Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Getting in the vegetables: Be sneaky

Sometimes the only way to get the vegetables in is to SNEAK them into whatever you are craving. I feel I am almost an expert in the art of sneakery. Those veggies are stealth veggies at my house!

I find four veggies really easy to 'sneak' into my regular meals. These are cauliflower, tomatoes, pumpkin, and spinach.


 Cauliflower is low calorie and high fiber. It also tastes amazing with cheese, so I like to make it into cheesey cauliflower and add it into macaroni & cheese. You can also mash it with potatoes to incorporate a little more fiber into your side dishes. I love cauliflower!

Here's a fun idea that mixes comfort food and  veggies: Healthy Nachos.

Take cheesey cauliflower (link to recipe) and your favorite chili recipe (I like turkey). Fill the bottom of the bowl with the cheesey cauliflower and top with some chili. Add more veggies, sour cream, chips, whatever you like. It's also awesome on a turkey sausage like a chili-cheese dog.


Tomatoes are really easy.

In the summer, I like them fresh, ripe, and with basil....
 In the winter, I prefer a tomato + cheese panini....warm, gooey, soft, crunchy...yum!

 For a snack, 1/2 cup of salsa counts. Remember that when you're getting ready for the upcoming college bowl games!

 Probably the best use of tomatoes in the winter is in a red clam sauce. Try this recipe:

Spaghetti with red clam sauce

1/2 lb linguini, angel hair, or other long pasta
2-3 small cans chopped clams
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 onion, finely diced
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tbsp good olive oil
Grated hard cheese, such as parmesan. 

Heavily salt and boil water for noodles. In another large pan, saute minced garlic and onion until translucent. Add clam juice, but RESERVE CLAMS. Add crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. Stir over high heat, allow to concentrate until 1/3 of liquid has boiled off. Add clams, and salt and pepper to taste. Add red pepper flakes for a nice zing!

Boil the noodles until al dente. Do not over cook. Transfer the noodles to the sauce pan with a slotted spoon or noodle spoon. Allow to finish cooking in the pasta sauce. They will soak up much of the sauce and become delicious. 

Serve garnished with parmesan. 


...and other squashes....

Pumpkin can be baked into breads and stirred into yogurt...
It is a classic pairing with sage in ravioli....

It makes a great base for soups and stews...

But would you ever pair it with shrimp and sour cream and make an amazing pasta dish? I would. I did.
'Cleaning out the Freezer' Pasta

1 lb shrimps, peeled and de-tailed
1/2 c canned pumpkin
1 lb linguini
2 c frozen broccoli florets
3 tbsp cream cheese, light 
2 tbsp light sour cream
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp basil
1 onion, minced
salt & pepper

Saute onion and garlic in basil and a pinch of salt and pepper until cooked Add pumpkin and 1 cup water, and stir until smooth. Add cream cheese and sour cream. Boil linguini in salted water until al dente. Add noodles with pasta fork to sauce, 1 spoonful at a time. Stir in between additions to prevent sticking. Add 1 c pasta water to mixture and stir thoroughly. Sauce should be smooth, but not water. Defrost broccoli and stir in gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. 


 In the summer, I'd tell you that my favorite way to eat spinach is in a smoothie.
Actually, a salad. A really awesome salad.

Neither of those statements would be true in the months of October to March. It's too cold to eat anything cold.

One of my favorite ways to get in the vegetables is to just add one handful to whatever I'm eating. Grilled cheese sandwich? Add a cup of spinach.

Taco meat? On a bed of spinach!
Homemade Lo Mein? On some spinach, topped with jicama and green onions!

So, if you can't do anything else, make some scrambled eggs and add in spinach. You'll get in the veggies with almost no effort.

What is your favorite vegetable-rich recipe?

1 comment:

  1. This was from a while back, but I'm always looking for more ways to eat more vegetables... I love the idea of just adding a handful of spinach to everything! Brilliant. Tonight's dinner: mac&cheese(so fast and delicious...I always add a full package or head of broccoli) on a bed of spinach. yum.