When roast chicken is on the menu, the side dishes you serve often fit the standard tradition -- think potatoes and bland vegetables. While this certainly works fine for many meals, you can also jazz the menu up a little with some alternative choices that challenge your kids to try new foods.
Roasting the Chicken
Although the standard bread stuffing may appeal to many kids, consider trying something a little different the next time you roast a chicken. After preparing the chicken to stuff, gather a combination of ingredients to add to the chicken cavity. Consider wedges of winter squash, apple slices, coarsely chopped celery, cashews, raisins, brown rice or croutons. Rub the outside of the chicken with oil and then work dried tarragon or oregano into the chicken skin. Sprinkle salt and pepper or dried salad dressing mix over the bird to finish.
Skip peeling potatoes and make smashed potatoes instead of the standard mashed potatoes. By boiling the potatoes with the skins on, you save yourself time and effort, and the potatoes have a rustic appearance after smashing. Add butter, a few tablespoons of creamy bleu cheese dressing, salt and pepper, and the smashed potatoes are ready to serve. Homemade rice pilaf may seem complicated, but the process is no more difficult than boiling rice. Add diced vegetables such as onions, celery and garlic, and toss sprinkle the rice with sunflower seeds or flaxseed to finish.
Vegetable Side Dishes
Make a variation on the traditional cream of mushroom soup green bean casserole by substituting buttermilk ranch dressing and topping with French-fried onions. Scrub sweet potatoes and boil them until they are tender. Transfer the hot sweet potatoes to cold water and the peels will slip off the potatoes effortlessly. After removing the peels, add assorted ingredients such as maple syrup, curry, orange juice or raisins, and mash the sweet potatoes coarsely.
Just because it's dessert does not mean it can't be healthy. Make a pumpkin pie using honey or maple syrup instead of sugar. Serve the pie with a dollop of sugar-free vanilla ice cream. Make strawberry shortcake with whole-wheat refrigerator biscuits and fresh strawberries. Top the berries with real whipped cream for a tasty and healthy treat.
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- "Mom's Updated Recipe Box"; Donna L. Weihofen; 2005
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