I have found that with my picky-eating husband and somewhat picky-eating toddler, the best ways to get good and varied vegetables in them is to puree them into tasty meals. I know this is not a new concept for most of you, but here are a few meal ideas (and recipes) that disguise veggies well and taste great!
Probably our favorite: Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Soup (serves 2)
5-6 medium tomatoes or 4 large tomatoes
1 cup of carrots (cooked and cut up)
2 cups of fresh spinach
1/4 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T. of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/2 tsp of dried chopped basil
salt and pepper to taste
If you like a little spice – 1/4 tsp of ground red pepper
Cut tomatoes in fourths, and roast in oven for 10 minutes. Saute onion, garlic, and spinach in EVOO. Puree tomatoes, spinach-onion-garlic mixture, and carrots in a blender or food process. Pour in sauce pan and add one cup (or more) of water, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for 20 minutes.
Grilled Cheese (serves 2)
4 slices of bread
Extra virgin Olive Oil
4 – 6 slices of cheddar cheese (depending on the size of your cheese, enough to make two layers of cheese)
Spray skillet with cooking spray or EVOO.
Put on medium-low heat.
Place two pieces of bread on skillet and brown on one side. Take bread off the skillet and put the other two on, while other bread is browning, add cheese, spinach, then cheese to the first bread. Remove the other two pieces of bread and put your first sandwich back on the skillet. Flip after one side is browned. Repeat with second sandwich. You may have to spray more EVOO to pan.
Variations to this recipe work great! So have fun experimenting!
Crust: I make my own crust using the recipe in Better Homes and Garden Cook Book.
2 ¾ to 3 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
1 pkg. of dry active yeast
1 cup of warm water (120o -130o F)
2 Tbs. EVOO
In a large mixing bowl combine 1 ¼ cups of flour, yeast and ¼ teaspoon of salt; add warm water and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much as the remaining flour as you can.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Divide dough in half. Cover; let rest for 10 minutes.
For Thin crust pizza: Grease two 12 inch pizza pans or baking sheets. If desired, sprinkle with cornmeal. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough portion into a 13 inch circle. Transfer to pans. Build up edges slightly. Do not let rise. Bake in a 425o F oven for 12 minutes. Spread sauce over hot crust; top with your favorite toppings. Cook about 12- 15 minutes.
Sauce: 1 can of tomato paste add garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. I only like a thin layer of sauce.
Our family actually loves vegetarian pizza best. I put a thin layer of chopped fresh spinach directly on top of the sauce and then cover with cheese for the guys. My pizza includes the layer of spinach and cheese but I also add fresh mushrooms, bell peppers and black olives.
Put whatever toppings you like on your pizza – just be sure to include vegetables!
Smoothie (adapted from two sources: Valerie and Dr. Sears’ Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood)
Makes 2 adult servings
1 cup of kale or spinach (or experiment with other vegetables if you are brave!)
Enough water to fully blend the kale/spinach
1 ½ cups blueberries (wild is best)
1 -2 servings of sweet fruit (banana, kiwi, mango)
2 Tbs. flax meal
1 cup of plain non-fat yogurt
Blend all until smooth and enjoy!
Sweet Potato Pancakes
1 Sweet Potato puree
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 cup of milk or buttermilk
2 Tbs. butter (melted)
Mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Mix milk, egg and butter in a separate bowl. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, also add sweet potato puree and stir. Heat a skillet on medium heat add ½ cup of mixture to skillet and cook until batter sets and then flip and continue to cook until done.
Sweet Potato Puree
1 Sweet Potato
Scrub potato. Preheat oven to 400oF. Poke about 6 holes in sweet potato and brush olive oil over sweet potato. Wrap loosely in aluminum foil. Place on baking sheet and then put baking sheet in oven. Bake 45-60 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. You can peel the skin off or leave it on. I usually peel some of it off and leave some of it on. Place in blender or food processor and add enough water to get an even consistency. Blend until smooth.