(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) The first thought that comes to mind when picturing grilling in the summer sun might be a perfectly cooked steak or a juicy burger, but no backyard barbecue is complete without the all-important sides and beverages that complete the meal.
Whether you're pairing a main protein with separate side dishes or going all-in-one by combining tender chicken with veggies on skewers, the opportunities are endless for a crave-worthy cookout.
Find more summer grilling recipes at Culinary.net.
5 Steps for Sizzling Steak
A sizzling steak is a surefire sound of summer, and the flavors achieved from one that's perfectly grilled are hard to match.
Before you fire up your grill, consider these five basics for cooking a chef-worthy steak:
Prepare Your Cut
Taste preferences (and prices) may differ among sirloins, ribeyes, T-bones and more, but the way you prepare steaks likely won't change much from cut to cut. You'll want to trim the thickness down to 1/2-1 inch for proper cooking, and setting the meat out ahead of time allows it to warm to room temperature before hitting the grill.
Add Some Salt
Feel free to add any spices you prefer, but remember a good steak typically doesn't require fancy seasoning - a pinch of salt works just fine. Add your salt anywhere between 30 minutes to a few hours before grilling time to help retain moisture and improve flavor.
Aim for High Heat
A two-zone fire is usually the way to go - one side of the grill should be hot (using direct heat) with the other side not quite as warm (indirect heat). This allows you to create a sear over direct heat before finishing cooking through - without burning - over indirect heat.
Sear and Slide
Cooking your steak over direct heat 1-2 minutes on each side is normally about right for creating a proper sear. At this point, depending on the thickness of your steak, you'll want to check for doneness. If it's not quite to the temperature you're looking to achieve, simply slide it over to the indirect heat for a finishing touch. Keep in mind these general guidelines for doneness: 120-125 F is rare, 130-135 F is medium-rare, 140-145 F is medium, 150-155 F is medium-well and 160-175 F is well done.
Finally, as hungry as you may be at this point, resting steaks is an important last step before diving in. Giving your steaks 5-10 minutes (foil or no foil) allows flavors to redistribute and moisture to be retained in the meat.
Less Prep, More Summer with a Skewered Solution
Make summer grilling easy and delicious by cooking your side dish and main dish together so you can spend more time outdoors and less time meal planning. These Grilled Greek Kebabs pair cubed chicken thighs with little potatoes on skewers, making for a classic cookout combo.
With no washing or peeling required, Creamer potatoes from The Little Potato Company require little prep, which helps make this recipe a breeze, and they cook quickly on the grill. Just marinate your chicken and potatoes with this zesty dressing and prepare for a taste bud-tingling backyard barbecue.
Visit littlepotatoes.com/summertime for more summer grilling recipes.
Grilled Greek Kebabs
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 lemons, zest and juice only
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 3 teaspoons mayonnaise
- 2 cups The Little Potato Company Dynamic Duo bagged Creamer Potatoes, cut in half
- 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 8 wooden skewers dipped in water
- pita bread (optional)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 sliced Lebanese cucumbers
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely sliced
- 1 cup feta cheese
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
To make dressing/marinade: In measuring cup, mix olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, oregano, Dijon mustard, garlic and sugar. Season generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour 1/3 cup marinade into large bowl. Refrigerate remaining.
To prepare skewers: Add potatoes and chicken pieces to bowl with marinade. Mix well to coat and marinate 30 minutes, or as long as overnight in refrigerator.
Preheat grill to medium heat.
Skewer potatoes and chicken cubes alternately on wooden skewers. Grill 6-8 minutes on both sides. Grill pita bread, if desired.
Finish dressing by adding mayonnaise.
To make salad: In large serving dish, mix tomatoes, cucumber, onions, feta cheese and olives. Place kebabs on top and drizzle with dressing.
Serve with grilled pita bread, if desired.
Sipping on Sweetness
When it's summertime, many people crave something cold and fruity. Simply combine frozen strawberries with frozen pink lemonade concentrate to create a cool concoction perfect for a sizzling day. This fizzy summertime treat can delight your taste buds and keep you quenched while enjoying the sun's rays.
Find more summer drink recipes at Culinary.net.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen sliced strawberries, sweetened and thawed
- 2 liters lemon-lime soda, chilled
- 1 can (12 ounces) frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
- In blender, process strawberries until blended thoroughly.
- Pour strawberries into large pitcher; stir in soda and pink lemonade.
A Simple Stuffed Side
Whether you need a quick appetizer or something to snack on, these Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes make for an appealing bite.
Find more snack recipes at Culinary.net.
Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
Recipe courtesy of Culinary.net
- 24-48 cherry tomatoes
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
- 3 green onion stalks, diced
- 2 teaspoons minced dill
- fresh dill, for garnish
- Cut thin slice off top of each tomato. Scoop out pulp. Invert tomatoes on paper towel to drain.
In medium bowl, combine cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in cucumber, green onion and dill. Spoon mixture into tomatoes. Top with fresh dill.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Steak)
Source: The Little Potato Company
(Family Features) Many spring celebrations call for fabulous food, specifically dishes fit for brunch, even if your “crowd” is simply your nearest loved ones gathered at the family table. A wide variety of recipes may fit the festivities, but a combination of comforting bites with sweet and savory flavors is perfect for appeasing all appetites.
This menu of morning recipes includes Chive and Orange Blossom Honey Waffles and Spicy Garlic Honey Chicken as a filling option to base the meal around with Breakfast Casserole as a more traditional dish. For a sweet sendoff, this Brown Sugar Bundt Cake is best served warm as a midday dessert or can be added to your plate as a simple side.
Find more brunch recipes at Culinary.net.
A Sweet Morning Eat
Add flavor to your brunch with the sweet taste of honey as part of a remade rendition of a breakfast favorite: chicken and waffles.
This recipe for Chive and Orange Blossom Honey Waffles and Spicy Garlic Chicken combines sweet with savory to shine as the main course for your gathering.
Find more recipe ideas at honey.com.
Chive and Orange Blossom Honey Waffles and Spicy Garlic Honey Chicken
Recipe courtesy of chef Jenny Dorsey on behalf of the National Honey Board
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
- 2 tablespoons orange blossom honey
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- vegetable oil, as needed
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons orange blossom honey
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
- 3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- To make chicken: Rinse chicken thighs and pat dry with paper towels; place in large bowl.
- In separate bowl, combine buttermilk, 1 tablespoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, rosemary and honey. Pour buttermilk mixture over chicken; cover and let marinate 8 hours or overnight.
- In separate mixing bowl, combine flour, remaining salt, remaining pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and ancho chile powder; stir.
- Remove each piece of chicken from buttermilk, shake to remove excess liquid and dredge in flour mixture. Shake off excess.
- In deep fryer, heat oil to 375° F. Fry chicken until internal temperature reaches 175° F or juices run clear, approximately 5 minutes per thigh.
- Drain on paper towels.
- To make waffles: In large mixing bowl, mix flour, honey, orange zest, salt, baking powder, milk, eggs, chives and cheese until combined.
- Use waffle maker to cook four waffles in batches.
- Place chicken on waffles and drizzle with honey.
A Dairy-Fueled Brunch Dish
Whether it’s just part of a brunch spread or the focus of your meal, an egg-based casserole is a perfect way to appease a morning crowd.
This version of Breakfast Casserole calls for potatoes, ham, eggs, milk and cheese for a simple dish that requires little preparation before popping in the oven.
Visit milkmeansmore.org for more morning dishes.
Recipe courtesy of Marcia Stanley, MS, RDN, on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 1 pound red or white potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup reduced-fat and reduced-sodium, chopped, cooked ham (about 4 ounces)
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss or cheddar cheese
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups skim milk
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- In large saucepan, cover potato pieces with enough water to just submerge. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 5 minutes. Add onion. Return to simmer, covered, about 5 minutes, or until potatoes are just tender. Drain well. Cool slightly.
- Coat 8-by-8-by-2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place potato-onion mixture in baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Gently stir to combine. Sprinkle ham and cheese on top.
- In medium bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisk in milk, mustard and remaining salt. Pour over layers in baking dish. Bake, uncovered, 40-45 minutes, or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
A Bundt Cake for Brunch
Many brunch festivities may center around classic breakfast foods like quiches and fresh fruits, but you can take your gathering to the next level with a treat to pair with nearly any dish.
This Brown Sugar Bundt Cake can be the simple, sweet side your guests crave as a complement to the savory recipes on the table. Made using just a handful of household ingredients, including the flavor-boosting addition of C&H sugars, it can be created in about an hour and served warm during your next at-home brunch gathering.
Find more sweet treat ideas at chsugar.com.
Brown Sugar Bundt Cake
Recipe courtesy of “Browned Butter Blondie” on behalf of C&H
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups packed C&H Golden Brown Sugar
- 1/4 cup C&H Granulated Sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
- C&H Confectioners’ Sugar, for dusting
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Grease 10-cup bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix on low speed.
- With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with yogurt. Begin and end with flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
- Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and use offset spatula to level batter.
- Bake 50-55 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. If cake browns too quickly while baking, cover with foil after 35 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool on baking rack 20 minutes. Invert pan onto baking rack and gently tap bottom of pan to release cake.
- Cool completely before dusting with confectioners’ sugar.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Chive and Orange Blossom Honey Waffles and Spicy Garlic Honey Chicken)