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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Teaching My Son How to Cook Chicken, Veggies & Rice - With Recipe & CONTEST

Helping Out in the Kitchen & Having Fun!
I'll always remember when my oldest son was 3-years old, and he made "breakfast" for both his dad and I, and his younger siblings (2-years old and 6-months old at the time). For about one whole hour, we were not allowed into the kitchen while he made a "surprise". Well, imagine our delight when we came into the kitchen and found 5 plates, 5 cups, and 5 spoons all carefully laid out--one for each of us. The glasses were filled with water, and on each plate was--wait for it--a single Cheerio! Yes, my son had made a full breakfast for his family, and no family member had been neglected! Of course, we praised him heavily for his kindness and generosity!

Now that my son's 8-years old, he'll make a snack of crackers and melted cheese in the microwave, heat a can of soup, or (with full parental supervision) whip up a nutritious fruit smoothie for he, his siblings, or his friends.  As my son has been so receptive to helping in the kitchen, I've tried to teach him how to cook quick, easy and healthful meals.  When he helps with the family meal, I find that he enjoys eating it more and develops a better appreciation of the work behind it.  It also demystifies the meal and the food preparation process: meals do not appear magically, but with effort and care!
Chicken, Veggies & Rice Is an Easy Dish to Make With Kids
I taught my son how to make this simple recipe of butter chicken and veggies on a bed of Uncle Ben's Jasmine Rice.  We had some nice carrots and onions on hand, as well as a tasty "butter chicken" sauce.  Together, my son and I peeled the carrots and onions--and I did the slicing.  We washed the chicken, and placed it on top of the onions--fitting the carrots in wherever they'd go.  Lastly, we ladled the butter chicken sauce over the chicken and set it to bake.

While the chicken and veggies were almost finished cooking in the oven, my son and I made the jasmine rice.  We followed the instructions on the bag, and it turned out beautifully.
Uncle Ben's Jasmine Rice Has Wonderful Flavour
When the meal was ready, I allowed my son to carefully serve himself a plate of jasmine rice with the butter chicken and veggies.  My husband really raved about it, as he loves Indian cuisine--and the butter chicken sauce really flavoured the rice nicely.  I agree: the meal turned out really well, and we will definitely make it again!  More importantly, my son and I cooked the meal together and it helped him build confidence in the kitchen.
Learning to Do It Himself - With Help From Mom

My recipe was inspired by chef Amanda Riva's chicken and rice recipe, below.  Although my recipe differs quite drastically in every way from hers, I'm a firm believer that you should cook with what's on hand, and use the ingredients that your family loves the best.  Check her recipe for Sesame Chicken with Orange Scented Rice, below, if you're looking for dinner inspiration!



Ingredients
¼ cup Asian sesame salad dressing
50 mL
2 tbsp orange juice 
30 mL
2 tbsp soy sauce 30 mL
1 tbsp  honey 15 mL
1 tbsp oil 15 mL
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 8
1 cup Uncle Ben's Wholegrain Brown Rice 250 mL
1 tbsp finely grated orange zest 15 mL
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro 50 mL
1 tbsp sesame seeds 15 mL 

Directions
1. Whisk the salad dressing with the orange juice, soy sauce and honey; toss with chicken. Heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes per side or until cooked through. 
2. Meanwhile, prepare the Uncle Ben's Wholegrain Brown Rice without butter. Add the orange zest and cilantro when fluffing with a fork. 
3. Serve the chicken thighs over the rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds. 

CONTEST (CANADA)
Enter Uncle Ben's Canada "Ben's Beginners" Facebook contest! You could win 1 of 3 grand prizes of $20,000 ($15,000 cheque for a family vacation, and $5000 to your child's school for healthy initiatives)! Secondary prize is a trip to Toronto for 4 (2 adults, 2 children) to a "Celebrity Chef Experience" with Corbin Tomaszeski. Simply prepare 1 of 36 of the featured recipes using Uncle Ben's rice, snap a photo (including the Uncle Ben's product that was used), and provide a photo description. GOOD LUCK!


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What is your favourite way to serve rice (ie: in a soup, with chicken or meat, on its own, etc)?  Do you remember the first meal you ever learned how to cook, and do you still make it to this day?
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