The holidays are upon us, and with the cheer comes pressure to cook delicious meals for family gatherings. Planning menus that also appeal to little tastebuds can be challenging. We talked with Andrea Boerigter, The Speech Mom LLC founder and creative genius behind bloombox, for tips to encourage adventurous eating at the kids’ table. She also shared a recipe for mac ‘n’ cheese featuring butternut squash that might become your family’s new holiday fave.
Did you know that, without the technology behind GMOs, we might not be able to enjoy vegetables like yellow squash and zucchini? GMO varieties of these delicious garden vegetables were developed in the mid-1990s to defend against mosaic viruses that destroy crops. Though butternut squash isn’t a GMO, yellow straightneck, yellow crookneck and green zucchini squash are genetically modified and safe to eat.
In fact, there are just 10 GMO crops approved in the U.S., most with more than 20 years of proven safety. Our favorite is soybeans, of course. About 94 percent of the soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified to resist pests and diseases so farmers can grow healthy crops rich in protein and amino acids with less pesticides. Farmers try to make the best decisions during the growing season so South Dakota families can serve up high-quality, healthy foods throughout the year.
This is especially important during the holidays, which is a great time to introduce kids to new dishes. Andrea is an advocate of Hungry for Truth. “Hungry for Truth and its farmers are a great resource for families who have questions about food and how it’s grown and raised on South Dakota farms.”. As a mom of two, she also has developed strategies to encourage adventurous eating among her children. Here are her quick tips you can try at your gathering:
- Serve food family style. Children are more likely to try something different when they can see you and others eating it.
- Explain what’s in the dish. Let kids know if it’s hot, cold, soft or crunchy. Giving them full details helps them familiarize themselves with what they’re about to put in their mouths.
- Ask others if they enjoy it. When a cousin or grandparent thinks something is delicious, kids are more likely to try it too.
As you plan your holiday menu, consider adding Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese to the line-up. Looking for another side dish with a twist? We suggest sweet potato bites.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- 12-16 oz uncooked macaroni noodles
- 2 lbs butternut squash seeded and peeled
- 2 tbsp Butter melted
- 2/3 cups vegetable or beef broth
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 2 cups shredded cheese separated 1-1/2 cups and 1/2 cup
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare noodles according to the package.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Place chunks of seedless and peeled squash into boiling water. Boil until tender.
- Remove squash from water and place into blender. Blend until smooth. Add butter, broth, milk, salt and pepper into blender and blend until smooth.
- Mix squash blend into noodles and mix until evenly coated. Add 1-1/2 cup of the shredded cheese and mix.
- Pour mixture into 9 x 13 pan. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Spread remainder of cheese on top of dish.