On this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we talked (and boy, did we talk) all about our recent trip to Napa, CA. There, we spoke at the Manic Mommies Escape about one of our favorite topics: How to outsmart your picky eater. For our audience of eager moms, we shared tips and tricks for getting finicky kids to try new foods, and we demonstrated a new kid-friendly recipe for Quick Apple Sausage Quesadillas.
Besides the Manic Mommies themselves — Kristin and Erin — we met many amazing women from around the country. Below are a few photos of some of our new friends. For even more pics from the Escape, feel free to click through to our Flickr photo-sharing page.
So, back to the subject of picky eaters. Over the past few months, we have gathered hundreds of mom-tested tips from our blog readers and newsletter subscribers, and we plan to include many of them in our next cookbook. For a sneak preview, we talked about a few of them at the Escape. Here’s one of our favorites from Kelly, a mom of two girls from Marietta, GA:
“When my children were younger, we played the ‘Three Pennies Game’ at the dinner table. Each person, including mom and dad, got three pennies. The object of the game was to get rid of your pennies before the meal was over (mostly evening meal). I would make a meal and often try new recipes. The family had to give three compliments, paid with a penny each, about the main part of the meal. The compliments had to come after eating a bite. So, not only did the family have to try the meal and eat at least three bites, they had to say something nice too. This means talking at the dinner table … YEAH! At the end of the meal, the family could do a thumb’s-up or thumb’s-down which meant, ‘Make it again,’ or ‘No thank you.’”
As for the recipe we created, we guarantee it will make even your most picky eaters smile. It’s versatile because you can use any veggie your kids like (i.e. a shredded carrot in place of the bell pepper) or substitute the barbecue sauce with salsa. It’s quick and easy and with all that gooey cheese (we used 50% reduced-fat Cabot Cheddar) kids love it!
Quick Apple Sausage Quesadillas
Makes 5 Servings
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice (about 1 ½ cups)
- 2 fully cooked apple chicken sausages, casings removed and meat coarsely chopped
- 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
- Five 8-inch flour tortillas, preferably whole wheat
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the sausage, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. In a bowl, stir together the cooked bell pepper and sausage, cheese, corn kernels, and barbecue sauce. Spread the mixture evenly over half of each tortilla. Fold over, press down gently, and set aside.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat (you may want to wipe out the skillet first). Add 2 of the quesadillas and cook, pressing down occasionally with a spatula, until the bottoms are crisp and golden, about 3 minutes. Flip them, and cook until the other sides are golden, about 2 minutes.
4. Repeat with the remaining oil and quesadillas. Cut into halves or quarters and serve.
Nutrition Information per Serving: 320 calories, 15g fat (3.5g saturated, 0.5g omega-3), 710mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 17g protein, 35% vitamin A, 100% vitamin C, 20% calcium
While in Napa, we had an opportunity to eat at a few of the local hot spots. One of our favorites was Bottega, Michael Chiarello’s restaurant in Yountville, which features what the chef describes as bold Italian flavors with a refined twist. The menu highlights artisanal and house-made ingredients as well as local produce. We ordered three dishes, and the flavors of each literally flew off the plate!
An appetizer we’ll never forget: Creamy Mozzarella Burrata with Roasted Butternut Squash, Caramelized Mushrooms & Shallots, Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Balsamic Caviar (we’d rather NOT know the calorie count of this recipe).
You can’t get much more nutritious than this!: Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Marcona Almonds, Sieved Egg, Pecorino, Whole Citrus Vinaigrette
This melt-in-your mouth entree was out of this world: Garganelli with Tomato Braised Rabbit Sugo, Wild Mushrooms & Ricotta
We also met a couple of dietitian pals at Pica Pica Maize Kitchen in the Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa and feasted on traditional Venezuelan food.
La Vegetariana: Tofu, Avocado, Sweet Plantains, Black Beans, Spicy Sauce and The Pabellon: Shredded Skirt Steak, Black Beans, Sweet Plantains, Cheese
Perhaps the most special meal of our whirlwind California adventure took place at Alice Water’s acclaimed Chez Panisse restaurant, first opened in Berkeley, CA in 1971. We actually ate upstairs at The Café and enjoyed a feast of foods organically and locally grown and harvested.
Grilled Eggplant and Gypsy Pepper Salad with Paprika Vinaigrette and Almonds
The icing on the cake was a visit to the Edible Schoolyard, a program of the Chez Panisse Foundation, an organization founded by Alice Waters. Located at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, this one-acre organic garden and kitchen classroom allows students to grow, harvest, and prepare healthy and nutritious foods … all in season.
We shot a short video of the garden to show you just how special it is. Wow. We wish the weather in the Boston area was conducive to a year-round garden like this one!
We had a fantastic time in California and a blast recording this week’s show. We sure hope you’ll tune in (and be sure to post a review on itunes if you like it)! For all of our photos from the trip, you can visit our Flickr page.