Balancing Act: The Adult-Kids Menu

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Story Updated: Dec 26, 2013

Do your kids run at the sight of verduras? Do they request grilled cheese sandwiches day after day? Tranquila. According to Chef Anthony Lamas, owner of Seviche restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, there are easy ways to sneak vegetables and "adult" ingredients into kids' menu for the whole family. "Don't be afraid to add flavors and textures, layered components are interesting to kids," says Chef Anthony, father of two boys and winner of Food Network's Extreme Chef title.

As a dad, Chef Anthony knows first-hand how tricky it can be to prepare healthy meals parents and kids will enjoy. The key is to take tired ingredients such as chicken, arroz and vegetables and add flavor so your palate will be pleased, and the kids will ask for seconds. Try adding these tricks and healthy recipes for kids to the kids' menu at your house.

· Start with whole pollo: Plan ahead and flavor with salt, water, sugar, onions, herbs and lemon zest and garlic. Let sit overnight and roast.

· Experiment with rice: Add interesting and tasty textures such as dried cranberries, macadamia nuts, butternut squash, pumpkin seeds or zucchini.

· Add appealing sabores: Sautéed onions, celery and carrot will add flavor to any dish, while giving kids their veggies. Kids may say they don't like bland spinach, but it takes on a new taste flavored with lemon and garlic.

· Include los niños: Have kids help you create a tasty homemade buttermilk dressing for salads or parsley flavored butter for corn. They're sure to want to try their concoctions.

Soups and stews are a basic -- but healthy -- meal idea, and an easy way to incorporate oodles of meats, vegetables and healthy herbs without the kids catching on. Straight from his kitchen, Lamas shared his recipe for Albóndigas (small meatballs) stew.

Ingredients:

Ground beef chuck/round

3 ears of corn cut off cob

1 cup shredded cabbage

4 carrots cut into 1-inch rounds

4 celery stocks cut into 1-inch pieces

2 zucchinis cut into 1-inch rounds

½ onion chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Juice of 2 limes

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of garlic

3 bay leaves

1 cup cooked rice

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoon ground oregano

1 gallon chicken stock

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Mix beef with rice and season with one tablespoon of salt, oregano, and a pinch of pepper. Make meat into three-ounce meatballs.

In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots and celery for two minutes. Then add garlic and remaining vegetables. Continue to sauté for two minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and add meatballs. Simmer for 15 minutes. Finally, garnish with a fresh squeeze of lime and a pinch of fresh cilantro.

Chef Anthony's recipe calls for oregano and
garlic, which both benefit your health. Find out why -- and other
health-boosting ingredients -- here.

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