Happy, Healthy, Heart Pizzas! {Kids Cook Monday}

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Happy National Pizza Day! With love being in the air and all (Valentine’s Day right around the corner!) we decided to make heart shaped pizzas today.

Recently I read a study that talked about how much pizza the average kid eats and how bad it is for them. **Insert guilty mom face** Depending on what kind you eat, it can be high in fat, sodium, and empty carbs. No, we do not eat pizza all the time (maybe once or twice a month) but we do enjoy it around here- especially Nolan. Plus, it’s just so darn easy to order and have delivered! Well, even though I still stand by delivery pizza as an every once in a while treat, it’s always nice if you can “healthify” something you enjoy by making it at home now and then.

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Healthy, Happy, Heart Pizza Ingredents

 

We made our Heart Pizzas with a store bought whole wheat dough, but there are tons of great homemade whole wheat dough recipes like this one –  Ultimate No-Knead Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

We rolled out our dough on our counter top that we (washed) and dusted with flour. Once we pressed the dough out flat, we began to cut out our heart shape with a cookie cutter.

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We topped our pizzas with our favorite jarred marinara sauce and low-fat mozzarella cheese.

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Brady picked his favorite veggies to top the pizzas. (I tried to get him to pick a red pepper for a pretty Valentine Day color, but he insisted on orange.) Here he is munching on his veggies!

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We chopped them into shapes that we could use for making happy faces on our hearts.

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Then we decorated our happy hearts!

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We baked our hearts for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

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These came out so cute and definitely satisfied a pizza craving for my boys. It was a fun way to kick off Valentines Day or just an overall love of pizza.

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Happy National Pizza Day! And Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

Homemade Chips and Guacamole- Kids Cook Monday

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We love guacamole around here- especially Brady and Nolan! So, you can understand why I was so inspired by this blog post from Teeny Tiny Foodie…

http://teenytinyfoodie.com/lets-make-guacamole-toddler-recipe/

Not only is guacamole delicious, but it’s super easy and fun to make. And with these easy to follow instruction sheets, they’re perfect for the littlest of chefs.

Guacamole GuacamoleInstructions

I have to admit, the teacher in me was really excited about these. I can definitely see a fun Science or Writing lesson that could happen with these on Cinco de Mayo!

I knew I wanted to try this guacamole recipe with Brady, but we made a bigger batch because, well, Nolan eats a lot.

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We gathered all our ingredients and got to chopping. We ended up using 2 avocados, the juice of 1 lime, 1 tomato, a handful of chopped cilantro, 2 cloves of garlic and about 1/3 of a white onion.

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Brady felt so big following the recipe instructions on the I-Pad and his favorite part was definitely squeezing the good stuff out of the avocados!

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We also made some homemade corn chips today to go with our guacamole. This was fascinating for B. “Wait. Chips don’t always come from a bag?!” Here’s how we made our baked corn chips.

Baked Corn Chips

Ingredients

Corn Tortillas
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

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Here’s how we made our baked chips. So much easier than you would think!

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First we brushed each tortilla with a small amount of olive oil on each side.

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Then we stacked our tortillas (we had 5) and sliced them up with a pizza cutter.

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Then we spread the chips out into an even layer on a baking sheet.

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We liberally sprinkled the sea salt on the chips.

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Then we put the chips in the oven for about 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees. (Until they were crispy and golden brown.)

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There ya have it- A healthy snack that was easy and fun to make! (And maybe a little learning took place along the way!)

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Full disclosure… the chips were a hit, but Brady definitely asked me for a spoon at one point. Apparently, it’s now socially acceptable to just eat guacamole straight from the bowl!

 

 

Veggie Egg Bake- Kids Cook Monday

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Eggs are always a great go-to for Meatless Mondays around here. Brady has always loved eggs-Nolan, not so much. However, I find that if they are in something else (like a quiche or a breakfast sandwich) he will eat them. This egg bake we made for Kids Cook Monday has gotten his stamp of approval. We have this dish in different varieties several times a month. It’s easy to throw together and you can add in whatever you have one hand (bacon, mushrooms, spinach, turkey sausage, etc.) We like it equally well as a meat or vegetarian meal. It’s great for breakfast, but we have it a lot for dinner. It’s also a nice way to sneak some veggies into a meal for kiddos (or adults) who are a little picky.

Here’s how we made ours!

Ingredients

1 can of crescent rolls
6 eggs
About 1/2 cup milk
Salt and Pepper to season veggies and egg mixture
Your choice of produce- we used;
1/2 green pepper, 1/2 onion, 1/2 a container of mushrooms, handful of grape tomatoes, handful of green onions
2 Cups shredded cheese

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Any combo of vegetables would be delicious in this!

We started by chopping up our vegetables and giving them a quick sautee in olive oil. We seasoned them with salt and pepper.

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Then we prepared our egg mixture. We whisked up 6 eggs with 1/2 a cup of milk and a little salt and pepper. We also threw our green onions in the mixture.

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Then we got to assembling…

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Brady helped unroll the sheet of crescent rolls and press them into the (greased) baking dish.

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Then we topped the crescent dough with our sautéed veggies, 2 cups of cheese and poured our egg mixture on top.

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We baked the whole thing at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes (or until the egg mixture is completely firm.)

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We serve ours with salad or fruit for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It also makes great leftovers for the next day’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

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We’ve also made this with salsa and pepper-jack cheese for a Mexican flair. Gotta love kid friendly food that appeals to the whole family and is EASY- Win, win, win!

 

Greek Yogurt Berry Pancakes- Kids Cook Monday

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We love Greek Yogurt around here! It’s always in our fridge and while it’s a great breakfast or snack on it’s own, I love when I find a new way to use it. I’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate more protein into our breakfasts lately (and some of us are not in the mood for eggs too early in the morning!) so I decided to try adding Greek Yogurt into a pancake batter. I’ve seen lots of versions of this online, but I like this one the best. It’s sweetened by the yogurt and comes out thick and fluffy.

Greek Yogurt Berry Pancakes

Ingredients

1/2 Cup Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 container Blueberry Greek Yogurt
1 Egg
About a cup of any type of berry

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The strawberries can go in the batter or as a garnish on top.

(This recipe made about 3-4 pancakes. So, for our family we definitely doubled it!)

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In one bowl, we mixed the Baking Soda and Flour.

 

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In another bowl we mixed the egg and yogurt.

 

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Then, we mixed the two bowls together.

 

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Brady threw some of the strawberries into the batter for good measure.

 

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It should be noted that the batter was thick and not pretty. Tasty when cooked, but not pretty.

 

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We put a little butter on the griddle before spooning the batter on. We flipped them when they began to bubble a little in the middle and the other side was brown.

 

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A few more strawberries, just because.

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Not the prettiest, but yummy!

This pancake recipe is not overly sweet, so some recipes I’ve seen call for extra sugar or even a little honey. We left that out of ours because we knew that we’d be adding syrup to the top and they’d be plenty sweet. I was pleasantly surprised by how these came out and I really want to try different versions of it…with vanilla yogurt and bananas, with peach yogurt and peaches. The possibilities are endless!

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“Healthy” 7 Layer Dip- Kids Cook Monday (Football Edition!)

One of our favorite things to do on the weekends is watch football. Our kiddos cheer for our teams and clueless-ly scream, “Touchdown!” whenever we get excited about a play. This weekend was full of NFL playoff games (sadly, the Cowboys were robbed of their win) and tonight is the college football Championship game. We’re sad to see football end this year, but happy to indulge in some football-watchin’ food!

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One of our favorite party foods is 7 Layer Dip (or Taco Dip). We have it at most of our family gatherings, but I thought it would be fun to do a little makeover with a few tweaks for a slightly healthier version. We made this up yesterday for a meet and greet with our new neighbors to watch the Broncos/Colts game and are enjoying it again tonight for the Ohio State/Oregon Championship game.

Here’s what went into our new and improved 7 Layer Dip…

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Ingredients

1 Can Refried Black Beans
1 Container Guacamole
1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1 can sliced black olives
About half a jar chunky salsa
3 stalks of chopped green onion
1 brick of Colby-Jack cheese, shredded
Chips for Dipping

We swapped out the refried pinto beans for refried black beans, and the sour cream for non-fat Plain Greek Yogurt. I also switched up my regular onion for green onion (just for a change!) and regular tomatoes for salsa (just for a little more flavor!) This was an easy dish to assemble. Here’s how we layered ours…

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Beans, guac, Greek Yogurt, Black olives, salsa, green onions, and cheese on top!

There were lots of kid helping opportunities for this dip- Spreading the beans on the bottom of the dish, grating the cheese, opening and draining the olives, sprinkling the cheese on top, and Brady’s favorite…cutting the green onions with big scissors!

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Even though this dip did not bring the Cowboys much luck, it did help Chris drown his sorrows…

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And Brady is pretty much a fan of anything with guacamole and olives. He’d root for that team all day long!

 

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You really can’t go wrong with any combo of these ingredients…

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And for what it’s worth, you could really healthy up this football food by eating it with Baked Tortilla chips (And the leftovers also make a mean taco salad!)

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Happy Football Watching!

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Veggie Hummus Wraps- Kids Cook Monday

Happy New Year! January is usually my least favorite month, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to look at it as a fresh start where everything is new and it can actually be somewhat motivating! As much as I hate to say good-bye to the holidays, family, and overall lack of routine, my inner planner and organizer really likes when the structure of day to day reality comes back. So, with that in mind, it’s time to get back to our Kids Cook Monday posts. This one is extra exciting because it was made in our new kitchen!

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These guys were filled with light cream cheese, hummus, beans, and whatever veggie you have on hand that your kiddos love!

We decided to make some Veggie Hummus Wraps for lunch today. They were really, really, good. This idea came from the fact that we needed a meatless lunch that was going to be tasty but full of protein. These wraps delivered for both categories. Here are the ingredients that went into our wraps- really you can put anything in them that you have on hand that sounds good to you.

Ingredients:
Whole Wheat Tortillas
Light Cream Cheese
Hummus (any flavor)
Shredded Lettuce
Black Olives
Black Beans
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Diced Red Pepper
Diced Cucumber

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For today’s lunch we did lots of chopping and assembling. Brady loves to help with cutting up vegetables (he feels so big!) and today he was an expert cheese grater as well.

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Giving a 3 year old an entire block of cheese to grate…that was just too much power. He couldn’t resist.

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For the assembly, we took one Whole Wheat Tortilla and spread cream cheese on half of it, and hummus on the other half. We sprinkled our beans, then veggies and cheese on next.

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Then we began to tightly roll the tortilla by starting with the cream cheese side and rolling towards the hummus (this way each bite has both hummus and cream cheese in it!)

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Then I carefully sliced our wraps into little pinwheels to make them easier to eat. I mean, they were messy either way, but this seemed to work best for my boys.

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Yummmm

These were a hit!

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I went ahead and took the time to figure up how much protein/fiber were in one of these wraps including the tortilla, hummus, cream cheese, and beans. 8 grams of protein! 6.5 grams of fiber! That’s not counting the shredded cheddar or veggies either. I also love that this is so versatile- I’m picturing adding avocado, tomatoes or spinach leaves next time. I’m all for eating healthy, but much like my kiddos, I’m not down for it if it doesn’t taste good. But, in the wise, ever so eloquently put, words of Brady, “This is good.”

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Vegetable SOUPer Stars! {Kids Cook Monday}

Today we whipped up a simple and tasty vegetable soup. This is the kind of soup that is perfect on a rainy, cool day, and utilizes whatever fresh or frozen veggies you have on hand. It’s exactly what you want to eat when you’ve maybe been overindulging in junk food or perhaps need to detox after several days of binge eating Thanksgiving foods!

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We started our soup with a combo of fresh, frozen, and canned ingredients. And to really make our soup “shine” we used some awesome star shaped pasta in it.

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Ingredients:

2 Cups Frozen Vegetables (we used 1 cup peas, 1 cup corn)
1 onion (diced)
2 carrots (shredded)
1 can Italian tomatoes (don’t drain!)
1 box vegetable broth
About 1/2 box pasta

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Check out these awesome star shaped pasta noodles. Brady was so impressed!

 

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Brady asks for me to buy him a carrot practically every time we go to the store.

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Using the box grater to shred the carrots is such a fun activity for kiddo helpers.

To make this simple soup, we started by cooking up our onions in a big pot in some olive oil. Once they were tender, we tossed in the frozen vegetables. Then we threw in the carrots and cooked them for about a minute. Next, we added the entire can of tomatoes (juice and all) and the entire box of vegetable broth. We brought the whole pot to a boil and then added about half the box of pasta. We turned down the heat a bit and let everything cook for about 10-15 minutes (until the pasta was tender.)

 

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This soup thickens as it sits and the pasta absorbs the liquid. If you want your soup soupier, add less pasta. If you want it thicker, add more pasta. Either way, you can’t go wrong with these flavors.

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Nolan- caught eating vegetables and he doesn’t have a clue. A win for mommy!

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Vegetable Souper Stars! Easy, peasy, yum.

 

Yogurt Parfaits – Kids Cook Monday

We’ve been on a Greek Yogurt kick here in the Smith house. Or as Nolan calls it, “Yoyo.” We have it in the mornings with granola and fruit, but I got to thinking how fun and easy it would be for our afternoon snack. I decided to set out our yogurt and a bunch of topping choices to make it like our own self serve yogurt shop. Most of the toppings were super healthy, but there was just enough yummy stuff set out to make it seem like a real treat.

Here’s our ingredients…

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We used honey flavored Greek Yogurt, but you could certainly use plain or vanilla and add a little honey for sweetness. We had berries, bananas, chocolate chips, granola, and peanut butter for topping choices. Other yummy options could be blueberries, slivered almonds, coconut, crushed pineapple, or chocolate syrup. The possibilities are endless!

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Brady was such a big boy scooping out his own yogurt and chopping up his fruit for toppings.

 

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Of course Brady opted for peanut butter in his parfait!

 

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Brady’s finished product- delicious!

 

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Rollie Nolie got in on the action too!

 

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I went with a chocolate strawberry combo with a little granola for crunch.

This would be such a fun activity for a morning playdate or birthday party. We’ll be doing this for our afternoon snack again, for sure!

Homemade Pasta- Kids Cook Monday

Few things in life are as yummy as homemade pasta. Nothing from a box can ever taste as fresh or light. For years, Chris had been saying he wanted to learn how to make his own pasta. Finally, last year he got his own pasta maker. Today he taught Brady to make pasta. It was somewhat time consuming, but really fun! And, Brady was SO into it!

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Homemade fettuccine! (The finished product.)

Here’s the ingredients for a basic pasta…

3 Cups flour
4 eggs
1 1/2 Tablespoon Olive oil
1 Tablespoon Salt

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Here’s how the pasta came together…

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, salt, and oil together.

 

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Add 3 Cups of Flour to your mixer.

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Slowly add the egg mixture to the flour with the mixer on low for about a minute, or until all the egg mixture is incorporated into the flour. Dough should be sticky between fingers. If it seems a little dry, add a splash of water.

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Roll dough onto a counter that has been dusted with flour. Form into a ball. Let dough sit under plastic wrap for about a half hour.

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Cut dough into about 5 sections. Roll each section flat.

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Carefully press each sheet of pasta dough through the pasta maker 3 times until it is very thin. (Each time you put the sheet of pasta through the machine, you decrease the width setting on the pasta maker.)

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I love that part way through the process Brady had to go get his dinosaur and “Man with the Yellow Hat” hat.

Run the thin sheet of pasta through the pasta cutter to make your desired noodle shape. We made fettuccine.
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Lay noodles flat to dry out for about 30 minutes. Turn the pasta over and let the other side dry for another 30 minutes.

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Boil the pasta for about 5 minutes. (This part goes way quicker than dried pasta!)

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Once your noodles are cooked, top with your favorite sauce, veggies, or meat. This fettuccine would be fabulous with a marinara or alfredo sauce. We tossed ours in some butter, salt and pepper, and threw in some green peas and Parmesan Cheese. It was super simple and the pasta was definitely the star!

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Pasta with Peas and Parmesan!

Yay for homemade, fresh pasta! And, yay for time in the kitchen with daddy!

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes {Kids Cook Monday} *Farmer’s Market*

 

One of our favorite things to do is to take a trip to the weekly Farmer’s Market in Downtown Raleigh. Besides the abundance of farm fresh produce, there’s always fun free samples, live music, and lots to look at. My boys always get a kick out of checking out what’s in season and sampling different vendor’s goodies. For this week’s Kids Cook Monday recipe, we headed downtown to see what was in season this time of year. We were inspired by all of the apples and sweet potatoes for sale. Not only did we get to sample some yummy granola and peanut butter, but we also got the ingredients for this week’s Kids Cook meal.

 

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I should note that not only is the Downtown Raleigh Farmer’s Market entertaining, but the produce is SO cheap! This slow cooker apple/sweet potato dish cost about $2 for the whole batch. Even if you doubled the batch, it would still be a super affordable Thanksgiving side dish!

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Sweet, tart, and slow cooked goodness!

Ingredients

3-4 apples, peeled and chopped
2-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup water
3 Tbs. Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger
2 Tbs. Butter

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I used a combo of sweet and tart apple varieties. You could also mix up the spices you use- nutmeg would be delicious!

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Mine and Brady’s favorite part of cooking- chopping!

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As you can see, we gave the apples a very rough, not perfect, peel and chop.

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Dump the apples and sweet potatoes into the slow cooker. Pour the water over them and toss your butter on top.

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Sprinkle on the brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Give the pot a big stir and then put the lid on. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours. The apples cook faster than the potatoes, so check your potatoes to make sure they are nice and soft.

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Patiently wait for your sweet potatoes to finish cooking…

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Once the sweet potatoes are cooked through, remove from the crock pot. We ate ours just like this, but you could also top with more brown sugar and pecans. Or, even add a little cream and mash them up a bit for a apple sweet potato mash. Yum!

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Not only do these sweet potatoes end up tasting like apple pie filling, but your whole house will smell delish!

This would be the easiest Thanksgiving side dish ever. Plus, it won’t take up that precious oven space! Our kiddos enjoyed this farm to table treat, and hopefully yours will too!

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