2008-03-11

And they ain't Popeye!

Before I had kids, I had visions of serving healthy meals full of organic produce to my family who would, of course, be thrilled and gobble down every bite.

Yeah. Didn't turn out that way.

If your kids are like mine, they aren't very into a lot of fruits and veggies; in particular, leafy greens. And no amount of pleading, "But they are so GOOD for you!" helps. However, I've devised a sneaky way of incorporating them into their everyday diets without them even knowing! Bwahahahahahaaaaaa! I'll let you in on my secret, but only if you promise not to tell my kids!

I take fresh spinach, or any cooking green such as collard greens or kale, remove any tough or stiff stems, and then chop it up SUPER FINE. That's the key, you need to get the the leaves need to be just this side of pulverized. Actually, I don't literally chop it, I puree the dickens out of it in my food processor. I've also thrown whole spinach leaves into the freezer and crumpled them once frozen; the pieces get pretty small that way, too.

Then I just add it to whatever I'm cooking that's savory: scrambled eggs, soups, pasta or rice dishes, etc. Since the pieces are so small, the spinach flavor is lost amongst it's culinary companions (as long as you don't use too much!) and it is easily overlooked by little ones.

The first time I pulled this fast one on my kids, it was sort of accidental. I'd put some spinach that I'd pulled from the freezer into a stew I'd made. When my son asked, "What's this green stuff in the soup, Mama?" I nonchalantly answered him as vaguely as possible, "Just flavoring and decoration, like parsley." He's used to seeing green flakes in canned soups and whatnot, so he totally bought it. My daughter did, too.

I'm thinking about trying it in their mac-n-cheese.

That might be pushing it.

By the way, I linked this post here...there are other fun and informative tips to be found there! For example, while clicking links, I found this amazing one about self-defense. Coincidentally (or eerily, I dunno but I sure hope not), I was at a similar lecture myself earlier this evening. This post is full of great information...check it out!

(ps...I got the spinach photo from stockxpert. My camera is broken. Nooooooooooooooo!)

11 comments:

  1. Great idea! We just had a knock down, drag out over some spinich this week. I'd love to pull a fast one on my kids!

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  2. make the mac and cheese green for St. Patrick's day by adding the spinach in---maybe it will get by them that way---creative idea to chop it so fine

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  3. Love this! I have a book by Jerry Seinfeld's wife (see it here ) ... it's all about sneaking things into your kids' food :)

    I love your idea ... and the way it came about. You're a great storyteller!

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  4. My step kids were always very picky eaters (my own kids, luckily, not so much). I learned early on NOT to cook in front of them, as they would scrutinize EVERY ingredient. So meals would be prepared before they came over and then given cutesy names that hid their true identity - like "Eggplant Sauce" (which they refused to eat) became "Persian Red Sauce" (which they absolutely loved).

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  5. I do that too -- you're right, cutting it small is key. The kids fave is tri-color orzo with spinach chopped very fine and sauteed in olive oil with a little garlic, and mixed with feta. One of my faves too!

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  6. There is a fabulous restaurant here in town that serves Mac and cheese with finely chopped turnip greens mixed in. It adds the perfect flavor and gives it a little zip. Way Yummy!

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  7. Super idea! I'll definitely try this!

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  8. I had a similar epiphany about frozen bits of vegetable puree.

    I love spaghetti night even more. My stepson has already eaten more broccoli in the past 3 months than he has in the 14 years prior.

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  9. I'm pretty lucky in this department but I do notice that when I add bacon/pancetta to veggies, they go even quicker but then this may be defeating the healthy aspect. Regardless it's bacon wrapped chicken with leeks tonight ;)
    I do have a great kale/pasta recipe that you may want to try:
    http://whatsfordinnermommy.blogspot.com/search/label/kale
    (sorry for the shameless plug here but it's really yummy!)

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  10. Check out "the sneaky chef" and "deceptively delicious" books (they have awesome ways to "hide" veggies in kids food!) I also put V-8 into my spaghetti sauce (they never know and they're getting lots of veggies!)

    Pop on over to Pink Lemonade - you have an award waiting for you!

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  11. I smell a cookbook in your future!

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Brilliant observations: