I'm laid up with some sort of viral bug - fever, body aches, etc. So what better way to spend my time when I should be sleeping, than blog about cooking? Right?
Fair warning - if any of you have known me for any considerable amount of time, as you continue reading this you may suspect I've been abducted, brainwashed, hippy-fied, etc. I grew up on Taco Bell, cheeseburgers and pizza, and (unfortunately) to this day I greatly love all three of those food groups..... Rest assured I am still the same ol' Val, just trying to add a few extra months to my lease on life. C'mon man, everybody's doin it....
I've been feeling like a bad mom lately (again?) because I tend to repeat Li'l Peanut's lunch every single day. I know she likes it, and I want to make life easy for the sitter, so I go with the routine meal whenever I can. Occasionally I'll slip some new and exciting foods in there, but more often than not I hear about how she wouldn't go near it. So I make her the same sandwich, the same hard boiled egg, and the same snacks and fruit every day.
It's hard to get veggies in the mix (though we have been successful) so I've been trying to be creative with how to get us all to eat veggies for dinner. I am more than okay with just having a hunk of cooked meat on a plate, no sides, for dinner. That's not typically the best plan, however, so I've been trying to be creative. I don't like a lot of vegetables myself, which is frustrating, because they all look so good but something happens when they cross my tastebuds... If you're one of those people who eats raw veggies and claims they taste great - shush. I would love to be you, but I'm not, so just shush.
However! I've been taking the vegetables I can tolerate and shredding them up, adding them to whatever ground meat I can. Chicken and veggie meatballs are one of Brent's and my favorites. Haley doesn't like them, though. Meatloaf made with shredded zucchini and carrots is actually really good. (And with oatmeal rather than crackers, and a few tsp of bbq sauce instead of ketchup - I'm telling you, meatloaf meets gourmet!) Burritos with shredded veggies. Pizza with veggies all over it. Whole grain pasta with shredded veggies and some mozzarella cheese. No sauce, just those three things. Or make spaghetti and add veggies to your meat sauce! These ideas are, in my humble picky opinion, better than plopping a spoonful of steamed blah on your plate. If you can mix them with everything you're eating, it's like a veggie fiesta, and you don't even realize it's going on!
Make homemade fries! Sweet potato fries! I have yet to find a way to make them without burning them, but if you figure it out, you're one step ahead of me. Make homemade veggie chips! A little olive oil and sea salt can go a long way for a veggie.
I've also found sauteeing vegetables in chicken broth instead of plain water is a great way to add flavor. It's also a wonderful idea to cook pasta in broth - then you can cut out any fatty sauces and enjoy the wholesome goodness of noodles, veggies, and drizzles of cheese.
asparagus in your scrambled eggs. Just do it.
cooked spinach in your pasta. Or your eggs. Or your ground meat.
mashed sweet potatoes in your pancake batter.
blend cucumbers or zucchinis into your guacamole. Or into the beans of your bean dip.
Most people put butter and pepper on their veggies and call them seasoned. How about drizzling olive oil and sprinkling Italian Seasoning? We put it on most all our veggies, and if we like how they taste - anyone else should too. After all, I am picky!
So there you have it. Creative ways to get veggies in your system. Your cheese grater just became your best friend - now get to shredding those veggies! And remember to buy organic - not because you're haughty, but because you want to live long enough to hear your kids thank you for the awesome vegetable options you make for them!