The winner of the recent contest Lunch Time Challenge hosted by Sara Lee, just received her prize this weekend. Here is the scoop:
Like many moms, St. Louis resident Jenn Christofferson struggles with making lunches her kids will eat. Luckily for Christofferson, she received a day of expert advice from celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli. Guarnaschelli, a mom herself, is a well known TV personality and the executive chef of the coveted restaurant, Butter, in New York City. Guarnaschelli spent the day with the Christofferson family to help them tackle their lunchtime challenge: a child who wants to be a chef and explore the culinary world, but will only eat cheese.
The day of lunchtime fun is Christofferson’s grand prize for winning the Sara Lee® Deli “What’s Your Lunchtime Challenge?” contest – a nationwide photo and essay contest in search of America’s lunchtime challenge. Christofferson’s entry about Bennett, her picky eater, topped other entries from across the country and now Guarnaschelli will visit Christofferson at her St. Louis home to teach Christofferson how to approach lunchtime in a new way. Guarnaschelli will also offered lunchtime solutions for 10 of Christofferson’s friends. Here are some of her tips:
· 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. Don’t have cookie cutters? Use shapes from anything already in your kitchen to cut sandwiches, for example, a glass or small cup for round shapes.
· Pack your lunch to eat at work at the same time you pack your children’s lunch. Having your children see that they are all sharing the same meal brings families closer to lunchtime at school.
· 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.
· Try packing tea sandwiches in your child’s lunch for a fun twist on their regular sandwich. What I love is that the sandwiches can take any direction according to your personal taste and can be filled with whatever fillings your child likes. It’s a fun twist on their regular sandwich and what child doesn’t like finger food?
· Roasted vegetables are always so delicious and have a deeper flavor that your children will remember as they build their own palates through childhood. Roast some peeled carrots, small mushrooms or zucchini strips and wrap them (chilled) with your favorite Sara Lee Fresh Ideas deli meat and/or cheeses for a lighter (but still creative) lunchtime meal.
· As an adult, I still respond to food more when it has a little twist involved. Making little “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.
· On a weekend or day off, take your child out to a local Farmer’s Market and wander around with them, exploring different seasonal fruits and vegetables. I have found the personal connection between farmers, what they grow and your children can actually make a difference in how your child feels about fresh ingredients. Bringing together ingredients like tomatoes, lettuce, and other vegetables with a slice of Sara Lee Deli Turkey or a piece of Sara Lee Deli Ham to make a delicious combination. When you introduce your children to these ingredients in a special way that is memorable as a family activity and as a place that shows you value wholesome ingredients, you would be surprised how it can change your child’s view of food, one lettuce leaf at a time!
Alex’s recipes for Jenn and her family:
Alex Guarnaschelli’s Cheese Biscuits with Sara Lee Fresh Ideas® Turkey and Ham Centers
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
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Wow that is a lot of information to process, but it’s great advice on getting kids in the kitchen, along with recipes. Here is the most exciting part…. I have 10 coupons (8.99) for 10 winners (89.90 value for 10 winners).
Enter To Win:
Ten coupons good for one free Sara Lee Deli product (worth up to $8.99) for 10 lucky moms.
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