This is part one of a two-part series and a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products that I use and love.
Did you know that September is National Chicken Month? In our house, chicken is always a hit with the kids. While chicken drumsticks and chicken fingers are their favorites, they also enjoy shredded chicken in some of the recipes I make. I try to get them to branch out and try new ways to enjoy chicken. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Getting the kids involved in preparing recipes is a great way to expose them to new foods and to teach them about food safety.
I used this Bruschetta Chicken recipe from the new Now You’re Cooking with Manitoba Chicken Youth Education Booklet. It contains three recipes that are easy to prepare with kids, plus the graphics are pretty and there are a variety of chicken farming facts, lots of food safety tips, and cooking techniques, perfect for budding young chefs.
If you’re interested in receiving your own copy of this brand-new resource, contact Manitoba Chicken Producers at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please provide your name and mailing address and they will be happy to send you one.
My seven-year old is the only one who wanted to help this time, and she happens to be my pickiest eater of the four kids, so I had my work cut-out for me. I knew that getting her to taste this recipe would be a challenge, so I tried a few strategies I thought might help ease her into it.
Tip #1 – Know your child’s food phobias
Before we started, I went over the recipe with her and had her read out the ingredients. Right away, she said “I don’t like pepper!” I also know that she doesn’t like “green things” a.k.a fresh or dried herbs in her food. She didn’t say anything about the basil when she read the recipe, so I left it for the moment.
Knowing which foods are going to raise red flags for your kids, can help you find a substitution or expose them to the food in a positive way.
Ways we exposed these recipe ingredients while making this recipe:
- Picking fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden
- Feeling the basil, touching the leaves, tasting a fresh leaf
- Cracking pepper over all the chicken breasts except one
- Peeling garlic for the bruschetta mix
Positive interaction with new foods, could help kids build up the courage to try them. Even if they refuse to try them the first time, repeated positive exposure could help.
In my daughter’s case, she was having fun doing all the prep work and spending some one on one time with me so that overshadowed the fact that she thought the basil was “too spicy” when she tasted it. She put it aside and carried on with preparing the recipe.
I knew that even though she liked most of the ingredients for the Bruschetta Chicken, the major problem would be that all the components were touching. Deconstructing is a great way to get around this because you’re still exposing them to every ingredient, without preparing another meal that you think they will prefer.
Tip #2 – When in doubt, deconstruct
Before I got to chopping the tomatoes for the bruschetta mix, I sliced some and put them on a plate. On the side, I added a small bowl of mozzarella and some fresh basil leaves and I left a space to add some cooked chicken.
Serving all the ingredients on one plate separately, allows kids to make independent food choices. If it’s on the plate, you’ve approved it for their consumption, so now they get to choose if and how much they will eat.
She ended up eating everything, except the basil. I will call that a win for today. I didn’t have to make a different meal and she ate what was available, simply presented in a different way.
When I thanked her for helping and asked if she had fun she replied with “Next time can we just make chicken fingers instead?” So, guess what? Next month, that’s what we’re making in part two of this series, also from the Youth Education Booklet.
There are so many great recipes on manitobachicken.ca that you can try with your kids. You can search them by the cut or by the preparation technique. There are also a few delicious deconstructions and reconstructions blog using fresh Manitoba chicken, like this Asian Grilled Chicken Salad and these Greek Chicken Wraps.
What is your family’s favorite way to enjoy Manitoba chicken? Comment below and let us know!