What’s in your snack drawer? We all deserve a little something sweet or crunchy (or both) once in a while right? My problem was that I would find my kids continually sneaking the food upstairs in their room or down the basement and worse, hiding it from me. Something felt seriously wrong about this – I was creating very bad habits not to mention ruining my kid’s appetites for a healthy dinner. Then I realized, “If I don’t want them to eat the food, why am I buying it?”. Perhaps I was really buying the snacks for me but using the kids as an excuse. Sure a few Doritos with your sandwich sounds like a great idea but it all goes wrong when you find the empty bag under the couch or worse, YOU eat half the bag. Save the occasional junk food for the snack bar at the baseball game or the pool. In the meantime, gradually transition to some healthier alternatives (e.g., granola bars, cut up fruit, cheese/crackers or even some chocolate covered raisins). Now about MY secret stash of chocolate/almond bark in the freezer….shhhhh.
Turkey London Broil (aka ½ a turkey breast w/ tenderloin attached). This is easy and pretty enough for a dinner party.
- Rinse a turkey London broil (1-3 lbs.), pat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Lay slices of prosciutto, mozzarella and basil on one half. Fold the turkey like a sandwich and tie the roast together with butcher string.
- Drizzle or paint a little EV olive oil on the top.
- Bake in oven at 350 for until turkey reads 155 degrees (about 60 mins).
You can also grill the turkey on Med heat for 45 mins.
- Take turkey out of oven and cover with foil for 10-15 minutes to continue cooking.
Brussel Sprouts w/Pancetta
- Cut up some pancetta (or bacon) and fry in a pan for a few minutes until crisp. I keep some pancetta wheels in the freezer.
- Add brussel sprouts (cut in half) to pan. Sprinkle with salt/pepper.
- Continue cooking until tender (7-8 mins). Add a drop of water and cover to speed cooking.
Spinach w/shiitake Mushrooms
- Heat a clove of garlic in a pan with EV olive oil. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until tender (7-8 mins.). Add a splash of white wine and cook a bit more for extra flavor.
- Add a bag of fresh spinach and a little salt/pepper. Toss with a drop of water and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until soft.
How the Kids Can Help:
- My daughter layered the prosciutto, cheese and basil onto the turkey (see bikini picture above).
- She also used the “paintbrush” to paint some EV olive oil on the turkey once it was tied.
- Kids are great at measuring and pouring to make the rice pilaf.
Did You Know?
- A male turkey is called a “Tom” and is also referred to as a gobbler. Female turkeys are called “Hens”.
- Enjoy this Turkey puzzle: http://www.kidzone.ws/animals/turkeypuzzle3.htm
- Children and teens that have frequent family meals are likelier to say that they can confide in their parents.*
When I lived in Germany 10 years ago, they didn’t have any shopping bags to carry your food out of the grocery store. EVERYONE brought their own. They also separated their recycles into at least 6 categories which had to be carried and dropped in the neighborhood bins (clear glass, green glass, brown glass, plastic, newspaper, and aluminum). The Germans made fun of America’s apples, they told me that our apples were waxed and shined to look “pretty” and that it made our apples look fake (they thought we were fake too). How preposterous, I thought! So many years later, I often think about my German experience. I wonder why Americans feel the need to cut ugly carrots down into 2 inch segments and repackage them into much prettier “baby carrots”. I wonder why did our grandparents feel the need to cover their furniture in plastic (and never take it off)? Why does everything have to look so perfect? Everybody knows that even if it looks perfect on the outside, things are never what they seem. So look out next time you bite into your juicy, waxed, perfect-looking apple – you just might find a worm.
Chicken Roll-ups: This is one of our favorite chicken dinners. You can make this is in any quantity and prepare ahead of time (just bake when ready).
- Stir a little olive oil and salt into about 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs in a bowl (should be crumbly but not wet).
- Cut (pounded) chicken cutlets in half on an angle. Spread breadcrumb mixture on chicken, roll it up and fasten with a toothpick. Space chicken out onto baking dish.
- Mix broth and pour on top of chicken: 1 cup of chicken broth, 1/2 cup of dry white wine, 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Sauce should cover about 1/2 inch from bottom of dish. This will thicken after cooking.
- Bake at 475 for 15 minutes. Baste chicken and sprinkle a little more breadcrumb mixture on top and bake for another 5 minutes.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussel Sprouts:
- Wash Brussel Sprouts, cut off the end and cut them in half. Cut butternut squash into cubes (you can also buy them cleaned/cut).
- Toss veggies in a baking dish with EV olive oil, rosemary, salt/pepper.
- Roast on 400 for approximately 45 mins.
Israeli Cous Cous
- Cook 1/2 onion in a drop of olive oil until soft.
- Add 1 cup of Israeli cous cous and mushrooms (any kind) and stir for a few minutes – add some parsley for color and salt/pepper.
- Add 2 cups of water (and/or chicken broth) and cook for 10 minutes.
- Boil some red beets and cut them into cubes.
- Add grape tomatoes and mozzarella balls (both cut in half) to beets and toss with a drop of olive oil, salt/pepper and rice vinegar.
How Can the Kids Help?
- Pour the EVOO into the breadcrumbs used in the chicken dish.
- Find and push the toothpicks into the chicken. Count the number of chicken pieces in the dish and the number of toothpicks you will need.
- Help measure and pour the sauce over the chicken.
- Sprinkle spices on veggies and help toss in the baking dish.
- Try using a “chopper” to chop onions for the Cous Cous.
- “Did You Eat Your 5 a Day?”http://foodservices.brevard.k12.fl.us/Wellness-Pdf/5AdayStudentActivities.pdf
Did You Know?
- You can bake and mash butternut squash and add a little butter, brown sugar and/or maple syrup- YUM!
- Butternut squash is one of the best-keeping vegetables – you can store it for 3 months in your kitchen!
- The tradition of lighting candles inside a carved pumpkin at Halloween is originally from Ireland where lit vegetables were hung in the window to ward off Jack O’ Lantern, a wayward soul condemned by the devil to walk the earth for all eternity.