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Cooking With Children

Why it's so important to spend time in the kitchen with your children -- and how you can get started.

Quick Bruschetta

Journal as: 1 slice bread + 1/2 cup "vegetables with 1 tsp. fat."

This recipe is appropriate for children of all ages, if they use a plastic knife to cut the tomatoes and an adult helps them with the toaster.

3 fresh, ripe Roma tomatoes
4 fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano flakes)
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
4 slices sourdough, French or country-style bread, about 1/2-inch thick
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Wash the tomatoes, then cut down the middle with a plastic knife and remove most of the seeds and juice. Chop into small pieces, and add to small bowl.
  • Tear or chop basil into small pieces, then add to tomatoes in bowl, along with the oregano and garlic.
  • Toast bread slices to desired brownness. Spoon the tomato mixture evenly over the toasted bread slices, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon olive oil over the top of each tomato-topped bread slice.

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving: 146 calories, 3.5 g protein, 19.5 g carbohydrate, 6.4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1.5 g fiber, 181 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 39%.

Egg Mock-Muffin Sandwich

Journal as: 2 slices bread + 1 egg alone without added fat + 1 ounce low-fat cheese
OR 1 light frozen dinner
OR 1 sandwich and burger lean meat

This recipe is best for pre-teens and up (aged 10 and older), but younger kids could whisk the egg mixture and help toast the muffins in a toaster.

2 English muffins, toasted
1 large egg
1/4 cup egg substitute
2 slices Canadian bacon
2 empty tuna cans (or similar cans), washed and label removed
2 slices less-fat American or cheddar cheese slices
Freshly ground pepper
Canola cooking spray

  • Coat half of a 9" or 10" nonstick frying pan with canola cooking spray and heat over medium heat (with adult supervision). In a small bowl, beat the egg and egg substitute together with a fork or whisk and set aside.
  • Place Canadian bacon in the pan, over the sprayed area. Spray the inside of the tuna cans with canola cooking spray, and set on the nonsprayed side of the frying pan to start heating. When bottom side of the bacon is light brown, flip over and cook other side until light brown. Remove bacon from pan and set aside.
  • Pour 1/4 cup of the egg mixture into each tuna can. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper to taste. When the surface of the egg begins to firm, cut around the inside of the cans with a butter knife to free the edges. Turn the eggs over with a cake fork (with adult supervision), and cook for one minute more. Remove eggs from can.
  • To assemble each sandwich, layer an English muffin bottom with a slice of cheese, then an egg patty, a piece of Canadian bacon, and the muffin top.

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