Archive for the ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ Category

A+ Back-to-School Mushroom Recipes

Recipes-Aug-BlogBack-to-school season is right around the corner, which means schedules are about to fill up with science projects, after-school sports, homework, band practice, carpooling and school dances. Is your head spinning yet? While life may seem chaotic and unpredictable, your meals don’t have to be. We’ve taken the guesswork out of meal planning and rounded up a collection of easy, healthy mushroom dishes the whole family will love! (No school-age kids at home? No problem. You’ll still enjoy these simple, yet delicious recipes!)

Tips:

  • Cut down time in the kitchen by purchasing pre-cut veggies.
  • Blend mushrooms with meat to make meals go further (plus boost flavor and nutrition).
  • Opt for meals you can make ahead and freeze – freeing up your time during the week!

Crimini Mushroom Nuggets

Zesty Crimini “Chicken” Nuggets
The next time kids ask for chicken nuggets, swap in these crispy, baked crimini nuggets (served with their favorite dipping sauce).

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Cheesy Beef Skillet
The Blend turns this one-skillet dinner into an umami-packed, delicious and quick meal idea for busy families.

Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese with Mushrooms

Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese with Mushrooms
A lunchtime favorite! Combine sweet, tangy barbeque pork with cheesy macaroni, then add roasted mushrooms for an umami-rich surprise!

Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins

Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins
Take-and-go blended breakfast muffins make hectic mornings manageable. Blend mushrooms with Italian sausage for a flavor-winning combo.

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No-Bake Hummus Stuffed Mushrooms
No-cook stuffed mushrooms are perfect for packing in a lunchbox or enjoying as an afterschool snack.

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Muffin Tin Meatloaves
These make-ahead, bite-sized blended mini meatloaves provide a fun way to eat dinner – plus a serving of vegetables!

Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins

Incorporate The Blend into your morning – or brunch – routine starting with these baked sausage and mushroom frittata muffins from Aggie’s Kitchen.

Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins by Aggies Kitchen

I started making baked frittata muffins for my family about a year ago and we are officially hooked! They are so simple to put together and the variety of fillings are endless, making them even more appealing in my opinion. What I love about frittata muffins is that they are portion controlled, making them perfect for a light breakfast, snack or for offering at brunch where other foods will be served. A dozen of these savory Baked Sausage & Mushroom Frittata Muffins would round out a brunch menu quite nicely if you ask me. My favorite part of a brunch menu is the opportunity to try a little bit of several things, so these muffin-sized frittatas will fit right in.

Using The Blend concept, I was able to cut back on the amount of Italian sausage I used in this recipe with chopped mushrooms. Such a winning concept since you can basically please all the meat eaters in your group, yet know that what you are serving is a little bit more nutritious – without sacrificing texture or flavor. I used baby bella mushrooms in this recipe, but white button mushrooms would be great as well. Enjoy!

Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins

Ingredients:

2 fresh Italian chicken sausage links (about 1/3 pound), casings removed
8 0z whole baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves, chopped
9 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup shredded mozzarella
cooking spray

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan liberally with cooking spray.

In a large nonstick skillet, brown and crumble Italian chicken sausage. Add shallots and chopped mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add chopped spinach and cook for another 3-4 minutes until spinach is completely wilted. Turn off heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 9 eggs. Add milk and continue to whisk until eggs and milk are blended. Stir in mozzarella cheese.

Using a tablespoon, add sausage, mushroom and spinach mixture evenly into each muffin cup. Carefully pour egg mixture into each cup, using the spoon to gently lift the sausage mixture so that egg mixture reaches the bottom of cup.

Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then carefully run a knife around edges of egg muffins to separate from pan. Let cool for another 5 minutes then remove egg muffins completely from pan. Serve with fresh fruit and other brunch favorites!

Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins by Aggies Kitchen Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins by Aggies Kitchen Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins by Aggies Kitchen

The Blend Was a Hit at the School Nutrition Annual Conference

Over the past year the mushroom industry, food service directors and meat processors have been hard at work hoping to bring The Blend to the forefront. The outcome of these efforts were obvious at this year’s School Nutrition Conference, and Council Representative Kathleen Pries, was there to share all the benefits of blending with knowledge seeking directors.

The energy, excitement and enthusiasm at the SNA ANC in Boston, Massachusetts last week was palpable. School food service directors from across the nation were eager to visit the Mushroom Council booth to learn about fresh mushrooms and blending.

Located in the United Fresh Pavilion, the Mushroom Council had the opportunity to work with other likeminded exhibitors to bring school foodservice directors real solutions to increase fresh produce consumption in schools. The Fresh Produce Pavilion showcased a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available to schools, as well as highlighted the produce industry’s commitment to helping schools meet the new fruit and vegetable requirements for school lunch/breakfast.  With the new “Smart Snacks in Schools” requirements going into effect, and continuing media attention on healthier school meals, it is more important than ever that the fresh produce industry be fully engaged with schools.

To demonstrate how meatless options can be just as tasty, and how The Blend can enhance school meals, we sampled Spicy Mushroom Meatballs, Mushroom Blended Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties, and Meatless Portabella Cheesesteaks. Attendees were thrilled to hear student’s favorite meals can be made healthier without losing taste, volume or texture. But we weren’t the only ones showing off blending, three additional companies showed mushroom blended products totaling 11 products on the show floor for school foodservice directors to sample and add to their menu.

The presence of mushroom blending at this year’s School Nutrition Association Conference was especially important given the current debate on regulating nutrition requirements in the school lunch program.  Concepts like The Blend demonstrate that districts can serve healthier versions of foods kids love without sacrificing taste or acceptance.  The acceptance with districts, processors and industry influencers of mushroom blending is a huge opportunity to continue to improve student lunches.

We at the Mushroom Council are tremendously lucky to be included in the groundbreaking group of individuals and organizations that form the School Nutrition Association. We would like to thank everyone at the conference for a truly memorable week!

Mushrooms Take Center Stage on School Lunch Trays

Wouldn’t it be great if your child’s cafeteria served healthy, nutritious food prepared just like the meals found in the finest restaurants? Council Representative, Kathleen Pries, is on the front lines of the mushrooms in schools effort, and tells us why kids are gobbling up mushrooms at lunch time!

What if we told you your kids’ love mushrooms? What if we told you they eat them every day for lunch, without complaint, and even ask for seconds? That’s right, since their official introduction to the National School Lunch Program; mushrooms have been gaining popularity as one of the trendiest ingredients to be featured on the lunch tray!

Meal regulations now demand a greater variety of fresh, low fat, low calorie, nutrient dense foods be served to students during breakfast and lunch.  Mushrooms, being both nutrient dense and low fat, instantly improve any dish they are paired with and have become a go-to ingredient for school foodservice directors. Mushrooms blended with meat in school entrees like tacos, burgers, sloppy joes and meatballs instantly reduce fat, calories and sodium while adding moisture, flavor and an extra vegetable serving to students. It’s no wonder why school foodservice directors are turning to mushrooms to help meet new USDA meal pattern requirements!

Mushrooms at Cincinnati Public Schools
School foodservice directors, such as Jessica Shelley of Cincinnati Public Schools, serve mushroom blended burgers to students. Serving mushroom blended burgers allows Jessica to top the burgers with turkey bacon and cheese creating a more appealing presentation to her students. Students are encouraged to visit the salad bar to top their burger with a variety of fresh produce, including mushrooms!

Mushrooms in Schools

Mushrooms at Maplewood Richmond Heights School District
Since mushrooms are grown indoors, they are in-season 365 days a year. Chef Robert Rusan from Maplewood Richmond Heights School District uses fresh mushrooms year-round, serving a student favorite; vegetable pizza. His home made whole wheat crust is topped high with fresh veggies including mushrooms, peppers and onions. The color and visual appeal of the fresh pizza often outsells the student favorite pepperoni pizza option.

Tri-Mushroom Flatbread

Blending is trending, so be sure to keep an eye out in your child’s cafeteria for the many delicious changes to the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program.

 

Back-To-School Fruit & Veggie Makeovers

Mushroom Pear and Gorgonzola Bites

Image Courtesy of Running to the Kitchen – RECIPE HERE

Chef Jackie Newgent, RDN, shares her favorite tips for making veggies and fruits enticing to kids as the new school year kicks off.

It’s back-to-school time! What better time to give healthy eating a kick start. One of the most impactful ways to make a difference is to boost fruit and veggie intake.

In fact, adolescents in the U.S. currently have fruit just once a day and vegetables only 1.3 times a day.(1) So there’s plenty of room to have a positive impact on eating—and ultimately better health. When presented in new ways, fruits and veggies can be extra appealing to kids.

Try these simple, nutritious, and easily adaptable meal makeover tips throughout the day to give your kids’ eating plan a flavorful and fun update—most in just 60 seconds or less.

Breakfast:

Start the day on the right foot. It’s easier than you think to include veggies as part of your morning routine.

Before: Plain eggs

The Makeover: Eggs are a terrific vehicle in which to incorporate vegetables, such as mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers, and more. However, there’s not always time to prepare a fancy omelet with all of the fixings. Salsa counts as a veggie. So top scrambled eggs with a salsa of choice whether mild or hot.

Lunch:

Lettuce and lunch are perfect partners—especially when kids are involved in the prep.

Before: Iceberg lettuce leaf on a ham sandwich

The Makeover: Leafy lettuce greens provide an easy way to enjoy veggies. Stack a mixture of them high on a sandwich. Or if your school has a salad bar, have the kids visit it so they can create their own munchable salad bowlful for a school lunch entrée or side.  

After- School Snack:

It’s not always about the food; it’s often the presentation of it that matters the most to kids.

Before: Green grapes

The Makeover: Add a fun factor when serving grapes. Simply freeze them and serve in a sundae dish for more dessert like appeal. Or insert a combination of red and green grapes onto skewers and freeze to create real grape popsicle kebabs.

Dinner:

Mushrooms provide a meaty taste and can provide a unique way to boost veggie servings at dinnertime.

Before: Burger made with ground turkey

The Makeover: A turkey burger is a tasty and healthful protein pick. It’s also a fantastic way to include vegetables. Sure, top it with tomato and onion. Go beyond toppings, too. The burger can be part veggie; just mix together about equal parts ground turkey and quickly sautéed finely chopped mushrooms, and form into patties.

Dessert/Evening Snack:

To satisfy a “sweet tooth”, focus on naturally sweet food first (yes, fruit!), rather than traditional dessert that can be full of added sugar.

Before: Banana

The Makeover: Bananas are a popular fruit. But kids don’t usually think of them as dessert. So turn bananas into a recognizable dessert. Peel, chop, and freeze in advance; then puree the frozen pieces in a food processor to create 60-second banana “ice cream!”

Need more fruit and veggie tips? Just ask us below—or connect with Jackie on Twitter @jackienewgent.

Source:

(1)   The State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables, 2013, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention