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Kitchen Basics – Feeding Picky Eaters

By February 25, 2015Kitchen Basics

I usually add as many veggies as I can, no matter what I’m cooking. I will often consult The Vegetarian Flavor Bible if I’m not sure about a paring. But, the more I cook and eat, the better I am at knowing what works and what doesn’t (except when I tried to make a puréed beet soup a few weeks ago with far too many turnips). Sometimes I grate them into a sauce, or blend them along with a soup. I find that, especially in things like soups, chilis, stews, sauces, and smoothies, you can hide many an un-loved food.

Of all of the ingredients to hide, I think squash is one of the easier ones. In the summer the thin skinned, more delicate summer squash will be available, like zucchini and crooknecks. When it’s colder, we will have the denser winter squashes like butternut and spaghetti squash. My mom used to grate zucchini into “Zoo Bread”. We loved it and had no idea what we were eating.

Second to squash, I’d say that greens are a good one to hide. They’re packed with nutrients and most are mild in flavor, so they will be easily hidden (maybe work your way up to stronger flavored mustard greens and arugula). Their color is a bit more noticeable, but they can go in just about anything… even a smoothie.

Two of my very favorite places to hide veggies are in soups and pasta sauces. They offending parties can be blended up and added to a tomato sauce, or to the broth of the soup. They can also be grated, diced, or chopped, depending on the level of pickiness

Some of my favorite dishes for hiding squash include:

Rotini Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Vegetarian Lasagne

Summer Chili and Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

Three Cheese Corn Chowder and Spaghetti Soup

They also work well in things like Basil and Summer Squash RisottoBeef and Bean Enchiladas and could almost pass for hash browns in Squash au Gratin.

Winner winner squash for dinner.

Some of my favorite dishes for hiding greens include:

Summer Pizza and Kale Pesto

Ham and Greens Chowder and Loaded Chicken and Rice Soup

Deconstructed Lasagne and Shepherd’s Pie of the South

In any of these, the greens could be blended up beforehand and added to the pizza or pasta sauce, soups, or shepherd’s pie, if there are those who prefer smaller pieces of green.

Another thing that I’ve heard is great to do with kids is to plant a garden (it doesn’t have to be overwhelmingly large – a potted basil plant on the balcony will do just fine). Let them help with the entire process from seed to table. When the plants have matured, let them select some for a dish, and, keeping with the basil idea, they could tear the leaves up and sprinkle them on some pasta. They may be more inclined to eat something that they’ve had a hand in not just preparing, but growing.

Happy Eating!

Author Rachel Oberg

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