Entries from January 2010

Healthy Snacks for Kids

January 31st, 2010 · 6 Comments · Time for Dinner: The Cookbook

My six-year-old is hungry all day long — until dinner is served, of course. At that point she tries to chatter her way through the event as though somehow we may not notice that she hasn’t lifted her fork. It’s not entirely her fault, though. Half the time, I’ll have come home from work hungry enough to eat the front door, so I set out a bowl of chips and salsa to tie me over to mealtime. What am I supposed to do..not let her have some with me? (Um, no, says every “expert” who has ever weighed in on the topic of snacking.) The point is, besides the fact that I need to be more disciplined in general, is that she should be eating a healthy, nutritious snack at least two hours before dinner — one that satisfies her enough to prevent her regular 6:00 kitchen migration. When I’m my best self, these might be the kind of thing I’m talking about:

Mango Armadillos

Its menacing disposition belies the happy effect it has on my children. I can’t take full credit for the inspiration here — Abby gets an inordinate amount of pleasure when I turn mangoes “inside out” so this time, we decided to add a few pomegranate seeds as eyeballs to give it a little personality. It’s amazing how much it actually looks like her.

You make these the same way you might already slice an avocado: Slice off a wedge from the mango  — as large as you can without cutting into its pit; using a sharp knife, draw a checkerboard of slices in the fruit, being careful not to cut all the way through the skin; flip inside out and tuck in pomegranate seeds.


Apple Sticks with Honey

Yes, it’s fussy, but for whatever reason, the girls eat approximately 250% more apple when it’s cut into matchsticks, so I’m going with it. Peel a snacking apple (I love Fujis) if your kids are anti-skin (It’s ok, they’re still healthy that way), cut into wedges, then cut those wedges into sticks. Serve with a small bowl of honey.

Cheese Bagel Panini

Little known fact: It’s easier to disguise a whole wheat bagel when it’s been grilled in the waffle iron. You can buy mini whole wheat bagels from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Assemble your cheese and bagel, place in a waffle iron (on medium-heat setting) and press down until cheese is melted.

Chip-and-Dip Sunflower

A dollop of Trader Joe’s spicy black bean dip surrounded by petals of tortilla chips that actually taste like corn. Phoebe can’t believe her luck.

A Little Bowl of Rubies

Strawberries and pomegranates look like jewelry to me — even when the strawberries are those off-season white-fleshed and flavorless kinds. But the kids don’t seem to notice especially when they get to sprinkle a little sugar on top by themselves.

Sprout Bread with Almond Butter and Bananas

Wait, how did my favorite lunch get on this list? Oh, well. My kids won’t touch it, but maybe yours will. The credit for the combo goes to Victoria Granof, who I worked closely with in the food department at Cookie. You’ll also see it — and many more genius Victoria concoctions — in the Time for Dinner cookbook (Chronicle, 2010).


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Basic Everyday Fried Fish

January 10th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Basic Everyday Fried Fish
Serves 4

olive oil
1/2 cup seasoned flour, on a dinner plate for dredging
1 egg, lightly beaten, on a dinner plate for dredging
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 large filets of delicate white fish such as flounder (about 1 1/4 pounds)
salt and pepper to taste
tartar sauce (or ketchup) for dipping
lemon wedges for squeezing

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

2. Set up your dredging stations. One plate flour (salted & peppered), one plate beaten egg, one plate panko bread crumbs.

3. Dredge your fish filets: first in flour, then in egg, then in panko. Add to skillet and fry 2-3 minutes a side until cooked through. Remove from skillet and serve with a dollop of tartar sauce and a squeeze of lemon.

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Basic Pizza Sauce

January 2nd, 2010 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

This sauce makes enough for two standard mozzarella pizzas.

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ large onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 shakes red pepper flakes

salt and pepper

1 28-ounce can tomato puree

2 teaspoons oregano

In a large saucepan set over medium heat, add oil, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and cook until onions are soft about 3 minutes. Stir in tomato puree and oregano. Let it simmer on stovetop over very low heat for at least 20 minutes and up to 45 minutes. Cool and freeze in small ziplocs for easy thawing.

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