Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Vegetable dishes your family will actually *want* to eat

Do you have a hard time getting your kids to eat their vegetables? I certainly do, in a sense. I'm not sure if you can consider a 36-year-old man a 'kid', but the shoe fits. My husband is one of those people who is very picky about what he likes to eat. He's not impossible to please, but I do sometimes have to push to get him to eat something that isn't made of meat. I'll bet I'm not alone in this! I'm not a nag or anything, but sometimes we just need to have something reasonably healthy. For this reason, I have had to come up with some ways to prepare vegetables that can appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. I've stolen some of these from my friends, but some are all mine. I hope they can inspire you!

One thing my husband likes is baked zucchini and squash. Take about ten to twelve inches of aluminum foil and set to the side. Now, slice some 'circles' (say that five times fast) of zucchini and squash, however much you want. I like to put more zucchini than squash in mine, but do it to your own taste. Place the slices on the foil in a 'column' in the middle; you're going to fold the sides and ends over to 'wrap' them, so make sure you leave some room. If you like, you can also add sliced onions and carrots to the mix. Just make sure everything can lay flat on the sheet. Then, drizzle some cooking oil (canola or vegetable oil will do) over the vegetables. After that, use whatever spices you want to your taste. I use fresh cracked pepper, kosher salt and oregano, but other blended spices work well too. Fold in the sides and ends of the foil to cover the vegetables, put them on a cookie sheet and bake them for about eight minutes at 350 degrees. This will make the vegetables come out soft but firm. It's so awesome to hear them sizzle in the foil! This makes a really good side dish.

Another thing I do sometimes is bake the vegetables in the same way, but slice them a little thicker. When they're done, I will cut them in chunks and mix them into a classic marinara sauce. This way, they add to the nutritional value of the sauce while giving it a nice texture. If you don't want to use carrots in a sauce, fresh mushrooms also work well.

Do you like Chinese buffets? We certainly do! Take some fresh string beans and pinch the stems off of the ends. Then, you can wrap them in a wet paper towel and put them in the microwave for about 30 seconds to get them to a crisp, steamed texture. Then, I like to stir fry them in soy sauce, just enough for them to pick up the flavor. They make a great side dish to teriyaki chicken and white rice.

These are just a few basic ideas about how to incorporate vegetables into ordinary meals in a way that will make your family actually want to eat them! Feel free to 'tweak' these as you wish. I'm not a cooking expert by any means, but most of our best recipes come from trial and error in the kitchen. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. My husband was the same way. The only way I could get him to eat vegetables was if I did things like you suggested to spruce them up and also I suppose taste less vegetable-y.