Thursday, February 09, 2012

Sneakin' In More Green!

Dearest Child of Mine,

Why must you fuss, and fight, contorting your precious features into grimaces that would frighten the most hardened horror film fan when I try to feed you healthy food? Don't you understand that I love you and the food I work hard to prepare is not just tasty, but will help you grow up healthy and strong?

Your Tired Mother

So, I know I am not the only one who struggles to feed her picky young, healthy veggies of any sort. This is evident by the many, many books out there that teach the sneaky art of hiding veggies in food the kids wouldn't suspect to have vegetable matter in them. Isn't it a bit of a triumph to see them stuff their little mugs with a chocolate cupcake laced with beets? How on earth do you hide that smug expression of total winning and not tip off the little rascals? A few times, I've not been able to help myself and as soon as they finish, I ask coyly, "So, did you like that? What did you think?" and no sooner than they utter the words, "Yes! That was really good!" I jump up and yell, "HA! YOU JUST ATE VEGGIES! MUAHahahahahaahahahahaaa!" To which they are surprised, and then quickly horrified by my evil laughter. Gotta try to work on the delivery of the reveal I suppose...

Anyhow, I have a good one for you, that has been tested on my most finicky child who somehow sniffs out the tiniest speck of green in a pile of food. Really, it's extraordinary. He's like the bomb sniffing dog of the Toddler Veggie Detection Unit. Granted, I served it to him with the lights dimmed and waited until he was half way done before turning them up. But he didn't falter once the green was more noticeable. So, they had to appeal to him flavor-wise more than the site of his most hated color.

I found this wonderful recipe on Pinterest (my newest obsession!) and just had to share. So without further ado, here is Broccoli Cheddar Muffins

Broccoli Cheddar Muffins
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 C. melted butter
  • 1 1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz. corn muffin mix
  • 10 oz. broccoli (frozen, chopped, cooked and drained)
  • 1/2 C. scallion (chopped) *optional
In a large bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until light colored.

Add butter and cheese and mix on low.

Add muffin mix, broccoli and scallions and mix at low speed for another minute

Coat a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray; divide batter among muffin cups evenly.

Bake at °375 for 15 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Cool on rack before turning out of pan. Serve warm. Try this with a bit of smoked ham!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Healthy In Disguise

Can I just give a shout out to all the mommas who struggle, like me, to get her kids to eat veggies at meal time? Do you stress like I do, that they aren't getting the necessary nutrients in a natural form, to make a difference? Me too. Well, I love, LOVE when I find a recipe that is healthy, but no one raises a fuss at the dinner table.

I love many of Rachael Ray's recipes. She's cutesy in kind of an annoying "you have no kids and can travel the world freely so I hate you" kind of way. I can look past all that though, when I come across an amazing meal that isn't complicated and makes my kids sing. So, here is the recipe I just tried this evening and was pleasantly surprised to find, just enough left over, too good to pass to the dog, so I can have it for a midnight snack. Another testament to how good this was: I ate until I hurt. Which I don't think I've ever done. I know that's probably not healthy, but I figured, since it was a heaping helping of dark leafy green veggies, it was okay.

Chicken Tacos w/Kale and Salsa Verde
  • 2 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic unpeeled
  • 1 Serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, chopped coarsely
  • 5 sprigs cilantro, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (EVOO is so dorky to say!)
  • salt/pepper to taste
Preheat oven to °350 F. Place the tomatillos on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and roast for 20 minutes. Cool. Cut into fourths.

In a small skillet, roast the garlic over medium heat, turning once until the skin is slightly blackened and the flesh is soft and fragrant. I didn't have garlic cloves, but a jar of chopped garlic. So I heated olive oil and on medium heat (watching closely as it can burn quickly), let it cook until it started to turn golden brown. I spooned out the garlic, draining slightly of the olive oil, but leaving the oil in the pan for later.

In a food processor, place the cooled tomatillos, garlic, chile, cilantro, and olive oil into a food processor with a pinch of salt, and pulse until a coarse textured salsa. Taste and add any additional salt and pepper if needed.
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 C. firmly packed green or black kale, chopped
  • 1/2 C. cooked chicken (I had turkey), shredded or cut into small cubes
  • 4 Corn tortillas (though we used around 6)
  • 1/4 C. red onion chopped
  • 1/4 C. crumbled queso fresco (a Mexican cheese)
  • Mexican crema or sour cream
In the skillet with left over garlic olive oil, add another tablespoon of olive oil, and heat over medium heat. Add the kale, season with salt and cook until wilted. Stir in the chicken and tomatillo salsa you just made. Cook until heated through. Lower the heat to keep warm and cover.

Preheat a griddle or large skillet. Cook the tortillas on both sides until soft and warm. We like to sprinkle with a little salt. The shortcut is to wrap the tortillas in a damp kitchen towel and microwave for 30 seconds.

To make, place a few heaping tablespoons of the chicken mixture onto each tortilla, sprinkle with queso fresco, onion and drizzle with Mexican crema or sour cream. Then, ENJOY!

You have to have the onion, it ties the flavors all together. So, if you aren't a fan of onion, try to just have a little onion. It really makes a world of difference. Also, white corn tortillas, we found, have the best flavor for this recipe. We noticed the difference between flour and white corn, since we ran out of the corn tortillas part way through.

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