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July, 2009

Gemstone Potato Salad

By Dennis Linden

While the competing schedules of today’s busy modern family make it difficult to share a home cooked meal together, it is not impossible with a little planning and can even be fun.

Cookin with the Kids Image
Melissa’s encourages parents to find the time to gather as a family once a week for a dinner that everyone pitches in to prepare. It’s a great way to teach your children some basic cooking skills and, more importantly, cooking with your children will build memories that will remain in your hearts forever.

Each COOKIN’ with the KIDS feature will offer a simple, healthy and delicious recipe that can be prepared by a child or a group of children working together, under the supervision of an adult. Parents should always read through each recipe carefully to decide the division of labor based on age and ability as well as to identify where help might be especially needed.

No July picnic table would be complete without a large bowl of summer potato salad. Here’s a simple, colorful and very healthy version of this old favorite that your kitchen helpers will soon learn to master with little supervision. For this recipe, the multi-colored fingerling potatoes that make up Melissa’s Gemstone Potato pack will retain their distinctive colors much better if they are steamed rather than roasted. In fact, the natural bright colors and shapes of all the fresh ingredients in this tasty recipe gives it a playfulness and smile factor that will hold the attention of your youngest child during its short prep time. Because of their small size, fingerlings will cook to a buttery, tender consistency relatively fast; they will almost take an equal amount of time to cool as they will to cook, so watch them closely as they will turn mushy if overcooked. Using Melissa’s Good Life Food Organic Buttermilk Ranch Salad Dressing instead of the traditional mayo really does change the healthy profile score of this iconic summer staple. This dressing is not only heart friendly but also low in sugar and made with certified organic ingredients. Once your kids get a taste of this flavorful and nutritious option, it will not be difficult to wean them away from the mayonnaise jar.
Gemstone Fingerling Potato Salad (Makes four servings)
Gemstone Fingerling Potato Salad (Makes four servings)

4 cups Melissa’s Gemstone Potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
1 (10 oz.) package of whole, triple washed, baby spinach leaves
1 medium organic red onion, diced
1 cup fresh shredded carrots
4 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped
1 ¾ cup your favorite ranch dressing
Melissa’s Organic Grinder; Garlic & Herbs with Sea Salt (to taste)

What Adults Should Do:
Steam and cool the Gemstone Potatoes. Cut or supervise the cutting of the larger fingerlings into bite size pieces that are the same size as the smallest potato in the mix (about 1 ½” long). Supervise the preparation of the diced onion and chopped egg. (If you have a small food processor, this is a great opportunity to leave knifes in the drawer and teach your little helpers how to accomplish the same slicing, dicing and chopping safely with different dial settings.)

What Kids Can Do:
1. Wash hands and all fresh produce ingredients before starting.
2. After the potatoes have been cut into small pieces, measure 4 cups in a large bowl.
3. Measure and add the baby spinach.
4. Add the onions, carrots and chopped egg.
5. Measure and add the dressing to the bowl, then toss lightly to coat all ingredients.
6. Ask an adult to help season to taste using Melissa’s Garlic and Herb Grinder.

That big bowl of potato salad in the middle of the family picnic table with a large, serve yourself wooden spoon is one of my earliest fond memories of a family outing together!