Friday, September 7, 2012

Veggie Hiding Isn't Just For Toddlers Anymore

Although it was entirely too hot to summon happy thoughts of cozy fall weather and comfort food today, my husband is home for the week and he eats like most people complain their young children do. His ideal weekly meal plan includes tacos, spaghetti, pork chops and rice, and chicken wings. Literally the same foods day in and day out. Thankfully, Grayson is more willing to try new things and doesn't shy away from items that actually spring from the earth. If my hubby had his way, we would eat Hamburger Helper twice a week, no joke! Tonight, I decided to simulate a boxed dinner for him but slipped a little nutrition in there too.

This brings me to the greatest weapon of choice for sneaky cooks worldwide; the food processor. Now that I can actually get mine to work, I've had to implement it's vegetable crushing skills for the majority of meals I've cooked for my husband (and stepdaughter) over the past year or more. I can slip a grocery sack of fresh vegetables into a single meal without the two of them even noticing. They're on to me now but still manage to scarf down most things I put on the table. I have found that the easiest mixture to chop up and add to a variety of dishes includes garlic, onions, spinach, mushrooms, and carrots. These items are easy to come by and relatively inexpensive even in their organic state. They also take on the flavor of the seasonings you add to your meal instead of standing out. I've tried other vegetables, such as broccoli and kale, but they didn't pass the picky test in this household. I add this mixture to hamburgers, taco meat, casseroles, pasta dishes, etc, and it blends well. Tonight I made a super quick, one pot meal, that the husband ate a giant second helping of and was at least healthier than the shelf stable version. I also used actual ground beef which we have only a handful of times a year. I like to call it One Pot Slop because it wasn't terribly pretty but it filled the boys up with no complaints.

Throw it all in and pulse it until incorporated and as chunky as they'll eat it.

Brown up your meat with a crap load of garlic in a large pot with lid. Once browned, add your veggie mixture and reduce down.

Add your liquids to the meat and veggie mix. Tonight, I used what we always have on hand, milk and plain yogurt but you could easily add stock, cream, gravy, or even condensed soup if you're into that. Bring it all to a boil and throw in your noodles or rice, season and cover. Cook until noodles are tender and sauce has thickened.
This is baby boy's, he asked for a little cheese on top, daddy added sour cream to his own and I had a healthy dose of hot sauce on mine.'s so...brown! I was dying for some sweet peas and portabella chunks, at least, but knowing the veggies were in there somewhere made me feel a little better.

So, that's what made it onto our plates tonight. Hopefully in the next few weeks, the local Farmer's Markets will pick back up again and we can start working on pumpkin, squash, beet, and asparagus meals while hubby is working out of town! Plus, I snagged a few sweet potatoes from the garden I forgot I had even planted and some chia seeds on sale this week. Experimenting will resume shortly!

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