19 December 2007

Movie-inspired dinners: Ratatouille

Rosemary's story gives us eggplant-lovers hope:

With all this talk about sneaking healthy food into our children's meals, the Disney/Pixar movie Ratatouille provides us a wonderful opportunity to get our kids eating healthy without all the trickery. I started making ratatouille after watching the movie way too much because it looked so delicious. I let my son help me prepare and layer the veggies just like he saw in the movie. It turned out great, and we all love it. Now he wants to make other things from cookbooks and the movie, and he's completely obsessed with any soup too.

RATATOUILLE

1 large zucchini, sliced
1 large yellow squash, sliced
2 large shallots, sliced
1 C fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 C tomato pasta sauce
Garlic powder to taste
Salt to taste
Dried parsley to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Spread the tomato sauce on the bottom of a small baking dish (I use Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce, anything with a lot of flavor). Start layering the veggies just like in the movie, all around the pan. After each layer sprinkle a little salt, garlic, parsley, and cover with parmesan. Create another layer and do the same thing. I usually end up with 3 veggie layers, all seasoned and topped with cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 min. Remove the foil, turn up the heat to 400, cook for another 15 minutes.

It is so delicious, your family will love it, and the kids have so much fun participating in the movie.

Note: These vegies are cheaper and better served in season (summertime), but if the movie's given you a window of opportunity now, I say GO FOR IT.

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This is a great idea -- Our local independent movie house (Alamo Drafthouse -- movies & dinner at once) does themed movies and dinners as a fund raiser for the local food bank, and they are great fun. (Chocolat... yum!) Doing it for kids movies is a great idea... You could make it a party theme if you did it right. The only problem is what other kid/kid appropriate movies have food scenes. Lady and the Tramp does (Spaghetti)... Beauty and the Beast (not sure what they eat, but there is a fancy dinner scene -- maybe would be good for teaching manners?)... we're not into kid movies much yet, so I'm not familar with the whole genre, but surely there are more?

My 2 year old and 9 year old actually made me go to the Disney Store in Hollywood, next to the El Capitan Theatre, to but them the aprons and cooking utensils...they absolutely love watching the movie and cooking (edible, I don't know) but they're having fun!!

Another great way to involve kids in the cooking process and get them excited about eating healthy is to take them to cooking class. I'm not familiar with other areas, but the New York Kids Club offers semester long cooking classes like the art of cooking and the Breakfast Club where kids prepare and serve their creations to their parents on the weekends. Nothing makes kids want to try new foods like pride in preparation-its just like making the ratatouille! I've been working for the NY Kids club recently, and they offer TONS of innovative programs like these, (http://www.nykidsclub.com) so lemme know if you have any questions about it. And if you can't find any cooking classes in your area for the tiny tots, perhaps a 'cooking party', as was suggested might be a fun way to get kids revved up!

Gosh, I just realized that the New York Kids Club already posted on your site. Sorry about the double-bombardment, but at least this gives you a better idea of the programming.

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