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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Kid-friendly Cooking (Baby Food on up to Teens) / Making from scratch v.s. store bought...opinions please.
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    Making from scratch v.s. store bought...opinions please.

    Chef #669796
    Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:31 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Hi, I am trying to cut out on preservatives, and the man made junk that we put into our bodies when we buy store bought items. I am finding though the home made versions just are not successful kid pleasers. I have made chicken nuggets (I thought they were good, the kids barely touched them) I made fish stick that even I thought was bland and unappetizing. So I have three questions that I need help to answer:

    1. Does it really make that much difference making these things from scratch or am I just wasting my time (and money) over something that tyson has already perfected?

    2. If it is worth the trouble, what recipes have you tried that you would recommend and why?

    3. What foods should I definitely make at home versus buying at the store and why? Do you have any recipes you would suggest?

    Thanks in advance for your opinions.

    Frustrated mom.
    Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:28 pm
    Semi-Experienced "Sous Chef" Poster
    I would recommend finding an organic grocery store in your area!! They may sell more items that are kid friendly without all the yuck preservatives!! You and your children's health is very much worth getting away from processed foods!! Keep trying!!
    chef FIFI
    Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:37 pm Groupie
    To be honest...
    Most of the time, if made correctly...from scratch is better..Tastes better, portions are larger and cheaper.

    I just made a receipe for the 2nd time for devils food chocolate cake, sure I could have made it from the box, but this cake is awesome. Uses most ingredients I already have on hand, and was worth it, much better than box.

    When you make it fresh there arent all those unneccesary ingredients to is healthier.
    Um Safia
    Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:33 am
    Forum Host
    Hi there,

    I am definitely all for 'from scratch cooking'. I never have used cake mix, jarred sauces, soup mixes etc as I feel that processed food is just not good enough to put into my kids bodies.

    I agree, it takes some time to find good recipes that will keep the kids happy. I have found several on 'Zaar - I'll search & pop back later with the recipes.

    If your kids have been eating processed foods for a while, it will take time for their taste buds to re-adjust to freshly prepared foods. Remember that most processed foods are highly seasoned with salt & MSG being the biggest culprits in this. A chicken nugget pumped full of flavour enhancers will always taste better to a kid that's used to that, rather than a chunk of breaded / battered chicken breast. Sometimes with kids it's a psycological thing too - I know some kids that loved takeaway (takeout) foods but when their mother had money problems & had to make these things at home, they weren't happy.... until she put the foods in the foil containers you get your take away food in! Then they were happy eating that for a few weeks, when she told them it was still her cooking they continued to eat minus the foil containers.

    It is definitely worth making things from scratch. I admit, sometimes it is a little more expensive but you have to realise that you are getting a good quality, much healthier end product. No preservatives, flavour enhancers, colourings, stabilizers etc, etc will be in your cooking - that can only be a good thing!

    Let's face it, processed meat products are most commonly made using the most disgusting left over bits of the carcass; gristle, sinue, fat, ears...yuck, yuck...."mechanically retrieved meat" yuck.gif You don't want to see what goes into the average cheaper brand chicken nuggets or sausages.

    To start with, I would say good things to make from scratch would be cakes, muffins, cookies, chicken nuggets, meatloaf, pizzas, pasta sauces, soups, mac 'n' cheese, fish sticks, smoothies & shakes, even ice cream if you can find a reasonably priced ice cream maker...these are all easy, tasty & simple foods that if you get good recipes for, should keep your kids happy.

    I'll be back with some recipes in a bit. icon_biggrin.gif

    Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:19 pm Groupie
    I'm all in favor of scratch. I think, though, that it's probably not a good idea to try to imitate the taste of things like chicken nuggets and fish sticks. Those companies spend millions so that every bite of every food tastes exactly the same. Homemade will always be a little bit different every time (which IMO is one of its virtues).

    Instead, try to find other ways to cook chicken and fish that your kids will like. A cacciatore-type dish with a mild marinara sauce and their favorite pasta usually tends to be a winner.

    This is a tasty fish recipe. You can leave out the onions if they don't like it. You can also vary the kind of cheese:

    Swiss Baked Fish Fillets
    Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:38 pm Groupie
    My kids are almost grown, and I've always cooked from scratch. It's tastier and healthier. (Upside, they also learned to cook from scratch!). This is the recipe I used for Chicken - whole breasts for adults, nuggets for kids. It's oven baked, so even healthier than fried (kinder to adult waistlines too!). Serve with a little ranch "dip" for a treat.
    Diane's Parmesan Chicken

    Spaghetti is often another kid-friendly meal. We made our sauce from scratch (just had it last night, too!) My son, at 8, measured and transcribed our "to taste" recipe to make sure he could always make Dad's spaghetti sauce.
    Will's Spaghetti

    And chili - this recipe uses canned beans, but you could cook from dried, or choose the low-salt canned variety.
    Diane's Cheap and Easy Chili

    As I see it, there's every reason to cook from scratch. You can reduce the amount of fat, and control the salt and sugar vs. prepared stuff. Seasoning to your family's taste is a big positive too. And including plenty of seasonal fruits and veggies. Sure, I use prepared foods too, but I try to minimize them. I faced a similar challenge with my family when we switched to whole grain pastas and brown rice instead of the white ones, and gr. turkey instead of beef. After a couple of weeks, our tastebuds adjusted, and we thought the new foods were fine. Good luck!

    Um Safia
    Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:22 am
    Forum Host
    Back with the recipes I promised icon_biggrin.gif

    Chicken Nuggets - The highest rated nuggets recipe on Zaar. With amazing review that include "These were so easy to make, with common ingredients I usually have on hand. My 5 year old daughter talked about them for 2 days--and told everyone about the "yummy" chicken nuggets Momma made at home." and "These chicken nuggets should be renamed to "Little Bites Of Heaven!" They were fantastic! My kids gobbled them up!"

    Taco Chicken Wings - Something a little different for the kids to try. Again with great reviews!

    Oven-Baked Fish Sticks With Easy Tartar Sauce (Kid-Friendly) - The highest rated fish sticks recipe on Zaar (from Kittencal meaning it WILL be great!) Reviews include "DS and his friend loved these with some french fries to go with them and loaded with ketchup of course!"

    Cajun Style Oven Fries - How about some tasty oven fries? Fantastic reviews including "With all these fantastic reviews I guess you don't really need another one, but here it is anyways! These were 'tremendous' "

    Pizza Dough and Sauce - Have a go at pizza, chop up a selection of toppings & let the kids choose their own. Excellent reviews on this too.

    If you don't fancy tackling the dough, why not try this: Cheeseburger Pizza - really good & kids just love it!

    Classic Baked Ziti - Definitely a kid pleasing meal here! This is the top rated version on Zaar with over 200 great reviews.

    Cheesy Mac-N-Cheese - Most kids love this, here's Zaar's top rated recipe for it. Great reviews!

    Kittencal's Italian Melt-In-Your-Mouth Meatballs - Another KTTENCAL winning recipe with over 500+ fantastic reviews - great meal for all the family.

    Big Thicket Chicken and Dumplings - Something a bit more adventurous, some good old fashioned cooking! This is the highest rated with over 150+ excellent reviews.

    Sausage Cheese Quesadillas (Oamc) - Here's a very tasty & quick lunch or breakfast idea. Certainly a kid pleaser!

    Easy Pizza Pasta Casserole (OAMC) - Another fantastic pasta dish. Kids & adults both love this & you can make extra to freeze for meals when you're pushed for time! Very highly rated, over 80 excellent reviews.

    Meatloaf: Yes, Virginia There is a Great Meatloaf! - This is a fab recipe, again the highest rated meatloaf on Zaar with over 500+ brilliant reviews!
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