It is easy to serve meals with hidden vegetables but I also like to
serve vegetables plain and visible for the kids to see. However, I
don't see anything wrong with adding pureed, grated or hidden
vegetables in what I cook for added nutrition. The combination of
the two makes for healthy kids meals.
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How to Add Vegetables into Your Menu Plans
You can prepare vegetable purees for the freezer easily. Enlist help
from the kids! They can help with peeling vegetables, chopping in
smaller pieces, steam vegetables and puree in the blender.
Some great vegetables that work well are:
Then pour into small containers and freeze.
All these beautiful colors!
My favorite thing about these days are seeing their variations of
spelling on the labels. Still brings a smile to my face.
What to Do with These Vegetable and Fruit Purees
I love to add vegetables in soups, breads, sauces and ground meat
among other places. Once the meat is cooked it blends well and adds
a lot of flavor to the meat. I don't always follow a recipe when
adding vegetables, I just use whatever vegetables I have on hand.
I added pureed broccoli, carrots, zucchini and onions to the
hamburger in this picture.
Adding more vegetables to your favorite recipes is a great way
to add healthy eating to your meals.
Healthy Meal Recipes with Hidden Vegetable Recipes
When I'm making homemade pizza I add 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
into the pizza sauce. Then I chop very finely or puree 1 red
pepper and stir it into the sauce, also. Spread over pizza crust
and top with shredded cheese and toppings. Bake.
I also have at least one vegetable on top of the pizza such as
peppers, mushrooms, olives or broccoli.
If they aren't eating the topping at least they are getting the
vegetables in the sauce.
1 Cup milk
2 Tablespoons applesauce
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup cooked lentils
1 small carton, 4 oz. or 1/2 Cup of plain yogurt
In blender, add all ingredients. Blend together and cook on a hot
Sneaky "Cheesy" Noodles
by Kim H. (WV)
Penne or any other shaped noodle, cooked to al dente or as
desired 1/4-1/2 Cup milk (splash or to make as creamy as you
1/4 Cup (or less) grated Parmesan cheese
1 Cup cauliflower puree (or squash)
1 or 2 tabs of butter salt & pepper to taste
My son LOVES noodles....and cheese. By calling these noodles
"cheesy", he is more likely to eat them.
I like to use penne noodles or another fun shaped pasta so he can
pick up with his fingers or stab easily with a fork. Plus, it's a
noodle we don't use too often, so it's 'special' for him.
Melt together the puree, butter, milk, & Parmesan cheese. The
Parmesan cheese is just to help hide the flavor and give it some
actual cheese consistency. But you can leave this out if you like.
Add the cooked pasta and stir together. Season to taste if needed.
The cauliflower puree give the noodles the taste of mashed potatoes.
My husband says it tastes like noodles mixed with mashed potatoes.
The squash works well. Just make sure to use light yellow
squash...not acorn. You may need more Parmesan cheese or seasoning
to mask the flavor. I've used both and have used more and less
cheese and milk. My son hasn't said anything and I "allow" him to
use his fingers as long as he eats it. He likes the larger penne
pieces. And I sit back and watch knowing he's eating cauliflower
which has NEVER made it past his lips in its normal form. :-)
Boxed Mac & Cheese with a Twist
by Kim H (WV)
any boxed macaroni and cheese butter milk
1/2c - 1c yellow squash puree
Optional additions.... any fresh, frozen, canned veggie
(peas, carrots, corn, etc.) leftover grilled chicken, pork, hot
Make any boxed macaroni and cheese per instruction EXCEPT keep the
noodles in the strainer and melt together the butter, powdered
cheese and milk PLUS 1/2 - 1 cup of pureed yellow squash.
My purees are generally frozen, so I allow everything to melt
together before adding the noodles. If you think the squash flavor
may stand out (my son has never noticed it!) add about 1/4 c of
grated Parmesan or any other flavorful cheese. Add the cooked
noodles and stir then serve. It will be nice and creamy and the
flavor is very subtle! If it turns out to be too creamy (the puree
was too watery) then add less milk and/or butter than what is
OPTIONAL... If your child doesn't mind peas, corn, asparagus, or any
other kind of veggie, add 1/4c - 1 can frozen, fresh, or canned
veggie. If frozen or fresh, add when melting butter and puree, then
add noodles once the veggies are to your liking. If canned, add with
the noodles. They will heat through as you stir.
I generally add peas to my mac & cheese and sometimes my
son will eat them, sometimes he will not. But knowing that I already
added the squash, I don't fuss if he picks them out and sets them to
the side of his plate. If you have leftover chicken, pork, hot dog
or any other meat, cut into bite-sized pieces and add along with the
cooked pasta and stir to heat through.