Cooking Ideas For Kids From OC Chefs

February 1, 2013 6:00 AM

(credit: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

(credit: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

If you wish your children would eat more than mere pizza and chicken fingers, fear not. They can, and will, eat healthily with a few little tricks. Getting the kids involved in the meal preparation process might be just the thing. Veteran chefs from two local landmarks shared their secrets, and recipes, for delicious, healthy, surprisingly simple family meals the whole family can get in on.

(credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Carnation Cafe
Disneyland Park
1313 S. Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 781-3463

Your family will stampede the kitchen when you tell them you all are making a Disney-inspired breakfast, courtesy of Carnation Cafe chef Oscar Martinez. Mickey Mouse pancakes are a magical Disneyland tradition. Martinez offers a hearty apple-granola twist on the old favorite. In a small mixing bowl, combine two tablespoons apple sauce, two tablespoons melted butter, two egg whites, a cup of milk, half a cup of low-fat granola and an entire shredded apple. In a larger bowl, mix one half cup all-purpose flour, two tablespoons sugar, one teaspoon baking powder, one quarter teaspoon cinnamon and a dash of salt. Remember to make a well in the center of your dry ingredients, then add the wet mixture. Some lumping is expected, though hasty mixing equals unsatisfied guests. Mix well. Pour one quarter cup of batter onto a hot, lightly oiled pan or skillet for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot. Apple-granola pancakes are great plain, though Martinez confesses to using a bit of syrup.

For lunch, prolong your Disneyland-at-home experience with Martinez’s chicken Caesar pasta. Begin with one pound of your favorite pasta noodles, prepared as directed on the package. While cooking pasta, heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan, add and brown one pound of diced chicken breast. Cook a few minutes with one tablespoon minced garlic. Dice and stir in one half pound of portobello mushrooms. Add pasta to warm mixture and toss with Caesar dressing. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped red bell pepper and chives. Experiment with your family’s favorite vegetables.

About Chef Oscar Martinez
Oscar Martinez began working for Disneyland as a busboy just 17 months after the park opened. One of only six employees who has been with the park for 56 years, has spent the last four decades making magic at the Carnation Cafe. Guests of Disneyland seek him out before taking a table, or even when not eating at all, just to see him and say hello.

Related: Best Comfort Foods In Orange County

(credit: ROBERT VOS/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: ROBERT VOS/AFP/Getty Images)

Summit House Restaurant
2000 E. Bastanchury Road
Fullerton, CA 92835
(714) 671-4111

If you can’t imagine your kids eating a John Dory filet with a panko macadamia crust, it’s time to start. Not only that, they can help you make it. The Summit House Restaurant’s Chef Timothy Plumb creates extraordinary dishes too good to resist or keep to oneself, and wants to share this fish delicacy with you. This recipe serves four. For the crust, combine one half cup finely ground macadamia nuts, two cups panko bread crumbs, one quarter cup melted butter and one tablespoon dillweed. For fish, season and flour four, six-ounce John Dory filets. Saute on both sides in oil. Move to a cookie sheet and top with crust mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for seven minutes, until golden brown. Top and serve with the sauce of your family’s choice. Plumb recommends seasoned butter and lemon.

About Chef Timothy Plumb
Plumb has worked at fine restaurants and hotels throughout the country for 25 years. At the Summit House, he has perfected the classical presentation, mastering dishes that look every bit as wonderful as they taste. He has been recognized by Zagat, the Epicurean Society and the Southern California Restaurant Writers Gold and Sterling Silver Awards. With an eye for flair, and a knack for flavor, Plumb’s offerings will delight and impress even the hardest to please members of your family.

Related: Best Holiday Drink Ideas From OC Mixologists

Christopher Schmidt is a freelance writer experiencing and espousing the glory that is Orange County. Driven to travel, drawn to sports, spirits and celebrity, Chris’ work can be found on

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