Tag Archives: kids meals

5 Questions with Carried Away Chefs + Recipe

Like many New Yorkers, the Kidz Central Station team defaults to ordering delivery almost every night.  Then, we motivate to cook more often so we can eat healthier. This vow lasts a week. Repeat. Does this cycle sound familiar??

That’s why we are super excited to introduce Carried Away Chefs to our busy, tired families carried away chefswho are also concerned with eating family meals in a relaxed, happy environment.  Dedicated personal chefs travel to you to cook a healthy, delicious home-cooked meal using ingredients you want – a comprehensive home dining solution.  They will even shop for the groceries.  Don’t worry if you have a tiny NYC kitchen because these talented chefs can work with anything!  Check out @carriedawaychefs for their mouth watering photos.

Kate Homes Carried Away ChefsFounder Kate Homes is a Le Corden Bleu trained chef who spent many years in top fine-dining kitchens and at the Food Network.  During this time she also worked as a personal chef and truly enjoyed the connection formed by cooking in family homes. We, especially, connected with how her service and her mission transformed once becoming a mom herself.

How has being a mom informed your mission with Carried Away Chefs?
I had my first daughter, Lucy, 2 years after starting the business and began to truly understand how we were not only helping with our clients’ meals, but also with family time and life balance. When I went back to work, I started mimicking our weekly service for myself at the beginning of the week; cooking a handful of meals.  I’d then come home in the evening and instead of rushing into the kitchen to prepare dinner, I’d sit down on the floor with my daughter and spend the quality time we hadn’t had while I was at work.  Enjoying a glass of wine with my husband, playing with the kids, knowing dinner is ready to re-heat when you get hungry is such a pleasant way to wind down from the work day.

carried away chefs

What are your two best tips for handling a picky eater?
1. Minimize drama – kids pick up on when they’ve pushed a button that gets attention, negative or positive.  If there’s always a lot of fuss over eating certain foods, it might become not about the food at all but about the habit of resisting. Try acting casual and saying, “oh, you don’t like that?  I totally forgot sorry!”

2. Eat the same food and eat together. We can’t do this all the time, but sharing a few meals, snacks, or treats together throughout the week can reinforce the idea that it’s not solely about the nutrients. We are supposed to enjoy food as well.   

How do we get our kids to eat healthier, i.e. sneak in more vegetables?
There are definitely some fun recipes we’ve made that actually ‘sneak’ vegetables into the recipe so kids don’t know they are there.  I think it’s great because we all could always use more vegetables in our diets, though it does slightly ‘kick the can down the road’ in terms of developing healthy eating habits.  I’m a huge fan of just making the vegetables taste amazing. Seasoning very well with salt (in moderation it’s not bad); it brings out the flavor of vegetables and makes them SO much better.  Or try soy sauce or liquid aminos; my kids will eat anything if there is soy sauce on it. Texture plays a part, too; a lot of kids aren’t into cooked vegetables but are totally fine with raw. Throw in a tasty dipping sauce and you’re good to go!

carried away chefsWhat foods or textures or tastes can help expand our children’s palate?
I have found that introducing exciting flavors and cuisines early can help expand their palates and give you more options.  Asian dishes that include soy sauce or toasted sesame oil are well seasoned so they will be a hit; and Mexican and Indian as long as they aren’t spicy.  I prefer ground or shredded meat dishes as they are easier for little ones to chew, and more seasoning covers the bites. I also try to make rice, quinoa or couscous dishes where everything is chopped small so they get all the ingredients and flavors in each bite.

Give our busy parents your favorite kid-friendly dish using just 5 ingredients and minimum pots and pans from their small NYC kitchen.

Turkey mushroom lettuce cups – one skillet!

  • 2T Toasted sesame oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 cup grated shiitake mushrooms
  • 2T tomato paste
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 1 head bibb lettuce (this is a 6th ‘ingredient’ but you don’t actually have to do anything to it!)

    1. Saute the turkey and mushrooms in sesame oil with a pinch of salt. when the cooking juices start to diminish, stir in tomato paste and soy sauce, cook until thickened
    2. Break up the lettuce head into ‘cups’- see if you can entice your child to eat the lettuce like a taco with the meat inside, or if not, just the meat.

Carried Away Chefs services:

  • A personal chef will come to your home once weekly to prepare 3 main dishes + 3 sides + 1 baked good ($350+ groceries) or twice weekly to prepare 2 main dishes + 2 sides + 1 baked good per visit ($550+ groceries)
  • In-home interactive cooking demonstration for your family, including a recipe packet
  • Cooking classes: for kids ($45/child, minimum 6) or individual sessions ($275+)
  • Private Events

Why Family Mealtime is SO Important

We all know that family mealtime is important, but scheduling time together is often easier said than done. When you get home from work or if you’ve spent the day running around after your kids, it can be tempting to grab food on the go or microwave a quick meal for the kids and order in for yourself.

However, every once in a while it’s important to take an hour out of your day to turn the TV off, put the phones and computers down, and enjoy a healthy meal while reflecting on the events of the day. Take it from us (and our experts at NYU Langone Medical Center who also had something to say about the matter!), your family will benefit in more ways than you know:

It’s important for your family relationship. The only way to foster a close-knit family is to spend quality time together, and weeknight meals are the perfect opportunity. Eating together every night might be a stretch for your family, but a couple nights a week at least, plan a meal where you can sit down together, talk about your day, and find out what’s happening in each other’s lives. What you learn might surprise you!

On that note, you may learn things about each other wouldn’t otherwise find out. We rush around in so many different directions that we often don’t have the time to chat about the little things in life—who your toddler played with at school, the project your wife is spending her days on at work, the amazing book your teenager read at school. Taking the time to spend a meal together—without lots of outside interruptions—will help you understand each other better and address exciting news and/or challenging issues in a more timely manner.

Your picky eater may just try something new. Kids tend to eat pretty early, so it’s not always convenient to eat as a family. However, if you have a picky eater on your hands and you make a concerted effort to eat dinner together as a family, he or she may be inspired to dig in to what the rest of you are eating. It’s not a guarantee, but a major way kids learn is by watching and observing, which is pretty difficult to do if they’re always eating by themselves.

You’ll eat healthier. After a long day, it often seems like the best way to handle dinner is to order in or grab take out and eat as you please. While this might be easier, doing so may not be good for your waistline. More often than not, grab and go meals are much more unhealthy than what you’d make for yourself at home, and eating this way every night can add lots of extra calories and saturated fat to your diet. Home-cooked meals don’t have to be difficult or over the top gourmet. Marinate chicken overnight and throw it on the grill; roast some vegetables in olive oil, salt, and pepper; and bake a sweet potato in the oven—and there you have an easy and healthy dinner for the whole family.

If lack of cooking time is the reason for your lack of family meals, don’t let it be your excuse! Prep your meals over the weekend when you have the time so all you have to do is defrost or throw it in the oven. You can also search the endless number of cooking sites out there for easy 20-minute meals that literally entail throwing things in a pot. Or, check out Kitchensurfing, a company that sends a private chef to your home to cook, serve, and clean up a meal for your family. This way you can spend more time as a family and less time worrying about what to make for dinner!