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Real Food ... Fast ... for Kids

January 7, 2013
by Sarah Lydick , OVParent

Winter is a time for comfort food - and that means, more than ever, preparing real home cooking for your family. Cut back on fast food this New Year and try these simple recipes that call for simple ingredients, all tested and approved by local moms. They're great recipes for busy moms and dads who are trying to make healthy food choices for their families. I love to try new recipes and read cookbooks to get new ideas. These are all adapted Jaques Pepin's cookbook, "Fast Food My Way." Bon appetit!

Instant Beef Stew


Article Photos

'My kids love these nuggets' — Heather Slack of Wheeling

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups diced (1/2-inch) potatoes

1 cup baby carrots (about 4 ounces)

1 cup small white button mushrooms (about 2 ounces)

1/3 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1/2 cup frozen or fresh baby peas

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound beef tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces, sprinkled with salt a few hours before cooking

2 tablespoons wine (dry white or red)

2 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, carrots and mushrooms. Cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through and lightly browned. Add the onion and cook for 1-2 minutes longer. Add the garlic, peas, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 1 minute. Season with freshly ground pepper. Set aside, covered, while you cook the steak.

2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in another skillet over medium-high heat until it is very hot but not smoking. Add the meat to the skillet without crowding, in two batches if necessary, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until browned on all sides but pink in the middle. Transfer to a platter. Add the wine, water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pan and boil for about 20 seconds; set aside. Add the meat (and any accumulated juices on the platter) to the vegetables. Serve steak and vegetables on plates, moistened with pan juices.

- - -

Pork Scallopine


3/4 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg

3 slices white bread, processed into crumbs (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons good olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup chopped onion

3 cups sliced white button mushrooms

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

Juice of 1/2 lemon


1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Cut the tenderloin crosswise into 8 slices, each about 1 1/2 ounces. Pound the slices until they are about 1/4-inch thick, then sprinkle them with 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper.

2. Beat the egg thoroughly with a fork in a shallow bowl. Combine the bread crumbs and the cheese in another shallow bowl. Dip the slices of meat into the egg to lightly coat each side, let the excess drip off, and dip the meat into the mixture until well coated on each side. Arrange the breaded meat on a platter.

3. At cooking time, divide the olive oil between two nonstick skillets and heat until hot but not smoking. Arrange 4 scaloppine in each skillet so that they don't overlap and saute over high heat for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. Arrange on a clean platter, and keep warm in the oven.

4. Add the butter and onion to one of the skillets and saute over high heat for 1 minute, or until slightly softened. Add the mushrooms and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mushrooms are lightly browned and most of their liquid has evaporated.

5. Spoon the mushrooms over the scaloppine, sprinkle with the chives and lemon juice, and serve.

- - -

Chicken Nuggets

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 pound, 6 ounces), cut into 1- to 1-1/2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons Wondra flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons good olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 lemon, quartered

1. Dry the chicken cubes with paper towels and toss them with the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. Heat the oil in a12-inch skillet until very hot but not smoking. Add the chicken cubes and cook in one layer turning occasionally, for about 3 1/2 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine the garlic and parsley in a small bowl. Add the butter and the parsley mixture to the skillet and saute for 1 minute longer, shaking the skillet occasionally to coat the chicken. Divide among 4 plates, add a wedge of lemon to each plate and serve within 15 minutes.

- Sarah Lydick studied at culinary school in Paris for one year, then completed a three-month internship at the French Laundry in Napa Valley, Cailf. She is the director at Sandscrest Conference and Retreat Center in Wheeling.



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