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cheese

Real Mac ’n’ Cheddar Cheese

EAT, family meals By October 15, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Jennifer Low has done it again!  With a belief in teaching kids to cook healthy and fun meals, she has developed 100 brand new recipes that use no sharp knives, no stove-top cooking and no motorized appliances.  In her new book – Everyday Kitchen for Kids, she encourages children to experience the thrill of cooking for the first time.  We’ve been given a peek and can’t wait to get into the kitchen.  (But with stilettos instead of bare feet.)  Here’s a teaser for you – Real Mac ’n’ Cheddar Cheese.

Makes 3 cups (750 mL).

Supplies

2 1⁄2-quart (2.5 L) glass or ceramic baking dish, baking spatula, measuring cups, measuring spoons, foil (or lid of baking dish), bowls, whisk, wooden spoon.

Ingredients

macaroni

1 1⁄2 cups (375 mL) uncooked elbow macaroni
1 tsp (5 mL) vegetable oil
2 1⁄3 cups (580 mL) warm tap water

cheese sauce

1⁄4 cup (60 mL) unsalted butter
3 Tbsp (45 mL) all-purpose flour
1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) dry mustard
1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) white sugar
1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) onion powder
1⁄8 tsp (0.5 mL) chili powder
1 cup (250 mL) milk
1 1⁄2 cups (375 mL) pre-grated cheddar cheese

breadcrumb topping

1 Tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup (125 mL) dry breadcrumbs
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

In the baking dish and using a baking spatula, mix the macaroni with the vegetable oil until the macaroni is well coated.

Pour the warm water onto the macaroni. Cover tightly with a lid or foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Get help taking it out of the oven. Keep covered for at least another 15 minutes. The macaroni softens some more and the baking dish cools off a bit.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave at 50% power (about 1 minute). Use a whisk to mix in the flour until smooth. Then mix in the dry mustard, salt, sugar, onion powder, and chili powder. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth.

Heat the sauce in the microwave on high for 1 minute (or longer, but only 1 minute at a time so it doesn’t foam over), until the sauce is bubbly and thickened. Get help removing the bowl from the microwave. Cool slightly so the bowl isn’t too hot to touch.

Stir the cheddar into the sauce. The cheese does not need to be fully melted in right now. Set aside.

Next make the breadcrumb topping. In a large microwave-safe bowl, heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter in the microwave at 50% power until melted (about 30 seconds). Mix in the breadcrumbs and salt. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash the breadcrumbs into the butter to break up lumps.

Get help uncovering the dish of macaroni (there should be some water left in the bottom of the dish). Using a baking spatula, scrape the cheese sauce onto the macaroni. Stir well. Spread the macaroni evenly in the dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are lightly golden.

Jennifer is inviting kids to send in pictures of their favourite recipes from the book to her website www.kitchenforkids.com

Excerpted from Everyday Kitchen for Kids (Whitecap Books) by Jennifer Low
Photo by Ryan Szulc from Everyday Kitchen for Kids (Whitecap Books)

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kid friendly snacks

Great Kid-Friendly Snacks

EAT, snacks By August 30, 2011 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Nutrition is something we as parents have to take more seriously than we used to. Obesity and its wicked cousin, diabetes, are on the rise everywhere, and kids are the targets of all kinds of fast-food and convenience-foods marketing that tempts them with things that they don’t need. Snacks should be healthy, meaning low in fat and calories, filling, and have good nutrition. Sounds impossible, when you want them to taste good, too? Nay, my friend. There are tons of options out there! Here are just a few items you should always have on hand, because with them you can construct a legion of fun, flavorful and fully good-for-you treats!

Basic Ingredients (try to have on hand):

  • Whole wheat tortillas, bread, English muffins, bagels (as bases)
  • Fruit
  • Low-fat cheeses (cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, edam, cream cheese)
  • Cut-up and cleaned veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, etc.)
  • Granola
  • Dry cereal
  • Chocolate chips
  • Raisins, Craisins, other dried fruit
  • Nuts (unsalted and unsweetened, preferably)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Salsa
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Yogurt
  • Low-sodium/fat lunch meats, like turkey and chicken breast

With these basic ingredients, you can assemble an amazing legion of simple, yummy and fun snacks, such as:

  • Mini-Pizzas: Season tomato sauce with some Italian spices, drizzle on an English muffin, top with mozzarella. For fun, add veggies; toast. Very crunchy, tasty and filling!
  • Mexi-Pizzas: Drizzle a tortilla with salsa, mozzarella, and chopped veggies; toast. Ole!
  • Fruity K-bobs: Cut fruit chunks and space them on a skewer with small pieces of cheese. Pear and apple with cheddar is awesome, and a great source of vitamins and calcium.
  • Banana Bombs: Dip a banana in yogurt, roll it in crushed cereal or granola; freeze for 30 minutes to an hour. A chilly treat.
  • Home-Made Lunchables: Cut up lunch meat and thinly-sliced cheese and serve with crackers, Lunchables-style.
  • Ants on a log: Fill celery with peanut butter or cream cheese, then stud it with raisins or craisins. Kids love it.
  • Faux Banana Split: Serve a banana with strawberry and vanilla yogurt, sprinkle with chocolate chips, in a “boat” like a banana split.

Other suggestions:

  • Clear, low-sodium broth-based or tomato soup served with whole-wheat toast or crackers
  • Half a turkey and veggie sandwich
  • A bowl of mixed granola and dried cereal, with a few chocolate chips thrown in every now and then
  • Peanut butter and jelly—try it as a sandwich or even as a yogurt smoothie!
  • Veggies served with hummus or low-fat ranch or Italian dressing for dipping. Most vegetables are fat-soluble, so it’s best to accompany them with a little bit of fat for better nutrient absorption.
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Unsalted, unbuttered popcorn tossed with a little salt and parmesan cheese
  • Peanut butter on crackers
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Blue Mountain Cheese Fondue

Canada, EAT, family meals, ROAM By March 20, 2011 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

Your family has escaped the Toronto winter to Blue Mountain and you are getting cozy in a cabin at Ontario’s largest ski and snowboard resort.  The fire is blazing, the kids are tired (and happy), and snow falls outside your windows.  The Niagara vineyards have kindly provided you with a selection of great wine, and you can now start the quintessential vacation meal:  Blue Mountain Cheese Fondue.

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