Christine Bullock has devised some sneaky ways to get vital fruit and vegetables in your child’s meals.
Mealtime can be a constant battle with parents who are trying to get their kids to eat more nutritious foods. While cooking for my husband (the biggest kid around) and my friends kiddos I’ve found ways to appease young palates. Here are several ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your children’s meals.
Cauliflower Mashed Potato
Mash cauliflower into mashed potatoes
Ingredients (serves 1)
- 1 C cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 1 C vegetable stock
- 2 Tablespoon plain, nonfat Greek Yogurt
- Salt and Pepper (Artisan salts, like truffle salt, work very well in this recipe.)
Optional: chopped roasted garlic, wasabi paste, fresh or dried spices (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme)
To roast garlic, cut ¼ – ½ inch off the top of the bulb. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and bake, in a baking dish covered with foil, at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, checking the garlic around 20-25 minutes. It is done when the garlic is soft and the edges are beginning to brown. To use in the recipe, simply squeeze the garlic heads out and chop.
- Cook the cauliflower with the vegetable stock in a saucepan over medium heat until tender.
- Transfer the cauliflower into a food processor or blender, reserving cooking liquid.
- Add the Greek yogurt and ¼ cup of reserved stock and blend until smooth, scraping down sides and adding more stock as necessary.
- Add option ingredients, if desired.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Reheat if needed. This can be done in the microwave or by returning the cauliflower to the saucepan and stirring over medium-low heat until it reaches your desired temperature.
- Layer in a little spinach in lasagna and omit noodles
Noodle-less Popeye Lasagna
Sweet Garlic Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, minced
- 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 4 cups mixed tomatoes (I use a mix of cherry/grape tomatoes and whatever heirlooms I have on hand), chopped
- 1-teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Splash of red wine (optional)
- Heat your olive oil over medium in a sauce pan, and add the minced onions.
- SautÃ© for 5 to 7 minutes until the onions are tender and starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if using.
- Stir everything to combine, and let this cook uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened and most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add a splash of red wine if using, and season to taste with salt and pepper. If your tomatoes are under-ripe, add a drizzle of honey to bring out a little sweetness.
- Turn off the heat and set the sauce aside. Next, blitz up your faux ricotta.
Herbed Cashew Pine Nut Faux Ricotta
- 1-cup raw cashews (soaked for at least one hour and at most overnight)
- 1/2-cup raw pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice the zest from 1 lemon
- 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2-teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2-teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (more as needed to achieve desired texture)
- 2-3 tablespoons mixed herbs (try basil, parsley, chives, thyme, whatever you like!)
- Combine all ingredients together in a food processor, adding more water as needed, and scraping down the sides of the mixer and blending until you have a fluffy, creamy, smooth mixture.
- Season to taste, adding more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed.
- Finally, slice your zucchini and butternut squash and get ready to assemble.
- 3 zucchini (you may need more of less depending on the size of your pan)
- 2 cups frozen cubed butternut squash, defrosted (if you’ve got the time, roast a whole butternut squash yourself and dice it up)
- 3 handfuls spinach
- 1 package Daiya shredded mozzarella
- Preheat your oven to 400.
- Slice each zucchini in 1/2 widthwise, then cut each half lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips. If you’ve got a mandolin, use it here. You’re going for a lasagna noodle-like shape, so use that as your guide.
- In your baking pan, add a few tablespoons of your tomato sauce and spread evenly.
- Next, add a layer of the zucchini, laying them down like noodles, followed by a handful of spinach, a few tablespoons of butternut squash, a few tablespoons of the faux ricotta, and a handful of the mozzarella.
- Spread each layer evenly making sure to get to all the corners. Continue adding your layers, sauce, zucchini, spinach, squash, ricotta, and mozzarella until you reach the top of your pan, ending with the sauce layer and covering everything with a handful of mozzarella and a few shakes of nutritional yeast.
- Bake in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the pan comes out hot.
- Let the lasagna stand for a few minutes, then slice and enjoy!
Healthified Sloppy Joes
Add chopped mushrooms to Sloppy Joes
- 12 ounces 90%-lean ground beef
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 cups finely chopped cremini mushrooms, (about 4 ounces)
- 5 plum tomatoes, diced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2- veggie stock
- 1/4 cup Raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/4-cup organic ketchup
- 8 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted if desired
- Crumble beef into a large nonstick skillet; cook over medium heat until it starts to sizzle, about 1 minute. Add onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables are soft and the moisture has evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and flour; stir to combine. Stir in water, vinegar, chili sauce and ketchup and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and the onion is very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm on buns
Yummy Good Pepperoni Pizza
Add pumpkin puree to pizza sauce and make your own pizza with it.
- 1 pound prepared whole-wheat pizza dough, (see Shopping Tip), thawed if frozen
- 1 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
- 1/2-teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 ounces organic mini turkey pepperoni (1/2 cup)
- Place oven rack in the lowest position; preheat to 450°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to the size of the baking sheet. Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake until puffed and lightly crisped on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Whisk pumpkin puree, tomato sauce and garlic powder in a small bowl until combined.
- Spread sauce evenly over the baked crust. Top with mozzarella, Parmesan and pepperoni. Bake until the crust is crispy on the edges and the cheeses have melted, about 12 minutes.
Crunchy Kale chips
Dehydrate kale and make kale chips
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1-tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a non-insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
- Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.
Lean, Mean, Hulk Machine Smoothie
Blend spinach in with a smoothie that contains blueberries (the dark color with mask the green of the spinach).
- 1-cup spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
- 1 ripe banana
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
- 1-tablespoon raw honey, or more, to taste
- Combine spinach, blueberries, raspberries, banana, milk, oats, sugar and 1-cup ice in blender until smooth.
- Serve immediately.
Add pureed winter squash to macaroni and cheese
- 1 fresh butternut squash* (peeled and chopped) OR 1 cup canned butternut squash OR canned pumpkin
- Extra virgin olive oil, S & P
- 1 tablespoon Earth Balance (or other non-dairy butter replacer)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened & unflavored almond milk (revised from 1 cup)
- 1-tablespoon arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
- 6-tablespoon nutritional yeast, or more to taste
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4-3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2-teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2-1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2-1 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste) & ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 servings brown rice macaroni (8oz or half a 16oz package) makes 3 1/4 cup cooked
- Mix-ins of choice (e.g., kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
- Preheat oven to 425F. Line a casserole dish with tin foil. Mix chopped squash with EVOO, S & P. Roast for about 40 minutes, uncovered, or until tender.
- Meanwhile, prepare the cheeze sauce in a pot on the stove top. Add Earth balance over low-medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together milk and arrowroot powder (or cornstarch or flour) until clumps are gone. Add into pot and whisk. Stir in remaining ingredients (nutritional yeast, Dijon, garlic, lemon, S & P) and whisk over low heat until thickened (about 5-7 minutes or so).
- Cook your pasta according to package directions. The sauce makes enough to cover 4 servings of pasta.
- In a blender, blend the sauce with 1 cup of roasted squash (or if using canned, simply stir 1 cup into the pot).
- Add cooked, drained, and rinsed macaroni into pot, along with cheeze sauce & mix-ins. Heat and serve.
Grilled Avocado Cheese Sandwich
- 2 slices of your favorite bread, I used a marble rye fresh from the bakery
- Little bit of coconut or olive oil to spread onto bread
- 1-teaspoon pesto sauce
- Fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 of a ripe avocado, sliced
- 2 slices of cheese, I used pepper jack, but I think fresh mozzarella or cheddar would also taste great
- Heat skillet on medium heat.
- Spread a thin layer of oil over one side of each slice of bread. Flip over and spread the pesto sauce onto each slice of bread.
- Add slices of cheese to each slice of bread. Top with spinach and avocado.
- Fold together to create a sandwich.
- Place in heated skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side. I like to put another heavy pan on top of the sandwich to make it a pressed sandwich.