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It’s Thursday, the work week is drawing to a close, and you are probably EXHAUSTED. Forget ordering in Chinese food and make it yourself! Never cooked Chinese food before? Save some calories and a little cash with this DIY makeover of a popular Chinese takeout meal. Many Chinese recipes are quick, easy to make, or both. Some can be made with ingredients that are available at most local supermarkets, while others may require a trip to a Chinese/Asian market or using a substitute. Whether you’re new to Chinese cooking or just looking for a recipe that doesn’t require spending too much time in the kitchen, you’ll love this recipe! Skinless chicken breasts, a light batter, and just a bit of oil for pan-frying yield the right texture with less fat for “Lighter General Tso’s Chicken.”


Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serving: 4 peeps 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/4 cups long-grain brown rice
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Add snow peas, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red-pepper flakes; toss to combine, and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together egg whites, remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken, and toss to coat.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Lift half the chicken from egg-white mixture (shaking off excess), and add to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining oil and chicken, and set aside (reserve skillet).
  4. Add snow-pea mixture to skillet. Cover; cook until snow peas are tender and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet (with any juices); toss to coat. Serve with rice.

CHECK OUT LE TOP BABY AND CHILDREN’S CLOTHING AT
www.letop-usa.com

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I grew up going to school in Berkeley, California and every day my nanny would take me to a 50s style soft serve joint that served other diner type food like hamburgers, hot dogs and even corn dogs! Every child (well, almost all) love hot dogs, but why not make it fun and do it at home? I found this fabulous baked corn dog recipe that lightens up the calories, but still makes it delicious for your little one. Check it out!

Note: Be sure to buy ice-pop sticks if you don’t have them on hand. You can usually buy them at a craft store or even online at Amazon.com

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting sausages
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 precooked smoked chicken sausages (13 ounces total)
  • Ketchup and mustard, for serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Make a well in center; add milk, eggs, and oil. Mix just until combined.

2.    Insert an ice-pop stick into one end of each sausage, leaving a 1 1/2-inch handle. Dust with flour; tap off excess. Using handle, rotate each sausage over bowl as you spoon batter to coat evenly. Place on sheet; bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Using a spatula, reapply batter that has slipped onto sheet. Return to oven; bake until golden, 20 minutes. Serve with ketchup and mustard, if desired.

CHECK OUT LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING ON OUR HOME PAGE AT
www.letop-usa.com

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With the holidays here – your kids are probably eating cake, sugar cookies, cupcakes, and tons of candy (as we all like to do as kids)…and it can be tough as a parent to get your children to actually want to eat healthy when they eat more junk food during the holidays. Letting kids eat unhealthy food increases the chances they will become overweight and eat a poor diet as adults. Kids who eat a healthy diet are more likely to get enough nutrients, have more energy, build strong bones and muscles and maintain a healthy weight. Parents can encourage their children to make healthy eating choices by providing lots of healthy options, being patient and setting a good example.

Here are some tips on how to get your kiddo to eat healthy and persuade your little one not be such a picky eater!

1.  Make a schedule. Children need to eat every three to four hours: three meals, two snacks, and lots of fluids. If you plan for these, your child’s diet will be much more balanced and he’ll be less cranky, because he won’t be famished. Put a cooler in the car when you are out with your kids and keep it stocked with carrots, pretzels, yogurt, and water so we don’t have to rely on fast food.

2.  Plan dinners. If thinking about a weekly menu is too daunting, start with two or three days at a time. A good dinner doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be balanced: whole-grain bread, rice, or pasta; a fruit or a vegetable; and a protein source like lean meat, cheese, or beans.

3.  Don’t become a short-order cook. Don’t get into the bad habit of preparing a meal for your kids and one for you and your partner. It can be exhausting. Prepare one meal for everybody and serve it family-style so the kids can pick and choose what they want. Children often mimic their parents’ behavior, so one of these days, they’ll eat most of the food you serve them.

4.  Introduce new foods slowly. Children are new-food-phobic by nature.

5.  Dip it. If your kids won’t eat vegetables, experiment with dips. One example is when your child tries your first veggie such as a carrot, dip it in ranch dressing or even hummus, salsa or some sort of yogurt-based dressing.

6.  Make mornings count. Most families don’t eat enough fiber on a daily basis, and breakfast is an easy place to sneak it in. Make up batches of whole-grain pancake and waffle batter that last all week. For a batch that serves five, sift together 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, 4 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 Tbs. sugar. When you’re ready to cook, mix in 2 Tbs. ground flax meal, 2 cups water, 3 Tbs. canola oil, 1/4 tsp. vanilla, and 2 Tbs. applesauce.

7.  Get kids cooking. If your children become involved in choosing or preparing meals, they’ll be more interested in eating what they’ve created. Take them to the store, and let them choose produce for you. If they’re old enough, allow them to cut up vegetables and mix them into a salad.

8.  Cut back on junk. Remember, you — not your kids — are in charge of the foods that enter the house. By having fewer junk foods around, you’ll force your children to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products.

9.  Allow treats. Having less healthy foods occasionally keeps them from becoming forbidden — and thus even more appealing. Even treat them to McDonald’s for lunch every so often.

10.  Have fun. The more creative the meal is, the greater the variety of foods my kids eat. We make smiley-face pancakes and give foods silly names. (Broccoli florets are “baby trees” or “dinosaur food.”) Anything mini is always a hit too. I often use cookie cutters to turn toast into hearts and stars, which the children love.

11.  Be a role model. If you’re constantly on a diet or have erratic eating habits, your children will grow up thinking that this sort of behavior is normal. Be honest with yourself about the kinds of food messages you’re sending. Trust your body to tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re full, and your kids will learn to do the same.

12.  Adjust your attitude. Realize that what your kids eat over time is what matters. Having popcorn at the movies or eating an ice-cream sundae are some of life’s real pleasures. As long as you balance these times with smart food choices and physical activity, your children will be fine.

SEE ALL LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING
AT WWW.LETOP-USA.COM

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Okay forget the hamburgers, grilling outside, sweating to make patties small and cute for your little ones. We all know it is football season – yes, I stayed up until past midnight for the first Sunday night football last night and I’m exhausted today. I am sure your little ones will want to eat whatever daddy is eating while he watches his Monday night football. Here is an easy and delicious take on pizza (semi-from-scratch) that will satisfy the hunger in your kiddos and hubby! It’s packed with flavor, protein and is a hearty meal going into fall!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Cook Time: 30 minutes (yay!)
Serves 4

Hamburger and Grape-Tomato Pizza 
Special note for the chef – To ensure even cooking, gently roll and stretch the dough to an even thickness. You don’t have to shape it into a precise rectangle — rounded corners are fine.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • All-purpose flour, for work surface
  • 1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed
  • 3/4 cup store-bought marinara sauce
  • 1 cup grated provolone cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 pound ground beef chuck
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rub a large rimless baking sheet (or a rimmed one, upside down) with oil.
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin and your hands to roll and stretch dough into a 15-by-11-inch rectangle (if dough becomes too elastic to work with, let it rest a few minutes). Transfer to prepared sheet.
  3. Spread sauce evenly over dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Top with provolone, tomatoes, and if desired, onion; scatter beef over top. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake until crust is golden, beef is cooked, and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Here is New York, summer is coming to an end and there is only 2 weekends left at the beach until I head back to the city. As sad as it may sound, I am really excited to go back home and do a little nesting, more cooking and enjoying the cooler days of fall. I am not sure if it is because I was in Italy a month ago, or just a craving, but this spaghetti and meatballs recipe is delicious, and perfect for dinner for back-to-school for the whole family – sure to be a hit!

Any type of ground meat will work with this recipe, but a blend of pork and beef will yield the best results. Serve the meatballs over your favorite pasta and freeze any leftovers in the sauce; they can be reheated for meatball sandwiches. If you want to make a healthier version, use white turkey ground meat. 🙂

Yield:
Makes 30 – 1 1/2-inch meatballs

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 slices best-quality bread, crusts removed
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (use 1 teaspoon if Parmesan is substituted for the Romano)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Two 28-ounce cans best-quality whole tomatoes, pulsed with juices in a blender
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1.  In a small saucepan, heat the milk. Soak the bread in the milk, turning the slices over to absorb it. Cool and mince the bread. Place it in a large bowl. Add the meats, garlic, onion, eggs, cheese, parsley, pepper, and salt. Using clean hands, mix together until completely combined.

2.  Have a rimmed baking sheet or platter ready. Roll into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. (If you periodically run cold water over your hands, the meat won’t stick to them as you roll.) If you have time, chill the raw meatballs to firm them up.

3.  Heat a 14-inch skillet (or two smaller skillets to fry in batches) over high heat. Add the olive oil and when it is very hot, add the meatballs in a single layer. Don’t crowd the pan; work in batches if necessary. Fry the meatballs without moving for a few minutes, then turn as they cook to brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon out any excess oil from the pan, carefully scraping around the meatballs.

4.  Add the tomatoes and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the browned bits. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve hot pasta with 3 meatballs on top, some sauce, the grated cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.

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It’s not always easy when you get home from work, are tired and have to come up with something quick and easy for your family and loved ones for dinner. Why not put a fun twist on spaghetti by adding peanut sauce! See the below recipe!

For a quick Asian sauce that takes almost no time to prepare, mix together peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar!

ASIAN SPAGHETTI RECIPE

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 ounces snow peas, tough strings removed
  • 3 medium carrots, halved, and shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 container (14 ounces) firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar

DIRECTIONS:

1.   Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Add snow peas, carrots, and tofu to pot; immediately drain pasta mixture, and set aside.

2.   In pasta pot, stir together peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Add reserved pasta mixture; toss gently, adding reserved pasta water a little at a time to create a thin sauce that coats spaghetti (you may not need all the water). Season as desired with salt and pepper. Serve.

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As most parents know, taking your youngster out to eat can be a challenge. At this age, toddlers aren’t programmed to sit still, but in my opinion there are simple steps to a happy and stress-free meal.

This post has been moved to our website. To view the full post go to: http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=18778

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