Archive for the ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ Category

Mushrooms Take Center Stage on School Lunch Trays

Wouldn’t it be great if your child’s cafeteria served healthy, nutritious food prepared just like the meals found in the finest restaurants? Council Representative, Kathleen Pries, is on the front lines of the mushrooms in schools effort, and tells us why kids are gobbling up mushrooms at lunch time!

What if we told you your kids’ love mushrooms? What if we told you they eat them every day for lunch, without complaint, and even ask for seconds? That’s right, since their official introduction to the National School Lunch Program; mushrooms have been gaining popularity as one of the trendiest ingredients to be featured on the lunch tray!

Meal regulations now demand a greater variety of fresh, low fat, low calorie, nutrient dense foods be served to students during breakfast and lunch.  Mushrooms, being both nutrient dense and low fat, instantly improve any dish they are paired with and have become a go-to ingredient for school foodservice directors. Mushrooms blended with meat in school entrees like tacos, burgers, sloppy joes and meatballs instantly reduce fat, calories and sodium while adding moisture, flavor and an extra vegetable serving to students. It’s no wonder why school foodservice directors are turning to mushrooms to help meet new USDA meal pattern requirements!

Mushrooms at Cincinnati Public Schools
School foodservice directors, such as Jessica Shelley of Cincinnati Public Schools, serve mushroom blended burgers to students. Serving mushroom blended burgers allows Jessica to top the burgers with turkey bacon and cheese creating a more appealing presentation to her students. Students are encouraged to visit the salad bar to top their burger with a variety of fresh produce, including mushrooms!

Mushrooms in Schools

Mushrooms at Maplewood Richmond Heights School District
Since mushrooms are grown indoors, they are in-season 365 days a year. Chef Robert Rusan from Maplewood Richmond Heights School District uses fresh mushrooms year-round, serving a student favorite; vegetable pizza. His home made whole wheat crust is topped high with fresh veggies including mushrooms, peppers and onions. The color and visual appeal of the fresh pizza often outsells the student favorite pepperoni pizza option.

Tri-Mushroom Flatbread

Blending is trending, so be sure to keep an eye out in your child’s cafeteria for the many delicious changes to the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program.

 

Back-To-School Fruit & Veggie Makeovers

Mushroom Pear and Gorgonzola Bites

Image Courtesy of Running to the Kitchen – RECIPE HERE

Chef Jackie Newgent, RDN, shares her favorite tips for making veggies and fruits enticing to kids as the new school year kicks off.

It’s back-to-school time! What better time to give healthy eating a kick start. One of the most impactful ways to make a difference is to boost fruit and veggie intake.

In fact, adolescents in the U.S. currently have fruit just once a day and vegetables only 1.3 times a day.(1) So there’s plenty of room to have a positive impact on eating—and ultimately better health. When presented in new ways, fruits and veggies can be extra appealing to kids.

Try these simple, nutritious, and easily adaptable meal makeover tips throughout the day to give your kids’ eating plan a flavorful and fun update—most in just 60 seconds or less.

Breakfast:

Start the day on the right foot. It’s easier than you think to include veggies as part of your morning routine.

Before: Plain eggs

The Makeover: Eggs are a terrific vehicle in which to incorporate vegetables, such as mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers, and more. However, there’s not always time to prepare a fancy omelet with all of the fixings. Salsa counts as a veggie. So top scrambled eggs with a salsa of choice whether mild or hot.

Lunch:

Lettuce and lunch are perfect partners—especially when kids are involved in the prep.

Before: Iceberg lettuce leaf on a ham sandwich

The Makeover: Leafy lettuce greens provide an easy way to enjoy veggies. Stack a mixture of them high on a sandwich. Or if your school has a salad bar, have the kids visit it so they can create their own munchable salad bowlful for a school lunch entrée or side.  

After- School Snack:

It’s not always about the food; it’s often the presentation of it that matters the most to kids.

Before: Green grapes

The Makeover: Add a fun factor when serving grapes. Simply freeze them and serve in a sundae dish for more dessert like appeal. Or insert a combination of red and green grapes onto skewers and freeze to create real grape popsicle kebabs.

Dinner:

Mushrooms provide a meaty taste and can provide a unique way to boost veggie servings at dinnertime.

Before: Burger made with ground turkey

The Makeover: A turkey burger is a tasty and healthful protein pick. It’s also a fantastic way to include vegetables. Sure, top it with tomato and onion. Go beyond toppings, too. The burger can be part veggie; just mix together about equal parts ground turkey and quickly sautéed finely chopped mushrooms, and form into patties.

Dessert/Evening Snack:

To satisfy a “sweet tooth”, focus on naturally sweet food first (yes, fruit!), rather than traditional dessert that can be full of added sugar.

Before: Banana

The Makeover: Bananas are a popular fruit. But kids don’t usually think of them as dessert. So turn bananas into a recognizable dessert. Peel, chop, and freeze in advance; then puree the frozen pieces in a food processor to create 60-second banana “ice cream!”

Need more fruit and veggie tips? Just ask us below—or connect with Jackie on Twitter @jackienewgent.

Source:

(1)   The State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables, 2013, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Fight Summer Boredom with Kids in The Kitchen

Grilled Portabella Pizza
 

In April we were thrilled to introduce the “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” launched as a part of First Lady Michele Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative. Working in cooperation with the USDA, MyPlate, Epicurious and the US Department of Education, the First Lady urged kids to get creative and submit their favorite MyPlate inspired healthy lunch recipe. Last week the fifty-four winning recipes of the “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” were announced and the aspiring chefs who submitted the winning entries were invited to the White House’s annual “Our Kids” state dinner.

Even though this year’s challenge is over, including kids in the preparation of meals can act as a great cure for summer boredom. With summer vacation in full swing, your kids may have entered the dreaded “Mom, I’m bored” phase. Instead of racking your brain for activities to keep them occupied while you cook, throw an apron their way and engage them in meal prep.

Is your child a finicky eater? Fear not! Kids are not only more likely to try new foods when they’ve helped prepare them, but are more likely to continue healthy eating practices if they are instilled early on. A couple of evenings in the kitchen could spark a lifelong appreciation for nutrition-packed mushrooms.

Without the looming deadlines of homework or athletics practice, this summer is the perfect time to share your favorite tasty mushroom recipes with your little ones. Swap mushrooms into your child’s favorite dish for a fresh take on an old favorite. We love using grilled portabellas as a healthier alternative to pizza crust. Make sure to check out our Pinterest board for even more Kid-Friendly Mushroom recipes.  Inviting children to help you whip up a healthy meal is not only a load off of your shoulders, but can become the foundation for a lifetime of health consciousness.

The USDA is a great resource for kitchen activities for kids. Here are just a few benefits for parents who involve their children in cooking:

  • Quality time spent with kids and their parents/caregivers
  • The opportunity for kids to learn how to cook
  • Kids are more likely to eat new foods that they’ve helped prepare.

Remember to put safety first when little ones are in the kitchen. Bubbling pots and sharp knives are hazards that require close adult supervision. In addition, encourage kids to wash their hands in warm soapy water before starting on your favorite recipe.

Bring your kids into the kitchen to cook your favorite mushroom dishes and enjoy the extra quality time with your loved ones! Here’s a few of our favorite recipes to get the ideas flowing!

The Second Annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Brings Kids (and mushrooms) to the Kitchen

 

Part of the beauty of childhood is the joy that comes from experiencing news flavors, textures and ingredient combinations for the very first time. The memories surrounding these ingredients and dishes are never forgotten, but carried along as we grow into adults. However, parents across the country face the obstacle of getting their kids to take that first bite. The solution is as simple as getting your kids in the kitchen before the meal even begins. In coordination with the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, the USDA, MyPlate, Epicurious and the US Department of Education, the second annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is taking kids beyond the lunch table and placing them in the kitchen.

The contest runs between April 3 – May 12 and is open to children between the ages of 8-12. Contestants are invited to enter their best original lunch recipe inspired by MyPlate. One winner from every state will be invited to a special “Kids’ State Dinner” in Washington D.C. this summer. As an added bonus, a few kids might actually get to see their dishes served during the dinner. Following the MyPlate guidelines, the recipe should feature the five food groups. In addition, fruits and veggies should fill half the plate, along with whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy.

Mushrooms’ versatile nature makes them the perfect ingredient to fuel your inspiration for a variety of meals.Their natural texture makes diced mushrooms a perfect ingredient to blend with meat in kids’ favorite dishes, such as Sloppy Joes. More nutrition and delicious flavor is a win with parents and kids alike. The MyPlate Pinterest account is filled with mushroom recipes from Mushroom Stroganoff to Veggie Burritos. Of course, what better guidance could you find than other kids? An entire digital cookbook of last year’s winners can be found here, with winning recipes for a heavenly lunch wrap filled with quinoa, veggie pizza topped with mushrooms and a macaroni casserole.

What are you waiting for? Turn tonight’s dinner into a winning dish!

Mushroom Lovers Cheesy Pizza Dip

Kristen Doyle from Dine and Dish turned a comforting dish from her childhood into a mushroom rich dish her kids can’t get enough of.

As the mother of small children and a lover of veggies (especially mushrooms) I am constantly trying to pack extra nutrition into the different foods we eat. It’s not often that we have a dish with no veggies in it at all. I’ve had success with both sneaking them in and sharing them out in the open. Mushrooms are one of my favorite vegetables to add into recipes to amplify the flavor and nutritional value of the foods we eat. Everything from our favorite scrambled eggs, burgers on the grill, to the pizza we have for dinner gets a handful or two of mushrooms added to it. My kids love mushrooms and I enjoy knowing that by adding this simple ingredient to what we eat, I am boosting the vitamins and antioxidants that go into our bodies.

One thing I’ve been eating since I was a teen is pizza dip. It was an easy, weeknight dinner my mom used to make, but she never added vegetables. I’ve adapted my mom’s recipe to include a vegetable we all know and love… mushrooms! I never have to question whether my kids are going to eat when we have pizza dip for dinner. It gets gobbled down quickly, without any complaints. Served with chips and alongside a nice side salad and some garlic bread, this dip transforms from being an appetizer, to a hearty and filling meal.

What is your favorite recipe you add mushrooms to?

Mushroom Lovers Pizza Dip by Dine and Dish 

 Mushroom Lovers Cheesy Pizza Dip

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

• 1 8-ounce package light cream cheese

• 1 cup light sour cream

• 1 cup pizza sauce (jarred or homemade)

• 1 ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

• 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, washed and chopped

• 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. Blend together cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Spread into a 9 inch pie dish.

3. Stir together the chopped mushrooms and pizza sauce. Pour over sour cream mixture.

4. Top with shredded cheese then finish with remaining sliced mushrooms.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and cheese is hot and bubbly.

6. Serve hot with tortilla chips.