Tag Archives: cooking for kids

Frankenbeans! (Hot Dogs and Pink Beans in a Skillet)

18 Feb

It’s a sad irony that I finally have perfected Latin white rice (thanks to my dad’s technique) and the doctor tells me that I have to reduce carbs for my triglycerides or somesuch! Terrible.

But Leandro received no such warning, so he gets to enjoy my now fantastic rice with any number of dishes.

Here’s franks and beans with an ever-so-slightly Latin flavor. Goya’s Latin-style tomato sauce and cilantro and culantro put a little spring in the step of this easy, kid-friendly dish. My parents used to make us something similar when we were kids, so it was fun to try and recreate them. They have very little in common with the sweet gooey canned Franks and Beans you find. This are actually grown-up worthy too!

Beans and Franks

Beans and Franks

I use Applegate Farms Organic Beef Hotdogs. I prefer organic meats as a rule. These also don’t use synthetic nitrites, but it isn’t clear from what I have read that natural nitrites are any better than synthetic. They are more expensive than your standard supermarket dogs, but I feel that they are worth it.

Leandro loves these, and they reheat very well for his lunch thermos the next day. (In the morning, when I am boiling water for tea, I boil extra to pour in the Thermos to warm it up. Then I dump the water, put in the hot food, and it is still warm a few hours later for his lunch ).





1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

½ Cup onion, minced

1 tsp garlic, chopped

3 hot dogs, sliced into ½ inch rounds

1 Tbs fresh cilantro chopped

1 tsp fresh culantro (recao; sawtooth coriander) or other green herb of your choice, chopped, optional

8 oz can Goya Latin Style Tomato Sauce

2 pinches salt

2 pinches hot red pepper flakes

½ tsp ketchup

1 Cup pink beans (soaked or from a can)

In a large skillet, heat oil on medium high and add onions, Stir to coat, lower heat, and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add garlic and cook an additional minute or two, until the house smells good and the vegetables are wilted. Add hot dogs and stir, then add cilantro and culantro or other herbs. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, then add tomato sauce, salt, red pepper, and ketchup to taste. Add beans. You will probably want to add about ¼ Cup water to thin. Simmer for 10 minutes r more and serve with Latin-style white rice.


Pressed Sandwich with No Press(ure)

13 Jun

As the maniacal good-foodie mom of a kid about to enter kindergarten, I am turning my attention to future lunchbox fillers that can compete with Tater Tots and Elio’s Pizza (can you tell what I ate in high school?). Sandwiches are going to have to be an integral part of my strategy, but wouldn’t you know it? The kid doesn’t eat sandwiches (nor do I very often, to be fair).

So when he finally tried and loved grilled cheese sandwiches at his daycare, I felt a sense of relief. The breakthrough I was hoping for has happened!

However, me being me, it is, of course, not possible to slap a couple of slices of American cheese on white toast and relax. I didn’t really want to make a production out of it, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a good-looking pressed sandwich with real cheese and real bread? Except that I don’t have a sandwich press.

It didn’t matter. With a bit of invention, I made some delicious grilled cheese sandwiches with grill marks, even! I used my grill pan, and to achieve the press, I took a heavy skillet (with a clean bottom!) and laid it on top. Then I placed another heavy pot on top, so I could walk away for a few minutes without having to press it myself.

And I got high marks from the little guy and at least one sandwich solution ready for September….Whee-hee! Who knows where we can get from here? I’m thinking BLT, baby!

Pressed Sandwich Without a Real Press

¼ tsp oil or spritz of oil spray

Four sandwich slices of bread, spread with a scraping of butter (I lightly toast mine first)

2-3 oz soft, meltable cheese (cheddar, Monterey jack, muenster, gouda), sliced

Heat grill pan or skillet with a smear of oil or spray.

Have another heavy pan at the ready.

Lay two slices of bread, buttered side up, on the grill pan. Top with cheese slices. Cover with remaining slices of bread and press under second pan. Use another heat-proof pot on top to weigh it down. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes before slicing. Serve!


Juicy Chicken Tenders (simple and versatile)

19 Oct

Took out some frozen organic chicken breasts the other day for a play date that got cancelled and between one thing and another, I hadn’t done a thing with them. And it was time.

So, it’s 9 p.m. and I’ve finally got the kid asleep and some order in the kitchen — indeed, an uncharacteristic bit of sparkle, as I went in with more extreme products than usual — and a small glass of wine waiting for me (which will probably be sitting there tomorrow morning, untouched…) and it’s time to cook.

What To Do? It’s not like I have hunger to inspire me or energy to leaf through books or any exciting new vegetable I want to experiment with. I just want the damn chicken cooked so I can get to bed because 5:30 a.m. will be here before I know it.

So, basic chicken tenders will do. They are simple, but the cheese, garlic and Italian seasonings keep them from being boring. I don’t pound them too much, as I want them juicy and thick.

Tomorrow I can slather them in sauce and cheese, stick them in the oven and call them chicken parmesan if I like, or pack them up for Leandro’s lunch with some ketchup on the side, or roll them up in a wrap or slice them into a salad for myself. There’s not enough to freeze, but they’ll be fine a couple of days in the fridge once they are cooked and they will certainly be handy. They will make two meals each at least for me and the kid.

So, bang-bang, chop-chop, and they are done in no time! Nitey-nite!

Simple and tasty

Simple Juicy Chicken Tenders

Two boneless chicken breasts (about 1lb), pounded to evenness – 1 inch or less

½ cup Italian style bread crumbs or plain breadcrumbs seasoned with a Tbs of Italian herbs

1 Tbs grated grana padano or parmigiano reggiano

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbs vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice chicken breasts into long strips (cutting with the grain).

Place breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic and seasonings in a bag. Pour oil into a bowl. Dip chicken strips into the oil, then place in bag. Seal bag and shake to coat chicken thoroughly. Lay strips on greased baking sheet (or – even better, ridged rack).

Bake for 20 minutes, turning once. For greater crispness, place under the broiler for five minutes.


%d bloggers like this: