When planning meals for the week, some families like to stick with a rotation of the weekly staples. While there’s nothing wrong with this approach to meal planning, it can be fun to introduce your family to new and exciting dishes from around the world. Not only is it fun to try something new in the kitchen, but depending on age, you can even get your kids involved in preparing the meals and transition into conversation about the culture about the places that they come from in the process! Below is a list of healthy recipes from around the world to introduce to your weekly meal planning.
Kid-approved Chicken Rice Paper Rolls
Recipe by Katie Rainbird for Kidspot.com.au
Prep time: 10 minutes
Makes: 16 rolls
What you’ll need:
- 16 rice paper sheets
- 5 tbs hoisin sauce
- 1/2 barbecue chicken (skin off, finely diced)
- 1 cucumber (medium, cut into ribbons)
- 1 carrot (medium, cut into ribbons)
- 1 avocado (thinly sliced)
1.Place one rice paper sheet in a shallow dish of warm water, let it soften for 15 seconds, or until just soft. Place the rice paper sheet on a damp tea towel.
2.Spread 1tsp of hoisin sauce across the center of the rice paper, then place a heaped tablespoon of chicken on top, a few ribbons each of cucumber and carrot and then top with a slice of avocado.
3.Fold the shorter edges of the sheet up over the filling at both ends to secure, then fold one of the long edges straight up and over, and finish by rolling it all toward the other long edge.
4.Serve immediately on a platter or cover with a damp tea towel and refrigerate until needed
How kids can help: laying out rice paper sheet, helping with adding ingredients to sheet, and rolling
- These rice paper rolls aren’t authentically Asian, but in my time I have found that most kids just aren’t into shredded raw cabbage (if yours are then high five!), but you can always amp up the flavor with a sprig of coriander, a mint leaf or two or some snow pea sprouts.
Healthy Pita Falafel with Cucumber Sauce
Recipe from Chefmom.sheknows.com
What You’ll Need
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 cucumber - peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon dill weed
- 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
- 1 onion, cut into wedges
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- 1 handful fresh cilantro
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 egg 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 pinch (or more) cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup dry bread crumbs (you can also use flour)
- Whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, cucumber, dill, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl mash the chickpeas until they are thick and pasty. Alternatively, you can (gently!) mash the beans in a blender, but take care you don't over-mash. They should have a coarse, broken texture. If you choose this method, remove mashed chickpeas from the blender to a large bowl.
- Add the onion, garlic, parsley and cilantro to the blender and process until smooth. Stir into mashed chickpeas.
- In a small bowl whisk egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and baking powder. Stir into chickpea mixture along with olive oil. Add bread crumbs or flour gradually until the mixture is holds together - firm but malleable. It should form a small ball in the bowl and not stick (too much) to your hands. Add more or less bread crumbs or flour as needed to achieve the proper texture. You can do this step in advance and refrigerate the dough until mealtime.
- Form falafel dough into balls approximately 2 inches in diameter and gently flatten into patties. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375F for 20 minutes. (I flipped the patties halfway through for even browning.)
- Stuff pitas with lettuce and falafel. Drench generously with cucumber sauce. Top with any or all of the following: Chopped raw peppers (red, yellow and/or green), Chopped or sliced onion, Diced tomato, Bean sprouts, Tahini
How kids can help: Have them mash the chickpeas! An older child could be entirely responsible for making the cucumber sauce. It's very simple, but so satisfying because it is an important flavor contribution to the meal.
Recipe from Parenting.com
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
What you’ll need:
- 10-oz box frozen spinach, thawed
- 8 six-inch flour tortillas (you can substitute corn tortillas for a more authentic experience)
- 1/2 cup prepared pesto sauce (in deli section of supermarket)
- 1 cup shredded reduced-fat monterey jack cheese
- 1 cup leftover diced cooked chicken
1.Squeeze excess liquid from the spinach. Place 4 tortillas on a work surface. Spread 2 tablespoons pesto on each tortilla, then top with 1/4 cup spinach.
2.Sprinkle each tortilla with 1/4 cup each cheese and chicken. Top with remaining tortillas and press firmly.
3.Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook each quesadilla until cheese melts and tortillas are golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Cut each into quarters before serving.
How kids can help: Measure ingredients; squeeze spinach; assemble quesadillas.
Easy Chicken Masala
Recipe by Maria Helm Sinskey on Bonappetit.com
What You Need:
- 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 large garlic clove, pressed
- 1 4- to 4 1/2-pound roasting chicken, cut into 8 pieces, backbone removed
- 2 small onions, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Mix yogurt, chopped cilantro, olive oil, garam masala, salt, and garlic in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.
- Add chicken to marinade, 1 piece at a time, coating all sides. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours (DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated).
- Position racks in top third and bottom third of oven; preheat to 400°F. Arrange onions in thin layer on large rimmed baking sheet to form bed for chicken. Top with chicken pieces in single layer, spacing apart for even roasting (chicken will still be coated with marinade). Discard remaining marinade.
- Roast chicken on top rack until cooked through and juices run clear when thickest portion of thigh is pierced with knife, about 1 hour. Serve chicken atop onion slices. Spoon pan juices around.
How Kids Can Help: Identifying and mixing marinating ingredients (can be done 1 day ahead while preparing another meal with your children).
Written by Derek Mooney - Founder of Potsafe
Derek Mooney is the founder and inventor of POTSAFE. He was born in Dublin Ireland in 1969 and emigrated to Australia in 1994. Derek is a qualified sheetmetal worker and eventually started his own air conditioning business. He thought of the idea for Potsafe about four years ago, and now has been able to bring the invention to life!
For more information, visit www.potsafe.com.