A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I rarely ate fish growing up. However, fish is a favorite of my children. We usually eat it for dinner once a week.
You may be wondering if I am worried about my children being exposed to mercury in the fish I feed them. The answer is no because I choose fish that the EPA and FDA have designated safe to eat including cod, pollock, salmon, and tilapia. This chart has great advice on the appropriate types and amounts of fish for children and pregnant women. It is safe for children ages 2 years and older to eat one or two servings of fish per week. Eating fish may even have lifelong health benefits. These include brain function and prevention of chronic disease.
Adding fish, or any food, to the menu at home can be tricky. Family members of all ages may not be comfortable with new foods. Here are some of the things I try:
- Stick with it for the long haul. The more they see the food, the more likely they are to try it (and like it). It may take weeks, months, or years, but they will eventually try it.
- Serve it with other things they like. Favorite side dishes can make a new food more appealing. * Serve it as part of a mixed dish. Our Fish and Noodle Skillet is a great way to include fish with other tasty foods your family members may like.
Try adding fish to your weekly menu. Let us know how it goes!
Last week our blog was all about buying yogurt. This week we have a tasty recipe using yogurt as the main ingredient – Vegetable Dip. This recipe is very helpful at my house because my youngest son will not eat vegetables unless he has something to dip them in. I like this recipe better than ranch dressing or store bought dip because the yogurt adds some nutrition to those vegetables that he would not get otherwise.
This recipe is so easy – all you have to do is combine plain yogurt with some seasonings. Make sure that you let this dip rest in the refrigerator overnight. This rest time gives the flavors from the seasonings time to mingle together. The hardest part of this recipe is slicing the vegetables to dip in it!
Find the full recipe here.
Last week, I shared our homemade taco seasoning mix. This week, I would like to share our homemade dried onion soup mix. This dried onion soup mix is useful in seasoning soups, dips, and meats. To make this mix, stir together dried minced onion, sodium free beef bouillon granules, onion powder, and sugar and store in an airtight container for up to six months.
This mix makes the equivalent of three packages of store bought dried onion soup mix. This homemade mix is more expensive than the store bought version. Homemade costs $3.72 for the equivalent of three packages and the store bought is $0.72 for two packages. However, the extra cost is more than balanced out by the savings in sodium. The homemade version has 15 mg of sodium in 1/3 cup (about the same as one store bought package) while the store bought version has 4,560 mg of sodium in one package, which is 570 mg of sodium per serving.
The savings in sodium in this mix is important because reducing sodium consumption has health impacts. Find more information about the connection between sodium and high blood pressure here and sodium for children here.
Try our homemade Dried Onion Soup Mix in our Slow Cooker Roast or any other recipe that calls for dried onion soup mix.
Our October recipe of the month is Sweet Pork Stir Fry. To be honest with you, my children are pretty picky when it comes to stir fry. There is only one stir fry recipe I make that they really like. This is one that they tend to pick around and eat only their favorite pieces.
When this recipe was in the testing phase, I had to make it often to get it just right. Since it was not my children’s favorite, I made it for my mother-in-law and father-in-law. It was such a hit with them that my mother-in-law called me a few days later asking for the recipe because she wanted to make it for her own in-laws! That was almost two years ago, and they are still making this recipe regularly.
What I really like about my in-laws using this recipe regularly is that they have made this recipe their own. They try different vegetables depending on what sounds good to them – carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, and asparagus. They will change out the meat depending on what is on sale at the grocery store or even skip on the meat to make a vegetarian meal. They will also switch the noodles out for brown rice sometimes.
This past winter they invited me over to share a meal and they made this recipe for me. This recipe has been one that we have enjoyed together and I hope you can enjoy it with friends and family too!
Our June recipe of the month, Black Bean Burgers, is sure to surprise you. My children love these burgers and eat them just the same as they would a burger made with ground meat.
I make these burgers for my family again and again, and here is why:
- They are inexpensive – using beans as a substitute for ground meat saves us money.
- They are quick in a pinch – on nights when we are busy or time gets away from me, I can make these burgers in about 15 minutes. I try to keep a can of black beans in my pantry for times like this.
- They are easy – mash the ingredients together with a fork, form them into patties, and cook them in a skillet.
The topic for the blog today is about having salads for a meal when it is hot. When we planned our blog topics a few weeks ago, we were anticipating we would be experiencing hot weather here in Iowa and across much of the US at this time. However, I have to smile because we are currently experiencing below average temperatures here in the Midwest, in the upper 70’ s and lower 80’s. It’s beautiful! It’s still a great time to enjoy a salad as a meal with all the great produce that is in season and be able to spend more time outdoors.
To make a salad a meal, I would recommend including a source of protein, such as some meat, poultry, beans, or eggs. The protein makes the salad more filling. A couple of weeks ago Justine shared the recipe for our Chicken BLT Salads. Some other salads that would be great as a meal are Whole Meal Salad, Chicken Club Salad, or Confetti Rice and Bean Salad. Pair the salads with a whole grain roll or some fruit and a cup of milk for a balanced meal.
Our May recipe of the month is sure to get you in the mood for spring produce if you are not already. A salad of spring greens (spinach, leaf lettuce, or Swiss chard), chopped spring vegetables (broccoli or snow peas), and chopped spring fruit (strawberries or pineapple) tastes delicious with our homemade Orange Dressing.
Our homemade Orange Dressing is made of ingredients that are easily found in most kitchens. This recipe needs only four ingredients – orange juice, vinegar, sugar, and oil. Pour them into a container with a tight fitting lid and shake until the ingredients are combined. Then use this tasty dressing to top a salad made with your favorite springtime produce.
Orange Dressing with Fruit and Greens
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The Spend Smart. Eat Smart. recipe of the month for April is Baked Fish and Chips. There are many reasons that I love this recipe. Here are a few:
- It is lower in calories and fat than fish and chips from a restaurant.
- Fast food fish and chips – 720 calories, 35 grams fat
- Baked Fish and Chips – 410 calories, 7 grams fat
- It is less expensive than fish and chips from a restaurant.
- Fast food fish and chips – $5.99 per serving
- Baked Fish and Chips – $1.24 per serving
- It works with any kind of fish you have on hand or that you like.
- It is delicious – my family eats every last bite of this meal when I make it.
If, like me, you like tartar sauce with your fish, but do not want to buy an entire bottle – you can make your own. Just mix two tablespoons of mayonnaise with two tablespoons of pickle relish. You can adjust the amounts of mayo and relish to your tastes.
I hope you enjoy our April recipe – Baked Fish and Chips!
Our March recipe of the month is Roasted Cauliflower. Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables and my children love roasted vegetables, so this recipe goes over well at my house. The delicious roasted flavor of the cauliflower plus the texture from the breadcrumbs really makes this recipe a winner.
Here are some things to keep in mind when making this recipe:
- Cut up the whole head of cauliflower at one time since it can be a big and messy job. You probably will not need all of the cauliflower for this recipe, but you can store the extra in small baggies or containers to pack in lunches.
- Coat the cauliflower florets in the oil first and then add the seasonings and breadcrumbs to make sure that they stick well to the cauliflower.
- Line your baking sheet with foil then spray with nonstick cooking spray to make clean up easy.
I hope you enjoy our Roasted Cauliflower!