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Millones Man

19 Mar

I know, I know I’ve been VERY quiet lately! I’m finding it difficult to blog now as Thomas no longer has a day sleep and by the time he goes to bed I can’t think any longer! My brain (and body) is dead and just wants to zone out.

My little man is 4 now. He is still as busy as ever and so curious about everything! You know, things the average 4 year old wants to know like how does the water come out of the tap, where does it come from, how does the rain fall from the sky, how did he get out of my tummy, what does that sign say, what does that word mean… The list goes on and on – and so do the questions!

Did you know the average 4 year old asks between 430 – 450 questions each day??? I think Thomas asks that before breakfast! 🙂

Anyway, we have still been cooking although, until recently not as much. I don’t think the mixing and measuring was quite challenging enough for him!

Last week he decided he wanted to help me cook a real meal. So together we cooked broccoli and chicken pasta. Just as we were about to serve it, Thomas decided he wanted to set the dining room up as Millones – his favourite restaurant! He made a sign up and set up some tea light candles (battery operated) and set the table. It was very cute and took our cooking to a whole new level. It also made him a lot more interested in sitting at the table!

He has since decided that he is going to have his own restaurant when he grows up that serves garlic bread and lemonade!

What have you been cooking lately with your kids?

millones

Sneaky Pork and Veal Meatballs

16 Jan

I was cooking these meatballs for dinner to have with a tomato sauce and spaghetti and I thought they would make quite a good lunch time food just by themselves.

Your little cook can help you mix all the ingredients together and then roll them into balls (Thomas still isn’t that good at getting his hands dirty so he’s only up to the mixing stage – using a utensil). Great for helping fine motor skills, bi-lateral co ordination and sensory awareness.

Ingredients:

  • 500g pork and veal mince
  • 1 medium brown onion, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread)
  • 1 carrot finely grated (drain on paper towel to get out excess moisture)
  • 1 zucchini finely grated (drain as above)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs olive oil

Method:

  1. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Combine the veal and pork mince, onion, breadcrumbs, zucchini, carrot garlic and egg in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper (optional). Use your hands to mix until combined. Roll 1 heaped tablespoonful of mince mixture into a ball and place on prepared tray. Repeat with the remaining mince mixture.
  2. Heat one-third of the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add one-half of the meatballs and cook, turning, for 8 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Repeat, with next batch, with the remaining oil and meatballs, reheating pan between batches.
You could make a big batch of these too and freeze them in individual portions to make life a little easier :-).

I added some little toothpicks to the meatballs to serve and attached some little ‘Thomas’ stickers that I had in the drawer – so we don’t have any injuries with the toothpicks and also for a bit of fun. Serve with dipping sauce of your choice. 🙂

Chicken Sausage Snails

3 May

I am committed to continue to serve vegetables to Thomas (unhidden) at least once a week in an effort to get him to try them. I made these sausages a while back and they were a hit but I didn’t do the whole snail thing. Today I thought I may as well try the whole picture on a plate thing and see if it helps to get my fussy eater eating his vegies…

The sausages are pretty fiddly to make so I didn’t include Thomas in the making of them but he did go and pick some parsley from the garden with Daddy to put in the sausages.

The recipe is one I found in Annabel Karmel’s ‘Feeding Your Baby and Toddler’. The sausages can be enjoyed by the whole family!

Ok, it wasn’t a huge success but he did eat more than he usually would if I put a plate of meat and veg in front of him so I guess that could be classified as a win. Just keep persisting I guess…

Ingredients:

Chicken Sausages:

375g chicken breast diced

1 medium onion finely chopped

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 chicken stock cube dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water

2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs (I used packaged ones)

plain flour for coating

vegetable oil for frying

Mashed Potato:

500g potatoes peeled and cut into chunks

2 tbsp milk

30g butter

To decorate:

1 carrot peeled and cut into sticks

Frozen peas

Tomato sauce

Method:

Put the chicken in a food processor with the onion, parsley, crumbled stock cube, apple and breadcrumbs until combined.

Form the mixture into sausages (each about 10-12cm long). Spread flour on a plate and roll sausages in flour. Heat vegetable oil in a pan, add the sausages and saute for about 15 minutes or until browned on all sides and cooked through.

Meanwhile, steam potatoes in some lightly salted water. Add vegetables for decorating 5 minutes before potatoes are done. and cook until tender.

Mash the potatoes with the milk and butter.

To decorate: Form the potato into a dome shape (the recipe says to use an ice cream scooper but I just used a spoon). Decorate with tomato sauce using a spiral – snail shell effect.

Put a sausage underneath each potato dome and decorate with carrots and peas. You could add another green vegetable like beans at the bottom to make grass.

The recipe says it makes 4 servings. I usually double it to feed everyone and then have some for freezing.

Note: Don’t pre-coat the sausages with the flour and leave them on a plate like I did. They all stuck together and I had to re-roll them. Just do it when you’re ready to put them into a pan. Sausages are suitable for freezing.

Glazed Meatloaf

27 Apr

Ok, if you’re really game your kids could have alot of fun getting really messy and hands on with this recipe and really you can’t go wrong.

I myself just made it by myself… Thomas sat this one out.

The great thing about this meatloaf is that there are so many vegetables in it that it’s a meal in itself. This recipe is from a Woman’s Weekly cookbook called “Healthy Babies”.

(sorry about the picture – I just can’t get meatloaf to look good in a photo!)

Ingredients:

1 trimmed corn cob (250g)

1 medium carrot (120g) grated coarsley

1 medium zucchini (120g) grated coarsley

1 baby beetroot (25g) peeled, grated coarsley

600g beef mince

1 egg

1/2 cup packaged breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons each barbeque and tomato sauce

Method:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Grease (or line with baking paper) 12cmx22cm loaf pan.

Remove kernels from corn, combine carrot, zucchini, corn, beetroot, mince, egg and breadcrumbs in a large bowl. (Get the kids involved in this step by mixing it all with their hands – it’s a great sensory activity!)

Press mixture into pan and cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes.

Remove loaf from pan, drain excess juices.

Turn pan upside down onto foil or baking paper lined oven tray.

Brush loaf with combined sauces, bake uncovered , brushing occasionally with sauce mixture about 20 minutes or until loaf is cooked through. Stand 10 minutes before slicing thickly.

Serve with extra sauce.

I usually serve this with mashed potato and steamed green beans (not that they get eaten!).

Vegetable and Rice Slice

25 Mar

Children are very sensory learners and cooking is a great way for children to get in touch with their senses. You can help them do this by bringing to their attention how different foods look (colour, shape), feel (rough, smooth, sticky etc), taste (sweet or savoury) and smell and also by drawing different sounds to children’s attention, for example the oven timer beeps when dinner is ready, or even the simple hiss of food cooking in the frying pan. You can also talk with children about what they use for each sense i.e. feel with your fingers, taste with your tongue. This simple activity helps children learn about their bodies.

When we made dinner tonight, Thomas and I went to pick the chives from the garden that we needed for our recipe. I gave Thomas some chives to eat. It is important to allow children to taste different foods individually so they can learn to differentiate flavours and also to develop their likes and dislikes. Encourage children to try new foods but don’t force them, if you make tasting foods a positive experience children are more likely to try new things.

I originally got this recipe from a Super Food Ideas magazine but have added my own spin to it. I usually double the recipe and freeze some, it can be eaten cold if you are looking for lunch box ideas.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup medium grain brown rice

1 large carrot, peeled and grated

1 large zucchini grated

125g can corn kernels, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh chives

1 cup grated reduced fat tasty cheese

3/4 cup self-raising flour

4 eggs

1/2 cup reduced fat milk

To this I also add

1/2 cup ham or cooked bacon

1/2 cup pumpkin, grated

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC/160º fan forced. Grease a 3cm deep, 20×30 cm (base) lamington pan. LIne with baking paper allowing 2 cm overhang at long ends.
  2. Cook rice following packet directions. Drain. Cool for 20 minutes.
  3. Combine rice, carrot, zucchini, corn, pumpkin, chives, cheese and flour in a bowl. Whisk eggs and milk together in a jug. Add to rice mixture. Stir to combine. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through. Stand in pan for 20 minutes. Cut into pieces. Serve.
  4. To freeze: wrap each piece in plastic wrap then foil and freeze for up to 2 months.

Claire’s Sneaky Sausage Rolls

8 Mar

Who doesn’t love a sausage roll??

My friend Claire shared this recipe with me after she told me how successful it is in getting her girls to eat some vegetables. I was very eager to give it a try with Thomas who has decided he is a fussy eater. Must be the age, I have heard often the tale of the child who would eat anything you put in front of them and then suddenly – around age 2 they refuse basically everything! So begins my search for healthy, nutritious recipes that Thomas will eat.

This recipe is a little fiddly to be preparing with little ones, but older children will be more than capable of making these sausage rolls. Thomas helped me with preparing the meat mixture and then I put the sausage rolls together and cut them while he was sleeping. I then enlisted the help of my mini masterchef to egg wash the rolls and sprinkle the sesame seeds. It was a bit messy but nothing that can’t be swept or wiped up!

This process will help to develop children’s fine motor skills and hand eye co-ordination. Children are much more likely to learn when they are motivated and interested in what they are doing. Learning takes place every minute of every day for young children. It’s not just when you sit down and decide to “teach” them something. Incorporating learning into every day tasks like cooking makes learning real and relevant to children.

The basic sausage roll recipe is from taste.com.au and goes like this…

Ingredients:

1/2 cup fresh white breadcrumbs

80ml (1/3 cup) milk

500g pork and veal or chicken and herb sausages

1/2 small onion, chopped

1 egg, plus 1 egg extra, lightly beaten

2 sheets frozen puff pastry, just thawed (I ended up using 4&1/2 sheets)

Sesame seeds, to sprinkle

Tomato sauce (ketchup), to serve

To this list, also add:

1 carrot

1 zucchini

1 potato

1/2 small sweet potato

1 cup frozen peas and corn

Method:

  1. Combine breadcrumbs and milk in a bowl and set aside until milk is absorbed. Remove casings from sausages and place in a food processor with crumbs, onion and egg. Process until well combined, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to chill.To the meat mixture, add grated carrot, zucchini, potato, sweet potato and frozen peas and corn (I also added some capsicum).  Mix until combined.
  2. Place a sheet of pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut horizontally into two. Spoon a quarter (I used about 3 tablespoons full for each roll) of the mixture along the centre of each piece of pastry. Fold over a long side of pastry, brush with egg, then fold other side over to enclose, slightly overlapping in the centre, and make a long sausage shape. Repeat with remaining pastry and filling to make 4 rolls. (you will make 9 rolls with the added vegetables)
  3. Place rolls, seam side down, on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover and refrigerate for 1/2 hour until firm.
  4. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a large baking sheet with non-stick baking paper. Carefully diagonally cut each roll into seven. Brush with remaining egg and place on baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to make 2 small slits on top of each roll (to prevent rolls from splitting) and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and puffed. Serve warm with the tomato sauce.

For added “motivation” serve with a sauce smiley face (also Claire’s idea!). It worked a treat for Thomas!

Yum (not only for kids)!

Thanks Claire!