If you read my post last Monday, which you can access here, you know that cooking was never my favorite household chore. It always ranked right up there with ironing and scrubbing the toilet bowl. But the family has to eat, am I right?
Actually, it wasn’t the cooking part that I had an aversion to, nor was it wondering what to make. I have tons of great cookbooks and recipes that have been handed down over the years so culinary ideas are not the issue. It wasn’t even the cleanup that bothered me.
It was the complaining. And the arguing. OK, maybe the begging (on my part). Why the mealtime drama? Because as much as I hated preparing dinner, my kids hated eating what was good for them – namely, the vegetables. The main entrée was usually not a problem, and they loved starchy foods like rice and potatoes. Of course, dessert was always a hit. But those pesky veggies were always an issue.
And then, Jessica came into my life. Not physically of course. If she had physically come into my house and actually made these meals I would have been indebted for life. But such was not the case. No matter. Jessica (as in Seinfeld) and her book, Deceptively Delicious, have been a lifesaver.
The basic premise is this: buy LOTS of different types of vegetables (and some fruits as well) - cauliflower, spinach, beets, butternut squash, peas, etc. You puree them in a blender (I use my trusty Magic Bullet) and then store them in the freezer for when you’re ready to use them. Note: you will have to cook some of the vegetables to soften them first. But once you’re done (I do ALL my vegetables and fruits for the week in a matter of a couple hours), they are available to pull out and use.
This book has TONS of recipes that your kids will love and these are foods that most kids enjoy. Homemade chicken tenders, spaghetti, Italian meatloaf, salads, soups, and even desserts. And although I still present vegetables in the “normal” way, I use my purees to make sure that we are getting ALL of the benefit of these wonderful nutrients. It’s a win-win.
Below is a recipe for chocolate cake that we LOVE!! And I promise you, once the cake cools completely you cannot taste the vegetables AT ALL. I think the idea is genius! Try and tell me what you think!
Chocolate Cake You Just Can’t Beet
Unsalted butter to grease the pan
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup butter, very soft
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
½ cup beet puree (I roast the actual beets until softened and then puree them with a little water)
½ cup lowfat buttermilk
1 tsp. pure vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your 9-inch baking pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat brown sugar and butter until creamy. Add whole egg and egg whites (one at a time) beating well after each addition. Beat in melted chocolate, beet puree, buttermilk, and vanilla.
3. Add flour, baking soda and salt, and beat until smooth.
4. Pour batter into the pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cake cook 5 minutes in the pan and then turn onto a rack to cool completely. Do not eat warm.
Interested in frosting?
8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. pure vanilla
1. Beat the ingredients until smooth.
2. Cut the cooled cake in half (horizontally) and spread over the top and between the layers.
3. Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 4 days.
If you are interested in Jessica’s cookbook (and I recommend it to anyone with kids), you can find it here.
Leave us a comment and tell us your thoughts below. Do your kids like vegetables? What tips do you have for making sure they try a variety of them?
To Your Health and Happiness,
Penny at Green Moms and Kids