We love to cook with our families. And we love to sit down and eat together with our families. This experience is really at the heart of what Artizone.com is all about — enjoying delicious food (and an equally delicious life!) with the people we love.
Because of our belief in the power of the family meal, we’re introducing a new “Family Dinner Series” to inspire you to cook and eat with the folks you call family. We’ve asked some of our favorite customers to tell us about the healthy meals that they create for their own families using Artizone.com ingredients.
First up? Emily Paster. Emily is the blogger behind West of the Loop and the co-founder of the wildly popular Chicago Food Swap. She is also a crazy good home cook. When it comes to family meals, she knows what’s she talking about because she prepares them daily for her husband and two children. Here is an example of what Emily has been whipping up for family dinner at her house lately.
It’s the beginning of the year and many of us are resolving to eat more healthfully after a holiday season punctuated by one too many trips to the cookie jar. When my husband and I want to eat healthy, we know what to do: lean proteins, whole grains and lots of vegetables. I start cooking more vegetarian meals featuring foods like quinoa, beans and lentils. To tell you the truth, we actually enjoy eating this kind of food.
But our kids are another story. I’ve got one picky eater, who subsists mostly on buttered noodles, and one good eater who counts salmon and tomatoes among her favorite foods. But even my good eater turns up her nose at some of my best healthy dishes like lentil soup or pasta e fagioli. There is no point in cooking healthy meals if the kids aren’t going to eat them.
Eating healthily as a family is about being realistic. What can we actually get our kids to eat that meets the definition of healthy? My five year old shuns vegetables but will happily eat his weight in fruit. Fine. My fourth grader decries most cooked vegetables as “too mushy” but loves to snack on raw peppers and baby carrots. Great. This is a situation where good enough is truly good enough.
One way to approach healthy eating as a family is by thinking of ways to lighten up traditional kid favorites. For example, try replacing ground beef with ground chicken or turkey – stick with dark meat for better flavor — in such kid favorites as burgers and meatballs.
In this recipe, I use ground turkey to create a lighter, healthier version of that lunchroom classic Sloppy Joes. It never occurred to me to make Sloppy Joes at home until my son returned from preschool one day reporting that he had tried Sloppy Joes at lunch and by some miracle had liked them. (P.S. Kids are always more adventurous eaters when you’re not around.)
With ground turkey and a hearty tomato sauce, this kid favorite becomes a healthy one-dish meal. Even my picky eater asked for seconds. You can increase the nutrition quotient by serving the Sloppy Joes with whole wheat hamburger buns if your kids will go for it.
On the side, I suggest serving carrots braised in honey and orange juice. My kids love this dish. This sweet but still healthy preparation is loaded with vitamin C and is extremely kid-friendly. It is easy to find good-looking carrots all year round, even in these winter months, making this dish one of my go-to sides. Feel free to add some chopped fresh ginger at the beginning if your kids won’t object.
In this recipe, I aim to strike a balance between kid and adult palates. If it were up to me, I’d make a spicier sauce, but then the kids wouldn’t eat it. Feel free to play around with the seasonings to fit your family’s preferences.
2 TB olive oil
1 cup minced onion
1 lb. ground turkey
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
Dash chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large deep skillet. Add the minced onion and sauté for 3 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the ground turkey and stir. Keep stirring and breaking up the meat until it is browned all over, about five minutes. Add the tomato sauce, soy sauce, sugar and chili powder. Stir to combine. Raise the heat and bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens, about fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, toast hamburger buns or warm then in a low oven. To serve, split open a hamburger bun almost all the way through. Fill with meat and sauce and cover with top of bun.
1 bunch carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 TB butter
½ cup orange juice
1 TB honey
Melt the butter in a large deep skillet (one that has a lid) over medium heat. Add the carrot pieces and toss to coat. Saute 2-3 minutes. Pour in orange juice and turn heat to high. When liquid starts to boil, cover the skillet and turn heat to low. Simmer carrots, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove lid and raise heat to medium. Add honey and toss to coat. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken and becomes syrupy. Serve warm.