Thursday, September 17, 2009

Feeding Time at the Zoo

Before I dive into this week's recipe, I better give you some good news. (Or else Marisa might embarrass me and do it herself.) Remember the kiwi salsa recipe I posted in July? Well, I entered that in a recipe contest and won some cash.

Like $2500.

The contest was creating a portable, healthy, kid-friendly recipe using kiwis. There were kids on the judging panel, even. It's seems kind of odd to me that I won that much money for something so simple. But that didn't keep me from doing my happy dance. :)

Off to the mall I go . . .


I've thought a lot about what constitutes "kid-friendly" food. I try not to "dumb-down" my food (i.e. use fewer spices to make it more bland, etc.), and I refuse to be a short-order cook. Not that we eat all fancy-schmancy or anything -- I just try to get them to eat what we eat. Some days it goes well. Some days Sophie has a bowl of Cheerios and some fruit for dinner. Those days are getting fewer and fewer, thank goodness.

I think of a story my mother-in-law told about her oldest son, who was then a toddler. She was lamenting to her pediatrician that the only thing he would eat is Cheerios.

"Well," said the doctor, "quit feeding him Cheerios."

She quit, and after a while he began to eat other things. Kids learn to like what we give them. They don't come out of the womb hankering for corn dogs and chicken nuggets. It's hard sometimes, though, because giving them certain foods will make them instantly happy and turn you into their favorite person. It's rough being the food police.

Aside from hiding vegetables in your food, what other tricks do you moms have up your sleeves?

That being said, and with fall coming, I was reminded of a clip of Sophie as an 11-month-old going absolutely crazy for a stew I made last year. Oh, if only she was still this excited at dinner time!

(And yes, she's growling. She used to do that when she got excited or anxious.)

There are probably a million recipes for Chicken Tortilla Soup/Stew, but this one caught my eye because uses rice, enchilada sauce, evaporated milk, and suggested that I use shredded rotisserie chicken. Until that point, I'd never bought a rotisserie chicken before, and I kicked myself for not doing it sooner. They're delicious, already cooked and seasoned, and useful for making homemade chicken stock.

This stew turned out delicious, and is done in about a half hour!

Happy Fall!

Chicken Tortilla Stew
Submitted by a lady on the Nestle Very Best Baking website.

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 6 cups) or 4 to 5 cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 14-oz cans reduced sodium chicken broth
2 10-oz cans mild red or green chili enchilada sauce
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
2 cups matchstick or shredded carrots
1 cup uncooked long or medium grain rice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
1 1/2 cups broken tortilla chips
Fresh cilantro leaves, sliced green onions (optional)

Combine broth, enchilada sauce, evaporated milk, carrots, rice and cumin in large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture begins to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender. Add chicken and corn; stir well.

Spoon into serving bowls; top each serving with tortilla chips, cilantro leaves and green onions, if desired. Makes about 6-8 servings.

Nat's Notes:
1. I halved this recipe, and it turned out fine.
2. I used fat free evaporated milk and wild rice. If you use wild or brown rice, let it simmer for 5-10 minutes longer.

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  1. HOLY COW $2500!!! Congrats! That soup looks delish! I've been banned from soups/stews by the hubby until it gets significantly cooler out!

  2. Haha, I so totally wouldn't have embarrassed you! :) But I'm glad you gave yourself a well deserved shout out!

    And okay, I LOVE soups and stews and and I am SO TOTALLY MAKING THIS!!! Yum. Too bad we just did our weekly grocery shop yesterday. I'll add everything to next week's list!

    That video is precious!! I love that Sophie was growling! What a character!

  3. Okay, I have to say, I played that video for my kids and they laughed their heads off every time Sophie growled... and now they growl (especially Annelie) all day.

    haha, your little ma'am is quite influential!


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