we have more time, they enjoy making breakfast, lunch and
dinner meals too.

Do all your kids love to cook and/or help you in the kitchen? Do you have
any tips on getting kids involved and wanting to help?

My boys are 11, 8 and 3 years old, and all of them love helping in the kitchen,
of course at different levels of ability. I found that most kids like to help
at a very young age, but then we chase them from the kitchen. We think their
“help” will be more work for us and also are concerned about the dangers.
So instead, I think we should take the necessary precautions, teach them the
rules of the kitchen and supervise them constantly. Teaching children from a
young age builds confidence. It also encourages them to try new things.

In addition to spending time with my boys and doing something I love, it is
wonderful to watch them take so much pride in their cooking and manage to have
fun in the process.

Remember, when you finally get young people cooking, do not criticize, or they
will lose interest quickly. Teach, show by example, and then let them on their
own. In most cases, you will be pleasantly surprised.


With unhealthy eating habits, and the fast food restaurant popularity rising
over the past 20 years, we need to make it a priority to educate our children.
Kids need to be aware of what goes into their bodies. Teaching and
encouraging them to participate in the kitchen is the first step to a lifetime
of healthier choices.

My intention is to share Boys Can Cook Too! cookbooks with other parents and
children, in hopes that they will be inspired too.

Our series of cookbooks have a five star rating and are currently available on
Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. They are also available at very competitive
wholesale pricing for retail stores and fundraising opportunities too.




~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Easy Valentine’s Day Recipes

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, most people go out for dinner. If you have a family this can get expensive. Try a few easy recipes to prepare a nice dinner for your loving family in no time.

Crock Pot

Get those slow cookers working. We often use it when we know we’ll be late getting home so dinner will be ready. The slow cooker is an asset on Valentine’s Day also. Most of the crock pots on the market today have a removable inner pot that is fashionable enough to serve at the table.

Cooking with a crock pot will free you up to do other fun Valentine’s Day things instead of standing in the kitchen. Some meal ideas for the slow cooker:
  •     Beef roast with vegetables
  •     Chicken cacciatore
  •     Roasted chicken with vegetables
  •     Swedish meatballs
The crock pot can be set to cook slowly (ten hours) or a bit faster (4 hours).

 Cook-Ahead Meals

Dinner can be harried even on Valentine’s Day. Watching boiling pots and hot skillets not to mention something in the oven can absolutely fry your brain. Free your mind to enjoy this day of love by trying a dish that is easy to prepare ahead of time and just needs to be baked on Valentine’s Day.

Casseroles are the easiest make-ahead dishes. They can feature beef, chicken, or pork. Even fish like salmon or tilapia can be marinated and dressed the day before and wrapped in foil to bake on Valentine’s Day. Avoid adding milk or eggs before you are ready to cook the meal. If the dish calls for cooked meat, cook and cube the meat the day before and combine all ingredients in the casserole dish when you are ready to pop it in the oven.
See more easy casserole recipes.


Five or Fewer Ingredients

Another alternative to the slow cooker or cooking ahead is using a recipe that has five or fewer ingredients. When you have fewer ingredients, prep time is cut dramatically. While the food is baking you can occupy yourself with spending time with the family.

With so few ingredients, kids can even help with dinner. To further cut preparation time, if anything such as vegetables need to be cubed, diced, or sliced so that the day before and refrigerate them.

See our 6 or less ingredient recipes.

Pasta dishes fall into this category. Besides the pasta, you usually have sauce and some sort of meat or seafood. The pasta, sauce, and meat can all cook at the same time which saves time.

On Valentine’s Day, you want to be occupied with family and/or your sweetie. Slaving in the kitchen is not in the game plan. With a little pre-planning, you’ll spend less time in the kitchen and more time having fun.

Romaine Lettuce Hearts Finger Salad

What You Need:
2 hearts of Romaine lettuce
1 Tablespoon pecans, toasted
1 small red pepper
1/4 Cup Italian cheese, shredded
1 Cup Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

How to Make It:
Separate the leaves of each heart and place them on 2 salad plates.
Sprinkle the top of the lettuce with 1/2 T of the pecans per plate.
Slice the red pepper in half and remove the seeds and core.
Slice each half into half then cut with a heart shaped cookie cutter.
Place the red pepper hearts on top of both salads.
Top each salad with 1/8 C of the cheese.
Divide the dressing into 2 small bowls.


Wait there is a whole lot more Valentine Recipe Ideas for you

Valentine Kids Recipes
Family Dinner for Valentine's Day
Kids Valentine Dessert Ideas
Breakfast Valentine's Ideas
Valentine Desserts
Make it a healthy Valentine's Day
Simple Valentine's Meal Ideas
Simple touches for a fun kids Valentine meal
10 Homemade Valentine Food Ideas

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Monday, February 11, 2013

Healthy Valentine’s Meal Ideas

Everyone used to look forward to Valentine’s Day. They got to eat sweets from their sweetie. We are trying to be a bit more health conscious these days so that holidays won’t show in our bodies. If you want to indulge in a sweet treat on Valentine’s Day, make room for it with a healthier meal.

It is not too hard to sneak in a few healthy additions to the meal that your loved ones won’t mind at all.

 Start off with a healthy snack that everyone can eat while dinner is baking. Instead of cookies and candies, put out a tray of veggies and fruit. The vegetables can be jazzed up with a vegetable cream cheese or Ranch dressing. For the fruit, use flavored fruit dip. Yogurt flavors like strawberry, peach, or blueberry work well also as a dip.

Get rid of the hot wings for appetizers and opt instead for chicken chunks breaded with Shake-n-Bake or regular breadcrumbs. Cubing boneless, skinless chicken breasts and rolling them in batter saves a lot of calories. Serve them with hot pepper sauce or regular hot sauce and your metabolism will rev up from the heat.

Toss a salad to go with dinner. Instead of store bought croutons on the top, use cubed pieces of wheat bread. Brush them with a little butter or reduced fat margarine and pop them into the oven to bake. They still add crunch to the salad with less fat than regular croutons. Even better would be to sprinkle the salad with shelled sunflower seeds to add crunch.

Soups are a great way to hide lots of vegetables for those who don’t take a shine to them. for Valentine’s Day, serve a simple soup like potato, vegetable, chicken noodle, or tomato. What soup you serve will depend on the meal. The point is that soup helps to fill you up without eating a lot of it.

 Now for the meal. It is hard to eat healthy sometimes, especially if there is a holiday celebration going on. Well, Valentine’s Day is no different. Stick with recipes that use lean cuts of beef, pork, or chicken. Seafood can also be used.

Opt for lower fat ingredients in your recipes. If the main course recipe calls for heavy cream, substitute with half and half or light cream. Substitute margarine with butter. Avoid using too much salt. Use salt less seasonings to add flavor to the meal.

 Let your healthy meals extend to Valentine’s Day. After all, we are supposed to show love to those who mean the world to us. Keep their heart healthy.

 Raspberry Rendezvous'

What You Need:
1/2 tub Raspberry Ice Drink Mix
1 C cranberry juice, cold
1 C water, cold
2 C sparkling water
Frozen raspberries or sliced lemons

How to Make It:

Place the drink mix powder into a small pitcher.
Pour the cranberry juice and water into the pitcher and whisk until the powder is completely dissolved and the ingredients are combined well.
Place the pitcher in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.
Just before serving stir in the sparkling water.
Place frozen raspberries in the bottom of 2 champagne glasses.
Pour the raspberry rendezvous over the top of the raspberries.

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Importance of Eating Together As a Family

The importance of family dinnertime is something that often gets overlooked in our modern, fast-paced environment. In many modern families, family members are all running on a different schedule and don't make time to sit down together for a meal. It's one of the great tragedies of modern life that all the technology which is supposed to make everything easier has in fact, led to us being busier than ever, with technological devices like TV, iPods and personal computers making it easier for family members to "tune out" from the home environment. This article will delve into why eating together as a family is so important and a few techniques you can use to help encourage more quality family time in your home.

Keeping Up with News

Having dinner as a family is a great way to keep up with everything that's going on in the lives of your children and other family members. This may not be a big issue when your kids are young, but as they reach the teenage years they will start to take up their own interests and make new friends through school.

Often they won't mention those things of their own accord, so a family dinner is a good time to ask what's new in your kids' lives. This is especially true if you as a parent lead a busy lifestyle.

Teaching Children Lessons

In the past, family dinner time was an opportunity for the older members of the family to share life lessons with the younger children. Often teens in particular will try to face the troubles in their lives on their own rather than talk about it with the family, missing out on the valuable knowledge and experience of older family members. Family dinnertime creates a chance for the sharing of that knowledge, making life's difficulties easier for the younger kids.

Keeping Kids on the Good Path

One of the other benefits of having a time when the whole family sits down together is that you can instill some important family values. Often it's a lack of these values that leads teens into problems with alcohol or drugs. This problem can be curbed by having regular mealtimes together where you as a parent remind your kids of the important character qualities that will help them succeed in life.

Family Dinner Meals

Often half the battle of getting the whole family together for a meal is that some family members view it as "boring." In order to avoid this problem, try changing up the routine with some fun meal ideas. Cook a lavish feast and arrange the table in the style of a formal dinner, or have a barbecue in winter time - do whatever it takes to break the family out of the regular routine.
Certain dishes such as casseroles are great for family dinnertime because the meal is cooked in one dish. Just set it in the middle of the table and let each of your family members serve themselves - as long as they stay at the table to eat.
See more family dinner ideas


Heart Potato Pancakes
What You Need: 
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1/2 tsp pepper
1 green onion, chopped
1 1/2 Cups instant potato flakes

How to Make It: 
Pour the broth into a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir in the pepper well. Bring the broth to a brisk boil then remove from the heat. Gently stir in the green onion. Pour the potato flakes into the pan and let them stand until they have absorbed all the broth liquid. Lay a heart shaped cookie cutter in a skillet over medium heat.

Fill the cookie cutter with the potato mixture.  Cook 5 minutes then flip and continue cooking 3 minutes or until browned. 
 Serving Size:  4 

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pizza Meatloaf

Last week we made English muffin pizzas for the Kids Cooking day. Well I had a little extra sauce with the roasted eggplant so we made a basic meatloaf recipe and stirred in a 1/2 Cup leftover sauce.Then spread the top with sauce as well.

Bake in the hour for 45 minutes, then pull it out and top it with shredded mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. Continue to bake until hamburger is thoroughly cooked and cheese is melted.

Meatloaf is a great kids cooking project. If they don't mind getting messy let them mash the hamburger mixture together with their clean hands. This is the best way to combine your meatloaf anyway. They will love to see how the mixed up mixture turns into a nice formed loaf. And don't forget to make sure they wash their hands well after the project, too!

Pizza Meatloaf!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Wait there is a whole lot more Valentine Recipe Ideas for you

Valentine Kids Recipes
Family Dinner for Valentine's Day
Kids Valentine Dessert Ideas
Breakfast Valentine's Ideas
Valentine Desserts
Make it a healthy Valentine's Day
Simple Valentine's Meal Ideas
Simple touches for a fun kids Valentine meal
10 Homemade Valentine Food Ideas

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~