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Healthy Lunchtime Challenge: Fabulous Fish Tacos

This Fabulous Fish Taco recipe packs all the food groups into one amazing lunchtime dish.  The best part is that this recipe won a young chef a seat at the White House Kids’ State Dinner as part of the Let’s Move Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.Fabulous Fish Tacos. Packs all the food groups into one dish. Great for lunch or dinner! Recipe winner! www.superhealthykids.com

Hi there!  It’s me again… Toria aka Sous Chef Mommy with the Step Stool Chef.  My little chef and I are big advocates of the Kids in the Kitchen movement and are very excited to see it continue to build momentum.  We focus on a “kids teach kids” approach to cooking and celebrate kid independence in the kitchen.  So you can imagine how excited we were when we learned that the White House hosts an annual Kids’ State Dinner that celebrates young chef throughout the country.  As part of the Let’s Move campaign, the White House partners with various organizations to create the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a nationwide recipe contest that invites kids to create an original recipe that is healthy, affordable and tasty.  One winner from each state, territory and the District of Columbia was selected to attend and this Fabulous Fish Taco recipe won an 8 year old girl from Nebraska a coveted spot to the dinner.

Fabulous Fish Tacos. Packs all the food groups into one dish. Great for lunch or dinner! Recipe winner! www.superhealthykids.com

After scrolling all the recipes created by these young chefs, I was so inspired that I wanted my Step Stool Chef to give one of them a try.  I love anything called “Fabulous” so this one immediately caught my attention.  In her submission, 8-year old Grace Brown shared “The best thing about these fabulous fish tacos is they use all the food groups. We use whole-wheat tortillas as a grain, the fruit and vegetables add lots of nutrients, and the Greek yogurt is a great source of calcium.”  And she wasn’t kidding, we had a ball going through the produce section looking for all of these wonderful ingredients.

Fabulous Fish Tacos. Packs all the food groups into one dish. Great for lunch or dinner! Recipe winner! www.superhealthykids.com

Making the salsa was the most fun part for us.  First my little chef rough cut the veggies, herbs and mango then placed them in a food processor.  We followed most of the original recipe except we omitted the jalapeño and avocado as a personal preference.  After tasting the first batch, my little chef was not enthusiastic about the taste.  We took 3 small cups with a small batch of the salsa so that my little chef could experiment with different ingredients and flavors that he thought would make it more yummier (his words…not mine). In one cup he added cinnamon.  In the second other cup he added a pinch of salt.  In the third cup he added more mango and orange juice.  Experimenting is always my favorite part of cooking with my little chef.  It promotes creative problem solving and decision making as well as builds an instinct for cooking.

Fabulous Fish Tacos. Packs all the food groups into one dish. Great for lunch or dinner! Recipe winner! www.superhealthykids.com

Adding the extra mango and orange juice seemed to be the winning combination. Now our version of the recipe includes 1 whole mango (chopped) and 1 whole orange (juiced).  It got a little messy after a while but one big rule in our kitchen is to “Remember Your ABCs (Always Be Cleaning)”.

Fabulous Fish Tacos. Packs all the food groups into one dish. Great for lunch or dinner! Recipe winner! www.superhealthykids.com

After all the experimenting and cleaning, my little chef started getting a little antsy and was ready to play.  I always want cooking to be fun for him and not a chore.  So when I notice I have lost his attention, I gladly give him a break.   This proved to be good timing as it allowed me to cook the fish.

Fabulous Fish Tacos. Packs all the food groups into one dish. Great for lunch or dinner! Recipe winner! www.superhealthykids.com

Cooking the fish was quite easy.  The only adjustments I made to the original recipe is that I added salt and pepper in addition to the cumin to season the fish.  The recipe calls for you to add cooked quinoa to the pan seared fish.  I had never thought about adding quinoa to a fish taco but what a great way to pack in more protein!

Fabulous Fish Tacos. Packs all the food groups into one dish. Great for lunch or dinner! Recipe winner! www.superhealthykids.com

Assembling the tacos was quite easy as well.  Simply spread the Garlic-Lime Sauce on warm whole wheat tortilla then place spinach and the quinoa and fish mixture in the middle of the tortilla.  Wrap and serve with Mango Orange Salsa.

Fabulous Fish Tacos. Packs all the food groups into one dish. Great for lunch or dinner! Recipe winner! www.superhealthykids.com Fabulous Fish Tacos. Packs all the food groups into one dish. Great for lunch or dinner! Recipe winner! www.superhealthykids.com

Congratulations to all the winners of the Kids’ State Dinner!  Sounds like it was an amazing opportunity plus it was so inspirational.  We enjoyed making our version of this winning recipe.

The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is targeted for kids ages 8-12 so my little chef was too young to enter this year.  Maybe we will give it a try next year.  Whaddya think?

Toria and her 7-year-old son are co-founders of The Step Stool Chef, dedicated to celebrating and inspiring kid independence in the kitchen.

Healthy Lunchtime Challenge: Fabulous Fish Tacos

Ingredients
Salsa:
  • 1 stalk – green onion
  • 1/2 medium – bell pepper, yellow
  • 1/2 medium – bell pepper, red
  • 1 clove – garlic
  • 1/4 cup – cilantro
  • 1 medium – mango
  • 1 medium – orange
Garlic-Lime Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup – Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1/2 teaspoon – lime juice
  • 1 clove – garlic
Quinoa and Fish:
  • 2/3 cup – water
  • 1/3 cup – quinoa, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup – lime juice
  • 1/2 medium – bell pepper, red
  • 1/2 medium – bell pepper, yellow
  • 1 clove – garlic
  • 16 ounce – white fish fillet
  • 1 teaspoon – cumin, ground
  • 1 stalk – green onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon – chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon – salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon – black pepper, ground
  • 8 medium – tortilla, whole wheat
  • 4 cup – spinach
Directions
  1. Chop green onions, bell peppers; peel and mince garlic; chop cilantro and mango; juice orange.  You will need 1/4 cup of  (each) chopped bell peppers for the salsa, and 1/4 cup for the quinoa and fish.
  2. To make the Salsa and Sauce: In a medium bowl, combine all the salsa ingredients. Cover and chill. In a small bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients. Cover and chill.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine 2/3 cup water with the quinoa and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender. Set aside.
  4. In a large nonstick saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the lime juice over medium heat. Add the red and yellow bell peppers and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes. Sprinkle the fish fillets on both sides with cumin, salt & pepper and add to the pan with the peppers. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice and cook, turning once, for 5 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily. Gently tear the fish into bite-sized pieces. Add the green onion and chili powder to the quinoa, then gently add the quinoa to the fish, and stir to combine.
  5. To assemble tacos, warm the tortillas then spread 1 tablespoon of the garlic-lime sauce on each warm tortilla. Top with approximately ½ cup spinach. Arrange ¼ cup of the quinoa-fish mixture down center of each tortilla. Wrap the tortillas and serve with salsa.

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