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Cooking for preschoolers
April 4, 2018

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By reading different cookbooks for children and having three of my own children and eight grandchildren, you can get many different ideas for dinner. From my own experience, and trust me I am still learning everyday, because things and foods have changed since my own children were young.

Many children are picky eaters and usually prefer sugar items over good nutrition foods. Some want a variety of foods while others want the same thing day after day.

Many children choose fast foods and junk foods over fruits and vegetables and also drink sodas over plain old water.

Children often have special requests for their birthdays or to take treats to school for their classmates and so on. One thing for sure, cooking and baking for kids can become a real challenge, so encourage you kids to try new nutritious foods and especially after school, to eat something healthy like a piece of fruit instead of potato chips or a candy bar.

If possible, try to get your children involved in the kitchen and preparing different recipes that they would like and like the ones I have below, keeping also in mind that the food appearance to the eye is very important.

Try to also make the food preparation fun and enjoyable for the kids by preparing silly and fun snacks like unique birthday cakes and tasty meals with fun foods, and at the same time changing and improving their eating habits. At the same time be sure to teach your children kitchen safety when working in the kitchen.

For most adults and also for many children, food is one of life's great pleasures. As parents, we have the ability and choice to pass on and establish good healthy eating habits for the rest of the child's life and avoid many future health problems.

Preschoolers should continue to build on healthy habits that began early in their lives. Foods rich in calcium and protein is important for their physical growth. A simple meal prepared with healthy foods will be most easily accepted by preschoolers and remember to limit their sweets - sugar adds calories without nutrition and adds to obesity.

Next month we will talk about the elementary schoolers.

Chicken Rolls

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 10-ounce package frozen stir-fry vegetables

2 8-ounce packages cooked diced chicken

1 tablespoon hot Asian chili sauce with garlic

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 15 1/2-ounce package refrigerated large crescent rolls

all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons orange marmalade

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in large skillet. Add frozen vegetables; cook until liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently. Add chicken, chili sauce, if desired, and hoisin sauce. Stir; remove from heat. Cool 5 minutes. Separate crescent rolls on lightly floured board. Place 1/2 cup chicken filling on wide end of each roll; roll up to a narrow point. Place rolls, seam side down, on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden. Combine orange marmalade, vinegar and soy sauce. Serve with chicken rolls.

Veggie Pizza Cupcakes

1 12-ounce can refrigerated biscuits

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups assorted diced fresh vegetables (red bell pepper, zucchini, summer squash, onion)

1 1/2 cups pasta sauce

1/2 cup shredded mozzarrella cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Unroll biscuits and press each into a 3-inch round. In 12-cup muffin pan, evenly press each biscuit into bottom and up side of each cup; chill until ready to fill. In 10-inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and cook vegetables, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in pasta sauce and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes or until slightly reduced. Evenly spoon vegetable mixture into prepared muffin cups. Bake 15 minutes. Evenly sprinkle tops with cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and biscuits are golden. Let stand 5 minutes. Gently remove pizza cups from muffin pan and serve.

Kiki Angelos is a food columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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