Kid-friendly Nutritious Recipes

(Butternut squash) cheesy pasta (serves 2-4)

  • 6-8 oz. Whole wheat pasta (rotini, penne, elbow, etc.)
  • 1 lb of cubed butternut squash (pre-cut in the produce section)
  • 1/4 cup of cream (or to taste)
  • salt to taste

Cook pasta as directed on the package. Place squash in a bowl in the microwave for 5-6 minutes or until very soft. Puree in the food processor for about 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 pasta with the squash cream sauce and serve immediately (does not reheat well).

Secret Vegetable and Bean Soup (serves 4)

  • ~6 cups of organic, low sodium chicken stock (or your favorite alternative)
  • ~1.5 cups of beans (any kind – use dried if you have time but canned is okay, too)
  • ~1 cup of barley (uncooked) or ~2 cups of barley (if pre-cooked) – (you can also substitute brown rice, quinoa, etc.)
  • 5-6 carrots, washed well and cut into chunks
  • One leek, sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • Any other vegetables you might have around that would go well in a vegetable soup
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • Salt to taste

Bring the stock to a boil and add the beans and barley. If using dried varieties, you’ll need to use more stock and simmer for at least one hour. If using pre-cooked and/or canned varieties, 5 minutes will do the trick. Meanwhile, nuke the carrots in the microwave for ~4 minutes or until very soft. Sautee the leek and celery in olive oil. (If you are choosing to add other vegetables as well, you can decide either to cook them in the microwave or on the stovetop.) Once the vegetables are tender, puree in the food processor for 1 minute. Stream in heavy cream (you can vary the amount to taste) + ~ 1 cup of the soup stock that’s simmering on the stove, and continue to puree until very, very smooth. Add vegetable sauce to the soup and heat until ready to serve. Salt/season to taste.

(Leafy greens) pesto (serves 4-6)

  • ~3 cups loosely packed greens (such as swiss chard, kale, spinach, collards, etc.)
  • 1 cup of nuts (such as walnuts, cashews or pine nuts)
  • 2 cloves of garlic or 2 frozen cubes of garlic (available at Trader Joes)
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, either shredded or cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or less)
  • Salt to taste

Nuke the greens in the microwave for about 1.5 minutes or until wilted. You should end up with about 1-1/3 cup of cooked greens (4 servings of superfoods!). Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and puree for about 1 minute, scrape down the sides and repeat (no chunks allowed!). Combine with cooked whole wheat pasta (or pile on top of fish prior to baking in the oven, if you dare). The pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 1 week (don’t worry if it turns brown on the top).

(Pea) Fish Cakes (4-5 servings)

  • 12 oz. white fish (such as flounder, cod, halibut, etc. – frozen is okay, just thaw in the fridge overnight or defrost in the microwave)
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (fresh if you can – I buy them in a bag in the bakery section at the grocery store and grind them up further in the food processor – breadcrumbs in a can are okay, too).
  • 1 leak, white part only, sliced and sauteed on the stovetop (optional)
  • 1 red pepper, diced (optional) – makes the cakes look pretty if your kids will not be turned off by it
  • 1 clove garlic or 1 cube of frozen garlic (available at Trader Joes)
  • 1 cup (or a bit more) of cooked peas (just nuke from frozen in the microwave) – you could also consider using other easily pureed vegetables (optional)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 egg (more if your mixture needs more help sticking together)
  • Seasoning (could be salt or special fish seasoning or Old Bay seasoning, depending on your family’s tastes)
  • Oil for frying

Cook the fish. You can poach it in water or simply cook it on the stovetop for 4-5 minutes or until done. Flake into small pieces (you can even do this while it’s cooking to help it along) and let cool. In the food processor, combine the leek (optional), garlic and peas and puree for 1 minute. Add the mayonnaise and continue pureeing for an additional minute, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add the egg and combine for 20-30 seconds more. In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and seasoning of choice, add the flaked fish, pea puree and diced red pepper (optional) and slowly mix together. Form 4-6 round patties from the mixture. If you find your cakes do not hold together well, add one more egg and/or more breadcrumbs. Put the patties into the fridge for about 10 minutes (or more). Heat oil in a pan (not too much, just enough to coat the bottom of the patties) on the stovetop and fry the fish cakes 2-3 minutes on side 1, then 2-3 minutes on side 2, then repeat (this helps avoid burning but still enables the heat to move efficiently through the cake). It’s not cheating to serve these with mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, tartar sauce or russian dressing (a combo of mayonnaise and ketchup)! These can be reheated, too!

Mashed (Turnips and) Potatoes (serves 4-6)

  • 2 large turnips, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 2 large potatoes or 4 smaller potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 1 quart of milk
  • 1 clove of garlic or 1 cube of frozen garlic (available at Trader Joes)
  • ~1/3 stick of butter, cut into small pieces
  • Salt to taste

Combine milk and garlic in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the turnips and potatoes and cook for about 20 minutes or until tender throughout. Drain the turnips and potatoes (reserving the liquid in case you need it) and put the still wet vegetables into a food processor along with the butter. Season with salt. Puree until smooth. Add more of the reserved liquid, if necessary. Serve immediately.

Burritos

  • Start with 100% whole wheat tortillas, warm them in a pan on the stovetop for about 30 seconds each side – longer and they get crunchy and hard to fold.
  • Place bowls or plates in the middle of the dinner table containing various toppings from which everyone can choose. Some suggestions:
      • Beans (canned is fine)
      • Brown rice (Trader Joes frozen, nuked for 3 minutes is great)
      • Avocado slices
      • Salsa (from the refrigerated section at the grocery store – not the processed stuff in a jar)
      • Lettuce, cut into shreds
      • Sour cream (definitely organic)
      • Jalapenos (canned or fresh)
      • Shredded cheese
      • Hot sauce
      • Meat
      • Seafood
      • Corn
      • Onions
      • Peppers
      • Potatoes
      • Carrots
      • Prepared guacamole (I buy Trader Joes and store it in the freezer)
      • Anything healthy that you think one or more members of your family will eat, cut into small pieces.
  • Everyone piles their chosen items on top of his/her tortilla, and then there are two options.
      1. Enclose your burrito by folding in the sides first, then rolling from front to back.
      2. Leave the buritto more like a tostada, open face, and eat it with a fork and knife.
  • Offer to put these into the microwave for a bit to melt the cheese.
  • As an alternative to tortillas and for a fancier touch, you could serve prepared gorditas (available frozen from Trader Joes) on which toppings can be piled high.

(Kale and sweet potato) biscuits (makes about 10 biscuits)

  • 1/2 of a large sweet potato, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 stick of butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of dried kale (available pre-packaged), ground into very small flakes
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 450F. Nuke the sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes or until very tender. Puree them in the food processor until smooth; add softened butter, vinegar and kale, and continue pureeing for about 1 minute longer. In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the puree to the flour mixture, and mix until uniform. Add the milk to form a more pliable dough. On a piece of parchment paper, flatten the dough until it is about 1/2″ thick. Use a ~3″ cookie cutter to cut out biscuits. Place them on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 450F for about 15 minutes.

(Avocado) mint chocolate chip ice cream

  • 3 ripe Haas avocados, scooped (Trader Joes sells frozen ones, but otherwise fresh)
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk (cold)
  • 3/4 cups sugar (I like turbinado, raw sugar, but you can use granulated)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (cold)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of dark (high cacao content) chocolate chips (your choice depending on how chocolatey you want the ice cream)

In a food processor or blender, combine the avocado meat, lemon juice, mint extract, sugar and milk and puree for ~1 minute. Scrape down the sides and continue pureeing until smooth and velvety. Add the heavy cream, and puree for 10-20 seconds more. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the chocolate chips. Cover and place bowl into the freezer. The mixture can then be processed in an ice cream maker after freezing for ~4-5 hours. Alternatively after freezing, pour into glasses and call it a milkshake!

Cheesy goop soup (serves 4)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 1 onion, chopped (optional)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped (or 2 frozen cubes, available at Trader Joes)
  • 1 large potato (regular or sweet), cut into large chunks
  • 2 cups loosely packed swiss charge (or the equivalent amount of other vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash or other leafy greens)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 10 oz. good quality cheddar or swiss cheese, grated or shredded (orange-colored is preferable)
  • Salt, to taste

Nuke the swiss chard (or alternative vegetable) in the microwave for 1 minute (or equivalent) until tender; add to the bowl of a food processor. Nuke the potato in the microwave for 3-5 minutes or until tender; add to the food processor along with 1/2 cup of cream and 1/2 cup of stock, and puree the mixture for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and puree again until a very smooth mixture is achieved.  Set aside. If using the chopped onion, first saute it in a soup pot with olive oil or butter for 3 minutes. Add the garlic to the pot and continue to saute for 1 minute longer. Add the remaining stock (2 1/2 cups) to the pot and bring to a simmer. Then, add the vegetable mixture and bring back up to a simmer. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of cream plus the grated cheese and stir continuously until the cheese is melted. Add salt, if necessary.

Red bread spread (serves 4-8)

  • One 12 oz. jar of fire roasted red peppers NOT stored in vinegar (available at Trader Joes)
  • 1 cup of nuts (Brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, etc.)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or 2 frozen garlic cubes available from Trader Joes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese

Drain red peppers. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Great on toasted bread or as a dip for veggies.

Pot Pie Treasure Chests (serves 4)

  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1 3/4 cups of stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • Cooked vegetables for pureeing such as leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.
  • Cooked vegetables and/or meats cut in “chunks” such as corn, carrots, sweet potatoes, chicken, etc.
  • Salt, pepper and/or other favorite seasonings, to taste

Preheat oven to 400F and prepare 4 ramekins or small, oven safe bowls by spraying them with non-stick cooking spray (all natural, please).

Melt the stick of butter in a pot over low heat and then add flour, stirring with a whisk for about 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil, continuing to whisk. Bring down to a simmer for 5-10 additional minutes or until a thick sauce. Season as you like.

Puree the cooked vegetables in the food processor with the heavy cream and with 1/2 cup of the thick sauce you just made. Whisk in the puree to the sauce on the stove along with any other “chunks” of vegetables and/or meat. Season.

Cut each puff pastry sheet into two. Line each ramekin’s bottom and sides with the puff pastry, some will likely be sticking up/out as well, but that is okay, you will use this to make a cover later. You can pinch the dough together on the sides to try to cover the entire circumference, but don’t worry if you leave a portion of the sides exposed.  Fill each ramekin with the filling and then fold over any puff pastry that had been protruding up/out to form a top cover (you will likely not cover the entire top). Bake in the oven for ~20 minutes (you might want to place the ramekins on a cookie sheet as the filling tends to ooze a bit).

(Leafy greens and) parmesan crackers (makes about 24 crackers)

  • 2 cups of loosely packed leafy greens, torn from stem (swiss chard, kale, turnip greens, etc.)
  • 1 cup whole wheat white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment. In the food processor, puree the leafy greens, scraping down the sides as necessary until very small flakes form. Add in the flour, salt, butter and parmesan and pulse until combined. Stream in the cream until the dough starts clumping together (you may not need all the cream). Dump out the dough onto the parchment and form a log shape with your hands, about 2″ high and 2″ wide. Then, roll up in the parchment, forming a cylindrical log. Unroll and slice along the log, forming circular crackers, about 1/4″ thick and place each back onto the parchment, spaced slightly apart. Bake for 10 minutes, turn each cracker, and then bake for 5-10 minutes longer until brown on both sides. Serve with dips or cheese.

“Green alien” potato pancakes (serves 4)

  • 2 cups of leafy greens, cut from stalks (mustard, dandelion, kale, turnip, etc.)
  • 1 16 oz. bag of frozen hashbrown potatoes (I used Whole Foods organic)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • Salt, to tast
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil for frying

Defrost the hashbrown potatoes in the microwave set to 50% power for 5 minutes. Puree leafy greens in the food processor until small flakes form (you will need to scrape down the sides at least once). Add the 2 eggs and continue pureeing for ~1 additional minute. Combine the greens mixture, flour and potatoes together. Season with salt. Using your hands, form the mixture into pancake shapes about the size of your palm. You should be able to make 8 cakes. Heat oil in a saute pan until hot and pan fry the cakes on medium low, 5 minutes per side. Serve with toppings such as sour cream, applesauce, smoked salmon, capers or even ketchup!

Brussels sprouts bread pudding (serves 6)

  • 2 cups frozen brussels sprouts (I like the small ones)
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs (optional since flecks of green might offend certain little ones)
  • About 3 cups of day old bread torn into bite size pieces (such as baguette, challah, artisan, etc.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Spray a small pyrex square dish with cooking oil and preheat the oven to 350F. Place the bread pieces in a large bowl. Combine the milk, 2 tablespoons butter, herbs (optional), salt and pepper on the stove and warm until the butter melts. Pour the milk mixture over the bread and let sit, stirring occasionally. In the mean time, put the brussels sprouts into a food processor, and run for about 1 minute, scraping down the sides once. Then, sautee the shreds in 1 tablespoon butter on the stovetop for about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. In a second bowl, beat the eggs and add in the shredded cheese and cooked brussels sprouts (you may want to let them cool a bit first). Then combine the brussels sprouts mixture with the bread mixture and pour into the prepared dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until set and browned.

No tuna fish sandwiches (yes salmon and artichokes) (makes 2-3 sandwiches)

  • 1 can of wild salmon, boneless
  • 6 oz. or about 1 1/2 cups of frozen artichoke hearts (available at Trader Joes)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • Salt to taste (optional)
  • 2 anchovies from a can, chopped finely (optional)
  • Mustard (optional)
  • Diced pickles (optional)
  • Sandwich bread

(Pumpkin) pancakes (serves 4-6)

  • Multigrain or whole wheat pancake mix (such as Trader Joes Multigrain Baking and Pancake Mix) and associated ingredients – enough to make about 12 pancakes
  • Extra milk
  • 1 15 oz. can of pureed pumpkin (about 2 cups)
  • Chopped nuts (optional – only include if your kids will embrace the addition)
  • Additional fruit such as blueberries (optional)

Prepare the pancake batter according to the package directions. Stir in the pumpkin puree, adding extra milk if the batter is too thick for you. Add in other optional ingredients. Cook according to package directions.

Superfood smoothies I (serves 2)

  • 4 superfood fruit servings  – pick 4 from: 1 kiwi, 1/3 cup blueberries, 1/3 cup raspberries, 1/3 cup strawberries, 1/3 cup blackberries, 1/3 cup plums (it’s okay to double, triple or quadruple up on one selection)
  • 4 oz of liquid such as pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, carrot juice or milk
  • 1/4 cup of a complementary flavor of ice cream or sorbet
  • A squirt of honey (optional if you like things a bit sweeter)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix for about 1 minute. For kids with an aversion to funky textures, serve with small diameter straws. This ensures that any extraneous fruit skins are not easily sucked up, causing distress!

(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.

“Eat your spinach” chocolate chip cookies (makes about 20 cookies)

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of sugar (I use turbinado – unprocessed cane sugar)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups frozen leafy greens such as spinach, collards, kale, etc. (do not thaw)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400F. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt, then add to the mixer and mix until just combined. In a food processor, chop the frozen leafy greens until small flakes form. Add the cold leafy greens to the mixer along with the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed throughout the dough. The dough should now be cold, which helps keep the cookies from flattening out too much during baking. Line one or two cookie sheets with parchment (depending on the size of your oven), and form ping pong sized balls of dough by rolling in the palm of your hands. Space out evenly on the cookie sheet(s), leaving about two inches between balls. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Lemon butter (and bean sprouts) sauce

  • 1 1/3 cups of bean sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (the jarred variety should be okay)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Nuke the bean sprouts in the microwave for about 1 minute. Then, puree in a food processor 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides several times. Pour in the cream and continue to puree about 1 minute longer or until the bean sprouts are diced very small. On the stovetop, heat the lemon juice for about 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Add cream/bean sprout puree to the pot and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter pieces, one at a time, until melted. Serve warm.

Scrambled scrambled eggs (serves 1)

  • 1 tablespoon butter (or less, if desired)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup of a vegetable such as brussels sprouts, red pepper, cabbage, bean sprouts, leafy greens (cooked, raw or frozen)
  • 2 oz. cheese (optional)
  • Salt, to taste

Add vegetable to the food processor and chop until very fine. Add to beaten eggs along with cheese. Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add egg mixture and let set, then scramble. Heat until eggs are desired doneness. Salt, to taste.

Nut loaf (with cabbage and mushrooms) (serves 6)

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup of fresh bread pieces, about 1/2 inch cubed (torn from a sandwich bread, for example)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups of mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb of cabbage (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large carrot
  • Onion powder and garlic powder, to taste (or real onion and garlic, if tolerated)
  • 3 1/2 cups of nuts (preferably pecans and/or walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (like panko or other canned variety)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon mustard (Dijon, preferably)
  • 3 teaspoons of mixed dried spices such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, nutmeg
  • Salt, to taste

Combine eggs, milk and torn bread pieces in a large bowl and let soak. In a food processor fitted with a grater attachment, run the carrots, cabbage and mushrooms through, creating very small threads. Heat butter in a skillet and cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Sprinkle with onion and garlic powders as well as salt, to taste. Using the blade attachment for the food processor, chop the nuts to desired fineness. Add the vegetables and nuts to the bowl along with the other remaining ingredients and mix well. Form into a greased loaf pan and cook in a 375F oven for 45 minutes.

Copyright 2010, 2011

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