In today’s world, it astonishes me how many kids are picky eaters. And guess what moms and dads? We’re creating them! A few years ago, I teamed up with a few doctors from affluent neighborhoods on the Main Line and in South Jersey. I was shocked to find out that there was malnutrition and obesity in these neighborhoods. I couldn’t help but think, how can you have obese children are also suffering from malnutrition? The answer surprised me.
In today’s world, there are a number of children who are eating too many meals made of “empty” calories, with little or no nutritional value OR they’re eating the same three favorite foods over and over. As a parent, how do you combat this?
The answer is twofold: First, stop calling them picky eaters! Number two—get them involved in the cooking process. Even before that, involve them in the shopping process. Involve them in creating a menu, deciding what you as a family is going to eat. Get the kids and the parents in the kitchen cooking together. It’s no surprise that everyone loves to eat what they create, so let your kids be a part of the process.
Cooking in the kitchen has a ton of benefits for kids! As they stir, whisk, and use cookie cutters, they’ll be working on fine motor skills. And the learning doesn’t have to stay indoors! In the summertime, bring them outside and let them help you grill (just be sure to supervise them!). Regardless of where you cook with them, the important thing to remember is to engage your child so they look forward to cooking with you!
To help you get cooking with your kids, we’re launching a new monthly series at Taste 4 Travel called In the Kitchen with Kids. Because July is National Blueberry month, to kick off our first post, we partnered with HBF International-Hurst’s Berry Farm* to create a delicious dinner involving America’s favorite berry…blueberries!
Did you know that blueberries are the number one berry in America? Up until this month, I didn’t! Normally, when we think of blueberry recipes, we think of something sweet like blueberry pie or coffee cake, or pancakes with syrup. But for today’s recipe, I’m going to take you somewhere different. I want to take you to the savory side of things. Come to the savory side! (Insert Darth Vader voice)
To make this blueberry and cheese stuffed burger recipe, I used Hurst’s Berry Farm “grande blues” blueberries. Right now, that sweet and savory profile has been really popular and it’s one of my favorite combinations. It’s only fitting that we use an ingredient like blueberries because they’re versatile and can play to both savory and sweet ingredients. You can use them in anything from sauces to syrups to salads. They also make a great addition to any meal because they’re low in calories, a good source of vitamins C & K and they’re high in antioxidants. (Tip: when picking blueberries, the more vibrant the color, the more antioxidants the blueberry contains).
When making this recipe with your kids, I’d suggest doing something that I did with my kids as they were growing up. Give them a set of big cookie cutters and little ones and let them cut their own pieces of cheese. They can put the smaller pieces inside the burgers before they’re cooked. Though they won’t see the cheese shapes once the burgers are cooked, they’ll know they’re there and it makes it all the more special!
Remember, teach your kids young and by the time they’re teenagers, you can sit back and enjoy a glass of wine as they make you dinner! Happy Cooking!
Chef Jacquie’s Recipe: Hurst’s “Grande Blues” Blueberry and Cheddar Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers
Recipe for Blueberry Compote
• 9 Ounces fresh Hurst Berry Farm’s “Grande Blues” blueberries
• 1/2 Cup maple syrup
• Zest and juice of 1 lemon
• 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
• 1/4 Teaspoon salt
• 1/8 Teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Make Blueberry Compote (can be made ahead)
Place all ingredients in a sauce pot over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, and then lower to simmer. Cook until compote boils down to about half and stir with wooden spoon occasionally. When cool, place in a bowl, cover and chill. Stores in fridge for up to two weeks.
Recipe for Burgers
• 1 Pound of ground turkey
• 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped mint
• 1/2 Teaspoon salt
• 1/4 Teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
• 8 Slices Cheddar cheese
• Olive Oil for the grill
Place all ingredients, except cheese and oil, in a bowl and mix until well incorporated. Divide ground turkey into 8 portions, make into meatballs and then squash into patties. Place patties on a cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
Cut a slice of cheese into 4 smaller pieces. Make a small indentation in the center of the burger, place 2 small pieces of cheese in the indentation, followed by 1 teaspoon of compote and cap off with the other two pieces of cheese. Place another burger on top and seal the edges. Make a small indentation on top of the burger, this will stop it from puffing up too much. Chef Jacquie’s Culinary Tip: Place burgers back on the cookies sheet, wrap in plastic and keep in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
Indoor/outdoor Grill – for inside: place a griddle ridged cast iron pan over medium-high heat, brush pan with a little olive oil and place burgers in pan, they should sizzle. Cook for 2 minutes and the turn burgers ¼ turn, this will create the beautiful “X” pattern you see on burgers at restaurants (Chef Jacquie’s Culinary Tip) and cook another 2 minutes.
Flip burger over, put a little bit of water in the pan, close with a lid and let it cook for 4 minutes. Top with a whole slice of cheese and let it melt for a few seconds. Serve with more blueberry compote and your favorite burger condiments.
Roasting: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and place cookie sheet in oven, bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and place cheese on top, put back in the oven and cook until cheese is melted.
Chef Jacquie’s Culinary Tips
Adult Version: Substitute Cheddar with Blue cheese
*This post is sponsored by Hurst’s Berry Farm. I was provided with product and received monetary compensation in exchange for sponsorship of this post, but opinions are my own. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be a good fit for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”