Tasty meal gets kids cooking in the kitchen


— Getting children to try new foods is not always easy. Kids have a tendency to be picky when it comes to the foods they eat, and many youngsters are reluctant to try all but the most familiar foods.

Getting kids to embrace a variety of foods may take time, but such a noble effort can produce successful results. Dining on different foods helps to develop the palate and also ensures that children are being exposed to an array of nutrients and vitamins that are essential for growing bodies.

One way to help children be more receptive to new foods is to involve them when choosing the menu and preparing meals. A youngster who went shopping, picked out foods and assisted in the kitchen may be more eager to try the final product than one who has not.

Mexican-inspired dishes may be one way to put new foods on the dinner table. “Cheddar Beef Enchiladas” from “Casseroles, Slow Cooker & Soups” by Taste of Home editors (RDA Enthusiast Brands) features familiar ingredients combined with some more exotic flavors. Enchiladas can appeal to picky eaters.

Cheddar Beef Enchiladas

Yield: 2 casseroles (5 to 6 enchiladas each)

1 pound ground beef

1 envelope taco seasoning

1 cup water

2 cups cooked rice

1 can (16 ounces) refried beans

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

10 to 12 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed

1 jar (16 ounces) salsa

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer, pink; drain. Stir in taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in rice. Cook and stir until liquid is evaporated.

Spread about 2 tablespoons of refried beans, 1/4 cup of the beef mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese down the center of each tortilla; roll up. Place seam-side down in two greased 13x9x2-inch baking dishes.

Combine salsa and soup; pour down the center of the enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake one casserole, uncovered, at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Cover and freeze remaining casserole for up to 3 months.

To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until heated through and cheese is melted. PC153036