Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

Granola parfaits – another breakfast idea

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

It seems that I’m always looking for a little inspiration when it comes to breakfast ideas.  When traveling and looking for healthy breakfast options,  yogurt parfaits are always at the top of my list.  And why not make them at home?  Better yet…if you have children….why not let them assemble parfaits for the family.

You’ll need three ingredients.  Granola (for which there is already a recipe in a prior post, should you need one), yogurt, plain or flavored and then some kind of fruit.  In this case I used blueberries but any berry or combination of berries is awesome.  You can use about any fruit you care to try. The parfaits are especially attractive assembled in a clear glass of some kind but even a coffee mug will do. 

The order of things is not critical but the idea is to layer the color and the textures so that every bite in interesting and delicious.  Here I started with the berries…

then the yogurt.  I used the plain yogurt and would normally leave it unsweetened but if you prefer a sweeter result…

then you can drizzle it with honey. 

Then add your granola and repeat the steps for a second layer.

If the parfait is large enough it stands on its own as a complete breakfast but if it’s smaller toast up an english muffin or bagel and you are set for the day!

Fun and carefree alternative to the classic cmelet

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

A few years back my brother in law, who is quite the outdoorsman, shared a most creative and ingenious technique.  It’s a clever way to make an omelet in the great outdoors.  Since then I have seen others use this same method.  If you’ve eaten eggs from a camp stove they are generally way over cooked and reach your plate ice cold.  This technique will produce a perfectly shaped omelet served piping hot.  Here’s how the camp version is made but the procedure can be prepared just as easily on your home stove.

Start by filling a large saucepan with water and set it over the camp stove bringing the water to a vigorous boil. 

While the water is heating up, scramble two or three eggs in a bowl (however many you would use for one portion) just as you would at home.  Feel free to include cheese, onions, peppers, cooked sausage or any number of ingredients. 

If you choose to use onions, peppers and other vegetables, it’s always a good idea to saute them first for maximum flavor.

Then pour the eggs and those fillings into a ziploc bag or any resealable bag and squeeze out all the air you can. 

Drop the bag into the boiling water and let it cook for a few minutes. 

Every once in a while, nudge the baggie with a spoon to mix up the contents inside the bag.  That way the eggs cook evenly.  The cooking time will depend on how many bags you’re doing at one time and how many eggs you’ve used for one portion but it generally takes about three minutes.

What’s really neat is that the eggs take on the shape of the bottom of the bag, which ends up looking like a French rolled omelet.  When the eggs are done take them out of the water and leave them inside the bag until you are ready to serve them.  That’s what keeps them nice and hot.

So as I mentioned earlier…why save this technique only for camping trips?  Make them at home.  It’s a clever way of making a delicious, trouble-free omelet and I think kids would really get a kick out of selecting their own filling ingredients and then participate in the cooking procedure.  And here’s another thought…if breakfasts are a little hectic for your family assemble the bags the night before, set out your pot of water and the next morning all you have to do is bring the water to a boil and drop in your bags.  Cool!

Sushi rice balls – using leftover rice

Friday, May 20th, 2011


A few weeks ago I catered a Mexican affair and found myself with lots of leftover rice.  Family was coming over and I really wanted to use up this rice in a kid friendly way and so I decided to try to make a version of sushi rice balls.  Here’s what I did…and let me preface this by saying that I recognize this is not the ideal way of making rice balls but it is a great tasting way, nonetheless, of using up rice.

The original rice was prepared with careful rinsing and then it was drained and toasted in some oil with onions and cooked al dente.  The rice kernels turned out loose and just as you might want a side of Mexican rice.  Here’s how I was able to turn it into a “gummier” product that would clump together into a ball.


 I took a ziploc bag and filled it with a good amount of rice.  At the same time I added some unseasoned rice vinegar, sugar and salt.  For every estimated cup of rice you might start with one tablespoon of the vinegar, one tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt.


 If you prefer you could use the seasoned vinegar, which would give you the same results.


 I took it to the microwave and warmed it… then with the fingers mushed and mixed everything together from the outside of the sealed bag.


Then I repeated the procedure of warming a little more, mushing with the hands, tasting and warming until the rice actually gathered into a ball.  As the rice got hotter it was necessary to use a towel to handle the bag.


 From that point I portioned out smaller balls, which stuck together beautifully, let them cool, sprinkled with sesame seeds and they were awesome.  We ate them as a side and they were devoured by the family in moments.  Not the authentic way but certainly a resourceful way of using up leftover rice.



Frozen banana split crepes

Monday, May 9th, 2011


If you like crepes and like banana splits here’s a great combination.  And this is a great dessert because it can be made ahead and frozen with no last minute fuss.  To make this easy purchase ice cream in the square cartons.  Have your crepes all laid out on a clean counter, preferably each on a sheet of parchment or wax paper. 


Open the carton…


and cut the block into fourths, lengthwise…


and then cut each sheet into thirds, creating 12 sticks total.


Lay 1/2 of a banana (cut lengthwise) on the crepe, cut side up…


and set a stick of ice cream on top. 


Roll and press together pushing in any ice cream that wants to ooze out the ends. 


Roll tight in the parchment, set on a clean, chilled baking sheet…and take immediately to the freezer.  Freeze until firm and then cover really well with plastic wrap to make sure it’s protected from freezer odors.


Cut in half on a diagonal and serve only half for a smaller portion or use both halves for a more generous.  Serve with a drizzle of caramel and chocolate sauce, peanuts and cream.  Yum!  Ideally the crepe needs to soften for a few minutes to make it work with a fork or you can serve it firmer and eat with fingers!

*Use bananas that are just barely ripe, not overripe.

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