Recipes for kids who hate vegetables often have to be rather sneaky. Kids often decide that they don´t like something that they haven´t tried – or they don´t like a particular vegetable this week. So parents have to be smart when making vegetables for kids.So here are some recipes for children that will help you get those vitamin-packed veggies down them ….
1. Mini Quiches
Kids love food that they can eat with their fingers, so these mini quiches could be a great way of sneaking vegetables past them (just be sure to chop the mushrooms up very finely!). You could also substitute other veggies, such as onions or peppers (chop finely or liquidise the filling). Remember, a good crust is essential for a fantastic quiche!
1 pkg. refrigerated pie crust
1 large portabello mushroom
8 oz. button mushrooms
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
Let pie crusts stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, then gently roll out to 12" circles. Wipe mushrooms with damp cloth and chop in food processor or with chef's knife. Place butter and olive oil in a medium skillet and cook mushrooms over medium heat until all liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are brown and tender.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 dozen 1 3/4" muffin cups. Using 3" cookie cutter, cut 24 circles from pie crust (12 from each crust), rerolling crusts if needed. Press into prepared muffin cups. Divide mushrooms evenly among lined cups. In small bowl, combine egg, cream, salt and cayenne pepper and beat well. Pour egg mixture over mushrooms; 2 tsp. per each muffin cup. Sprinkle each with grated cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until center of quiches is set. To serve warm, cool 5 minutes before removing from pans.
To freeze, cool on wire rack and freeze in single layer until solid. Place in air tight freezer container in single layer.
To reheat, place frozen quiches on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes until hot. Makes 24.
2. Chicken Noodle Soup
Soups are an excellent way of disguising the presence of vegetables, so when you´re looking for recipes for kids containing veggies, check out the soup sections. This recipe contains chicken and spaghetti, so the veggies won´t be as obvious. Sneaky, eh!
1 small onion, chopped
3 stalks celery including leaves, chopped
1 cup mini-carrots, chopped
3 T oil to saute vegetables
2-3 boneless chicken breasts, boiled in water just to cover chicken
1 32 oz. box chicken broth
8 oz. thin spaghetti
Bring chicken breasts to boil in water seasoned with salt; cover and simmer until done.
Saute chopped vegetables in oil until soft.
Cool slightly and puree vegetables in blender.
Tear chicken into small pieces.
Place in soup pot with broth from cooked chicken and 1 box of chicken broth.
Add spaghetti noodles and sauteed vegetables.
Cover and cook until noodles are done.
Season to taste.
3. Vegetable Frankie
This is basically an Indian version of tortillas or wraps (flour tortillas would make a decent substitute if you don´t want to make your own). Younger children might prefer the chilli toned down a bit, but this would make a tasty kids´ meal, especially for a picnic or packed lunch. Now, this takes a bit of work, what with preparing the wrap and the filling, the assembling the entire thing, but it's well work the effort!
Atta - whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Vegetable oil - 1 tsp
Water - to make dough.
Potatoes - 1 cup cubed small
Green Capsicum - 1/2 cup chopped
Onion - 1/2 cup chopped
Tomato - 1/2 cup chopped
Green chilies - 2 (more or less according to taste)
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Garlic ginger paste(or chopped finely) - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Butter or vegetable oil - 1 tbsp
Mix atta, salt and oil
Add water as necessary and make soft dough as you do for chapati.
Keep aside covered for about 20-30 minutes.
Make chapaties with the dough as you normally make. There is no need to fold and apply oil in between
In a deep pan, heat oil or butter. Add cumin seeds. When they stop spluttering, add chopped onions and finely chopped green chilies.
Fry for 2- minutes. Add garlic and ginger paste. Keep stirring.
Add chopped tomatoes. Stir and cook covered for 2 minutes.
Add potatoes. Cook covered for 3-4 minutes. Add capsicum. Cook for 2 minutes without covering.
Add salt, sugar and chopped coriander leaves. If adding paneer, add it now. Mix well and cook till the vegetable mix is dryish.
Take off the fire. Let cool.
This vegetable mix needs to be dry. So no water is to be added at any stage. After you add capsicum, do not cover. Let it cook with the pan uncovered.
Take one chapatti or tortilla. Spread a little tomato ketchup on it.
Place 2 tbsp vegetable mix in the middle of the chapatti lengthwise. Fold one side of the chapatti to cover the vegetable mix and then the other side over it. In this way fill 2 or 3 chapaties with veg mix.
Heat tava. Keep heat medium. Add a little oil or butter on it. Place 2-3 stuffed frankies on it, open side downwards.
Apply a little butter on top. Let it cook for a few seconds. Turn over carefully. Let cook till it gets a few brown spots at the bottom.
4. Sweet Potato Sticks
Here´s a bit of a challenge, but definitely worth a try. Kids love fries, and if you can convince them that these are orange fries, you could be onto a winner! Well, they´re called potatoes, aren´t they? And fries are made from potatoes …
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
8 sweet potatoes, sliced lengthwise into quarters
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix olive oil and paprika. Add potato sticks, and stir by hand to coat. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake 40 minutes in the preheated oven.
5. Bubble & Squeak Potato Cakes
As a child, I was not very keen on a lot of vegetables, and I´m still not fond of many of them now. I think if my mother had tried this recipe, though, she might actually have been able to persuade me to eat cabbage! Most kids would love these potato cakes if served with some tomato ketchup.
1/3 cup olive oil
2 green onions (shallots), finely sliced
2 cups finely shredded Chinese cabbage
1 medium carrot, grated
2 cups cold mashed potatoes*
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs plain flour
2 tbs butter
*Made with about 600g peeled King Edward, Desiree or Spunta potatoes. Do not add milk or butter to the mashed potatoes.
Heat 2 tbs oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add green onions, cabbage and carrot and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until very tender. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Place mashed potatoes in a bowl. Add cabbage mixture, egg, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix until well combined. Form mixture into 8 patties. Dust patties lightly in flour.
Wipe out the frying pan with paper towel. Add remaining 2 tbs oil and butter and heat over medium heat. Cook patties for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden. Drain on paper towel and serve.
6. Pasta with Winter Squash and Pine Nuts
Pasta is a favourite when it comes to meals for kids; this one is a bit more imaginative than most, yet should still appeal. Squash has some sweetness to it, plus most kids love cheese. The recipe suggests using penne, or kids will probably enjoy butterfly pasta.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 cups water, divided
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and shredded
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
12 ounces uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta)
1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Add pine nuts and sage; remove from heat. Remove from pan, and set aside.
Heat olive oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic to pan, and sauté 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 cup water and squash to pan. Cook for 12 minutes or until water is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add remaining water, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until each portion of water is absorbed before adding the next (about 15 minutes). Stir in sugar, salt, and pepper.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Combine pasta and squash mixture in a large bowl. Add reserved 1/2 cup pasta water, butter mixture, and 3/4 cup cheese; toss well. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Serve immediately.
7. Carrot Cake Muffins
This might not be the healthiest way of persuading kids to eat vegetables, but once you have got them to eat these muffins, you can then try them on the savoury version. They´ll be astonished if you admit that the muffins have carrots in them! Odds are adults will love them, too!
1/2 c. walnuts
3/4 c. sugar
6 T. butter
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 oz. cream cheese
1 egg yolk
2 T. sugar
Place carrots, walnuts, and eggs in a blender. Blend until very, very finely ground.
Transfer to a large bowl and beat in sugar and butter. Add flour, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder (double the amount of baking powder to 1 tsp. if you’re baking at low altitudes), and salt. Mix ingredients together, making sure not to overmix. Spoon into muffin tins, prepared with cupcake wrappers. In a small bowl, beat together cream cheese, egg yolk, and sugar. Spoon 1-2 teaspoons in the center of the carrot batter for each muffin.
Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until the centers of the muffins are set.
8. Antipasto Pizza
Pizza is definitely a winner for youngsters, so you can´t go wrong when choosing it for kids´ meals. This one has some unusual vegetables, such as artichokes, but your kids might just be willing to try them on the grounds that it´s pizza! You could also make smaller pizzas with different toppings, so that they can sample a bit of each one.
1/2 cup (125ml) tomato sugo (tomato sauce)
6 prosciutto slices, coarsely torn
4 marinated artichokes, quartered
100g char-grilled capsicum, thickly sliced
1/2 cup (85g) green olives
50g semi-dried tomatoes
8 bocconcini, coarsely torn
Baby rocket leaves, to serve
3/4 cup (185ml) warm water
1 tsp dried yeast
1/2 tsp caster sugar
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 cups (300g) plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
To make dough, combine water, yeast and sugar in a jug. Set aside for 5 minutes or until foamy. Add oil and stir to combine. Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Add water mixture; use a round-bladed knife to mix until well combined. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 30 minutes or until dough rises by a third.
Preheat oven to 240°C. Divide dough into 2 even portions. Roll each to a 40cm round disc; place on 2 oven trays. Spread sugo over each base. Arrange prosciutto, artichokes, capsicum, olives and tomatoes over each pizza. Top with bocconcini. Bake in preheated oven, swapping trays halfway through cooking, for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven. Top with rocket; serve.
Many children can be fussy about food, but with a bit of ingenuity, you can hide a lot of vegetables in kids´ meals. There are some great recipes for kids, and others that can be adapted. You needn´t even confess what you´ve fed them (well, not for several years, anyway). What recipes for kids are most popular with your family?
Top Photo Credit: youngandraw.com