Category Archives: Cooking with Kids

Breakfast Pizza Rainbow

3 Easy Breakfast Pizzas for Kids (and Adults)

If there’s one thing kids can’t get enough of, it’s pizza. Get ready to win major points when you bring pizza to the breakfast table with these three tasty (and healthy) versions they’ll be leaping out of bed for.

Breakfast Pizza Rainbow

Rainbow Pizza Pancakes
If a plate of pancakes is your kid’s dream breakfast, then try this fun, healthy spin on your classic flapjack. Thanks to the Greek yogurt and myriad of fruit, your kids will get the proper protein and nutrients for a full day of school and fun.

Prep Time:15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Pancake:
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp butter

Toppings:
1/3 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maple syrup
1/4 cup strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup peach, sliced
1/4cup banana sliced
1/4 cup kiwi, sliced
1/4 cup blueberries, sliced

Directions:
1. In a small bowl whisk together flour and baking powder. Add egg, yogurt and vanilla, and stir until just combined. The batter will be thick. Let rest for 10 minutes.
2. Heat a large non-stick pan to medium high. Melt 1 tsp of butter in pan. Spoon ¼ cup of batter into pan working in batches of two. Flip pancakes once when golden, about 2 minutes. Cook other side for another 2 minutes. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining batter. Set pancakes aside to cool slightly.
3. To top the pancakes, begin by mixing the yogurt, cinnamon and maple syrup in a small bowl. Spread yogurt mixture equally among pancakes. Top each pancake in rows of strawberries, peaches, bananas, kiwis and blueberries to resemble the rainbow.

Tip: Use any combination of colourful fruit to make different shapes and patterns.

Breakfast Pizza Taco

Taco Breakfast Pizza
This taco breakfast pizza recipe comes together in a snap and packs a ton more nutrients than any frozen pizza pocket you can buy at the grocery store. It’s made with scrambled eggs, cheese and avocado; a winning combination that’ll your keep your little back-to-schooler full until lunch time.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
4 6-inch corn tortillas
1/2 cup prepared salsa
2 eggs, scrambled
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 avocado, sliced

Directions:
1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350°F. Spread prepared salsa equally among tortillas, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge.
2. Divide the scrambled eggs among the tortillas. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas.
3. Bake until cheese is melted and salsa is warm, about 10 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and place avocado slices on each tortilla. Cut each tortilla into “pizza slices” and serve.

Breakfast Pizza Fruit and Chocolate

‘Chocolate’ Pita Pizzas
This pita pizza recipe looks like it’s laden with chocolate, but shhh… we use a healthy alternative that’ll make your kids think you’re the best! We blend avocado and banana, then add a touch of cocoa and honey to turn this nutrient-rich spread into a chocolate lover’s dream. Topped with fun animal faces made of bright fruit slices, coconut and chocolate chips, your kids will think you’re serving dessert for breakfast!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
4 pitas
1 banana, divided
1/2 ripe avocado
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp honey
5 strawberries, sliced
1/2 kiwi, sliced
2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Slice 1/2 the banana into small rounds and set aside.
2. In a small bowl mash the other 1/2 of the banana with avocado until a smooth paste forms. Stir in cocoa powder and honey.
3. Spread equally over 4 pitas. Using the sliced fruit, coconut and chocolate chips, top each pita with patterns of your choice.
4. Enjoy!

Looking for more delicious breakfast ideas? Try our 10 Quick Breakfasts for Busy Mornings.

13 Baked Alternatives to Your Favourite Fried Foods

Chicken fingers and fries, spring rolls, calamari, tempura… The list is endless when it comes to your favourite deep-fried dishes. Even though it would be great to indulge on a regular basis, it’s really not wise (for your health, at least) to be consuming these types of greasy foods that often.

So, we decided to find the most delicious and healthy baked versions of your deep-fried favourites that are sure to leave you feeling guilt-free but completely satisfied!

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1. Mouthwatering Baked Buffalo Chicken
2. Nancy Fuller’s Sweet Potato Steak Fries
3. Baked Samosas with Tamarind Chutney 
4. Crunchy Cheesy Oven-Baked Chicken Wings
5. Panko Crusted Baked Shrimp 
6. Chuck’s Crab Cakes
7. Baked Falafel Sliders with Tabbouleh
8. Baked Turkey and Jack Cheese Chimichangas
9. 15-Minute Churros with Caramel Sauce
10. Anna Olson’s Baked Chocolate Almond Doughnuts
11. The Pioneer Woman’s Jalapeno Poppers
12. Valerie Bertinelli’s Southwestern Egg Rolls

13. Almond-Crusted Baked Eggplant

10 Quick Breakfasts for Busy Mornings

Don’t skip the most important meal of the day because you’re in a time crunch. Start your day off right with one of these quick breakfast options that are heavy on the nutrition and light on the ingredient list.

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1. Caramelized Onion & Bacon Strata Cups
These savoury bread pudding cups are filled with the golden breakfast foursome: bacon, eggs, bread and cheese. Batch-make a bunch on the weekend and simply warm them up throughout the week for a no-fuss brekkie.

2. Banana Dog Bites
A quick, mess-free, portable breakfast you can eat while rushing out the door.

3. Overnight Mango Chia Breakfast Pudding
Mix up a Mason jar filled with chia seeds, frozen chopped mango, coconut milk and almond milk and a little splash of honey or maple syrup and leave it in the fridge overnight: you’ll wake up to a healthy breakfast pudding the kids will love.

4. Strawberry-Beet Smoothie
Popping a bright red beet into your morning smoothie gives it an intense colour and packs some serious nutritional punch. Don’t think you like beets? Once it’s whizzed with strawberries, banana and a little milk and honey, no one will ever believe you snuck one in.

5. 3 Ingredient Energy Bites
Whirl a handful of unsalted peanuts, chocolate chips and unsweetened shredded coconut in the food processor or blender, roll tablespoon-sized portions into a ball and breakfast is sorted.

6. Mini Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups
Like a mini frittata, these muffin-size breakfast bites are full of good-for-you ingredients like cooked quinoa, eggs, egg whites, shredded zucchini, cheddar cheese and diced ham.

7. Avocado Coconut Banana Pops
These cool breakfast pops are jammed with more than just flavour. Made with creamy avocado, banana, frozen pineapple chunks and a mix of coconut yogurt and milk, these sweet morning treats are brimming with vitamins, Omega-3 and potassium.

8. Peanut Butter Banana Oat Smoothie
Frozen bananas, protein-packed peanut butter and Greek yogurt, and fibre-filled oats are blended together to create a thick and creamy peanut butter banana oat smoothie that will keep everyone full until recess.

9. 5 Ingredient Chia Coconut Energy Bites
Combine dates, shredded coconut, chia seeds and chopped nuts with pure honey in a bowl, roll them out and you’re done. Make a bunch in advance and keep in an air-tight container.

10. Nut Butter Crunch Toast with Granola and Honey
This quickie breakfast gets a crunchy boost from a sprinkling of granola, while the nut butter and banana make it substantial enough to keep you feeling full.

brunch ideas for kids

10 Ideas for a Kid-Friendly Brunch

Make weekend mornings more fun with these 10 scrumptious brunch ideas that kids will adore.

Pancake Snowman

1. Snowmen Pancakes
When making pancakes drop three small circles of batter in your pan so each one touches. When you flip it over you will have a snowman pancake ready to be decorated. Serve with bacon strips (to use as a scarf), berries for decorating the face, chocolate chips for the jacket and marshmallows to look like snow.

2. Egg in a Star Toast
Toast a few slices of bread. Use a cookie cutter to cut out star shapes from the bread. Place the bread in a large frying pan with butter. Fry eggs in star holes. Serve with ketchup!

3. Christmas Morning Fruit Bowl
In a large bowl mix together a selection of green and red fruit – try strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds, cherries, sliced kiwis, grapes, apples and pears. Mix orange and lime juice with citrus zest and toss with fruit.

4. Reindeer Waffles
Take a round waffle that has been toasted and cut a triangle into one end (this will be the chin of the reindeer). Use scrap pieces to place at the top of the waffle to look like antlers. Use blueberries for the reindeer eyes, strawberries for a Rudolph nose and maple syrup to serve!

5. Red & Green Fruit Muffins
Make your favourite muffin recipe and mix in ¼ cup Christmas sprinkles as well as a big handful of pomegranate seeds and one mashed banana. Once you scoop your muffin batter into the tins, top with a mixture of red and green sprinkles.

6. Festive Fruit Parfaits
In tall glasses layer up yogurt, berries and granola to create a healthy, festive breakfast. Start by adding a layer of vanilla yogurt, topped with a layer of granola, sprinkle in some raspberries and blueberries and top with a small handful of yogurt. Continue layering until the glasses are full.

7. Santa Claus Strawberry Hats
Use strawberries and whipped cream to make mini Santa Claus hats. Clean and hull your strawberries. Dip the hulled end of the strawberry in cream and place on a plate or on top of brownies, muffins or pancakes. Place another dollop of cream on the pointed end of the strawberry to complete the Santa hat.

8. Cookie Cutter Pancakes
Use your favourite cookie cutter to make pancakes. Simply butter your pan and place the cookie cutter in the melted butter. Pour batter into the cookie cutter and wait until one side has set. Push the pancake out of the cutter to flip. Continue with a variety of shapes and sizes. Serve with maple syrup and sprinkles!

9. Christmas Fruit Tree
Use a large platter or cutting board to spread out chopped fruit in the shape of a large Christmas tree. Use sliced kiwis, green grapes and apples to look like the tree. Use red berries like raspberries or strawberries to string across the tree like lights. Top with a pineapple star! Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

10. Red & Green Christmas Morning Smoothie
Make a layered smoothie by first making a red berry smoothie using milk, yogurt, raspberries, strawberries and a banana. Set aside and mix your green smoothie using milk, yogurt, celery, spinach and apples. Layer your red and green smoothies in tall glasses and serve with straws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Fun and Festive Treats for Kids

Get your family into the holiday spirit with cute and creative seasonal snacks. These sweet bites have all kinds of delicious uses: After-school eats, weekend treats and Santa-approved lunchbox surprises!

Chocolate-Dipped Clementines

1. Chocolate-Dipped Clementines
Chocolate and oranges are a classic holiday flavour combination and these no-bake treats couldn’t be easier to whip up. Simply dip clementine segments in melted dark chocolate, then top with festive sprinkles and refrigerate until firm.

2. Snowball Cookies
We’re hoping for a white Christmas and these irresistibly delicious coconut bites evoke visions of ice skating, snowball fights and holiday cheer.

3. Tortilla Cookies
This cheat using flour tortillas is perfect for last-minute cookie exchanges and entertaining. You can choose from three different flavours — cinnamon, chocolate and lemon — or get creative with your own flavour pairings. Give the cookies some festive flair by using cookie cutters to cut out trees and gingerbread men before baking.

4. Spiced Sugar and Christmas Popcorn
The festive season is not complete without some holiday movie binge-watching. Get cozy and settle in with the kids to watch your favourite flicks with a giant bowl of Jamie Oliver’s spiced sugar popcorn.

5. Pioneer Woman’s Christmas Finger Jello
This jiggly dessert is a perennial favourite with both kids and adults, and nothing screams Christmas more than a traditional red, white and green dessert.

Chocolate Candy Cane Sandwich Cookies

6. Chocolate Candy Cane Sandwich Cookies
If you’ve got an excess of candy canes around the house, put them to good use in these delightful holiday-themed sandwich cookies. (Bonus, they can be made vegan too.)

7. Festive Thumbprint Cookies
With a buttery cookie base and a yummy jam-filled centre, no holiday is complete without a serving of this classic treat.

Brussels Sprouts Even The Pickiest Eaters Will Love

Brussels sprouts have always been one of the most feared vegetables among kids and it’s usually because they’ve only tried one version at home: boiled to a miserable soggy, mushy mess, with no flavour at all. Thankfully in recent years chefs have been doing this vegetable justice, browning the leaves to give them a crispy crunch, adding accoutrements like nuts and maple syrup, and pairing the otherwise bland vegetable with a bit of fat from umami bombs like bacon and cheese.

Here’s an easy way to serve up this cruciferous vegetable that’s loaded with vitamins K and C. Yes, it uses a bit of pancetta and butter, so it’ll never be as healthy as just steaming them, but then again, would you rather eat them without any flavour?

If you have a bit more time on your hands, you can also roast Brussels sprouts for 30-40 minutes at 400°F after tossing them in a light coat of olive oil. But below is the quicker version perfect for a weeknight dinner.

BrusselsSproutsPlate

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Parmesan

Ingredients:
(serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main)

1 pound (4 cups) Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed, and halved
1/3 cups pancetta cubes
1 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
2 tsp maple syrup
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

BrusselsSprouts

Directions:
1. In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch the Brussels sprouts for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. In a pan over medium heat, melt the butter. When it starts to brown, add the Brussels sprouts and stir occasionally. Continue cooking until the sprouts start to brown, 6-8 minutes.
3. Add the pancetta and cook until they start to brown and crisp up, 3-4 minutes. Pour in the maple syrup and gently toss. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Pour into a serving dish and grate a bit of parmesan cheese on top. Serve immediately.

734863_10151322355189438_2070375187_n Karon Liu is a freelance food writer based in Toronto who is slightly lactose intolerant but will otherwise eat and cook anything.

8 Surprising Lunch Ideas Your Kids Will Love

School is back in session which means that it is time to break out the lunch boxes, bags and thermoses and get back into a lunch packing routine. Many of these recipes can be made for dinner then sent as leftovers the next day. You can also make a bigger batch and portion some for future use. Here are some great ideas for delicious, vegetable and fruit-filled meals to set your child up for a day of success at school.

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1. Veggie Quiches and Frittatas
Baked egg dishes are terrific for busy weeknights and for lunch boxes: they come together quickly and pack protein and vegetables into every single bite. Leftovers are delicious warmed up or at room temperature the next day. This Roasted Vegetable Frittata recipe features bell peppers and zucchini which are all at their peak this season which will make lunch even tastier. Or try making these Mini Spinach and Cheese Vegetable Quiches that are cooked in muffin cups. Not only are they a quick and easy option, but also make a great freezer item to be reheated later for a quick snack.

2. Pancakes and French Toast cups
Opening up a lunchbox to find pancakes or French toast cups is a nice surprise and an unexpected break from regular lunch fare. Kids will get their fill of fruit with these delicious recipes. This recipe for Gluten-Free Pancakes with Berry Compote will bring a smile to your kids face and have them gobble up every single bite. Just make sure to pack the compote separately from the pancakes. And don’t hesitate to throw in this Kids’ Smoothie in an insulated bottle to go along with this lunch.

French toast cups also make a fun alternative to traditional lunch. Pack the ricotta and berries on the side so that the French toast cups don’t get soggy by the time the lunch bell rings. This recipe calls for almonds — but you can swap it out for some roasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead to make it nut-free.

3. Waffle Pizzas
Pizza is always a hit with kids and is a terrific way to get them to eat some veggies. Instead of a regular crust made of dough, this Waffle Pizza recipe makes savoury sundried tomato waffles as a base and tops them with a selection of tasty vegetables. If you are short on time, don’t hesitate to swap in a pre-made frozen waffle and then top it with tomato sauce, your child’s favourite veggies and a sprinkle of cheese.

4. Chicken and Rice Vermicelli Salad
Rice vermicelli is available in the Asian section of large supermarkets and at Asian grocery stores. These fine rice noodles cook in moments immersed in hot water which makes them a terrific option for a lunchbox and any quick meal. This Chicken and Rice Vermicelli Salad recipe combines some carrots, peppers and fresh herbs along with some chicken — leftover roast chicken from dinner would be perfect here — and some dressing that you can pack on the side to be poured over at lunchtime. Note: This recipe calls for red chili and chili paste to add some heat, but you may want to omit for little ones.

5. Vegetable and Chicken Dumplings
Dumplings are a delicious lunch option and a terrific vehicle for protein and vegetables. They are especially useful for using up odds and ends, like a lone celery stalk or carrot, or a half of a chicken breast that you have hanging around in your fridge. You can send these Vegetable and Chicken Dumplings to school hot in a thermos or at room temperature in a lunch box. Kids can also get in on the action and help to fold up the little bundles in conventional or not-so-conventional ways! Dumpling wrappers are available in the produce or deli section of the supermarket.

6. Chicken Noodle Miso Soup
As the weather cools, soup is a perfect lunch to warm up your child before they head outdoors to play. Soup can be warmed up in the morning and sent in a thermos. It is also easily frozen in portions that can be pulled out of the freezer on demand. Chicken Noodle Miso Soup is a tasty twist on traditional chicken soup and uses miso to add depth of flavour without hours of cooking time. It includes no fewer than 6 vegetables, chicken breast and pasta — all of which combine to make a delicious and nourishing whole meal.

7. Pizza Soup
Seems like a genius idea, right? Transforming all of the deliciousness of pizza into a bowl of soup. Your kids are going to be thrilled when they open their thermos to this warming meal. The simple Pizza Soup recipe is written so that you can customize it with your child’s favourite pizza toppings.

8. Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Vegetable Sauce
Chicken meatballs in a red sauce made of puréed roasted carrots, peppers, zucchini, squash, onions and tomatoes are a fantastic dinner for a cool night and an even better lunch the next day. Rolling out meatballs can be a little time consuming but are a terrific task for little hands so invite any aspiring chefs in your house to roll up their sleeves and help out. They are even more likely to gobble up this delicious meal if they had a hand in preparing it.

Aviva Wittenberg is the founder of 196lunches.com, a blog that documents a year of making healthy and delicious school lunches for her kids. Follow her on Instagram at @avivawittenberg.

10 Ways to Eat Peanut Butter and Jelly

There’s no flavour combo more classic than peanut butter and jelly. This tried, tested and true marriage of salty and sweet is here to stay, so you might as well make it a little more interesting. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with a delicious PB&J sandwich, but if you’re looking to explore some new options, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our picks for the seven most creative ways to snack on peanut butter and jelly.

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1. Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

2. Peanut Butter and Jelly Doughnuts

3. Peanut Butter and Jelly Foie Gras

4. PB&J French Toast

5. Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

6. Peanut Butter and Jam Bread Pudding

7. Moroccan PB&J

8. PB&J Burger

9. Healthy Peanut Butter & Jam Squares

10. PB&J Treats

Ice Cream Tacos

A fun summer treat that is great for the whole family, these crunchy ice cream tacos will be a guaranteed hit with kids! Get creative with this recipe and add in your garnish of choice.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

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Ingredients:
Smallest tortilla shells you can find (white or whole wheat)
1 Tbsp cinnamon
¼ cup white sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter
Tinfoil (create small tubes to use as spacers when baking tortillas)
Any flavour ice cream or frozen yogurt
2 cups chocolate melting wafers (or chocolate chips)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp corn syrup
Decorating items (nuts, sprinkles, smarties, etc.)

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Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Brush the melted butter onto one side of the tortilla shells.
3. Combine cinnamon and sugar together and generously sprinkle over the buttered tortilla shell.
4. Using the tinfoil tubes, fold the tortillas in half, with the cinnamon sugar side to be on the inside, creating the taco shell.
5. Place in oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and stiff to touch.
6. Allow your taco shells to cool.
7. Melt chocolate, butter and corn syrup until a nice dipping consistency has been achieved.
8. Take taco shell, pack full with ice cream and smooth around the edges with a spoon or knife.
9. Quickly dip in chocolate and sprinkle with choice of decorations.
10. Place in freezer for 15-20 minutes to allow the ice cream to set.

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10 Fruity Kids Desserts You’ll Want to Eat Too

When fruit is at its peak of flavour and freshness, they make the most satisfying and yummy desserts for little ones. Here are 10 ideas with seasonal fruit that will give kids a boost of vitamins and nutrients.

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1. Late summer can sometimes mean sweltering heat. What better way to cool things down than with refreshing watermelon? It can be cut into easy grab-and-go squares, perfect for busy kids. Moms and dads love this recipe, too, since there’s no baking required.

Get the recipe here: Mascarpone-filled Watermelon

2. A traditional cheesecake is a sure-fire hit any time of the year; but when you can top it off with fresh raspberries, it’s elevated to a work of art. With three cups of berries, this version puts them front and centre.

Get the recipe here: Raspberry Cheesecake

3. In the fall, Canadians are fortunate enough to enjoy an amazing array of homegrown apples. This fragrant dessert showcases Granny Smith apples and balances their sweet tartness with a generous helping of caramel – always a winner with kids!

Get the recipe here: Caramel Apple Pie

4. Sometimes the best way to enjoy seasonal fruit is the simplest. Berries and green grapes, coupled with yogurt, come together in a colourful fruit salad that can be ready and waiting in the fridge. It’s the perfect answer to: “What’s for dessert?”

Get the recipe here: Fresh Fruit Salad with Honey Vanilla Yogurt

frozen berry dessert lady bug pops recipe

5. What a fun way to finish off a meal! This cute-as-a-bug, frozen treat by Giada De Laurentiis meets the high standards of young dessert connoisseurs and parents alike. They’re delicious, while providing a nutrition boost from antioxidant-rich blueberries and strawberries.

Get the recipe here: Lady Bug Pops

6. Fresh peaches and blackberries get the star treatment in this yummy trifle, coupled with spongy lady fingers. Skip the limoncello to make this dessert suitable for all ages.

Get the recipe here: Peach Blackberry Trifles

7. Ina Garten’s gorgeous tart makes use of late summer’s best plums, grown in spots like the Okanagan Valley and the Niagara area. Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream to see your kids’ eyes light up instantly.

Get the recipe here: Plum Tart

8. It may be called a crostata, but to kids, it looks like a fruit-covered pizza. They’ll love the mix of fresh blueberries, peaches and plums. It can be made ahead of time, then slipped in the oven just before it’s time to gather at the dinner table.

Get the recipe here: Fruit Crostata

9. End the meal on a high with these delicious ice cream floats, sure to become a family favourite. They combine the tartness of raspberries with ice cream and a splash of soda to add effervescence. Expect a loud slurp as kids drink them to the last drop.

Get the recipe here: Raspberry Ice Cream Floats

lemony-poached-pears-chocolate-sauce-recipe

10. Late summer means juicy pears are just around the corner with fall’s harvest. This lemony and honey-infused whole pear dessert is garnished with chocolate sauce and yogurt. A fanciful dessert that the whole family will love — and ready in just 10 minutes.

Get the recipe here: Lemony Poached Pears

10 Tempting Salads Your Kids Will Want to Eat

kid-recipe-chickpea-salad

Getting kids to opt for healthy foods is a challenge virtually every parent faces. But even reluctant eaters don’t stand a chance with these delicious salads, boosted with a sprinkle of fun.

1. Queen Korina’s Salad

Tell the kids it’s fiesta time as they use crunchy tortilla chips to scoop up the goodness of this tasty salad with a nod to Mexican flavours. It works well as a main, thanks to thinly slice grilled flank steak as a topper.

2. Kid-Friendly Pasta Salad

Let the kids choose which fun-shaped pasta should be showcased in this colourful dish. Then get them involved in making the vinaigrette and crumbling the bacon.

3. Kale Citrus Salad

If getting your kids to eat kale has become mission impossible, try this tangy salad with oodles of sweet citrus flavours and creaminess courtesy of the goat cheese. They are sure to forget they are eating vegetables and ask for seconds.

4. Arugula, Watermelon and Feta Salad

You’re doing a wonderful thing for your child when you introduce him or her to delicious coupling of salty, creamy feta and sweet watermelon in this dish. It’s life altering, not to mention loaded with healthy ingredients.

5. Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

There are vibrant flavours galore in the rainbow-hued salad. Zippy lemon juice, robust mint, crispy cucumber and hearty chick peas come together in a salad that keeps even picky eaters nibbling away.

6. Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

Beets are pretty much the closest that Mother Nature gets to bringing vegetables and candy together. Their sweetness in this dish is guaranteed to be a sure-fire hit with kids, especially if they don’t know how rich in vitamins it is!

7. Cucumber Chickpea Salad

Parents appreciate this chick pea-driven salad because it is quick and easy to make. Kids love it for its garlicky crunchiness, thanks to tzatziki and bite-sized cucumber chunks.

8. Curry Tofu Chutney Salad

Sweet and savoury are like the yin and yang of the food world. They go so well together as seen in this vibrant salad marrying the sweetness of apples and mango chutney with a mild kick of curry.

9. Wild Rice, Artichoke and Kale Salad

If your kids never seem to stop, this salad ticks all the boxes for providing their bodies with nourishing fuel. Hearty wild rice, vitamin B-rich artichokes and a fortifying dose of green energy from kale.

10. Tropical Fruit Salad with Ginger Syrup

This sweet treat highlighting tropical flavours is ideal for as an after-school snack or dessert. The mix of papaya, pineapple, strawberries, kiwi and orange is like having the greatest hits of fruit all in one bowl.

8 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks Kids Will Love

An action-packed schedule can mean big gaps between meals. Resist the lure of the fast food drive-through and fuel after school practice with these belly-filling, good-for-you snacks that are packed with fresh ingredients and loads of nutrition.

sammies-on-a-stick-recipe

1. Kid-Friendly Sammies on a Stick
Just one of these protein-packed sticks is enough to satiate a hungry belly. Get your kids to help make them ahead of time by letting them pick and choose which ingredients they like from the items of your choosing. Nothing beats a homemade snack that they’ve helped make themselves!

2. Rolled Turkey and Apple Quesadillas
Turkey roll-ups get a bit of crunch when thinly-sliced apples are tossed in the mix. These protein-rich, nutritious snacks will keep energy levels up and little tummies satisfied.

3. Veggies with Creamy Chick Pea Onion Dip
Sliced peppers, carrots and celery get an added dose of nutrition with this creamy chickpea dipper you can pack in a container.

CocoaBanana-Bran-Muffins-recipe

4. Cocoa Banana Bran Muffins
Bake a large batch of these on Sunday and use as breakfast on the move or as a brown-bag snack the whole week. Stuffed with banana, fibre-rich bran and a hint of chocolate, these yummy muffins will be a hit with kids.

5. Grape and Cheese Bites
These fruit and cheese snacks make the perfect on-the-go munchable kids can eat anywhere — whether they’re in the car, at the park or on the bench before practice.

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6. Easy Quesadillas

Quesadillas are so easy to whip up and can be ready to eat in under 10 minutes. Try different variations from week to week. Some combos that kids love, include almond butter and bananas, tuna and cheddar cheese, and chicken and salsa.

7. Warm Banana Roll-Ups
For breakfast or dessert, sweet banana rolls have the built-in bonus of keeping little fingers clean during the chaos of the weekday rush. Just spread cream cheese on to a warm tortilla, place a whole banana on top then roll it up and grill until golden brown. The result? Crispy and warm on the outside and gooey and sweet on the inside.

8. Apple, Carrot and Flax Muffins with Streusel Topping
Kick up the nutritional value of carrot muffins by adding apple and a whack of flax seeds for a hearty and portable snack.

12 Sneaky Ways To Get Your Kids to Eat More Veggies

The secret to getting finicky eaters to happily gobble up a plate of vegetables lie in discreet and clever packaging. And these delicious and healthy dishes just happen to be packing a serious side of veggies.

1. Pasta sauce is the ultimate vehicle for smuggling veggies onto your kid’s plate and Michael Smith’s kid-friendly version features puréed spinach and carrots that are cleverly hidden in the bright red tomato sauce.

Get the recipe for Michael Smith’s Spaghetti with Hidden Vegetable Tomato Sauce

2. Moist and dense chocolate cake transforms from a decadent treat to what amounts to basically a health food when you add nutrient-rich beets to the mix.

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Rich Beet Chocolate Cake

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3. You’d be hard pressed to find a kid who wouldn’t be thrilled to see mac and cheese on the menu. This recipe calls for a significant amount of butternut squash to lend both creaminess and that bright orange hue kid’s love.

Get the recipe for Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

4. What kid doesn’t like chicken nuggets?! And these clever bites include the healthy summer squash, zucchini. There will be zero complaints when these dunkable chicken and zucchini nuggets hit the table.

Get the recipe for Chicken and Zucchini Nuggets

5. The only thing children love more than noodles, is noodles doused in cream sauce. In lieu of calorie-rich butter and heavy cream, this alfredo sauce gets its smooth texture and taste from nutrient-rich cauliflower.

Get the recipe for Cauliflower Alfredo

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6. Sneak sweet potatoes into your weekend pancakes and watch little ones eat them right up. The subtle sugary flavour of  this sweet veggie means there’s less need to top pancakes with calorie-packed syrup, and will provide a nutritional kick at the same time. Just add already cooked mashed sweet potato – with lumps! – to a basic pancake recipe and cook on the griddle.

Get the recipe for Sweet Potato Pancakes

7. This rich dark chocolate pudding serves a vitamin-packed punch thanks to creamy yet undetectable avocados and chia.

Get the recipe for Chocolate Pudding with Avocado

8. Cut down on the calories by replacing much of the heavy cream and butter with smooth cauliflower for a healthier version of this brown rice risotto.

Get the recipe for Creamy Cauliflower Rice

9. Little fingers gravitate towards food that can be consumed without utensils. You’ll be happy to let them dive right into these easy to make, golden veggie-filled mini pies with store-bought rotisserie chicken and broccoli.

Get the recipe for Giada De Laurentiis’s Mini Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pies

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10. Add more cruciferous vegetables to your kids’ meals with this cheesy mash that will have them running for seconds and thirds. To prepare this dish, add steamed cauliflower florets to your boiled russets and mash away. Finish it with butter, cream and even scallions and watch as the little ones happily eat it up.

Get the recipe for Cheesy Cauliflower Mash

11. Serve these crowd-pleasing, super-moist chocolate muffins to your most picky eater and watch with delight as they devour the zucchini you’ve hidden inside.

Get the recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

12. They may look like deep-fried hash browns, but these cleverly disguised cauliflower pancakes boast more nutrition and less fat than their potato counterparts.

Get the recipe for Savoury Cauliflower Pancakes

 

Kid-Friendly Sammys on a Stick

Kids love to eat with their hands and, admittedly, grown-ups do as well. When it comes to eating foods on a stick, the options are endless. From sandwiches to fruit and brownies, stick foods allow kids to have fun while eating. They can even create their very own masterpiece. Put out a bowl of prepared ingredients and let everyone have fun building their meal.

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Here is how we make sammys on a stick.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 4

Ingredients:

1 bun, bagel, bread, pita or croissant, cut into small chunks
½ cup leftover cooked meat, cubed or 2 pieces deli meat, cut into thin strips
½ cup hard cheese, cubed or small bocconcini balls
¼ cup pepper, seeded and cut into squares
¼ cup cherry tomatoes
¼ cup cucumber, cut into chunks
½ cup lettuce, torn into smaller pieces
Wooden skewers

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Directions:
1. Start adding your ingredients to your skewers in whatever order you like. Leave a little room at each end of the skewer to give you something to hold on to.

Tips:

1. When prepping your ingredients, be sure to cube and cut everything similar in size.
2. If you like butter, cream cheese or pesto on your bun, spread a little on to the pieces before skewering.
3. If your wooden skewers are long, cut them smaller for little hands, and to fit into lunch boxes.

100x100_Wanda Baker Wanda Baker is a busy mom of 2 who blogs about food and adventures in Calgary and beyond.

Strawberry Cheesecake Fun Dip For Kids

We love getting kids in the kitchen to teach them how fun cooking can be! Make fondue fun for budding little chefs with this easy recipe that parents and kids can enjoy together.

Strawberry Fun-do Dip

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Yield: 3 cups
Serves: 12

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Ingredients:

2 cups hulled strawberries
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup marshmallow fluff
Assorted fruit such as sliced bananas, blackberries, strawberries and grapes
Animal crackers

Directions:

1. Mash strawberries with icing sugar, set aside.
2. Whip cream until stiff peaks form, set aside.
3. Whip cream cheese with marshmallow fluff, stir in strawberries and fold in whipped cream.
4. Serve dip with assorted fruit and animal crackers.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. 

Amanda Riva is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

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3 Tasty Ways to Jazz Up Pizza Night

Everyone loves pizza; from a young age, this beloved junk food finds its way into our hearts and never leaves. Takeout pizza, however, tends to be the first thing I think of when I want to order in. It can become an all-too-familiar routine. But all you need to jazz up your ho-hum pizza night is to have a few key ingredients on hand. Let the kids get involved. Little ones can start chopping, older kids help put it all together.

Here are three pizza recipes that are super fun to make and delicious to eat.

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Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

Yields: 16
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes

Ingredients:
2 cups flour (1 cup all-purpose white, 1 cup whole wheat)
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cubed cheese (marble, cheddar or mozzarella)
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 eggs
½ cup milk
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup finely chopped red pepper
? cup pizza sauce
½ cup shredded mozzarella
½ cup pepperoni, chopped
Cooking spray

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line large muffin pan with liners or spray muffin cups with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, basil and baking soda.
3. In a second bowl, mix yogurt, eggs and milk. Slowly whisk in melted butter until combined. Pour into dry ingredients and slowly mix until well combined. Toss in pepper, cubed cheese and pepperoni. If you find your batter thick, thin it with a little milk.
4. Spoon the mixture evenly into muffin cups. Spread a teaspoon of pizza sauce on top and a sprinkle of mozzarella.
5. Bake for 12 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Start testing at about 10 minutes.
6. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes and then completely cool on wire rack.
7. Don’t be afraid to make extra – they freeze well.

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Pizza Burgers

Yields: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup chopped pepperoni (sticks or slices)
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons pizza sauce
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
8 slices mozzarella or provolone cheese
8 buns

Directions:
1. In a large bowl mix together ground beef, pepperoni, basil, oregano, pizza sauce, parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper until just combined.
2. Form 8 burger patties.
3. On a pre-heated BBQ, grill your burgers approximately 5 minutes per side over medium-high heat.
4. Place a slice of cheese on each burger, close lid and allow cheese to melt slightly.
5. If you like your buns toasted, now is the time to put your buns on the grill for about 1 minute or until toasted.
6. Remove burgers, please on buns and serve with your favourite pizza toppings and/or condiments.

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Pizza Soup

Yields: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup brown or white mushrooms, sliced
½ cup red pepper, diced
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
2 cups stock (beef, chicken or vegetable)
1 cup pepperoni sticks, sliced thin
½ teaspoon basil
Mozzarella or Monterey Jack Cheese, grated

Directions:
1. In a large pot heat your oil. Add onions, mushrooms and pepper. Stir and cook until soft.
2. Pour in tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon or your fingers. Add stock and bring to a boil.
3. Turn heat down to a simmer and add pepperoni, basil and a pinch of salt & pepper. Mix and cook for 15 minutes. Ladle hot soup into bowls. Top with shredded cheese and enjoy.

100x100_Wanda Baker Wanda Baker is a busy mom of 2 who blogs about food and adventures in Calgary and beyond.

11 Awesome Campfire Cooking Ideas

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Ho hum about hot dogs? Sick of s’mores? Camping is all about enjoying the outdoors without fussy cooking or clean-up hassles. Maybe you just don’t feel like packing an array of utensils and pans, or you haven’t been camping since you were 10 and don’t know what to cook over a fire. But a camper can’t live on trail mix alone. Cozy up to the campfire and be inspired by these simple and creative ideas.

1. Orange Peel Omelette
Start the day with a breakfast that will impress your fellow campers. Cut an orange in half and scoop out the flesh, saving it to snack on while you’re cooking. Crack one egg into each half of the orange peel. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Place peel
and egg mixture onto a camping grill over the fire. Using a grill helps keep the orange peel from burning. The egg will cook in 10-15 minutes (depending on the heat) with a fresh hint of citrus flavour. Try sprinkling a few dried cranberries on top.

2. Make-Ahead Muffins
Muffins made at home with fresh, nutritious ingredients are an easy camping breakfast or snack. Try Anna’s Blueberry Muffins or Michael Smith’s Spiced Banana Muffins.

3. Foil Packet Dinners
This campfire dinner is all about the ingredient pairings, which can be as simple or sophisticated as you want. Use either a foil loaf pan or a double layer of heavy-duty foil for each serving (lay your ingredients in the middle). Cut up your ingredients at home and bring them in bags or the foil pans. Try pieces of cooked kielbasa, bacon or sausage with potatoes, peppers and onions. To retain moisture you can add a small amount of water, stock or apple juice. Seal the pans or the edges of the foil into packets, and set them on a grill over the fire for about 40 minutes depending on the heat. Rotate the packets frequently to avoid burning. Be sure to let them cool before eating, they will be hot! Packets can be made ahead and frozen, just thaw them in the cooler over a day or so. Veggie-only packets don’t need to be kept as cold if they’re used by at least the second day.

Try this: Fennel Stuffed Fish in Foil.

4. Picnic Potato Salad
If you’re packing condiments like mayonnaise, relish or mustard for burgers and dogs, they can also be combined into a quick dressing for a side potato salad. Salads can also be made ahead and kept chilled in the cooler.

Check out our Potato Salad Recipes.

5. Vegetable Kebabs
Wash and cut up a variety of veggies such as peppers, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, red onion and eggplant, and pack them in containers or sealed plastic bags along with wooden skewers. Soak the skewers for 30 minutes before grilling to prevent them from burning. Everyone, including the kids, can load skewers with the veggies of their choice. Turn kebabs frequently until veggies are tender, 10-15 minutes. Bring a jar of pizza sauce or pesto for dipping, or better yet, make your own!

Try one of these 7 Healthy Homemade Condiments.

6. Catch of the Day

Freshly caught grilled fish, bursting with flavour makes for a memorable family feast!

Try one of Food Network Canada Faves: Grilled Fish.

7. Caramel Apple

Partially core one apple, and fill the center with a pat of butter and a few individually-wrapped caramels. Wrap the apple in foil and heat it over the fire and there you have ooey, gooey Caramel Apple Dip.

8. Ants on a Log or Bumps on a Log
This is a camping classic and a snack that kids can make themselves. Spread peanut butter over washed and cut celery stalks, and sprinkle with raisins.

Try this Ants on a Log or Bumps on a Log recipe.

9. Cream Puffs

All you need for these bite-sized delicacies is a container of store-bought biscuit dough and a bag of marshmallows. Flatten out a portion of biscuit dough and wrap it around a marshmallow. Pierce it on the end of a camping fork or stick and roast over the fire until the dough is golden. I dare you to stop at one.

10. Campfire Banana Splits

Spray sheets of aluminum foil, large enough to wrap around a banana, with cooking spray. Strip the peel back on a banana, leaving it attached. Slice the banana lengthwise and fill with chocolate chips. Fold the banana peel back over, wrap it in foil, and set it on a grill for about 5 minutes to let the chocolate melt. Unwrap the banana and eat with a spoon.

Indulge in some Grilled Banana Splits for dessert.

11. Easy Egg and Veggie Scramble

Cook eggs and veggies in a freezer bag in boiling water for delicious scrambled eggs.

 

Related:

How to Make Rainbow Freezies

I’m loving simple, no-fuss desserts. This dessert is a little bit of a cheat, but it’s so tasty that no one will care.

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Rainbow Freezies

Ingredients:
8 (each) x Purple, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red Freezies (frozen)
4 freezer-proof jars, with lids
4 spoons

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Directions:
1. Thaw frozen freezies for 3-4 minutes until malleable.
2. Begin layering the freezies in the order listed above, approximately 2 Tbsp per layer. This isn’t an exact science, so go with your heart.
3. Once you’re done, freeze or refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

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Healthy Kids Eat Complex Carbs

Good nutrition is critical for healthy, developing kids and a balanced diet is an essential part of the equation. While carbohydrates have been often been vilified, the truth is complex carbs such as rice and sweet potatoes fuel both the body and the mind and are essential for proper metabolic functioning. Nutrient-dense meals that include whole foods such as rice, vegetables and protein are needed to give kids the energy they require to grow, stay active and learn.

In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, speed and convenience are high on the home cook’s must-have list. Rice is quick and easy to prepare, but studies show that meals built around this nutritious grain tend to be healthier. Not only is it the perfect conduit for a rainbow of colourful vegetables and lean cuts of meat, but forms the base for countless meal options that are well-rounded and wholesome.

Get Kids Involved

Encouraging kids to get involved in meal preparation helps them develop healthy eating habits at an early age and is the kind of skill set that they will carry throughout their lives.

Chef’s Tip!

Cook more rice than you need; the leftovers can be easily reheated or even transformed for a nu-tritious, energy packed lunch that will help kids power through their afternoon and maintain con-centration at school.

Cooking with Kids: Disconnect to Connect

It’s a reality of our modern digital world that we’re distracted and, all too often, distant. Dinner time is often spent absorbed by the constant hum of our various gadgets, and over time it can take its toll on the family.

One way to help break the cycle is to get the whole family involved in preparing and cooking dinner together. Cooking a meal inevitably leads to sharing a meal, and studies show that eating together is good for both kids and families as a whole. It’s a set time carved out each day where everyone can catch up and unplug.

Cooking as a family gives even the youngest members an opportunity to contribute, even if it’s only to peel vegetables, measure out the rice, or merely set the table. Not only does it give kids a sense of satisfaction, but encourages bonding, helps teach fundamental life skills, and fosters positive lifestyle habits.

Simple recipes are the best way to start cooking with your children. A roast chicken with fresh vegetables and a side of rice is a well-rounded, nutritious crowd pleaser. Rice is a go-to staple that wholesome meals are built upon. Just add your favourite vegetable and protein and you’re on your way to a quick and easy meal that’s good for the whole family.