Saturday, April 30, 2011

PUMPKIN PANCAKES

Like most families, pancakes are a household staple for us on weekend mornings. These little cakes are good all by themselves, and even better with some maple syrup. Like everything else I make, I find myself compelled to sneak in some veggies. Pumpkin is great. I always have canned pumpkin, sweet potato and butternut squash in the cupboard. They can be used in sweet and savory recipes. Pumpkin is a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Makes about a dozen good-sized pancakes.

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
3 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 15-oz can pureed pumpkin
1 ¼ cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
3 Tbs. butter, melted
4 Tbs. powdered sugar

Directions:
Mix all dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour ½ cup portions onto a greased pan and cook on medium-low heat until golden brown on both sides (you know it's time to flip when you start to see little bubbles form on the tops). Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

Friday, April 29, 2011

"RANCH" DIP

Who doesn’t love ranch dressing in which to dip their vegetables, sweet potato fries and/or tater tots?! I don’t know, but I can tell you who does – kids! Almost all kids love ranch dip. This one has the added benefit of sneaking in some veggies, but doesn’t taste at all like there is even a trace of cauliflower. Cauliflower is a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Phosphorus and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid and Manganese. The Greek yogurt is a nice little addition of protein as well. The one I use has 20 grams of protein for just one 7 oz. container. That’s the same amount of protein as occurs in three average-sized chicken thighs!

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower
7 oz. Greek yogurt
1 tsp. dried chives
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried dill weed
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. salt

Directions:
Break cauliflower into flowerets, put into saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil and cook on high for about 15 minutes (or until super soft). Put all ingredients into blender and puree until very smooth. (So, blend until smooth, and then blend some more). Pour into a bowl and refrigerate mixture for a few hours to let the flavors blend.

VEGGIE POCKETS

How do you hide a ton of vegetables in your kids’ food? Wrap it in dough! There’s something comforting about your food covered in a warm flaky blanket of dough. You can always make a bunch of these pockets, freeze them and eat them later (thaw and put on a greased cookie sheet and cook at 400 F for about 15 minutes, or until heated through). The red cabbage is a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Selenium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium and Manganese. Studies have revealed that a high intake of cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage offers protection from some cancers. Note that red cabbage has twice the vitamin C than green cabbage.

Non-stick cooking spray (I use olive oil with no teflon)
2 small zucchini, shredded (scant 2 cups)
½ small head red cabbage, shredded (2 packed cups)
½ onion, shredded (since you already have the grater out, no need to chop too)
2 tsp. crushed garlic
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 egg
½ cup + 2 Tbs. parmesan cheese
1 tube crescent rolls (in the refrigerated section of your grocery store)

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 F. Spray a non-stick cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, cabbage, onion, garlic and salt. Cook for 10 minutes (stirring occasionally). Stir egg into veggie mixture and cook for an additional 2 minutes. When done, remove from heat and stir in ½ cup parmesan cheese. While the veggies are cooking, carefully remove crescent rolls from tube. Take 2 triangles and seal them together on the seam to make a rectangle. Fold the rectangle in half and, using a heavy rolling pin, roll the dough out until you have a 6” x 6” square.  Using a measuring cup, scoop up ½ cup of veggies and place it directly in the middle of your dough square. Bring each corner of the dough to the middle (there will be some overlap). Twist the corners of the dough and place each square on the prepared cookie sheet, with the seams down. Continue until you have all 4 pockets made. Cut 3 small slits on the top of each pocket. Spray the tops with the cooking spray, and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes (until golden brown). Let cool before serving.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

PRINCESS POTATOES (no potatoes were harmed, or used, in this recipe)

Sometimes, all it takes is a fancy name to convince my people that something is worth trying. This is an entirely new take on rutabagas – those ugly root vegetables at which you scoff when you are in the produce aisle. You probably even ask yourself, “who buys those things?!” Well, now you know: I do! Why use potatoes when you can use something that is a great source of dietary fiber, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese?! The apple takes the bite out of the otherwise radish-tasting vegetable (while leaving the dish just a bit tart), and the yogurt adds some protein.

Me: “Do you like it?”
My son: “Yeah.”
Me: “Are you going to have another bite?”
My son: “Yeah.”

(He is a man of few words, but definite opinions. Note: halfway through the rutabagas, my son heard me refer to it as "Princess Potatoes" and wanted no more. So, if you are trying to appease your son, you may want to refer to them as "Power Potatoes". Like I said, it's all in the name.)

Ingredients:
1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced
2 rutabagas, peeled and cubed (about 5 cups)
¼ cup milk
½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
2 Tbs. butter
4 Tbs. agave nectar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:
Put apple and rutabagas into a large pan covered with water. Bring to boil and let boil for about 15-20 minutes (until the rutabagas are very soft). Drain rutabagas and apples, with a hand mixer, mix all ingredients until smooth.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

QUINOA AND BEANS

I am not sure why my kids love this dish, perhaps it is because it is a bit reminiscent of spaghetti sauce and they love spaghetti. Regardless, I don’t question their loyalty to it. I like to use quinoa in lieu of rice because quinoa is a complete protein grain. That means that it provides all the essential amino acids in a balanced pattern. It contains more high quality protein than any other grain, too.  Not to mention the benefits of beans (a good source of Protein, Folate, Phosphorus, Manganese and Selenium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber) and tomatoes (It is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium and Manganese).

Me: "Do you like this?"
My son: "Yes."

Ingredients:
½ cup red quinoa
1 cup water
1 15-oz. can pinto beans (or any other beans you have on hand)
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. dried marjoram
¼ tsp. salt

Directions:
Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes – longer if your quinoa has been in the cupboard for a while). Add remaining ingredients, increase heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes longer.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Some Background

I like to create food that is delicious and healthy (relatively speaking), but I do not like to spend hours in the kitchen. I am not a nutritionist, a doctor or cookbook author. I am a busy mother to two lovely children. I do not have enough time to create all the perfect entrees that I see on the covers of gourmet cookbooks, but I do have enough time to make something... I try to make that something a meal that is packed with fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains - the stuff you are supposed to eat. Usually, it is laden with some other stuff that has a very small role in the food pyramid, but, I ask you - is it better to eat broccoli with cheese than no broccoli at all?

For some reason, my lovely children have humored me by eating most of what I set out for them (and, believe me, they have had their fair share of cookies, French fries and other things that definitely have no place on the food pyramid). So, I refuse to attribute it entirely to their lack of choice in the matter. My friends' children are not always as accommodating, and I have been asked a few times to share some of my favorite recipes (the caveat always being that the recipe must be easy).
 

I thought that it might be fun to take some total strangers on my journey of food with my kids. I will post the stuff that I make, with recipes, instructions, photos, and reviews from the little people in my house (you cannot get a more honest assessment). I guarantee you that I won't always get it right. But, you can learn from my culinary foibles, and hopefully, add to my list of "Stuff I Feed My Kids."

The first dish is on its way.