Every family has one: a picky eater that makes getting through mealtime a task worthy of a gold medal. St. Louis mom, Jenn Christofferson, struggled to get her son Bennet to eat something, anything, besides cheese. Then Jenn saw a golden opportunity, she entered a contest hosted by Sara Lee Deli and won the opportunity to have celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli come to her home and whip up special recipes for her family that would help Bennet’s food pyramid grow beyond just the dairy group.
Jenn said, “As a parent, I struggled with how to find a way to get my kids to eat well-balanced meals, but in Bennett’s case that seemed impossible. Until one day, he expressed interest in becoming a chef when he gets older and I knew that he was already putting himself at a disadvantage compared to other children who grew up eating a wide variety of foods. So, when I saw that Sara Lee Deli was asking parents to write in about their Lunchtime Challenge, I thought this would truly help me find new ways to get my son to eat more than just cheese.”
Alex Guarnaschelli, a parent herself, understood how challenging getting kids to eat nutritionally balanced meals can be, which motivated her to partner with Sara Lee Deli for the Lunchtime Challenge. She Jenn over the weekend and shared with her family and friends tips and customized recipes to help ease the lunchtime burden, and now she is sharing those same tips and recipes with StLFamilyLife.com readers, too!
Alex shared several tips to get your child involved in the lunch packing process, to tips on making lunchtime more fun and interesting for the kids. Here are a few of the tips she passed along during her visit:
- Make lunch with your child! They will feel an extra amount of pride and connectedness to their food when they open their lunchboxes.
- Use cookie cutters (they also sell jigsaw puzzle shapes) and two different kinds of breads to make multi-colored sandwiches (and sneak in the extra benefits of a whole-grain bread) that add a visually amusing factor to a healthy lunch sandwich.
- Have a child that will only eat certain foods? Try mixing up the delivery method. For example, if your child only likes cheese, try wrapping a piece of cheese filled will ingredients such as Sara Lee Fresh Ideas turkey or ham and a thinly sliced carrot stick as fun way to introduce some new foods to your child’s repertoire. Also, a fun name, or incorporating your child’s favorite storybook hero, can sometimes help parents overcome the barrier.
- As an adult, I still respond to food more when it has a little twist involved. Making kebabs” with some cubed vegetables, cheese and Sara Lee Fresh Ideas deli meat can be a great way to make lunch fun and healthy to eat. The kebabs work great with various seasonal fruits, too. Try pineapple or grapes for an easy choice or add plums and melon when it is in season. If you have some extra time, try one with some cubed apple roasted in the oven with some cinnamon and honey (discolored raw fruits won’t be appealing). Avoid lunchbox surprises by exposing your child at home first to make sure it’s familiar before packing it for lunch.
Alex also created several custom recipes for Jenn’s family during her visit. We thought her Cheese Biscuits with Sara Lee Fresh Ideas® Turkey and Ham Centers was a great recipe for both the picky eaters in your house, both old and young. Here is the recipe she is shared with us:
Makes about 24 biscuits If you don’t have time to make your own biscuits, a pre-packaged biscuit flour or refrigerated biscuit dough works great as well. Simply follow the package directions and add cheese, turkey and ham. Get your kids involved by having them help roll out the dough and filling the biscuits once baked.
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus some additional for rolling
1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons salt
2 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup grated, sharp cheddar cheese (or cheddar or Swiss slices cut into strips and chopped up)
1 slice Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Honey Ham for each biscuit
1 slice Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Oven Roasted Turkey for each biscuit
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Sifting not only assures that the dry ingredients will be free of lumps but also mixes them together.
3. Add the cream and cheese to the dry ingredients. Use your hands to mix together the wet and dry ingredients. Take care there is not remaining flour in the bottom of the bowl. Note: If using pre-made dough unroll and start the recipe by rolling out the dough and adding the cheese.
4. Turn the biscuit mixture onto a lightly floured flat surface and with floured hands, pat the biscuit mix down until it is about 1-inch thick. Note: if the outside edges start to show cracks, cup the outer edge with your hands and push the dough towards its own center.
5. Pat the edges so the dough is a 1-inch square. Lightly flour a knife (to avoid sticking as you cut) and slice the biscuits into 1 ½ inch by 1 ½ inch squares. This way, you won’t make scraps and all will be used.
6. Arrange the biscuits (with some distance between each) on a non-stick baking sheet or one layered with a sheet of parchment. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to all for “resting” time before baking.
7. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until they start to brown lightly. Remember the biscuits will continue to cook even after they are removed from the oven.
8. Hollow a hole in the bottom (is the hole in the middle?) of each biscuit and insert a few slices of turkey or ham (rolled up) in the centers. Arrange them on a serving platter.
You can find more recipes and tips from Alex and Sara Lee by visiting their Facebook page, www.facebook/saraleedeli.
Interested in trying out some of these tips and tricks to ease your family’s lunchtime challenges? Sara Lee Deli is giving away ten coupons for a free Sara Lee deli product (up to $8.99 value) to our readers! Just leave a comment below describing your biggest lunchtime challenge before midnight CST on Tuesday January 25th to be entered for your chance to win one of the coupons. Good luck!
Photo courtesy of Sara Lee.
Melody Meiners is the Lifestyles Editor for STLFamilyLife.com, and she blogs about all manners of domesticity on her personal blog MrsSmartyPants.com. You can email her at melody [dot] meiners [at] gmail [dot] com, or follow her on Twitter, @cosmosgirl.