Friday, March 1, 2013

Children's Meal! Cheddar Pig In A Blanket with Vegetables and Mango Coconut Rice Pudding













A chicken wiener baked in cheddar biscuit dough.  Pig In A Blanket!

     It has been a while since I posted a children's recipe at this food site.  A children's meal was long overdue!
     This is actually a nutritious plate of food.  This children's meal is well balanced.  From a health standpoint, hot dogs or wieners are always questionable.  Honestly, it does not matter if a hot dog is made out of beef, pork or chicken, it still offers limited nutritional value.  There are many additives in national brand hot dogs, unless the package is marked as being organic.  
     If you want a healthier hot dog, then you have three options.  The first is to purchase a good fresh hot dog that is made by local butcher shop that advertises organic sausages.  The second choice is to buy a hot dog package that is marked natural and organic at a good grocery store.  The third choice is to make the hot dog yourself!  If you want to make your own fresh hot dog, I did post a lobster mousseline hot dog recipe for a corn dog entree in this food blog.  Any kind of meat can be substituted for the lobster.  For vegetarians, a mixture of tofu and agar can also be substituted, but you will have to purchase vegetarian sausage casings or use no casing at all. 
     White cheddar cheese was added to the biscuit dough.  Children like the flavor of cheddar cheese.  The cheddar also helps to keep the biscuit dough soft, instead of crunchy when it is baked as a pig in a blanket.
     Carrot and rutabaga are healthy root vegetables and thet are just seasoned with sea salt and a little bit of butter in this recipe.  It does create interest, if the vegetables are cut in cool looking shapes.  Some children like rutabaga and some do not.  I personally really liked rutabaga when I was a kid, but then again I eat jellyfish occasionally as an adult.  The tender pinto beans are stewed with tomato.  That is actually a Native American flavor combination that kids enjoy.  No sugar is added to either vegetable.
     Rice pudding is a favorite children's dessert.  It is important to not make rice pudding too rich or too sweet for children.  Dried mango was simmered with the rice, till the rice became very soft.  The mango flavor was thoroughly infused with the rice.  Once the excess liquid was cooked down, coconut milk was added.  Coconut milk is very healthy for children.  Granulated sugar is not a good choice for a child's rice pudding.  There are more natural forms of sugar.  One tablespoon of palm sugar was used to lightly sweeten the entire batch of rice pudding.  In fact, the sweetness can barely be noticed.  Palm sugar has a fair amount of necessary minerals, because it is like raw sugar.
     Children really like Pigs In A Blanket.  Pig In A Blanket may very well have been created with children in mind.  As far as this children's platter is concerned, if your child is hooked on junk food, then the child will probably not like this meal.  School children are taught the importance of eating nutritious food these days, so if the child resents junk food, the child may very well take a liking to this meal.  
     Cheap colorful cartoon character children's platters can be purchase at dime stores.  Dime stores?  Because of inflation, dime stores are now known as dollar stores!  Ce est la vie!

     Pinto Beans:
     This recipe makes 1 large portion of beans or several children's portions!  Everybody likes beans!
     Soak 1 1/2 cups of dried pinto beans in water overnight in a refrigerator.
     Drain off the soaking water and rinse the pinto beans under cold running water.
     Place the pinto beans in a sauce pot.
     Add 1 cup of chicken broth.
     Add enough water to cover the beans with 1" of extra liquid.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of cider vinegar.
     Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 pinch of garlic powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Bring the liquid to a boil over medium high heat.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Simmer the beans, till they become tender.  Add water as necessary to keep the beans covered with 1" of liquid.
     Simmer and reduce the liquid, till the level of liquid becomes slightly lower than the beans.
     Keep the beans warm over low heat.

     Stewed Tomato and Pinto Beans:
     This recipe makes a couple of small portions.
     Most european tomatoes are non GMO products!
     Heat a small sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth.
     Add 1/2 cup of the cooked pinto beans.
     Add 1 large diced imported Italian canned tomato and a proportion of juice from the can.
     Add sea salt.
     Add 1 tiny pinch of white pepper.
     Simmer and reduce the liquid, till most of the excess liquid has evaporated.
     Keep the stewed tomato and pinto beans warm on a stove top. 
     
     Mango Coconut Rice Pudding:
     This recipe makes a 3 to 4 children's size portions!  The rice has to be overcooked and very soft for this recipe.  The rice can be soaked in a refrigerator overnight or it can be simmered for an extended time.
     Place 3/4 cup of long grain white rice in a small sauce pot.
     Add 3 cups of water.
     Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1/4 cup of diced sun dried mango.
     Simmer the rice till it becomes very tender and soft.  
     Note:  Do not cover the pot with a lid.  Add water if the liquid drops below the level of rice. 
     When the rice becomes very tender, allow the liquid to fall below the level of rice.
     Add 3/4 cup of coconut milk.
     Add 1 tablespoon of palm sugar.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Simmer and reduce, till a thick rice pudding is formed.  Stir the rice pudding often.
     Keep the mango coconut rice pudding warm over very low heat in a bain marie.

     Cheddar Biscuit Dough:
     This recipe makes several biscuits.  The amount of biscuits depends on the size of the biscuits!  Extra biscuits can be served with any meal or frozen for later meals.  Only one small portion of the dough is needed for the pig in a blanket!  
     Place 2 cups of all purpose flour into a bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of baking powder.
     Add 1 small pinch of baking soda.
     Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Sift the ingredients together into a mixing bowl.
     Add 3 ounces of cold butter that is cut into 1/2" cube pieces.
     Cut the butter into the flour with a fork or a baker's cutting tool, till the flour looks like it has been riced to a small pea size.
     Add 1 cup of buttermilk.
     Gently stir, till the ingredients just barely combine. 
     Add 3 ounces of white cheddar cheese, that is cut into pieces that are the size of split peas.
     Only briefly knead the dough, till a dough is barely formed.  Only knead the dough, till it holds together.  (Do not over mix biscuit dough!)
     For Biscuits:
     Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, till it is 1" thick.
     Use a 2 1/2" to 3 1/2" round biscuit cutter to cut biscuits or cut 2 1/2" squares.  Cut several biscuits.
     Combine the scraps and roll them out again to cut a few more biscuits.
     Place the biscuits on a parchment paper lined baking pan or a baking pan that is brushed with melted butter. 
     Brush the tops of the biscuits with milk. 
     Bake in a 425 degree oven, till the biscuits become fully cooked and lightly toasted on the tops.  (About 10 to 15 minutes)
     Remove the biscuits from the oven and let them cool to a serving temperature.
     Keep the biscuits warm on a stove top.

     Cheddar Pig In A Blanket:   
     Try to opt for an organic mini hot dog of some kind or make your own hot dogs.  If none are available, choose a children's hot dog.  I used a children's chicken hot dog for the pig in the blanket in the pictures above.  The hot dog should be half the size of a standard regular hot dog.
     Roll a small portion of the cheddar biscuit dough into a 1/4" to 3/8" thick sheet.
     Cut a rectangular shaped piece of biscuit dough from the sheet of biscuit dough, that is big enough to cover the hot dog from end to end and so it is wide enough to wrap around the hot dog.
     Place the piece of biscuit dough on a lightly floured counter top.
     Place the hot dog on the biscuit dough.
     Brush one edge of the biscuit dough with milk.
     Roll the hot dog and biscuit dough together, so the dough is snug against the hot dog.
     Be sure that the milk washed edge seam is sealed tight.
     Place the pig in a blanket on a piece of parchment paper on a baking pan.  Be sure that the seam of the dough is facing down.
     Brush the pig in a blanket with milk.
     Place the pan in a 425º oven.
     Bake until the cheddar biscuit dough turns a golden brown color.
     Remove the pan from the oven and allow the pig in the blanket to cool to a safe serving temperature.  

     Stewed Tomato and Pinto Beans:
     This recipe makes a couple of small portions.  Most european tomatoes are non GMO products!
     Heat a small sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth.
     Add 1/2 cup of the cooked pinto beans.
     Add 1 large diced imported Italian canned tomato and a proportion of juice from the can.
     Add sea salt.
     Add 1 tiny pinch of white pepper.
     Simmer and reduce the liquid, till most of the excess liquid has evaporated.
     Keep the stewed tomato and pinto beans warm on a stove top. 

     Rutabaga and Carrot:  
     Just a small portion is needed!  Create your own fancy shapes that children like!
     Thin slice about 1 1/2 ounces each of carrot and rutabaga.
     Place the vegetables in a small sauce pot.
     Add enough water to barely cover the vegetables.
     Add  1/2 pat of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 small pinch of sea salt.
     Place the pot over medium high heat.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer till the excess liquid evaporates and till the vegetables become fully cooked.  
     Be sure to pour any butter or liquid in the pan over the vegetables, when they are served. 

     Cheddar Pig In A Blanket with Vegetables and Mango Coconut Rice Pudding:
     Select a colorful children's food tray.
     Place the each of the two vegetables in separate small wells on the tray.
     Place the mango rice pudding in a small well.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of dried coconut on the rice pudding.
     Place the cheddar pig in a blanket on the main well of the tray.
     Place 3 small dabs of organic ketchup on the pig in a blanket.
     Garnish with a sliced sweet baby gherkin pickle.

     Viola!  A nice children's meal!  Of course, adults can enjoy this meal too.  Just select your favorite cartoon character tray!  

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