Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Shrek Themed Menu + Recipes (Kids Cooking Class)



Have a Shrek fan in your life? They will love this Shrek themed menu! Easy enough for kids to whip up and super fun for a party, movie watching event, kids cooking class, or just a fun family dinner.

Last summer, I posted about a summer cooking camp for kids that I hosted. This year, I took some of my own advice and did 2 weeks - one for younger children and one for older children. Shrek was the second day of camp for the older kids and was one of the grossest of the week! 

This menu was designed for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders but could be adapted to any age. 


Moldly (Spinach & Artichoke) Dip
(Jello) Worms
Fresh (Caramel & Marshmallow) Earwax
Swamp Rat (Chicken) Nuggets & Donkey's Waffles
Swamp Juice
Gingy (Gingerbread Cookies)

I did not get a picture of the moldy dip but will include the recipe because it was delicious! We started the day by making this because it's a crockpot recipe.

Moldy Dip (aka Spinach & Artichoke Dip)
Two 8-oz. package cream cheese, cut into chunks
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
Two 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
Two 10-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients into a crockpot and cook on Low heat for 2 to 3 hours, or until creamy and hot. 


(Jello) Worms
1 pkg. (6 oz) purple jello
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
3 cups boiling water
3/4 cup whipping cream
green food coloring, as needed
100+ plastic straws with bendable necks

In a medium, heat safe mixing bowl, stir together plain and flavored gelatin powders. Pour the boiling water over the gelatin, stirring until it is fully dissolved. Allow the gelatin to cool for about 15 minutes, until it is slightly warm but not beginning to set. Stir in the whipping cream. Stir in the green food coloring until you get the desired color. 

Place your container of straws in a larger dish to catch any possible spills. With your container of straws prepped, gently pour the jello mixture over the straws. 

Chill the jello straws for at least 8 hours. 

Remove the container from the refrigerator and run the sides under warm water until you can pull the straws and jello blob out of the container. This is the messy part – gently extract each straw from the mess and holding the top of the straw tightly with one thumb and forefinger, use the other thumb and forefinger to tightly apply pressure down the entire length of the straw thereby propelling the jiggly little worm from the straw.

Place the jello worms on a baking tray lined with wax paper or in a chilled bowl.


Fresh Ear Wax (Caramel & Marshmallow)
Caramel sauce
Toothpicks
Mini marshmallows

Thread marshmallows on tooth pics – one on each end. Carefully dip just the end into the caramel sauce, set aside on a piece of waxed paper until set.


Swamp Rat (Chicken) Nuggets & Donkey's Waffles
For the nuggets:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces
1 Tbsp potato flakes 
1/3 cup cold water
1 tsp garlic salt 
1/8 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup finely crushed corn flakes (from 2 1/2 cups cereal)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

For the waffles:
Homemade Waffle Batter
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tsp vanilla

Maple syrup, for serving

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place corn flakes in ziplock and crush with rolling pin until finely crushed. In a shallow bowl, stir together crumbs and Parmesan.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine chicken pieces, potato flakes, water, garlic salt, and black pepper. Pulse until chicken is finely chopped. 

With wet hands, roll and flatten chicken into small nugget patties, using about 1 Tbsp of the meat mixture for each nugget. Roll the nugget into the bread crumbs, pressing gently for crumbs to adhere. 

Transfer nuggets to lined baking sheet and bake at 375˚F for 15 min on the middle rack or just until cooked through, flipping them over half way through baking. Remove from oven and let nuggets rest a few minutes before serving.

While the nuggets bake, prepare the waffles. 

In a large mixing bowl combine all wet ingredients together. Beat until well blended. In another bowl add all dry ingredients and slowly start to add them to the wet ingredients

Mix all ingredients until everything is wet and well mixed (but don't overmix). Cook in a waffle maker according to makers instructions.

Cut each waffle into small pieces and thread onto skewers with the cooked nuggets. Serve with maple syrup for dipping.


Swamp Juice
Green Hawaiian Punch
Seltzer water
Tapioca pearls, in various colors (cooked ahead of time)
Gummy worms & gummy fish

In a pitcher, thin out green punch with seltzer water and refrigerate. 

In clear glasses, let the kids add their choice of tapioca balls to the bottom along with a couple worms or fish. Set aside. 

When ready to serve, pour green drink into cups and serve.

----

We also made Gingy - or gingerbread men - and did not get a picture of any of the finished products. This is the recipe we used - it was perfect! 

Gingy (Gingerbread Men)
1 cup butter, softened
1.5 cup packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
4 tablespoons water
3-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg 
1 teaspoon allspice

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses, egg and water. Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough in half. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion of dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 4-in. cookie cutter. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Reroll scraps.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

Don't miss the other themed day already posted!


Next up... Willy Wonka! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Harry Potter Themed Menu + Recipes (Kids Cooking Class)



Have a Harry Potter fan in your life? They will love this Harry Potter themed menu! Easy enough for kids to whip up and super fun for a party, movie watching event, kids cooking class, or just a fun family dinner.

Last summer, I posted about a summer cooking camp for kids that I hosted. This year, I took some of my own advice and did 2 weeks - one for younger children and one for older children. Harry Potter was the first day of camp for the older kids and it may have been their very favorite!

This menu was designed for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders but could be adapted to any age. I struggled to find much inspiration for "real food" related to Harry Potter - it seems sweet items are much more popular! - so I chose what might be served at a British feast.



Golden Snitch Cheese Balls
The Great Hall Feast: French Onion Soup, Roast Turkey Breast, Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
Butter Beer
Chocolate Frogs


Golden Snitch Cheese Balls
32 ounces softened cream cheese
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cup cooked and chopped bacon
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups chopped pecans
20 corn tortillas
crackers

In medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, ranch mix, and green onions. Mix well and form into golf balls sized balls. Roll each in pecans and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Preheat oven to 350. Using a pizza cutter, cut the tortillas into triangle shapes to create the wings. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes. Flip and bake another 5 minutes, or until crispy. Let cool.

Carefully push 2 wings into each chilled cheese ball before serving. Serve with crackers.


French Onion Soup
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cups sliced onions
4 (10.5 ounce) cans beef broth
1 teaspoons dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices French bread
4 slices provolone cheese
2 slices Swiss cheese, diced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Coat the bottom of a large stock pot with olive oil and heat to medium high or until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Spread the onions out evenly and let cook, stirring occasionally. You may need to reduce heat to medium or medium low to prevent onions from burning. Let cook for 40 minutes to an hour, stirring every few minutes. You want browned - but not burned - caramelization. Add a touch of oil if needed.

Once the onions are a rich, browned color, add the beef broth and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven broiler. Ladle soup into oven safe serving bowls and place one slice of bread on top of each. Layer a slice of provolone, 1/2 slice of the diced Swiss, and 1 tablespoon Parmesan on top of each slice. Place bowls on a baking sheet and carefully slide into oven. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. 


Roast Turkey Breast, Potatoes, and Carrots
3 lbs red potatoes
6 cups baby carrots
1.5-2 lbs turkey breast filets
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons coarse salt
Fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Line 2 baking sheets with foil and liberally spray with cooking spray.

Peel the potatoes and then cut them into 2 inch pieces. Dry the carrots and potatoes well with a paper towel and place in a large mixing bowl. 

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, and salt. Pour over veggies, reserving a small amount for the turkey, and toss to coat. Spread the veggies on a prepared baking sheet, being careful to not touch. Rub the remaining oil mixture on the turkey breasts and add to the baking sheet. 

Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender, tossing occasionally. 


Butter Beer
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons salted butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 oz. cream soda per mug

Melt butter and 2 tablespoons maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until lightly bubbling. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add heavy cream, salt, and remaining tablespoon of maple syrup to a medium bowl and beat with a hand mixer until a smooth cream forms. Slowly add the heated maple butter mixture to the whipped cream while continuing to mix until fully combined.

To serve, pour 1/4 cup of maple butter cream in the bottom of each glass. Then stir in enough cream soda to almost fill each glass. Skim off the soda bubbles and top with a generous dollop of maple butter cream. 


Chocolate Frogs
12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate
12 oz bag white chocolate chips
Rice crisp cereal
Chopped nuts

Empty bags into microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring well, until melted.

Carefully pour into molds, adding nuts or crisps if desired. Gently tap to remove air bubbles then freeze until solid.


Stay tuned for the other 7 movie themed days! Next up... Shrek! 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mushroom Asiago Chicken



A restaurant quality - but weeknight friendly - dinner that takes just one pan to make! Not only will your house smell amazing as it cooks, you'll soon be fighting over the leftovers and wishing you had doubled the recipe.

This recipe has some of my favorite flavors - mushrooms, Asiago cheese, and a rich, savory pan sauce. You'll find yourself adding it to your menu on an almost weekly basis - it's addictively good.

Thin chicken cutlets are quickly dredged and browned, then removed from the pan. Next you'll toss in the mushrooms (and some butter!), then garlic, wine, broth, and seasonings before letting it reduce into a flavorful and deeply rich sauce. Toss in some heavy cream, Asiago, and a bit of Parmesan before nestling the browned chicken back in.

It's quick, easy, and perfect over mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, or your favorite pasta.



Mushroom Asiago Chicken
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp butter
1 lb sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine or chicken broth
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme or ¾ tsp dried thyme leaves
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded Asiago cheese
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
salt and pepper

Cut each chicken breast in half crosswise and set the thinner half aside. Take the thicker part and slice it in half horizontally (parallel to the cutting board) to produce 2 more thin cutlets. Cover the chicken pieces with a piece of plastic wrap and pound until 1/4 inch thick. Lightly season with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Once melted, add as many chicken pieces as will fit comfortably, being careful to not overcrowd the pan. Saute for about 5 minutes or until golden brown on the first side, then flip and cook another minute or so. Remove and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces if needed.

Once all the chicken is browned and set aside, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet along with the sliced mushrooms and some salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned and softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Pour the white wine into the skillet and use your wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Once the wine has nearly all evaporated, add ¾ cup chicken broth and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 10–15 minutes at a rapid simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Don't try to rush this!

Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the heavy cream. Sprinkle the Asiago cheese over the top of the sauce and stir constantly until the cheese melts. Nestle the chicken back into the skillet and allow it to simmer in the sauce just until the chicken is heated through and the sauce has slightly thickened.

Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese before serving.

Source: slightly adapted from Everyday Dishes


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