Lunch for a Princess

>> Monday, April 11, 2011

Do you ever get in a rut when you prepare food for your child?  Make the same things over and over again or go to the foods that are supposed to be "kid friendly"?  I'm certainly guilty of doing that.  I have my go-to lunches for my daughter - like spaghetti and PB&J.  Fortunately, she likes to remind me to think outside of the kid-friendly box sometimes.

I've inadvertently found that one of the best ways to get my children to try new foods is to simply to eat the food myself.  That's precisely how I discovered one of my daughter's very favorite lunches - a wrap with a generous smear of goat cheese, roasted red peppers, sliced sweet onion, and tomato.  I was enjoying a wrap of this very description one day when my princess said she wanted a bite...and then ate my whole wrap.  She generally does not care for raw onion (or roasted red peppers for that matter), but in this wrap, she loves the "crunchy bits."  Now I send this wrap for school lunch quite often.

If all else fails, I can depend on her drinking a smoothie for lunch.  And why not?  Packed with fruit and a little punch of protein, the smoothies we make for her are a smart and fun lunch, and again, a lunch that she stole from my husband who is also a smoothie fiend. 

Don't be afraid to challenge your child's taste buds.  They just might surprise you!  What's your favorite non-traditional lunch to serve your child?

A wrap is always better with a fancy toothpick holding it together on a fun plate.
 Princess Wrap

1 small flour tortilla
soft goat cheese
jarred roasted red pepper
sliced tomato
sliced sweet onion

Smear goat cheese down center of tortilla and top with remaining ingredients.  Roll and eat.

Watch the ingredients in the tortillas!  Many brands use hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in their tortillas.

Princess Smoothie

1 banana
1 cup frozen strawberries (thaw a little before blending - 45 sec in microwave does a good job)
1 cup milk (dairy, soy, almond, or coconut)
1 spoonful of peanut butter
a squeeze of chocolate syrup

Place all in a blender and blend until smooth.  Makes 2-3 servings

Add a little tofu to make the smoothie extra creamy and add an extra big punch of protein.


It's National Empanada Day!

>> Friday, April 8, 2011

Who knew?  What perfect way to end my blogging vacation than to celebrate the humble empanada on its very own day by resharing my empanada recipe.  (As an aside, I always want to say em-pa-NYA-da, but I am trying retrain myself to say the word correctly: em-pa-NAH-da.)  A couple of years ago a group of Latina women sold "authentic Latin food" at our local farmer's market.  I fell head over heels in love with their corn and cheese empanadas.  This recipe is my attempt at recreating their empanada.  It falls short of the empanadas I enjoyed at the Farmer's Market, but it's still a darn good empanada, and it freezes well to boot.  I make extra and freeze them to pack in my son's lunch box or to use on those nights when I just don't feel like cooking.

Empanadas de Choclo y Queso (Corn and Cheese Empanadas)

packaged frozen empanada shells (find in the freezer section)
2 TBSP butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 TBSP all-purpose flour
Lowfat evaporated milk (about 1/2 a can)
2 oz Monterey Jack cheese or cheese of choice
1 green onion, finely chopped
corn - 4-6 ears fresh or 1 can or 1 1/2 - 2 cups frozen (I used a bag of fresh corn that I froze last summer)
1 small can green chiles (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

White Sauce - Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender. Whisk in the flour and cook for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the evaporated milk until your sauce is the desired consistency. Cook for a couple of minutes adding more evaporated milk if necessary. (My sauce at this point was very thick but pourable.)

Add in cheese, green onions, and corn as well as any other optional ingredients. Stir to combine well.

Place a tablespoon or two of corn and cheese filling in the center of an empanada shell. Wet the outer edge of the shell with a little water and press edges together to make a sealed pouch. Place empanada on an oiled baking sheet. Continue until all of your filling and/or empanada shells are used.

Bake at 400 F for 10-15 min or until empanada bottoms are browned. (You can also brush an egg wash over the top of the uncooked shells to brown the tops as well.)

Makes about 30 empanadas

Want more empanada ideas?  Foodgawker has beautiful pictures of empanadas with links to the recipes.  Get ready to drool!  And while I haven't tried this recipe, Home Baked Memories has a wonderful looking Green Chile Chicken and Queso Empanada recipe.  Enjoy!


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