(Family Features) Cooking with your kids is a fun way to bond while teaching basic culinary skills. It provides practical lessons like counting ingredients and dividing portions. Plus, meals cooked together offer kids something to look forward to during lunchtime. They can enjoy the food they helped prepare, and you’ll be able to check at least one meal off your to-do list while teaching valuable life lessons.
One way to make cooking more exciting for the family is to prepare food for a bento box using pantry staples. Bento boxes are considered an act of love in Japan and are a fun way to get your family involved in the kitchen. Bento boxes are similar to single-portion lunchboxes except they feature small compartments for each element of your meal, making it easy to encourage kids to eat fresh fruits and veggies. They also offer a whimsy visual appeal that can make mealtime more entertaining.
Next time you plan a meal with loved ones, try incorporating authentic Japanese recipes like a Simple Teriyaki Bowl, a Miso-Glazed Salmon Bento or Garlic Shrimp with Jasmine Rice. These dishes call for simple preparations, short cook times and pantry basics, making it easy to involve your family in the process.
To create a taste-tempting family meal with genuine Japanese flavors, try Mizkan premium sauces and rice vinegars. For more than two centuries, the vinegars have helped chefs and families around the world delight in the flavors of Japan. Now the taste can be at your table, helping you create authentic meals your whole family can enjoy.
Find more tips and ideas for creating flavorful and authentic Japanese recipes at mizkanflavors.com.
Garlic Shrimp with Jasmine Rice
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1/2 cup Mizkan Ponzu Citrus Seasoned Soy Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons Mizkan Organic Rice Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Mizkan Ponzu Citrus Seasoned Soy Sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 pound (about 21-25) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup red onion, large chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
- 1 cup sugar-snap peas
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- To make ponzu rice: In small saucepan, combine jasmine rice, ponzu and water; cook according to rice directions.
- To make stir fry: In bowl, whisk rice vinegar, seasoned soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, vegetable stock and cornstarch to combine. Set aside.
- In large saute pan over high heat, heat oil; add shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes until pink.
- Add red onion and cook 1 minute. Add garlic, red bell peppers, carrots, snap peas and broccoli; cook 3 minutes until tender.
- Add reserved sauce and cook 2 minutes until thickened.
- Divide rice among six bowls and top with shrimp stir fry. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds; serve.
Miso-Glazed Salmon Bento
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus marinating
Cook time: 6 minutes
- 1/4 cup miso paste
- 2 tablespoons Mizkan Mirin Sweet Cooking Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 2 skinless center-cut salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
- 1 cup thinly sliced seedless cucumbers
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons Mizkan Seasoned Rice Vinegar
- 2 cups cooked short-grain sushi rice, cooled
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 6 cherry tomatoes
- 2 lemon wedges
- In medium bowl, whisk miso paste, mirin and sake. Add salmon, turning to coat evenly. Marinate 10-30 minutes. Discard remaining marinade.
- Heat large nonstick pan on medium-high heat. Cook fish 2-3 minutes on each side, or until internal temperature reaches 145 F. Cut each fillet into four small pieces.
- In strainer or colander, toss cucumbers with salt; let stand 5 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid; toss with rice vinegar.
- Pack each bento box evenly with rice, pickled cucumbers and salmon. Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds. Garnish with tomatoes and lemons.
Substitutions: If ingredients are unavailable or difficult to find: Use 1/4 cup soy sauce to glaze salmon in place of miso paste; use low-carb rice such as cauliflower or broccoli rice in place of sushi rice.
Tip: To prevent sogginess, separate wet components like cucumber pickles by using aluminum foil or silicone muffin liners inside bento box.
Simple Teriyaki Bowl
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
- 1 large boneless chicken thigh
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons Mizkan Mirin
- 3 tablespoons Mizkan Natural Rice Vinegar
- 1/2 scallion
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 servings hot, cooked rice
- 1 teaspoon dried seaweed sheet (nori), sliced (optional)
- Slice chicken thigh meat into bite-size pieces. In bowl, mix soy sauce, mirin and rice vinegar; marinate chicken pieces in seasoning mix 10 minutes.
- Cut scallion into 2-inch pieces. In frying pan, saute until soft, about 1 minute. Set aside.
- In frying pan, heat oil and cook chicken until browned.
- When meat is browned, pour marinade over chicken and continue cooking on low heat until sauce thickens.
- Place hot, cooked rice in individual bowls. Spread sliced dried seaweed pieces over rice, if desired, and top with chicken and scallions to serve.
Photo courtesy of NPDstock/Shutterstock (Simple Teriyaki Bowl)
(Family Features) Stocking up on pantry essentials is a productive practice, especially as people across the country spend more time at home. However, having all those ingredients on-hand doesn't do as much good if you aren't sure how to use them or feel as if you're constantly whipping up the same dishes.
For example, canned protein is a popular pantry item as it cuts down on prep time and holds a long shelf life while adding important nutrients to family meals. Canned seafood, in particular, is a versatile choice that can be used in a variety of easy recipes or simply eaten on its own.
An option like Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water, which is 99% fat free and a good source of protein and heart-healthy omega-3s, makes for an easy and versatile addition to dishes like pasta. A 5-ounce can contains 24 grams of high-quality protein, making it a nourishing source of energy while helping to easily satisfy hunger.
Try adding some modern flair to the table with this Mediterranean Tuna Pasta, perfect for a family of four and ready in just 20 minutes. Virtually any canned seafood can be used from salmon to tuna in place of more traditional proteins used in this pasta and many other dishes.
If your family prefers to stick to tradition, Mom's Favorite Tuna Noodle Casserole provides a warm, hearty meal with a hint of nostalgia while gathering loved ones around the dinner table.
Ingredients in these recipes can be easily substituted for similar options you may already have on hand, such as another dried pasta in place of penne or carrots in lieu of peas.
Find more filling family recipes at chickenofthesea.com.
Mediterranean Tuna Pasta
Total time: 20 minutes
- 1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 2 tablespoons sliced ripe olives
- 1 can (5 ounces) Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water, drained
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- In large skillet, bring chickpeas, tomatoes, zucchini, olives and tuna to boil; stir constantly.
- Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.
- Spoon mixture over cooked pasta. Top with Parmesan cheese.
Substitution: Use any canned seafood such as salmon in place of canned tuna.
Mom's Favorite Tuna Noodle Casserole
Total time: 40 minutes
- 2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 2 cans (12 ounces each) Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water, drained
- 4 cups medium egg noodles, cooked
- 4 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In bowl, stir soup and milk until smooth.
- In 3-quart casserole dish, combine peas, tuna and noodles with soup mixture.
- Bake 30 minutes, or until warm and bubbling; remove from oven and stir.
- In bowl, mix breadcrumbs with melted butter; sprinkle over tuna mixture.
- Bake 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
Substitution: Use any frozen vegetable in place of frozen peas.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Mediterranean Tuna Pasta)
Source: Chicken of the Sea
(Family Features) When school is in session, it's the perfect time to renew your family's healthy eating habits by getting in a groove of lunchbox packing.
While packing a healthy school lunch day after day can seem daunting, it doesn't have to be. By taking the free Power Your Lunchbox Promise, you can gain access to customizable, make-ahead lunchbox inspiration like Black Bean Empanadas and Rainbow Bento Boxes, which creatively include servings of fruits and veggies to keep kids' brains charged all day.
Making the promise not only signals a commitment to making healthier meal choices this year, it also helps those in need. For every promise made, health-focused partner brands will collectively donate $1 to Feeding America programs that support families and children. In addition to kid- and registered dietitian-approved breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner recipes, the promise website features coupons, health tips to help your family during the school year, lunchbox ideas and giveaways.
Additionally, teachers have a special section of the site where they can make the promise as a classroom and download free fruit and veggie themed classroom decor and lesson plans.
To find your lunchbox inspiration and make the promise, visit poweryourlunchbox.com.
Rainbow Bento Box
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 15 minutes
- 2 red mini sweet peppers, sliced
- 1 mandarin, peeled and segmented
- 1 kiwi, sliced
- 1/2 cup sugar snap peas
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup red seedless grapes
- 1 large spinach wrap
- 1 tablespoon hummus
- 2 slices provolone cheese
- 2 ounces low-sodium deli-sliced turkey
- 1/2 cup baby spinach, chopped
- Assemble two lunchboxes each with half of the peppers, mandarin, kiwi, snap peas, blueberries and grapes.
- Lay wrap on flat surface. Spread with hummus and top with cheese, turkey and spinach. Roll up tightly and slice into 1-inch thick rounds. Add half to each lunchbox.
Black Bean Empanadas
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 mini sweet peppers, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onions
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium taco seasoning
- 12 frozen empanada discs, thawed
- 3/4 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
- 1 large egg white, beaten
- 6 guacamole minis
- 6 packages crispy fruit
- In skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add peppers, onions and tomatoes. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Add black beans and taco seasoning. Cook 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Heat oven to 375 F.
- Lay empanada dough out on parchment-lined baking sheet. Fill with black bean filling and 1 tablespoon cheese. Fold dough over filling to create pocket. Use fork to press down sides to seal. Brush with egg whites. Repeat with remaining dough, filling, cheese and egg whites.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Serve two empanadas with guacamole, for dipping, and crispy fruit on side.
Source: Produce for Kids
(Family Features) As winter chills settle in, one way to warm up from the inside-out is with family meals centered around a delicious bowl of comfort food like pasta, soups and stews.
By planning your weeknight menu to include wholesome, organic foods made with no artificial flavors, artificial colors or high-fructose corn syrup, you can create hearty and flavorful dishes in the New Year that will have everyone in the family eager to dig in.
With a high quality, organic sauce in your pantry like one of the Bertolli USDA-certified Organic Pasta Sauces, available in red- and white-sauce varieties, you can quickly whip up a warming and indulgent winter dish while still keeping your resolutions to cook with more quality ingredients. For example, this recipe for Campanelle with Prosciutto and Peas uses Creamy Alfredo Sauce, made with organic cream, aged parmesan cheese and spices, is sure to become a cold-weather family favorite!
Find more recipes to kick-start taste-tempting family mealtimes through every season at Bertolli.com.
Campanelle with Prosciutto and Peas
Cook time: 10 minutes
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 12 ounces uncooked campanelle pasta
- 1 tablespoon Bertolli Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry whitewine
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
- 1 jar (15 ounces) Bertolli Organic Creamy Alfredo Sauce
- 4 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded
- 6 eggs
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In pot of salted water, cook pasta 2 minutes less than directed on package. Drain pasta.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil and shallots. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Add wine; cook 3-4 minutes, or until most liquid has evaporated. Stir in peas, prosciutto, Alfredo sauce and cheese. Add pasta; toss gently. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes to coat pasta with sauce.
- In saucepan, bring water to boil and add eggs. Cook 6 minutes. Transfer eggs to ice water and cool before peeling.
- Top each serving with soft-set egg and black pepper.
Note: Gouda or Gruyere can be substituted for Fontina. Unpeeled, cooked eggs can be stored in refrigerator up to one week.