Kids Night In! Recipes from the Royal Winter Fair 2012

Quick Meatball and Spaghetti Soup
Here is a favourite for kids to enjoy but I like to serve it to all. The little meatballs can be made ahead and frozen to add to soup for the week or pasta sauce for another night.  This has always been a favourite soup of mine since I was a kid. Quick to make and even quicker to eat this tastes extra special with an extra sprinkle of cheese on top when serving it.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 7 cups (1.75 L)

8 oz (250 g) lean Ontario ground turkey
1/3 cup (75 mL) freshly grated Canadian Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped fresh Italian parsley
Pinch each salt and pepper
6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable broth
1 cup (250 mL) diced Ontario carrot and celery
1/2 cup (125 mL) very small Ontario broccoli or cauliflower florets
1/2 cup (125 mL) broken spaghetti, pastina (small soup pasta) or orzo

In bowl, using hands combine turkey, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Roll heaping teaspoons (5 mL) of meat mixture into balls; set onto large plate.

Meanwhile, in pot bring broth, carrot and celery to boil. Add broccoli and spaghetti and boil gently for 5 minutes. Add meatballs to stock using slotted spoon or ladle and simmer for about 7 minutes or until pasta is tender and meatballs are no longer pink inside.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Tip: You can use frozen cut mixed vegetables for the fresh. You will need 1 1/2 cups (375 mL).

Fun Croutons: Using scissors cut strips or other shapes from flour tortillas and place in a resealable bag and toss with a little oil and your favourite dried herbs or spices like oregano or chili powder. Place on a baking sheet in a 375 F (190 C) oven for about 5 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Broccoli and Cheddar Potato Boats
Make extra potatoes with dinner one night so you can enjoy these easy potato boats another night. Get creative and stir in some of your other favourite ingredients to change it up, like cooked beans, diced ham or other cooked vegetables.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours (20 minutes Microwave)
Yield: 4 potatoes

4 large long white Ontario baking potatoes (about 2 lb/1 kg), scrubbed
1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
1 small Ontario onion, chopped
2 cloves Ontario garlic, minced
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried thyme
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
1 cup (250 mL) small cooked Ontario broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) shredded Ontario old cheddar cheese

Prick potatoes with fork a few times and place in 400 F (200 C) oven and bake for about 1 hour or until tender when pierced with knife. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in skillet heat oil over medium heat and cook onion and garlic, thyme and half each of the salt and pepper for about 3 minutes or until softened.

Cut top third of potatoes horizontally off and scoop out flesh from top piece and entire potato into bowl, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick shell. Mash potato flesh with remaining salt and pepper and add onion mixture, broccoli and cheese; stir to combine.

Mound mixture into potato shells and place in small baking dish or baking sheet and bake in 350 F (180 C) oven for about 20 minutes or until light golden. Broil for about 3 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crisp on top.

Makes 4 potatoes.

Microwave Baked Potatoes: Prick potatoes with fork a few times and place in microwaveable dish with 1/3 cup (75 mL) water in bottom. Cover with plastic wrap or lid and cook on High for about 20 minutes or until tender when pierced with knife.

Skillet Mac and Cheese
Making the cheese sauce in a skillet helps it cook quicker so you can eat dinner fast. It also get you more topping for added crunch while leaving it all in the same pan. Cook your pasta ahead of time so it’s ready in the fridge when you need it.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 cups (1.5 L) 

2 tbsp (30 mL) Ontario butter
1 small Ontario onion, finely chopped
1 small Ontario carrot, grated 
1 clove Ontario garlic, minced
2 tbsp (30 mL) all purpose flour
2 cups (500 mL) milk
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard (optional)
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) shredded Ontario old cheddar cheese
4 cups (1 L) cooked elbow macaroni
1/2 cup (125 mL) each chopped red pepper and peas

3/4 cup (175 mL) fresh breadcrumbs
3 tbsp (45 mL) freshly grated Canadian Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp (15 mL) Ontario butter, melted

In large non stick, oven proof skillet, melt butter over medium heat and cook onion, carrot and garlic for 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Whisk in milk and cook, whisking for about 8 minutes or until starting to thicken. Whisk in mustard, if using and salt. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Stir in macaroni, red pepper and peas until combined and heated through.

Topping: In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs, cheese and butter. Sprinkle over top of macaroni and cheese mixture and place under broiler for about 3 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Makes 6 servings.

Tip: To get 4 cups (1 L) of cooked elbow macaroni cook up 2 cups (500 mL) dry in pot of boiling salted water until tender but firm.

Spicy Noodles and Pork Bowl
The combination of Asian flavours in this one bowl meal will quickly become a favourite that can be enjoyed on the run or relaxing at home with the family. Wrap up everybody’s portion in a flour tortilla for an easy meal to take with you or for a great lunch idea the next day!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 7 cups (1.75 L)

1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
4 green onions, chopped
2 large cloves Ontario garlic, minced
2 tsp (10 mL) minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp (2 mL) hot pepper flakes
1 small Ontario pork tenderloin, thinly sliced into strips
4 oz (125 g) spaghetti pasta, cooked (1/4 of a pkg)
1 large Ontario carrot, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 Ontario red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 tbsp (45 ml) sodium reduced soy sauce
3 tbsp (45 ml) rice vinegar
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh cilantro

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium high heat and saute pork for about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir in onions, garlic, ginger and hot pepper flakes and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes or until hint of pink remains in pork. Remove to bowl. Stir in spaghetti.

Return skillet to medium heat and cook carrot and pepper for 3 minutes, stirring often. Pour in soy sauce and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Pour over pork and noodle mixture and toss to combine. Sprinkle with cilantro to serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Tip: Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, drain well and drizzle with a touch of canola oil. Place in resealable bag and refrigerate until ready to use or for up to 2 days.

Dinner Pancakes with Bean and Tomato Salsa
Enjoying pancakes for dinner is a fun way to get everyone involved in getting the meal on the table. Change up your recipe a bit and add the crunch of cornmeal and some veggies for colour and big flavour. Enjoy the salsa wrapped up in the pancakes for a spin on “pigs in a blanket”.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 16 pancakes

1/2 cup (125 mL) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) cornmeal
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
2 cups (500 mL) Ontario buttermilk
1 Ontario egg
3 tbsp (45 mL) Ontario butter, melted
1/2 cup (125 ml) shredded Ontario old cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (125 mL) grated zucchini

Bean and Tomato Salsa:
1 cup (250 mL) canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Ontario greenhouse tomato, diced
1 green onion, sliced
1 small clove Ontario garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper

Bean and Tomato Salsa: In a bowl, stir together beans, tomato, onion and garlic. Add pepper to taste and stir to combine; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together all purpose, whole wheat flours, cornmeal, baking powder and soda; set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg and butter. Pour over flour mixture and whisk until combined but still slightly lumpy. Stir in cheese and zucchini.

Spray large nonstick skillet or griddle with some cooking spray and place over medium high heat. Pour batter using 1/4 cup (50 mL) measure and spread out slightly to form pancakes. Cook until bubbles begin to appear on top, about 3 minutes. Flip over and cook until golden brown, about 1 minute. Remove to plate and repeat with remaining batter.

Serve topped with salsa.

Makes about 4 to 6 servings.


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