This week the kids were very hands on. I prepared the sesame chicken ahead of time but they cut all the vegetables to make the salads. They were very excited to be able to use their "claws" again to help protect their fingers and I got lots of comments about what pretty salads they made. Typically when I make this salad I let it sit for a couple hours so that the salad dressing has a chance to soak into the noodles a bit but it can be served immediately.
Because we had a quick recipe this week I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce the kids to a great game I recently found. FOODMOVES by FoodFun is a great way to talk about the food groups as well as work on meal building with your kids. I've been playing it for a couple months with my two at home but I really wanted to try it out on the Elementary kids. They LOVED it. We played several different games with the the one box and the kids had a great time categorizing the fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grain around the room as well as thinking up meals that include the various ingredients.
4 Chicken thighs or 2 breasts
2 teaspoons of sesame oil
1 green onion finely sliced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
a pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Toss the chicken in the sesame oil and green onions. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the chicken on top of the foil. Sprinkle sesame seeds and salt over chicken. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to cool completely and slice or dice before tossing into the salad.
1/2 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed if possible
2-3 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 Tablespoon green onion, finely sliced
1 piece of crystallized ginger
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend. Or use a hand blender to combine the ingredients.
3 cups Asian egg noodles (like Ramen), cooked and cooled completely
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 cup peppers, diced (used red, yellow, orange or a combination of all three)
1 cup snow peas, thinly sliced
1 mango, diced
1-2 cups of broccoli slaw (or shredded carrots)
1 recipe Sesame Chicken (Optional)
1 recipe of Sesame Dressing
Combine all ingredients in large bowl. For best flavour, allow the salad to sit, covered, for at least 1 hour refrigerated.
Recipe from Simple Gourmet
In keeping with our colourful plate theme, we loved making fattoush with beautiful vegetables and sweet potato hummus. I am amazed at how many of the under 5 set eat hummus like it is it's own food group. But even those die-hard hummus lovers will enjoy this colourful change. Sweet potatoes are filled with beta-carotene so they can be good for your vision, help prevent some types of cancer and, in the season of colds, they can help boost your immune system.
Fattoush is a traditional Middle Eastern salad that uses pita chips to soak up it's tangy dressing. With a slightly lemony taste, Sumac is used to spice the pita chips. Sumac is also sometimes used in kebabs, rice, and hummus. But the croutons are not the main event in this salad. With tomato, peppers, cucumbers, and chickpeas this not only pretty to look at but pack a punch nutritionally. Just promise me that the next time the kids make this salad you won't steal it all for yourself ;-)
By the way, the kids did an amazing job cutting their own vegetables for the fattoush. We talked about how to hold the knife in one hand and making you other hand into a claw. Then they took half a tomato and half a cucumber each and started cutting away. After assembling the salad I had to hand out more vegetables so they could make themselves seconds and thirds!
Sweet Potato Hummus
1 pound Sweet Potato (about 2), peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces.
1 can Chickpeas (15 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Tahini
2 Tablespoons Water
2 teaspoons ground Cumin
1 clove Garlic, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
Steam sweet potatoes for 10-12 minutes or until soft. Chop garlic in the food processor, then add the remaining ingredients, except salt, pepper and paprika. Process until smooth. If needed add up to 2 Tablespoons more of water. Add salt and pepper and allow to cool. Can be refrigerated for up to 1 week in an airtight container. Garnish with paprika before serving. Makes about 4 cups
1 Whole Wheat Pita, split in half
12 small Cherry Tomatoes, or 1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 red or yellow pepper cut into 1 inch strips
1/2 of an English Cucumber, diced
1/4 Red Onion, sliced - or - 2 Green Onions sliced
1 cup Chickpeas
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Bake Pita at 350 for 5-7 minutes or until crispy. Let cool completely and break into smaller pieces. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add Pita chips just before serving. Enjoy! Serves 4.
Recipes from Power Foods by Whole Living Magazine and Martha Stewart
So many people I've met are afraid of recipes. "Is it ok if I add oregano instead of basil?!?!" they might say. To which I most often reply yes of course! Hundreds of years ago when peasants were cooking the foods we are all so in love with these days, they didn't go to the store and say "Well I'm not making coq au vin tonight because they are all out of button mushrooms." There most likely weren't stores there were gardens and there quite likely weren't any recipes written down.
The pasta salad did not include pesto, which I would use in the fall when they are giving away basil, but a gremolata instead. Gremolata is a fancy and more concise way of saying garlic, parsley and lemon (we used just the zest). It is usually paired with fish or lamb but what a nice addition to a pasta salad. Not weighed down by some heavy mayo or overly greasy from a vinaigrette. So gremolata pasta was presented to the kids along with a variety of vegetables to make their salad.
Today in the kids' cooking class we made a tomato soup. A very simple soup with only tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, and a bit of cream. One of the girls asked "Can I add lemon to this?" We had some lemons left from the pasta salad so I said, "Of course, but try it first so you can see what a difference the lemon makes." The result? She loved it and other kids tried it and liked it too. SO we are adding the option of lemon juice, freshly squeezed and the last possible minute (the soup does have cream in it and we wouldn't enjoy it curdled).
You can serve the soup with a spoonful of gremolata and a piece of crusty bread and have a lovely lunch. Enjoy!!
In honour of the Chinese New Year, the kids cooking class got to play with some Asian flavours. We made a crunchy vegetable salad (perfect for the year of the rabbit) with diakon, carrots, red and yellow beets, snow peas cucumber, red pepper, and crab. The kids always amaze me with how adventurous they are when it comes to trying new things. It may have helped that there was a new gadget for them to play with. Several of the vegetables we cut with a spiral cutter so they were super curly. With mutli-coloured carrots and two kind of beets the salads were a rainbow of vegetables. The blood oranges we used for the salad dressing were tangy and sweet and off set the crunch of the vegetables very nicely. Along with a full range of colours, the kids got to choose from several herbs to add. Cilantro, mint, and basil were the crowd favorites. A couple pieces of crystallized ginger and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and we were eating lunch.
The kids loved the spiral cutter and each took their turn (hehehe) with cutting their carrots. Colours, textures, and flavours all playing in the bowls of 7-11 year olds, what mom wouldn’t love that?
Orange and Ginger Vinaigrette & Crunchy Vegetable Salad