I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.
In this day and age of healthy eating and food allergies going to the grocery store can turn from an easy thing to a time consuming event marked with label reading and confusion on the part of the shopper. What items are organic? Which ones are gluten-free? Where are the heart healthy items? For many families, trying to navigate the grocery store can be a job in itself. Mariano’s health key system is changing all that though and makes grocery shopping easy for families like mine.
In my house we don’t have any food allergies luckily but there are many houses that do. We do though have one college student who is into healthy eating, a mom trying to lose weight and get in shape and two Autistic children who we try to feed as GMO free as possible. So what does that mean? It means that in the last couple of years we have been trying to get our food back to what people used to eat. We try to buy as much organic as we can. We like our meats to be grass-fed, free-range, antibiotic, hormone free. In fact, one of the reasons I started baking so much is to give the kids sweet treats without all the chemicals and preservatives. This upcoming year though I am hoping to take this all a step further. I want to start including gluten-free options, cut out more fried foods, add some vegetarian meals and swap out kiddie favorites with healthy alternatives. So I headed to Mariano’s to check out their health key system and make a kiddie meal that was similar to a favorite but a healthy option.
This was my first trip to Mariano’s. I have been wanting to go and check out the store but it’s not in my town and I have a 25 minute drive to get there. Since my neighborhood stores offer less than appealing healthy options though I am willing to drive for quality and it doesn’t hurt that the prices are great either. I found that using the health key system was a piece of cake. Shelves were clearly marked with the tags letting shoppers know which items were organic, gluten-free, heart healthy, etc. This takes the mystery out of what to buy and would be a great help for anyone who is changing their family diets or who may be having guests with specific food requirements. I have to say that shopping at Mariano’s was such a great experience. My kids want to go back with me next time and with the smoothie and gelato bars in the store this may be one grocery store that I can take them to without getting a headache. Although, going by myself and enjoying a nice, quiet meal that’s still hot before shopping may be the ultimate mom treat for me. I did also register for a Mariano’s rewards card while I was there since I plan on making this my go to store now. It was quick and easy with the little computer kiosks to get it all registered.
My kids are like most other kids. They like chicken tenders and french fries and I’m not going to lie… so do I. They are good but full of fat and grease and in some cases you wonder how much is really even chicken that you are eating or feeding your kids. I decided to make a flavorful, healthy alternative that would have them asking for seconds and me not feeling like a bad mother for feeding them junk. I made Mexican Rice and Chicken Tenders and they were a huge hit. This is definitely going to stay on our family menu and was so good even my pickiest eater ate and asked for more.
The chicken is flavorful without all the fat and grease from frying and the rice is a nice alternative to french fries. The rice also served nicely to slip the kids some veggies easily without any fighting, whining or complaining. This meal was even a hit with the adults. The rice is baked in the oven and the chicken can be grilled, baked or sauteed. This makes for an easy meal to prepare even on a busy weeknight. You can also dice the veggies ahead of time and keep in baggies until ready to use and you can make the marinade ahead of time and let the chicken soak up even more flavor.
- 1/2 c. Spanish onion, diced (you can use yellow if you can't find it)
- 1/4 c. carrots, diced
- 1/4 c. celery, diced
- 1/3 c. red bell pepper, diced
- 1 c. converted rice
- 3 c. chicken stock
- 3 tsp. garlic paste
- 1 tsp. salt (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 and place the vegetables and rice into a 9x13" baking pan. Whisk together the chicken stock, garlic paste, salt and pepper. Pour the liquid over the rice and vegetables. Give it a stir and then cover tightly with foil or a lid. Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until the stock is absorbed. Remove form oven and let sit covered for a couple of minutes. Remove cover and fluff rice with a fork, then serve.
- For this dish I used organic produce, including the garlic paste and organic chicken stock.
- 2 tsp. honey dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. garlic paste
- 4 oz. olive oil
- 1 tsp. chopped cilantro
- juice of half an orange, lemon and lime
- Whisk all of the ingredients together until combined. Use as a salad dressing or meat marinade.
- I marinated some chicken tenders in this for half an hour in a gallon sized baggie, in the refrigerator. I then cooked the chicken through on a grill pan. I spooned additional marinade on before serving.