The kids know there are 3 things that I absolutely will not allow in the house: toy guns, Sponge Bob Square Pants and Cheetos. However after seeing a recipe in Saveur magazine this month featuring a renowned chef’s use of Cheetos with broccoli, I gave myself permission to give it a try (and you can buy all natural versions of the snack at Whole Foods!). While Wyatt will reluctantly eat one piece of broccoli at a sitting, getting a full serving of the superfood into his body is a trying task. I used the Saveur recipe more for inspiration than anything else (it called for big stalks of broccoli, not exactly what I was looking for). Instead, I used my “cheese sauce” recipe for cheesy pasta (which is made from butternut squash and cream), added to the food processor broccoli that was nuked in the microwave for about 45 seconds, and combined the sauce with sweet potato gnocchi pasta (a Wyatt favorite). To hide the green flecks and provide inspiration for eating the dish, I crumbled the Cheetos on top. Wyatt was so surprised that I allowed Cheetos into the house, he gobbled the whole thing up!
(Broccoli) cheese sauce with Cheetos (serves 2-4)
- 1 lb of cubed butternut squash (pre-cut in the produce section)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cream (or to taste)
- 1 cup of broccoli
- salt to taste
- Cheetos (optional)
Place squash in a bowl in the microwave for 5-6 minutes or until very soft. Place broccoli in the microwave for 1 minute along with ~1 tablespoon of water. Puree the vegetables in the food processor for 1 minute, scraping down the sides as necessary. Continue pureeing and add the cream and salt until seasoned and rich tasting. You can adjust the amount of cream and salt to your liking. Combine the sauce with a favorite pasta or cooked vegetables or serve as a fondue for dipping. To encourage the kids to eat the dish, crumble Cheetos on top, if appropriate.
Score: Chris – 65, Alexis – 61, Maya – 68, Wyatt – 64