Getting people to eat vegetables can be a serious task. This isn't just limited to children, I've cooked for my share of fussy adults who firmly believe pizza rolls are an appropriate vegetable side. I don't care what people say, pizza anything will never be considered a vegetable in any way. Pasta sauce has even gotten so diluted these days that it barely counts. However, being a sneaky chef and sneaking vegetables into food can be more than just grinding them up and adding them to soups and sauces. It's all about pairing them with ingredients that make them taste good. The below recipes are things that have been passed down in my family for about two generations, and now were passed down to me.
Though these recipes are from a different time, so by no means am I claiming the following to be good diet food and really super healthy for you. Sometimes though, you have to put the good (vegetables) with the bad (cheese, usually) to get people to eat the good.
Russian Meat Pies
Primary Veggies: Cabbage and Carrots
Cabbage gets kind of a bad reputation. Boiled cabbage is something your grandparents would feed you as a kid and make you hate it forever. Even worse if you have native German grandparents like me, I've never been able to stand sauerkraut. It's just one of those vegetables that are hard to get a good flavor out of. However, cabbage is high in vitamin C and iodine. You wouldn't think you need much iodine in your diet, but in a world where sea salt is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative from iodized salt, you're not getting the iodine your body needs from iodized salt. It's also a great source of fiber.
1 pound of ground beef
1 package of grated cabbage (Slaw mix)
2 teaspoons of granulated beef broth
1 package of shredded cheddar cheese
3 loaves of frozen bread dough
Rub frozen bread loaves with oil and let rise 6 to 8 hours
Brown meat then add cabbage and dried beef broth in a skillet. Cover and stir occasionally until cabbage is tender. Divide risen bread dough into thirds (makes 9). Flatten into circles, making sure not to tear the bread dough. Put 1/4th cup filling in center and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Gather up sides and twist together until they stay closed. The twisting part can be difficult because the oil can make the dough not stick. If you need to, bake them for 5 minutes and retwist so it will close. Alternatively, turn them to the side and use a fork to pinch closed, like a pot sticker!
Bake at 350 degrees until browned and hard on the top
This isn't so much hiding a vegetable as it is filling it with awesome. I recommend using red or yellow peppers if people don't like vegetables. Red ones are nice and sweet and refreshing whereas green peppers can be a bit abrasive. If you have a small child, these can be difficult to eat. Well, they can be difficult for grown adults too! If you think it will be too much to handle, try cutting the peppers in half and filling them.
Primary Veggies: Bell Peppers and (optional) Avocado
Bell Peppers are a super great diet food, being low in calories. This recipes really doesn't do it too much justice to be honest. However, they are packed full of antioxidants and B vitamins. These, like all vegetables, have lots of nice fiber and B6 vitamins as well as folic acid. Great vegetables for your heart. On top of that they have about 110 grams of water inside them. Avocados in the guacamole are quite the super food. They're sometimes refered to as the alphabet fruit because of all the vitamins in them!
Bell Peppers (green, yellow, or red)
1 pound of ground beef
1 package of shredded cheese
1 package of taco seasoning
Refried beans (optional)
Cut the top out of the bell pepper and be sure to remove the seeds from the inside. Layer browned and taco seasoned ground beef, refried beans, guacamole and cheese until pepper is filled. If your worried they'll resist eating the bell pepper, cut some up and add it to the taco meat while it's cooking.
Top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees until pepper is tender.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
This a super sneaky one. The old adage is that if you cover something with cheese, anyone will eat it. This holds true. The vegetable hidden here is cauliflower. I personally hate the stuff, but hidden in this recipe, you don't even taste it.
Primary Veggies: Cauliflower
Cauliflower has never been my favorite of veggies, in fact, I prefer beets to it and nobody likes beets. Cauliflower is filled with vitamin C and fiber, like most vegetables but the also have a healthy amount of potassium, which helps with high blood pressure. Glucosinolates are sulfur-containing compounds that give cauliflower its pungent smell and flavor. Glucosinolates activate the body's detoxification system. Chewing breaks down glucosinolates into their active form, which triggers the detoxification process.
cauliflower, bacon, and/or ham
Boil pasta until tender. Steam cauliflower until tender.
In a pan, melt 1/4th cup of better, sprinkle in flour until it forms a paste. Stirring with a fork, add milk a little at a time continue cooking and adding milk until you have the amount of sauce you want. Turn heat on low and add cheddar cheese until melted and cheesy. Combine with pasta and cauliflower (and/or bacon, ham if you put that in)
Pour in baking an and top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 350 until it forms a browned crust.