Monday, January 30, 2012

A dinner for the minis

Mr. McGhee will not be around this week, as he is busy working.  And, while he's working, I am stuck at home with the 3 mini McGhees....and to be honest, there is no place I would rather be!  I don't know about you guys, but I am a homebody and I've got 3 minis that still argue over who gets to sit on my lap.  I have got to make sure I enjoy these years, right?!?  So, this week, while the minis are in school, I will be working hard in the kitchen to make "kid choice" snacks, dinners, and treats. 

Here's the thing, cooking for kids is a balance between giving them healthy options, but also giving them options that they will actually eat.  I was blessed with minis that eat fruits and veggies first.  Our struggle with the minis is getting them to eat meals.  This week, I am hoping to rework some meals to make them appealing to the minis, but still nutritious enough to satisfy me. 

First up is bread.  I have heard that my readers' minis are resisting the original honey wheat bread recipe that I posted.  I have to admit, I kind of get where your minis are coming from.  Because I am determined to make my own bread, I decided to try a new honey wheat bread recipe that I found on 

  • 1 1/8 cups water
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon dry milk powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  1. Place ingredients in bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select Whole Wheat setting, and then press Start.               

OK, now don't anybody go and have a stroke, but I didn't use 3 cups of whole wheat flour.  I used 2 cups of whole wheat flour and one cup of bread flour.  Bread flour on the left, milk powder on the right.

And, the shortening.....yes, I used shortening even though I am morally opposed to anything with the word hydrogenated on it.  I think shortening is gross and has absolutely zero nutritional quality to it.  However, if it can do something to the texture and flavor of the bread to make it more palatable for the minis, I will give it a try.  I do plan on reworking this recipe and trying to substitute coconut oil for the shortening, but for this round....I did use shortening.

You should have seen me in the store buying shortening.  I did one of those look both ways, make sure nobody was looking, sprint down the aisle, grab the shortening, shove it in the cart behind the swiss card, beets, and organic apples and pray to God that nobody sees it moves.  Honestly, I was waiting for an announcement to be made over the PA system at the grocery store, "Heids McGhee is a fake, she has just been spotted with shortening". 

I can't bear to look at the label to see how many ingredients are in the shortening, but I promise you it's processed.  Hydrogenation is a process in which the food industry adds hydrogen to unsaturated fats to make saturated fats.  You want to avoid hydrogenated food as much as possible. 

So, the verdict is....the bread is yummy!  Even though, nutritionally, I am not thrilled with the trade-offs I had to make, the minis love it.  In fact, the oldest mini said, "Mom, this tastes just like Great Harvest bread.  Mom!  Mom!  Mom?  Why are you crying.....?"  Yeah, I totally had a moment.

I also wanted to have a delish snack ready for the minis when they came home from school today, so I made a couple batches of muffins.  I followed this recipe

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2.5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5-2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted slightly)
  • 1 cup honey
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a bowl mix flours, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, pumpkin, oil, applesauce, coconut oil, and honey.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients into well. Mix just until the dry ingredients are absorbed. DO NOT OVERMIX.
5. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
I didn't add the pumpkin in step 2.  After step 4, I divided the batter into 2 bowls.  Into one bowl, I added pumpkin, into the other bowl, I added mashed bananas.  I also added chocolate chips.  See?  I totally know how to kick back and let loose. 

And, for dinner tonight we had taquitos.  In our house, taquitos are definitely a "kid choice" dinner.  I had an unfortunate experience with taquitos when I was pregnant with my oldest mini, so I really do not enjoy eating him....yet, he loves them?  That doesn't make sense to me?!?!?  I followed a recipe from our best bites. 

Creamy chicken taquitos

1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 C green salsa
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic, or garlic powder
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions
2 C shredded cooked chicken (for extra yumminess, use grilled taco chicken!)
1 C grated pepperjack cheese

small corn tortillas (and actually, flour ones are really good as well)
kosher salt
cooking spray

1.  Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

2.  Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it’s soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.
You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

3.  Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or are coming unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

4.  Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.

5.  Then roll it up as tight as you can.

6.  Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.

7.  Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

A word of advice....DO NOT forget to sprinkle the kosher salt on top.  I have forgotten before, and there really is a difference in the flavor. 

I served it with a side of black beans.

  • 1/2 medium sized onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1, 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper for a little heat

    1. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Add your onion and saute for 3 minutes, until beginning to soften and turn translucent.
    2. Add garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
    3. Stir in your black beans along with the water.
    4. Add your cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, and cayenne. Stir, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and simmer the beans for at least 15 minutes, but up to 30 minutes

    Looking forward to this week!  I've got some neat things planned that I am hoping the minis love!  And, for those of you worried about Mr. McGhee, I will make sure I find a way to get him my delish home-cooked food, no drive-through for him!