Serving Up New Ideas for School Lunches & Kid-Friendly Cooking Tips
With kids back to school and the activities calendar filling up, get some fresh ideas for lunchboxes and easy weeknight dinners from Addison Osta Smith, the most recent winner of Master Chef Junior and the newest and youngest chef to join the BlueStar® All-Star team. She also offers some insightful advice for kids interested in learning how to cook. Addison joins the line-up of celebrity and professional chefs assembled by BlueStar®, manufacturer of high-performance appliances for the home, to show how anyone can cook like a pro at home no matter how old they are.
When asking 10 year old Addison about her typical day, the response was simple: “I wake up, walk my dog Buddy, eat breakfast, get ready and then I usually ride my bike or walk with my friends to school. After school I come home, make a snack and then get ready to go to soccer practice or whatever activity I have. After I finish my homework, I like to watch some YouTube to relax before I get in bed with a book.” You would never guess just months ago this adorable young chef was being crowned the latest Master Chef Junior on national television – that is until you step into the kitchen with Addison and watch her cook. We sat down with this very busy celebrity chef to talk about her back to school lunch ideas and cooking at home with her family on her BlueStar range.
“People know me from Master Chef Junior for my fancy desserts and miso-glazed cod, but when I’m at home with my family, we like to keep it fun and easy,” says award-winning chef Addison. While her parents do most of the cooking during the week since she is busy with sports and other activities, she enjoys cooking on weekends and for special occasions. “I love cooking on our new BlueStar. There is plenty of room for everything and anything I bake comes out perfectly,” says Addison. While BlueStar offers the ability to Build Your Own BlueStar in over 750 color and trim options, including Addison’s favorite, turquoise, she and her parents selected a BlueStar 48″ RNB gas range with 12″ charbroiler in a Matte Black color with Brass trim. “As long as you have the equipment and ingredients you need, you can make anything,” she says. The BlueStar gas oven is perfect for experienced and aspiring bakers.
When it comes to school lunches, Addison thinks it’s great if kids help pack their own lunches so that they have healthy options they know they will like to eat. “I like a lot of variety in my lunch (and I don’t like sandwiches) so bringing a Bento Box-style lunch works really well for me and for any kid who likes to mix things up. A traditional Japanese style ‘bento’ holds rice, fish or meat, pickled or cooked vegetables, and is usually in a box-shaped container. Since sushi is my favorite food, a bento box with sushi is my favorite lunch,” she says.
And this passionate young chef’s advice for kids who think cooking may not be for them? “Give it a try! Start by cooking something you really like eating. Cooking is a great way to be creative, relax and do something that everyone appreciates. Addison recommends the perennial kid-favorite, pasta, as a first try for kids interested in cooking. “You can use store bought pasta or even homemade pasta is easier to make than most people think. Most kids like pasta and know how they like it to taste. Baking is also a good way to get started. I love all kinds of baking. I love making meringues and I like to make cakes for special occasions. You can be really creative and have fun with baking.” As Addison sets sail for the Master Chef Cruise in November, we will be sure to keep you posted on all of her adventures. Check out the recipe for Addison’s favorite lunches to pack for school below.
Salmon, Avocado and Veggie Sushi Rolls
- 1 cup Japanese style sushi rice, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon Seasoned rice vinegar
- 4 nori sheets (dried, roasted seaweed)
- 1/2 Avocado, sliced lengthways
- 1 package Smoked salmon
- 1/2 Lebanese cucumber, cut into thin strips
- 1 small carrot, grated and/or 1/2 red pepper, cut into thin strips
- Soy sauce and fresh ginger to serve
Step 1: Place rice and 1 1/2 cups cold water into a saucepan over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid absorbed. Remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Step 2: Place rice and vinegar in a bowl. Stir to combine. Allow to cool completely, stirring regularly to prevent rice from becoming mushy.
Step 3: Place 1 nori sheet, shiny side down, on a sushi mat. Using moist hands, spread one-quarter of the rice mixture over the nori sheet, leaving a 3cm wide border around the edges. Place one-quarter of the avocado along the edge facing you. Top with one quarter each of the salmon, cucumber and carrot.
Step 4: Using the sushi mat, roll up firmly to enclose filling. Repeat with remaining nori, rice mixture, salmon and vegetables.
Step 5: Slice each roll into 4 pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap.
Salami and Goat Cheese Rolls
- Round slices of hard salami
- Goat cheese cut into strips
- Balsamic vinegar
Step 1: Place the salami slices on a plate
Step 2: Place 1 -2 pieces of goat cheese on each salami and spread length-wise
Step 3: Roll the salami into a tube and place each piece in one section of bento box (or any small container)
Step 4: Drizzle a small amount of balsamic vinegar over the salami rolls. Yum!