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Healthy Kids’ Meals

Cooking healthy meals for kids is easier than you think. Give them the opportunity to shop with you by setting a few simple food boundaries and let them do the shopping. Use this as a great opportunity to also teach them about labels, nutritional counts, and making food choices.

WRAP AND ROLLS
1 pkg. flour tortillas
Assorted cheese slices
Turkey slices
Thinly shredded lettuce
Finely sliced cucumbers
Vegetables of choice

Let the kids choose from healthy ingredients. When shopping, let them use their imagination when buying additional veggies such as colored peppers, red cabbage, bok choy, tomatoes, and other items they find appealing in the produce section. Slice the vegetables and arrange on a large platter with the other items. Show them how to wrap and roll a dish full of healthy ingredients.

HEART-SHAPED WHOLE-WHEAT PANCAKES
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup nonfat milk
1 Tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Berry Sauce, recipe follows
Confectioners’ sugar, optional

Preheat a large nonstick griddle or skillet over medium-low flame. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, soda, and salt. Add eggs, milk, honey, and vanilla, stirring just until mixed. Pour mixture into skillet and flip pancake when the top is bubbling and is golden brown on the bottom. Then cook until the other side is golden brown. Place on an oven-proof plate and keep in oven on low heat until the entire batch is ready. When all the pancakes are ready, cut them into heart shapes with a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Ladle about 1/3 cup of the berry sauce onto each plate, place pancakes on top, and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar if desired. Serves 4.

Berry Sauce
4 oz. each of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
Purée berries to a chunky purée. Heat in small saucepan over low heat until just warm. Stir in lemon juice and maple syrup.

CUPCAKE LASAGNA
Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 lb. fresh spinach, chopped finely
1/2 small lemon, juiced
1 pkg. round wonton wrappers
8 oz. mozzarella, grated
3 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
4 oz. ricotta cheese
8 cherry tomatoes, for garnish
8 small basil leaves, for garnish

Prepare tomato sauce. Preheat oven to 375°. For the lasagna, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is golden, about five minutes. Remove and discard garlic. Add spinach, a handful at a time, and stir-fry until it wilts, about three minutes. Add lemon juice, then transfer the spinach to a colander set over a bowl to drain. Reserve 8 Tablespoons of Parmesan and 8 Tablespoons of mozzarella—this will be the topping later.

To assemble the lasagna, line each section of an 8-cup nonstick muffin pan with a round wonton wrapper. Put a little Parmesan, a little mozzarella, and a little ricotta into each mold. Top with a little spinach and a spoonful of sauce. Repeat layers of wonton wrappers, three cheeses, spinach, and tomato sauce, creating six layers in all, and ending with sauce. Sprinkle each with reserved Parmesan and mozzarella on top. Bake until nicely browned, about 20 minutes. Add basil leaves for garnish. Serves 8.

Tomato Sauce
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 cup beef stock
2 (26-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes, drained lightly
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
Salt to taste

Sauté garlic in heated olive oil until lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients and stir frequently over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Lower heat to simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. May be made in advance. Makes 4 cups.

TROPICAL MIX
3/4 cup chopped, unsalted cashews
3/4 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup chopped, unsalted macadamia nuts
1/3 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup chopped dried papaya
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Toss all ingredients together in medium bowl. Store in airtight container. Makes 3-1/2 cups.

Coming Next Month: Party Spreads

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