If you knew what was in it, you would not put it in your mouth.” ~Neida Graham
Fact of the matter is, we do, and we eat it anyway! Want to make a healthy choice rather than a cholesterol- and calorie-laden one?
I have ways of making you…
My late husband, professed pasta and meat man, ate spinach. Yay, Popeye! Forget every other stinking, healthy vegetable on the menu. With cholesterol readings off the Richter scale, I devised some pretty savvy ways of infusing my picky eater with vegetables. Behold! My top 10 ways of introducing vegetables into everyday foods for the family who would starve before succumbing to a floret of broccoli.
One: Spaghetti & Pasta
My husband likened eating whole wheat pasta to chewing ground glass. Ironically, spinach and carrot pasta (usually rotini) always met with approval. Durham pasta’s triglycerides are the #2 American culprit for high cholesterol. If you cannot stomach whole wheat, change from Durham to veggie.
The secret compartment for hiding vegetables! I must confess: I got caught. I was avidly chopping carrots into oblivion when hubs found the kitchen. After three blissful years of never having a clue, he discovered what I had been doing.
Your crew can use more beta carotene. Add tiny pieces of carrot (beet is better) to the sauce at the beginning. The bits dissolve. You are the wiser, and, blind to your tactics, they see better.
Don’t stop there. Mangle a mushroom.
Iron does a body good. Cut into matchstick pieces, the mushrooms pieces which do not dissolve resemble (and taste) like meat in the sauce. Toadstool shaped pieces are picked out with the Jagermeister face, but tiny pieces are devoured in the bliss of ignorance. Use portabello when you can find fresh ones, buttons when you can’t and shiitake every time.
Have you noticed pizza has sauce on it? Veggie pizza gets all thumbs down, doesn’t it? (Cue evil laughter.)
Hide the spinach! Fresh, finely chopped spinach looks like parsley. Don’t tell, and no one will ever know its not parsley. Toss in some crushed carrot or two ounces of pure carrot juice in place of a bit of the tomato sauce. Pass the peppers, too. Bell and banana peppers don’t add heat, but add vital nutrients (loaded with vitamin C) to every dish. Throw in some olive bits (black and green)…more vitamins.
Do I need to repeat the carrot chorus? Fold in oddly-shaped pumpkin pieces or stir in a cup of packaged (not spiced) pumpkin. Without sweetening, you have added a layer of depth to the sauce. Render fresh chopped onion. Better flavor is a bonus to the added iron. More disguised toadstools add a power boost.
Five: Chicken Casserole
Do they pick out the vegetables to feed the dog under the table? Make them invisible. Cauliflower: Use a potato masher to smash it into a paste with chicken broth. Add it to canned cream soup. My children swear they have never eaten cauliflower. (Bwahahaha!)
Green is difficult to hide in lots of dishes. Squeeze peas into pesto when you slip in the fresh spinach (See three). Peas will sweeten the pesto slightly, spinach will not. Arrugala takes away the sweet, if you find fresh. Better still are beet greens. With a peppery taste and a hint of sweetness, they hide well in pesto.
They eat salad? You have won the first skirmish. Win the coup.
- Spoon-scrape the flowers off broccoli florets. They are too tiny to pick out of salad dressing.
- Add different greens: mustard greens, spinach, beet greens, Romaine hearts, arrugala, red cabbage, kale.
- Stop buying iceberg lettuce. Really.
- Chop, chop. Smaller pieces mean more eaten without being able to remove the goodness.
- Use the tips outlined above to beef up the salad.
Holy moly, what you can hide in guacamole! This is not for hiding leafy veggies, but crush some lima beans. I am not crazy (Hey, you, in the peanut gallery, pipe down): This works. Limas have the same texture beneath the skin as avocado and are equally receptive to spices. Did you notice they are the same color?
Add juice to any dish (instead of water) to add vitamins. Adding juice to juice makes more sense. My house is convinced I like carrot juice: Silly rabbits! Carrot juice is for children! An half or whole cup added to powdered drinks (Kool-Aid, Flavorade or Gatorade) never raises the troops’ radar.
Find the nectars in your juice aisle. They come in aluminum cans or juice boxes. Substitute these whole fruits in dishes you would sweeten to add healthy calories instead of empty, white, sugary ones.
So, it is sneaky. I got these ideas when I had the eyes installed in the back of my head. (Insert Sargeant Schultz accent) I have ways of making you eat your vegetables!
NEXT: Sushi Basics
Last chance at the vacation poll. Have you voted? Look on the left!
What did you sneak into a dish for your spouse or your child?
Did they find out?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2011
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