How to introduce spicy foods to kids

Eden Eats“, a new Cooking Channel Show is a remarkable culinary adventure of dishes and flavors from around the world, found right here in the USA. Host, Eden Grinshpan seeks out kitchens and restaurants that serve up the most flavorful foods rich in ethnic traditions and spices around the country. Her passion is to introduce spicy foods to other people, including kids. You can spice up your home cookin’ with Eden Grinshpan’s cooking show and recipes.

I’m a big supporter of introducing a variety of foods to kids from a young age. It was my pleasure to interview Eden about how to introduce spices to kids, as well as receive a couple of her recipes that I am eager to try this week!

1.    How can moms add a little spice to family dinners without scaring off their families and picky eaters?

The way to go: sneak exotic spices into every day meals. Start off slow and choose spices that are not so intense. I would suggest starting off with something like turmeric or cumin. You can always find a way to sneak them in!  Put a pinch of turmeric or cumin in the base of a stew or use either to season your proteins.

2.    How can we bring home our favorite dishes from our vacation travels? For instance, on our recent Outer Banks beach trip, I discovered my four-year-old likes scallops and crab dip. How can I find easy-to-prepare recipes or incorporate these items into our at-home menu?

When you eat out and find something that you enjoy write down the name and its related cuisine to ensure that you know exactly what you need to research when you get home. Before attempting a new dish I always research where it comes from and the preparation and ingredients necessary for its production.
Try new dishes that can be started either the night before or the morning of – a dish with a long marinating process and short cooking time is easily achievable. The flavor of Chicken Souvlaki, for example, is mostly built during the dish’s long marinating process, but then takes practically no time at all to grill or broil.

3.    What are the health benefits of introducing new flavors and foods to kids?

There are numerous health benefits from trying out new exotic spices and foods. By exploring exotic flavors, you can find many ways to give your children the calcium and nourishment that they need to grow, that does not just include glasses of milk and heaps of spinach. Coconut milk, which can be found in South East Asian and Indian cuisines for example, is high in fiber, helps maintain blood sugar levels and keep bones strong. Turmeric, an anti-inflammatory, helps with weight management and prevents cancer.

4.    What is the best way to introduce new flavors to kids?

The best way to introduce new flavors to your kids is to sneak them into dishes that they already love without telling them. Make sure you use ingredients that are not so intense in flavor to ensure that they’re not a large shock to your kids’ palates. It is easy to substitute ingredients that you usually use with ingredients that are similar in texture, flavor and cooking preparation. For instance, instead of using water to cook your basmati rice, why not use coconut milk instead? The milk adds a wonderful nutty, sweet, exotic flare to an everyday ingredient, while also adding more nutrients to your dish.

5.    How can moms get kids interested in new foods and cooking?

Choose dishes that are fun for the family to make together. One of my favorites is Chinese pot-stickers (recipe below). Getting kids involved in forming the little dumplings is great fun and allowing the children to make their own food makes them want to eat it even more. Another fun tip: when trying a new recipe, research its origins to incorporate a fun fact or two about the food’s culture.

Eden Grinshpan of “Eden Eats” Kid-Friendly Recipes

The following recipes are provided on behalf of Eden Grinshpan of “Eden Eats”. For more information on “Eden Eats” visit the Cooking Channel.

When the kids get home from school, have them help you prepare dinner!

Chinese Pot Stickers (Dumplings) Recipe

Prep Time: 20-25 minutes

Chinese Pot Stickers (Dumplings) Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1-package wonton wrappers
  • ¼ cabbage, finely sliced
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chinese Pot Stickers (Dumplings) Recipe Directions:

  1. Combine the pork, scallions, cabbage and sesame oil in a bowl.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Place one teaspoon of the filling in the center of a wonton wrapper.
  4. Wet the edges of the wrapper with water and fold over.
  5. Fold the wonton in whichever way you prefer. You can even just pinch the tops together (though make sure to pinch firmly).
  6. Heat 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large non-stick pan.
  7. Place the pot stickers in the pan.
  8. Once the pan is full, fry until the bottom is golden. This will take around 2 minutes. Place ½ cup of water into the pan and reduce to medium heat.
  9. Cover and let cook/steam for 8-10 minutes.

When the stickers are done they should look bouncy and golden. Once all of the liquid is evaporated, remove the dumplings. They should slide easily onto a plate. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with the sauce.

Chinese Pot Stickers (Dumplings) Sauce Ingredients:

  • ½ cup soya sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 scallion, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Chinese Pot Stickers (Dumplings) Sauce Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and served with the cooked dumplings.


Greek Chicken Souvlaki with Tzaziki (Grilled Chicken Skewers with Yogurt Dip) Recipe

Quick & easy dinner that the whole family will love!Prep Time: 30 minutes (plus 6-8 hours if you choose to marinate)

Greek Chicken Souvlaki with Tzaziki Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh or dried oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Bamboo skewers soaked in water

Greek Chicken Souvlaki with Tzaziki Directions:

  1. Place the chicken in a bowl with the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and garlic.
  2. Cover and let the chicken marinate for 6-8 hours or if it’s last minute and you forgot to marinate, 15-20 minutes before will work.
  3. Then make sure to baste the chicken with the marinate while grilling.
  4. While the chicken is in the fridge make the tzaziki.
  5. Get the grill hot.
  6. Place 4-6 pieces of chicken breast onto soaked bamboo skewers and season both sides with salt and pepper.
  7. Grill on high until you get char-grilled marks all over, keep basting the chicken with the marinade while it is on the grill.
  8. The chicken will take around 10-12 minutes.
  9. Serve the chicken with the tzaziki.

Tzaziki Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and de-skinned, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Tzaziki Recipe Directions:

  1. Combine all together and served with chicken souvlaki.

Tune in next to “Eden Eats” on the Cooking Channel September 11th at 8:00 p.m. ET. For more info and additional air dates, go to “Eden Eats”.

You can also find Eden on Twitter: @EdenEats,  and Eden Eats on Facebook:  or visit Eden’s blog

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Founder and Lead Blogger at Akron Ohio Moms
Cindy is the top Akron Blogger with her own take on awesome brands for families, where to vacation for families, a beat on local activities and family fun, a knack for getting moms to share , and a house that is always 2 weeks away from a complete remodel!
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