Recipes

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Spinach & Spaghetti Pie

Henry's vegetable eating lately has been less than stellar.  Luckily he eats loads of fruit (mostly watermelon) so I'm not too concerned, but I envy the moms whose kids gladly eat veggies.  

Last week when we were eating at my sister's house for Shavuot (a Jewish holiday to commemorate receiving the Ten Commandments), she had made a spaghetti pie, which was basically sauce, spaghetti, eggs, and some cheese.  It was definitely a big hit with the kids, so I decided I would see if adding spinach to the dish would still be acceptable.  Friday night I served it to Henry along with some chicken.  He happily ate his squares of spaghetti pie and kept asking for more noodles - though I'd much prefer him to eat plain veggies too, I considered this a huge success!

Spinach & Spaghetti Pie
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped frozen spinach
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp soy sauce
8 ounces spaghetti, cooked & drained according to package directions
3 eggs, beaten

1.  Preheat oven to 350.

2.  In a saute pan, saute onion and garlic in oil, until softened.  Add frozen spinach and cook until spinach is warm and any excess liquid has evaporated.  Add salt, pepper, and soy sauce.  

3.  In a mixing bowl, combine spaghetti and spinach mixture.  Then add the 3 eggs.  Pour into a sprayed (with cooking spray) 8x11 pyrex.  Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until mixture is set and top looks "crunchy".

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna

Lately I've been in the mood for lasagna, but since my husband isn't home for dinner, and Henry and I can't really make much of a dent ourselves, I haven't made one recently.  Luckily, tonight my friend Michal was coming for dinner with her daughters, so I finally had an excuse to make lasagna.

I have a wonderful lasagna recipe from my "second mom" growing up - Janie.  It's such a great recipe because aside from tasting good, you also don't need to cook the lasagna noodles first - and this was before "no-boil" lasagna noodles.  As per usual, I was short on some ingredients and had some others I wanted to add, so I modified the recipe a bit.  The main changes I made were adding mushrooms, cutting back on some tomato sauce, and adding Trader Joe's Eggplant Spread to the recipe.


It still came out great.  Henry not only had a full piece before our friends came over, but proceeded to have a few more bites once they were here.  It was a hit!

Janie's Famous Lasagna (slightly modified)
1 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 egg
2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/3 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups jarred tomato sauce
12 lasagna noodles, not cooked
1/4 cup Trader Joe's Eggplant Garlic Spread
1 cup water

1.  Preheat oven to 350.

2.  Combine ricotta, 1-1/4 cups mozzarella, egg, spinach, mushrooms, salt, oregano, and pepper.  Set aside.

3.  Pour a 1/4 cup tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  Layer 4 noodles on top.  Spread half the eggplant spread on top, and then half the ricotta mixture over that.  Top with 3/4 cup tomato sauce.  Repeat with 4 noodles, eggplant spread, ricotta mixture, and sauce.  Finish with 4 more lasagna noodles, a 1/4 cup tomato sauce, and 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella.  Pour 1 cup of water around the edges of the lasagna and cover tightly with foil.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Polenta Pizza

Things have been busy lately.  Henry has been on a strange schedule, and honestly I have no idea what I've been feeding him or what he's been eating.  All I know is that he has been eating loads of watermelon.

This weekend, I tried to get his routine back to normal and introduce some new foods again.  For Friday night dinner, I was short on time so I quickly threw together some polenta.  It was very basic - cornmeal, water, and fake chicken consomme powder.  I mixed it all together over medium heat, spread it on a baking sheet, and then baked it at 350 for about 15 minutes.  I thought Henry would love it - he loves corn and he tend to love anything starchy.  But, Henry's only 22 months old, has a definite opinion now, and refused to even let it touch his highchair tray.  Since I didn't want to create a bad association, I removed it from his plate, and left him alone.

Sunday night I decided to try again.  Again, Henry didn't want it on his tray.  But then I decided to use the polenta as a crust and put tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese on top.  Next thing I knew, Henry was scarfing down polenta pizza.  Success!



Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

From Scrambled Eggs to Mediterranean Frittata


My plan tonight was to make scrambled eggs for Henry for dinner.  I was late getting home from work, and there wasn't much time before his 5PM dinner.  But then, as I drove up the block, I saw that Henry was over at my sister's house playing with my nephews.  Now, Henry LOVES being outside and LOVES his cousins.  As a result at 5:45PM, I actually had to carry him home kicking and screaming because he just wanted to keep playing.  He was such a wreck that he was definitely not going to be eating.

Thank God for The Wiggles.  I popped in a DVD, and while he calmed down and sang along, I decided to make something a bit more exciting than scrambled eggs - I opted for a Mediterranean-style frittata.  Once it was done, Henry was calm and happy, and proceeded to eat almost a full piece of the frittata.  I have to admit it was one of the best things I've made recently.  I probably could have eaten the whole thing!

Mediterranean Frittata
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen spinach
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1/3 cup green olives, chopped
1 cup artichokes, chopped
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 tsp oregano
salt & pepper to taste
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
6 eggs
1/4 cup 1% milk
salt & pepper to taste

1.  In a medium saute pan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil.  Once softened, add spinach and parsley and cook 1 minute more.  Then add olives, artichokes, and sundried tomatoes.  Season with salt & pepper to taste, and keep on low for a few minutes while you prep the eggs.

2.  In a bowl, beat eggs with milk and a bit of salt and pepper.  Let stand for a minute while you go back to the saute pan.

3.  Add lemon zest and feta to saute pan, and let feta begin to melt.  Then mix it all together, and add the eggs.  Bring heat up to medium and let cook a few more minutes with a lid until the eggs start to set.  Then transfer the pan to the oven on broil until the entire frittata is set and slightly browned on top.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

I can't win

The couple of hours before dinner can be a struggle.  I know that if he snacks in that time, he will almost definitely not eat dinner.  That being said, it's also hard to keep him from snacking when he's begging for snacks.

Take yesterday for instance.  At 4, we headed to the park to keep ourselves busy (dinner is at 5ish).  It was a fairly long walk (about 3-4 blocks), and Henry did it all himself.  So, when he asked for a snack, I figured he was hungry and gave him a graham cracker.  From that point on, it was all he wanted.  So, we decided to go home.  On our way up our block, Henry decided he wanted to stop in and see his Aunt Amy (my sister lives across the street from us).  So, we stop in.  His oldest cousin was eating sushi rice and there were chicken nuggets on the table.  I wasn't offering either, but either way, he didn't want them.  Instead, he went to the snack closet, and started trying to take the snacks out.  Fast forward to a temper tantrum that sends us straight home.

Now it's 4:25.  Not quite dinner time, but I figure maybe he's really hungry since he's begging for food.  I give him a corn on the cob and a chicken leg.  He takes a couple of tiny bites, and throws everything on the floor.  Dinner is clearly over.  So, we play, watch a show, take a bath, and get into pajamas.  We head back downstairs at 6:30 when Henry gets to watch another TV show.  This is the point that I try to eat dinner.  He sees my plate of food, and proceeds to eat all my broccoli, some of my corn, and tries (and spits out) a piece of tofu.  While I was thrilled that he chose to eat broccoli and corn, I'll admit that I was sad I no longer had broccoli (that was the last of what we had).  Maybe one day I'll figure out Henry's actual dinner time.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

What time do you feed your kids dinner?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Distractions & Dinner Strata

Yesterday when I was on Twitter, Eating Well Magazine (@EatingWell) posted a link to 5 meatless meals for entertaining.  I was expecting the run-of-the-mill vegetarian lasagna, mac n'cheese, and tofu stir-fry.  Instead, they had a few interesting recipes, one of which was a Tomato & Spinach Dinner Strata.  Granted, it's similar to lasagna, with bread instead of noodles, but I liked the spin on a regular dish, and figured since it had bread, cheese, and sauce, Henry would be a fan. 


It was fairly easy to assemble, but you have to remember to factor in that it needs at least two hours to sit in the fridge before baking.  I followed the recipe pretty closely (see link above for recipe), but used cottage cheese instead of ricotta and muenster cheese instead of mozzarella (side-note: I think the ricotta was a better choice, I just happened to only have cottage cheese).  As it was baking, the smell was amazing, and since I baked it in a round 10-inch pan, it looked like deep-dish pizza.  Having to wait the 10-minutes of "stand time" really was a bit torturous (I was really hungry!). 

Anyway, the strata was finally ready, and I cut it up for Henry.  He happily took a few bites, and then noticed an open bag of pretzels on the table.  After that, he refused another bite of strata and only wanted pretzels.  It's frustrating how easily distracted he gets when he eats...unless he's eating cake or cookies.  I try to always remember to clear everything out of his sight-line, but sometimes it's impossible, and sometimes I think I shouldn't accomodate him so much (I mean in the real world there will be things he can't have, right?).  But then I'm stuck with the fact that he won't eat what I made for him...

Thoughts on this one?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Today's creation was motivated by me wanting to use up the rest of the fresh horseradish left from Passover. I don't really know many horseradish recipes, but I know I like wasabi mashed potatoes, so I figured horseradish mashed potatoes must be good too.  The plan was to make my take on vegetarian shepherd's pie with horseradish mashed potatoes on top.  I started sauteeing all my veggies, and then went to boil my potatoes with the horseradish.  I soon learned that there is a shelf-life on grated fresh horseradish.  So, it was plain mashed potatoes on top instead.  To my surprise, Henry actually ate it...and didn't spit out the white beans that I added.  As per usual, he was finished after a few bites.  If only I could feel full after eating a small portion!



Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound mushrooms (I used baby portobellas), sliced
1.5 cups frozen spinach
1 cup small white beans
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
salt to taste
1/3 cup red wine
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1/4 cup 1% milk
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt

1.  In a medium pan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until softened.  Add mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes more.  Then add spinach, white beans, thyme, and salt.  Finally, add red wine, and let simmer until liquid has mostly evaporated.

2.  In a small pot, boil potatoes in water.  When potatoes are soft, drain potatoes and put back in pot.  Mash with cream cheese, milk, butter, and salt.

3.  Put mushroom mixture in a small saute pan or small casserole dish (I used an omelet pan).  Smooth mashed potatoes on top, but make small peaks so the top browns in a pretty pattern.  Put under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until top has a nice golden brown color.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Back...and breakfast quinoa

Ok, I know I've been gone a while.  Between cleaning out my house and fridge for Passover (and thus having about a week of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches), and then cooking for the holiday and entertaining, I didn't really get a chance to fill you in on what Henry's been eating.  Unfortunately, however, the answer is that I have no idea.  Though Henry had a couple of good meals where he ate meatballs and cauliflower, or a bit of matzah pizza, on the whole, he didn't really eat much.  Our schedule was all off since we had family meals for a lot of the holiday, and since Henry tends to get distracted by people, he didn't really eat...oh, and did I mention in the midst of it all, Henry broke his leg?  The only thing he wasn't too distracted from was dessert.  Henry ate kosher for Passover cakes and cookies like a champion - so proud.  

Henry definitely missed bread, leavened products, and legumes.  Every morning he asked for cereal, and for meals he frequently asked for corn and hummus.  It's not like he was deprived - I made matzah pancakes and matzah brei as a treat a few mornings, and there was loads of other food for the other meals.  But one morning, I just felt badly for him, so I decided to try making him an oatmeal-type cereal out of quinoa (thanks mom for the idea!).  I boiled together half a cup of quinoa and 1 cup of milk, and then added a heaping tablespoon of leftover nut-free charoset (basically it was apples, cinnamon, and raisins).  When I served it to Henry, I even added in a bit of pancake syrup.  My husband, Henry, and I all tried it at the same time.  Henry immediately stuck his tongue out of his mouth to get all the quinoa out, and then continued to scrape his tongue with his hand.  My husband and I weren't huge fans either, so we weren't surprised.  We were surprised, however, that after that visceral reaction, Henry proceeded to try the quinoa again, and then eat about 5 or 6 bites (that's huge for him).  So, maybe next year we'll try it again - luckily we have a year of eating leavened products before that though!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Baked Chicken & Vermicelli

The goal this weekend was to finish off various open bottles in my fridge, in preparation for Passover cleaning.  The bottles I decided on were BBQ sauce, red wine, tomato sauce, and Italian dressing.  I also had some sliced red onion and sliced tomatoes that needed to go, as well as 4 chicken drumsticks, and half a box of vermicelli.  After some creative thinking, I ended up with Baked Chicken & Vermicelli (using red wine, tomato sauce, red onion, tomato, chicken legs, and vermicelli), BBQ baked beans (BBQ sauce), and salad (Italian dressing).

I first offered Henry the Chicken & Vermicelli, which he loved!  He kept saying, "chicken, noo-noos!" over and over as he figured out how to get forkfuls of both at the same time.  I then offered him the BBQ baked beans, which he flat out refused.  He'll eat beans in stews, but beans on their own just do not appeal to him.  And then I forgot to offer him salad (which he generally won't eat except for a bite or two of lettuce).  I was pretty pleased with his reaction to the Chicken & Vermicelli though, and even more pleased when my husband told me how much he loved it.  I guess I'll have to make it even when I'm not just trying to get rid of things in my fridge!


Chicken & Vermicelli
2 tsp olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium tomato, sliced
4 chicken legs
3/4 cup red wine
1 cup tomato sauce
8 ounces vermicelli, broken in half (or smaller)
3 cups chicken broth (or 3 cups water with 3 tsp chicken consomme powder)
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 350.
2.  In a large saute pan, saute red onion and garlic in olive oil, until softened.  Add tomatoes, and saute 1 minute longer.  Add chicken legs and cook about 5 minutes more.
3.  Pour in red wine to deglaze the pan.  Then add the tomato sauce.  Simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes.
4.  Add the vermicelli, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.  Put in the oven, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Miraculous Fish Sticks

Picture of Parmesan Fish Sticks Recipe
Today Henry and I went over to my friend Anna's house so that Henry and Anna's son Jackson could have a playdate.  Before we knew it, it was dinnertime, and Anna had tried out a new Salmon Fish Stick recipe by Giada de Laurentiis.  Henry does not normally eat fish, but we figured he could try it, and then if he didn't like it we could go home to eat.  So, while Henry was standing and playing, I gave him a piece of the fish stick.  He took the bite, chewed it, and swallowed it.  And then he asked for more!  While he proceeded to eat the rest of the fish stick, he kept saying "mmm" and "yummy".  I then put him in a booster seat, and there he sat next to Jackson in his highchair, and next to Charley (another friend who came to play) in her booster seat.  All the mommies stood around amazed as our kids, aged 15-20 months, happily ate their fish sticks and whole wheat alphabet noodles with tomato sauce.  Dinnertime has never been so relaxing.  Watch out Anna, we're coming over every night now :)

Note: The picture above is from the Food Network website.  We didn't actually have the dip since we figured the kids wouldn't eat it anyway.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Roasted Curried Vegetable Soup

As is standard for gatherings thrown by my mom, there were loads of leftovers after my grandmother's birthday party yesterday.  So after the party, my sister and I filled bags and bags of food to take home.  My favorite goodie bag was my gallon-size bag of raw veggies (ok, maybe not my favorite - the Costco chocolate chip cookies are pretty exciting).

So, when I got home from work today, I immediately threw all the veggies on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to roast for a half hour while I played with Henry.  When it was done, I put them into a pot with some water and seasoning and let it simmer while I started to give Henry dinner.  For dinner tonight, Henry was going to have noodles, chicken, and then I hoped he would try some cherry tomatoes or baby corn from a salad we had.  Henry started to eat some of the chicken and noodles, but for the most part he was just playing and singing songs with me.

While he was still in his highchair, I quickly pureed the soup, and then added some cooked couscous/grain mixture that I had leftover from the weekend (the mix is Harvest Grains Blend from Trader Joe's and it's delish!).  Since I finished making the soup so quickly, I decided to offer some to Henry.  He said he wanted some, and then took a bite.  He loved it, and then proceeded to ask for "more, more soup", and kept saying "I like soup" (his new thing is to say "I like" in front of different words).  It was a great way to get in lots of veggies - I just hope he'll eat it again tomorrow!


Roasted Curried Vegetable Soup
~2 pounds vegetables, cut up (I used cauliflower, string beans, broccoli, a couple of mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini)
1 onion, cut in wedges
2 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
5 cups water
3 tsp chicken consomme powder
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 cup canned chickpeas
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 cups cooked Harvest Grain Blend (or other cooked rice/pasta)

1.  Preheat oven to 450.  Mix together vegetables, onion, olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet, and roast for 30 minutes.

2.  Pour roasted veggies in a soup pot, and add all ingredients except the grains (from water to peas).  Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and blend with a handblender.

3.  Add cooked Harvest Grain Blend and heat for a few minutes.  Then serve.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

One of those days...

Yesterday was a fun-filled day for our family.  First we had my grandmother's 90th birthday party around lunchtime, and then we headed straight into the city to meet more family around Henry's dinner time.

Henry was so overwhelmed at the party, that I only got him to eat about 2 noodles and a few bites of tuna fish for lunch...and only while my 11 year old nephew showed him Elmo on his cellphone.  After that Henry discovered the fruit platter - yay! And proceeded to eat loads of watermelon.  I thought we were in pretty good shape...the party was waning and Henry had yet to discover the cake and cookie table.  And then, as we were cleaning up, he spotted the cookies.  I figured we were fine - one cookie is definitely okay.  But then he also ate a piece of a chocolate rugelach.  And then around 4PM, as we were heading out the door, I spotted him with my 6 year old nephew eating another giant cinnamon rugelach.  When I asked my nephew what happened he said, "I was getting a cookie, and then Henry said "cookie", and reached it all by himself!" (My nephew was very proud of his baby cousin).  At this point I realized I had no idea what Henry had been eating all day...

I decided to pack yogurt for our little trip to the city, but as was expected Henry was too full from all the baked goods to eat anything else.  I'm just hoping today is a bit more balanced...

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Begging for Broccoli

Okay, I know the picture above is of pizza, and it's no great accomplishment that I got my kid to eat pizza.  What was amazing about tonight, however, was that while I was making the pizza, Henry was getting extremely impatient.  He kept whining, and I kept telling him that the pizza would be ready soon.  And then I realized he was pointing to a bowl and not the pizza...and then I listened closer.  He was begging for broccoli.  I almost fainted.  I haven't actually made broccoli in a while, and couldn't believe that was what he wanted.  I figured he'd just hold it and lick it, but he shoved the piece in his mouth, chewed it, and then asked for more.  I honestly feel like some sort of miracle just happened.  Happy day!

(As for the pizza, its just store bought whole wheat dough that I rolled out and then topped with sauce, cheese, broccoli, and olives).

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Baked Gnocchi with Spinach

You may remember that after I made gnocchi a couple of months ago, I froze half the batch.  Well, today I finally decided to use it.  I texted my friend to invite her and her daughter (also 20 months) over for a dinner play-date, and planned to make it when I got home from work.  After sauteeing the spinach, while boiling the gnocchi, and shortly before my friend was going to arrive, I realized I was out of shredded cheese, so I had to improvise.  I mixed the gnocchi with the spinach and some ricotta cheese, and then topped it with my last 3 slices of muenster cheese.  I have to admit, it was pretty good.  Henry loved it and ate about 6 gnocchi mixed with the spinach and ricotta.  His friend wouldn't try it, but then we realized she had fever, so we're not going to count her opinion.  Her mommy liked eating her untouched food though before they had to leave!

Baked Gnocchi with Spinach
1.5 cups gnocchi
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
7 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 slices muenster cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 450.
2.  Boil gnocchi until they float to the top.  Drain and set aside.
3.  Saute spinach in olive oil.  Add granulated garlic, and let cook until wilted.
4.  Mix together gnocchi, spinach, ricotta cheese, salt, and pepper.  Pour into sprayed (with cooking spray) skillet.  Spread tomato sauce over top and then the slices of cheese to cover the top.  Bake in oven for about 2 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Meatball Stuffed Shells

After making Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells earlier this week, I had loads of leftover cooked and empty shells. My husband was sad that he missed the Honey Glazed Meatballs this week since he had been working so late each night, so I decided to experiment and try making meatball stuffed shells.  I just made a basic meatball recipe, stuffed it in each shell, and baked it with some tomato sauce on top.  Couldn't have been easier.  I had worried because the recipe made 20 shells, and I was only feeding my husband and Henry, but as of yesterday, they had already polished off 11 of them (Henry ate 1.5 Friday night and another full one for Saturday lunch).  I'm pretty confident that between Henry, my husband, and our nanny, all will be finished as of tomorrow!


Meatball Stuffed Shells
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 T ketchup
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
pinch red pepper
1 egg
20 jumbo shells, cooked
1/2 jar tomato sauce

1.  Preheat oven to 375.

2.  In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for the shells and sauce.  Then, stuff each shell with ground beef mixture and put them in a 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Top shells with the tomato sauce.  Cover with foil and bake in oven for about 40 minutes, or until beef is cooked through.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Though Passover seems far away, I am already in prep mode.  Yesterday, I officially started food shopping for the holiday.  It hit me that I have loads of other food in my pantry that I need to finish in the next few weeks to make room for all the Passover food.  So get ready for the next few weeks of posts to be about dishes made from random finds in my cabinets...

Today's find? A can of pumpkin (probably from Thanksgiving) and a box of jumbo shells.  I absolutely love butternut squash filled ravioli, and Henry tends to like winter-squash, and of course loves noodles, so I figured I'd try to stuff the shells with pumpkin.  Instead of the standard butter-sage sauce that goes with squash ravioli, I opted to lighten things up a bit and make a pumpkin sauce instead.  The outcome? Henry happily ate half a stuffed shell.  His friends who came over for dinner, however, were not quite as enthusiastic - except for his 10 month old friend who couldn't get the food in her mouth fast enough!  Oh, and all the adults liked it too!

Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells
1 (15-oz) can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling), 1/4 cup divided out
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
dash ginger
dash ground cloves
freshly ground black pepper to taste
18 jumbo shells, cooked
1/2 cup Imagine "No-Chicken" Broth (or vegetable broth)
2 teaspoons butter
1/8 tsp ground sage
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 375.

2.  Mix together canned pumpkin (minus the 1/4 cup pumpkin), ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper.  Fill the 18 shells with the pumpkin mixture, and place them in a 9x13 dish sprayed with cooking spray.

3.  In a small saucepan, heat the broth, butter, 1/4 cup pumpkin, sage, and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a simmer.  Then pour the sauce over the shells.  Sprinkle additional grated parmesan cheese on top.  Cover the baking dish and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Freezer Find: Honey-Yogurt Waffles

A couple of months ago I made a brunch at my house for my husband's birthday.  I made a double batch of Honey-Yogurt Waffles from the Two Peas and Their Pod blog, and had loads of leftovers.  Since I knew there was no way we could possibly finish them all, I divided up the individual hearts (I have a heart-shaped waffle maker - thanks Mom!) into baggies of 4-5 hearts each and put them in my freezer.  It's perfect - Henry will happily eat about 2 waffle hearts as a special treat for breakfast.  The only downside is that we just finished our last freezer baggie - I guess I'll have to make more soon!

Note: I followed the recipe exactly, but I didn't have whole-wheat flour, so I used all white flour.  I also only had 1 container plain non-fat Chobani Greek yogurt, and 1 vanilla non-fat Chobani Greek Yogurt, so my Greek yogurt addition was a combo of the two.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Honey-Glazed Meatballs

On my way home from work today, I decided I would make meatballs.  My usual meatballs take about 2 hours to simmer, so that was not going to happen.  I also wanted to use up some honey that was starting to crystallize.  So, as soon as I got home I threw together some meatballs and threw them in the oven.  Meanwhile I made a quick sauce of ketchup, garlic, soy sauce, and honey.  It was so quick, that Henry and I were even able to go for a short walk before dinner.

Henry LOVES to go for walks, but he is quite stubborn.  A few minutes into each walk he decides he no longer wants to hold hands.  He merrily toddles along singing, "walking, walking" the whole way.  And then a couple of minutes past that, he decides to try to run into the street or onto people's properties.  Most walks end with Henry crying while I carry him kicking and screaming back home.  He initially loves the walks so much though, that I'm willing to suffer the consequences.  Today was no different.  When we got home, he was besides himself.  He kept crying and crying, asking for his pacifier.  At that point, usually dinner will not happen.  But then he saw the meatballs.  He ate the first one in a matter of seconds, and then proceeded to eat 2 more (with some popcorn cauliflower on the side).  With that kind of reaction, I kind of want to make them every night now!

Honey-Glazed Meatballs
2 tsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp granulated garlic
2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp water
1 egg
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup honey
2/3 cup ketchup
2.5 Tbsp soy sauce

1.  Preheat oven to 400.  While oven is preheating, put 2 tsp olive oil in a small roasting pan and put in the oven.

2.  Mix together all ingredients from ground beef through 1 egg.  Form into 15 meatballs, and put into roasting pan that was heating in oven.  Put pan in oven and cook about 13 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.

3.  In a medium saucepan, saute minced garlic in 1 tsp olive oil.  Then add honey, ketchup, and soy sauce and bring to simmer.  When meatballs are done add to sauce, and heat through with sauce for about 5 minutes.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spinach Pierogi Soup

It has been a challenge lately to get Henry to eat any vegetables.  Right now, the only veggie I know he will eat on its own is corn.  This has been really hard for me - I just can't believe that there are entire days where Henry will not have a single veggie.  So, let the creativity begin!

At the end of last week, I bought a giant 2.5 pound bag of fresh spinach.  Seeing as Henry has done pretty well with stews lately, I decided to look for a spinach soup recipe.  Luckily, I came across The Pioneer Woman's Spinach Soup.  My only problem was that I knew I needed something enticing and hearty in the soup so that Henry would try to eat it - a pure liquid was not going to cut it.  And then I found the package of potato & cheddar cheese pierogies in my freezer that I had bought on sale a couple of weeks ago.  I never had pierogi in soup, but thought it could be interesting...

To start, I loved the soup.  My nanny also really enjoyed it, and even asked to take a container home with her.  My nephew (8), liked the spinach soup part, but freaked out over the pierogi (apparently he is not a potato fan). And Henry?  He started out happily eating the soup.  He ate bite after bite.  But then he remembered that he was thirsty for milk, and thus ended meal time.

Spinach Pierogi Soup (adapted from The Pioneer Woman's Spinach Soup with Gruyere)
1.5 tsp olive oil
10 ounces fresh spinach
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced small
2 Tbsp flour
4 cups 1% milk
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp pastina
4 potato/cheddar pierogies (I used Mrs. T's brand)
black pepper, to taste

1.  In a large pot, saute spinach in oil until wilted.  Transfer spinach to blender and blend with a bit of warm water until pureed.  Set aside.

2.  In the same pot, melt butter, and saute garlic and onion until translucent.  Add flour and cook 1-2 minutes. Add milks and let simmer until the mixture begins to thicken.  Add salt, cayenne pepper, pastina, pierogies, and pepper.  Then add in pureed spinach.  Let simmer about 5 minutes.  With a spoon break the pierogies up a bit so that the inside can help thicken the soup.  Simmer a few minutes longer, and then enjoy!

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Great Porridge Debate

Last weekend a great debate started over how to pronounce "porridge".  I'm a firm believer that it's pah-rij, but apparently there are a number of people out there, including some dictionaries, that seem to feel paw-rij is the correct pronunciation.  After days of arguing (I will fight to the end), I finally questioned why we were talking about this fairly outdated word - I mean, the only time I've dealt with porridge is when Goldilocks visited the three bears. Turns out my friend's sister, Ariele, found an awesome recipe for Beef Porridge (click on recipe name for link) from the Quick and Kosher Cookbook and was recommending it to her brother.  I'm not sure what makes it "Porridge", but it was amazing.

I followed the recipe exactly, except instead of using whole baby carrots, I diced up all the veggies so that Henry would be more likely to eat it.  I also only used 1.25 pounds of flanken because that was all I had.  The debate over pah-rij versus paw-rij is still unresolved, but on Friday night, as we ALL ate our beef porridge (Henry ate 2 bowls!), a family torn apart over pronunciation, ate in peace and harmony...

How do you pronounce porridge?


Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Sophisticated Son?

Today for lunch the plan was to try the Potato-Leek Soup again, but Henry would have none of that.  I'm not sure what it is about the soup, but he won't even taste it, and shakes his head "no" as soon as he sees me taking the soup pot out. 

I figured he could just have the plain noodles that I put in the soup, but then he saw me take out sushi*.  He tried sushi months ago at his cousin's house (sans fish at that point), and was not a fan.  The only thing he actually liked was the pickled ginger (so strange).  This time I think the look of the sushi box got him interested.  He immediately asked to see it, and quickly stuck his finger in the spicy tuna roll and ate some.  I wasn't trying to get him to eat sushi, but when Henry is actually interested in eating something, I don't want to stop him.  And then, to my surprise, he picked up the piece and started eating it.  I was floored.  After a couple of nibbles, however, he asked for the box back again and just started touching them all.  I knew the sushi was only for me (and possibly my husband), so I let him at it - I always find Henry is more likely to eat food if he gets to play with it.  And then he picked up a tuna avocado roll and started nibbling that one.  I was so proud - my son who can drive me crazy with not wanting to eat even pizza, was loving sushi!


But alas, the excitement was fleeting.  Within minutes, he discovered the ginger container and then only wanted to play with that.  He took one bite of the rice that I stuck in his mouth, but immediately spit out the tuna, and then spicy tuna, that I got in after.  Our sushi experiment was done, and so instead of eating even one whole piece of sushi, he went back to his trusty muenster cheese.  It was nice having a sophisticated son for a couple of minutes though...

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

*Talk to your doctor about when you can introduce sushi to your children.  Some recommend waiting until over age 5, as that's when the immune system is thought to be stronger.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Forget Dinner...

I have come to realize that Henry is a much better eater earlier in the day.  By dinnertime he has had enough - he's tired, has likely eaten plenty of snacks throughout the day, and has no desire to sit in his high chair.  Because of that, I now try to feed Henry his "big meal" at lunchtime.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.  Today he happily ate a bowl of leftover cholent from the weekend.  Therefore, I wasn't too surprised when Henry absolutely refused dinner tonight.  I made what I thought was a pretty good potato leek soup and even threw in some noodles to entice my "noo-noo" loving son.  No such luck - it was a firm no.

We'll see if he's more apt to try it for lunch tomorrow - only problem is that my nanny is the one giving him lunch tomorrow and she's more likely to give up way before I would.  One can always hope.  In the meantime, maybe someone else will enjoy the recipe...

Potato Leek Soup
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 leeks, sliced and rinsed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
6 cups "no-chicken" stock (vegetarian chicken stock)
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup chickpeas (because I had some in the fridge)
salt and pepper to taste
7 ounces tofu
parmesan cheese (optional)
non-fat plain Greek Yogurt (optional)

1.  In a pot, heat oil.  Add leeks and garlic and saute 3-4 minutes.  Add thyme, stock, potatoes, salt, and pepper.  Bring to boil and then let simmer on low until potatoes are soft (at least 30 minutes).  Then add tofu. Blend with handblender until the whole soup is pureed.

2.  To serve either sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese or add a dollop of Greek yogurt (I had no plain Greek yogurt so I went with the parmesan - usually I prefer the Greek yogurt for the added creaminess).

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Roasted Beets


Let me start by saying that though Henry used to eat beets, he has not eaten them the last few times I've made them.  That was true even this weekend.  However, I have found that each time I have made (and served) fresh beets recently, they have sparked lots of comments.  Based on my very small sample size, which includes my family and a handful of friends (very scientifically sound), it seems many people choose not to make fresh beets but really like them.  My message to all of you?  They're not hard at all to make...you throw them in the oven and let them roast for an hour.  Then peel them under running water to avoid dying your hands red, season them, and voila...tasty roasted beets!

A great recipe that I only slightly modified this weekend is the Roasted Beet Salad with Cumin and Cilantro on joyofkosher.com.  It seemed to be a hit with the adults that ate them, though I'm fairly certain that not a single child even touched them...

Roasted Beet Salad (adapted from www.joyofkosher.com)
5 small beets
2 Tbsp olive oil
zest of half a lemon
juice of half a lemon
zest of half a tangerine
juice of half a tangerine
1.5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
chopped cilantro

1.  Preheat oven to 350.

2.  Wash beets and wrap them in foil.  Roast them in the oven for about an hour.  Let cool slightly.

3.  Under cold running water, peel beets.  Dice them and place in bowl.  Add remaining ingredients, except cilantro.  Mix together.

4.  Before serving, mix cilantro into the salad.

Do you have any tasty beet recipes to share? I'm still trying to get Henry to eat them...

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Greek-themed Vegetarian Meal

Yesterday, I decided that I needed to use up a can of black-eyed peas that I bought a few months ago.  I've never had black-eyed peas before, so I did a search online for some vegetarian recipes.  My search brought me to a delicious sounding Greek Black-Eyed Peas Salad recipe on www.simplyrecipes.com.  (My only tweaks here were using canned black-eyed peas, omitting the green onion, and adding a quarter of an avocado).

                                 
It sounded so good that I immediately emailed it to my friend Laura, a fellow self-proclaimed foodie.  The next thing I knew, we were getting together for dinner (with our kids) for a Greek/Mediterranean themed meal.  I figured Henry would not eat the salad, so we decided to make a Greek-style Vegetarian Lasagna as well that I based off of a few different recipes that I read online.  Beware: This is not a low-calorie recipe by any means!

Initially it seemed that the lasagna was not a success.  My friend Laura's 3-year-old ate some of it, but was not too thrilled.  My other friend Emily's daughter, who is 2, did pretty well with it, but did not eat as much for dinner as usual.  And Henry? He tried a tiny bite and spit it right out.  The only kid who couldn't get enough was Laura's 9 month old!  All of us mommies thoroughly enjoyed it though - as well as the salad.  

And then, about 20 minutes before Henry was going to bed, my husband came home and made himself a plate of the lasagna.  Next thing I knew, Henry ate almost half of what my husband had on his plate.  I guess he just wasn't in the mood to eat beforehand!

Greek Veggie Lasagna
1 (13.75 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup green olives, chopped
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 cups frozen spinach, thawed 
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
4 cups 1% milk
pinch salt
pinch nutmeg
12 no-bake lasagna noodles
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups jarred tomato sauce

1.  Preheat oven to 375.

2.  Combine artichokes, olives, sundried tomatoes, and spinach in a bowl.  Set aside.

3.  In a pot, melt butter.  Whisk in flour and let cook for 2 minutes.  Add in the milk, bring to low boil, and then simmer until thickened.  Add in salt and nutmeg.

4.  In a 9x13 baking dish, ladle a quarter of the white sauce.  Lay 4 lasagna noodles on top, then 1/4 of the white sauce, half the artichoke mixture, 1/3 of the feta, 1/3 of the mozzarella, and 1 cup of the tomato sauce.  Repeat layers.  To finish top with 4 lasagna noodles, and remaining feta and mozzarella. 

5.  Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand about 15-20 minutes.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!



Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tiny Grains of Quinoa

I didn't really have any intention of cooking Monday night, but then I came across a tasty looking Quinoa "Mac and Cheese" with Spinach recipe on www.cuceesprouts.com.  Aside from looking delicious, it also looked pretty quick and easy - a must when I have about 20-30 minutes to throw dinner together when I get home from work.  I love quinoa since it's high in protein, and can make a balanced meal just by adding some veggies.

As per usual, I tweaked the recipe. Since I don't have grated goat Gouda cheese (and to be honest, I'm really not a fan of goat cheese), I opted for my trusty shredded mozzarella instead.  I also left the sunflower seeds out, partly because I didn't have them, but also because Henry is still not the best chewer, and I wasn't looking for a choking incident.

Turns out I really didn't need to worry about Henry choking.  He wouldn't even touch the stuff.  I then tried again today at lunch.  After a few minutes of refusing, he decided to be adventurous and take a bite.  Clearly he was not a fan because he immediately spit it out and then kept spitting to try and get the tiny grains of quinoa out of his mouth.  That then turned into him having a temper tantrum, which means anything in front of him got swiped to the floor in a matter of seconds.  Unfortunately, the bowl of quinoa was in front of him.  Even more unfortunate is that I had just had my house professionally cleaned for the first time in months right before lunchtime.  (It's really not fun to pick up individual grains of quinoa).

Just in case you were wondering, even though this dish was a no-go for Henry, it was a big hit with me.  If not for the fact that I am aware of proper portion sizes, I'm pretty sure I would have eaten the whole pot in one sitting.

Quinoa "Mac and Cheese" with Spinach (adapted from www.cuceesprouts.com)
1 cup quinoa (rinsed)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen spinach
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella

1.  In a pot, combine 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed.

2.  In a saute pan, heat olive oil, and saute garlic until soft.  Add spinach and allow to defrost and warm through.  Turn off heat.  Add cooked quinoa to saute pan and mix together.  Then add lemon zest and juice, as well as the mozzarella.  Stir to combine.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yogurt, Kefir, & Smoothies, Oh My!

Like any toddler, Henry changes his food likes at the drop of a hat.  He liked yogurt, then he hated yogurt, then he liked yogurt but couldn't stand the chunks of fruit in the yogurt, etc.  This past week, however, he has been on a real yogurt/yogurt-related kick.

First, when we were out one day last week, I knew Henry was coming close to naptime, and likely would not make it home without falling asleep, and thus miss lunchtime.  So, when we were at the supermarket, I saw a bottle of kefir (a fermented milk drink) on sale and figured we would try it.  Kefir is a bit sour, so I wasn't sure how Henry would feel about it.  But, after having to sit in the backseat of my car with Henry for 15 minutes while he immediately said "more" after each sip, I knew he loved it!

This week I also got a shipment of Chobani Champions (Greek yogurt for kids) from Chobani (and no, I'm not being paid by them for this post).  The nice thing about the yogurt is that it is in a much smaller container (3.5 ounces versus 6 ounces), so Henry is able to finish the whole container.  Even better? The two flavors (Verry Berry and Honey-Nana) don't have chunks of fruit so Henry eats it without constantly spitting anything out...so much neater now! 


Finally, today I tried making Henry a smoothie on a recommendation I got on Twitter by @Robinsbite (http://www.robinplotkin.com/).  Robin mentioned that her child wouldn't eat blueberries, but happily slurped down an entire blueberry smoothie.  Since Henry won't eat blueberries either, I figured I'd try it.  So, today I threw blueberries, strawberries, a container of Chobani Champions Verry Berry yogurt, a splash of milk, and a few ice cubes in the blender.  After a small power struggle over what type of cup Henry would accept, he too happily slurped down his smoothie from his Sippy Cup (rare occasion when I won the struggle).

Here's hoping Henry still likes yogurt next week!

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fast & Easy Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal

I've always liked the texture of steel cut oatmeal - it's chewier and a little nuttier than instant oatmeal or rolled oats.  Only problem is it takes way longer to make.  Instead of the 1 minute that microwaving my instant oats takes, preparing steel cut oats takes closer to 25 minutes.  Not gonna happen in my house.

I read recently, however, that some people soak their steel cut oats overnight, which can significantly cut the cook time.  A lot of the recipes I found called for boiling the oats for a minute the night before, or sticking the oatmeal in a crockpot, but I decided I would go the route of those who said they simply soaked the oats and cooked them in the morning.  So, last night I took a half cup of steel cut oats, 1 cup of 1% milk, 2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar, and a pinch of cinnamon and put it in my non-stick pot and shoved it in the fridge.  This morning I put the pot on my stove, brought it to a boil, and then let it simmer for 3 minutes.  It could not have been easier, and both Henry and I loved it.  It did make more than we could eat though (probably best for 3 adults OR 1 adult and 2-3 kids).  I'll have to see how microwaved/re-heated steel cut oatmeal will taste...


Anyway, I plan to make this a part of our morning routine.  Henry was getting tired of his oatmeal and applesauce and even though the nutrition info for steel cut versus instant oatmeal is virtually the same, for whatever reason I find I feel fuller from the steel cut oats (maybe its the chewing).

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cheesy Spaghetti (Squash) with Sauce

I've only had spaghetti squash a few times in my life.  The first time I had spaghetti squash was at my friend Michelle's house when I was in elementary school.  I had never heard of the veggie, and I vividly remember being apprehensive with the thought of trying a new food (I wasn't the ultimate picky eater growing up, but I was pretty darn close - probably would have been more fun to read my mom's blog about me...but alas the internet didn't even exist then).  My friend made it sound pretty appealing though, so amazingly I tried it and didn't mind it (that was HUGE).  The next time I had spaghetti squash was probably about 2 years ago when I decided to make it myself.  I wasn't quite sure how long to cook it, and assuming that the longer you roast a veggie the better it is, I roasted it for waaaaay too long.  It tasted fine, but with all the roasting it was one big mush and I missed out on the fun spaghetti strands.  Luckily, when I bought the spaghetti squash this week, my squash came with an instruction sticker:
This time the spaghetti strands came out perfectly!  After mixing it with some sauce and cheese, and throwing in some tofu, my meal was done.  Henry was actually pretty excited about the "spaghetti" and kept calling for "noo-noo" (noodles).  He ate a few hefty bites of the squash, but did not find the tofu that appealing.  I was impressed, however, because tonight when I asked if he wanted to try the tofu, he said "okay", took the piece of tofu, and put it right in his mouth.  Unfortunately within a second of biting into it, he found it revolting and spit it right out - gotta love that he was so willing to try it though! Overall, thumbs up for spaghetti squash, and we'll need to try again with tofu :)


Cheesy Spaghetti (Squash) with Sauce & Tofu
1 spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces tofu, cubed
1/2 jar spaghetti sauce
3 slices muenster cheese (or any cheese), torn into small pieces (or use shredded cheese)

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  

2.  Microwave spaghetti squash for 4 minutes.  Then slice in half and scoop out seeds.  Place cut-side down on baking sheet, and bake in oven for about 25 minutes.  Once cooled slightly, use a fork to shred out the spaghetti strands.  Set aside.

3.  In a pan, heat oil.  Add cubes of tofu and lightly brown on all sides.  Pour out excess oil, and add in the spaghetti squash.  Add sauce and cheese.  Stir together and let warm through.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fussy Eating with Daddy too

Yesterday my husband had the day off while I had a training session for work that lasted all day.  That means that my husband had to do ALL the feeding yesterday, which is really quite rare.  For the most part, Henry has breakfast and dinner with me every day, and only has lunch without me on the days that I have to go into the office.  I wanted to make it easy on my husband so I gave him "Henry-friendly" foods for lunch and dinner...i.e. foods that I know Henry loves. 

When I got home yesterday, however, I found out that Henry pretty much refused all his meals yesterday.  Most of the meals and snacks actually ended up looking like this:
This isn't uncommon.  Frequently there are days when Henry chooses to forgo all meals...especially if he's had a day of really good eating beforehand (he tends to eat really well over the weekend), so it wasn't a concern.  But, it really gave my husband a glimpse into what's it's like to feed a toddler who's a fussy eater.  For some reason, Henry always tends to be on his best behavior with his daddy - taking 2.5 hour naps, playing nicely, etc., so I kind of appreciated that Henry showed his daddy what my days are sometimes like!

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

uh-oh Okra

Until a few months ago, I had never had okra.  It never appealed to me...especially after my depression-era grandmother who ate anything and did NOT waste, confided in me that the only food she wouldn't eat was okra.  Not a ringing endorsement.  But when I went to visit my mother-in-law back in September, she added okra to a tofu stir-fry.  I enjoyed the dish so assumed I also liked okra. 

Fast forward to this week.  At my fruit/veggie market they had bags of okra, so I threw it in the cart.  I searched for the highest rated okra recipe on allrecipes.com, Roasted Okra, and made it for dinner Monday night.  It was ready after Henry ate, so only my husband and I got to try it then.  After eating numerous pieces of the roasted okra bites, assuming that I would like it with increased exposure, I finally had to admit defeat and realize that I just don't like okra.  My husband made it a few bites past me, but then also proclaimed he was not a fan. 

Last night I decided that Henry should try it too.  As soon as I put it on his tray, he picked it up - hooray! And then he examined it closely, smushed it between his fingers, and held it out to me.  When I didn't take it quickly enough, he immediately flicked it onto the floor (please now delete earlier "hooray"). Of course I tried again tonight as well.  This time i whipped out my trusty hummus trick.  It seemed like it might work.  Henry licked off the hummus, and then ate the whole bite of hummus and okra.  Success!  ...And then Henry gagged and spit out the okra.  Undeterred, I tried again.  Henry took the bite, moved it around in his mouth a bit, and then elegantly spit the okra out.  After that, he would only eat the hummus off his fingers.

It looks like okra was not a huge hit with our family.  I'm not willing to completely write it off yet though. So, does anyone have any really delicious okra recipes to share?

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Quick & Easy Chicken "Marsala"

Henry is a big fan of chicken, but it's not always easy to get him to eat veggies along with his meal.  The only veggies that I know Henry will definitely eat are corn and roasted cauliflower.  That's fine, and I'm more than thankful for canned corn, but I know I need to work to get Henry to eat other veggies too.  So my latest plan was to incorporate veggies into my chicken dish...which ultimately led to a version of Chicken Marsala.  Since this was a last minute decision, I definitely did not have Marsala wine, and the recipe I was working off of on http://www.allrecipes.com/ (Chicken Marsala), also called for sherry, which also was a no-go.  I'm not easily dissuaded, however, and after a few swaps to the recipe, I was pretty pleased.  Not nearly as pleased, however, as when Henry proceeded to shove the chunks of chicken right into his mouth.  I even had to slow him down so he wouldn't choke.  And yes, in those feverish bites, slices of mushrooms also made their way to Henry's tummy.  I still doubt Henry would eat mushrooms on their own, but this method worked too!

Quick & Easy Chicken "Marsala" (adapted from allrecipes.com)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch chunks
1.5 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup white grape juice

1.  In a ziploc bag, pour in flour, salt, pepper, and oregano, and shake to mix together.  Then add the chunks of chicken and shake it all together.

2.  In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Put the chunks of chicken in the pan, shaking off excess flour as you remove from the bag.  Brown on one side, and then turn chicken pieces over and brown on the other side. Add mushrooms, red wine, and grapejuice.  Cover pan and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sweet Potato "Fries"

Ok, I know based on the picture it looks more like just sliced sweet potatoes, but it's late at night, and creativity is lacking.  Anyway, when I was running through the supermarket on Thursday night, I found these pre-sliced sweet potatoes and decided that was the answer to a quick side-dish.  I threw them on a baking sheet, tossed them with honey, olive oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and a bit of salt and pepper, and baked them in the oven.  I'm not gonna lie - these did not really appeal to me.  They were quite sweet and a bit too nutmeg-y for me.  Henry, however, gobbled them up.  He even chose to eat them before his slice of muenster cheese tonight, which was the real litmus test since cheese is one of his favorite foods.  And of course my sweets-loving husband raved about them as well.  So, if you like sweet side dishes, this one may be for you!

Do you have any savory sweet potato recipes to share?

Sweet Potato "Fries"
2 tsp olive oil
24 oz. slices sweet potatoes (about 4 sweet potatoes)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 400.

2.  On a baking sheet lined with foil, pour oil.  Add the sweet potatoes.  Then pour on honey and spices (including salt and pepper).  Mix together.  Bake in oven for 15 minutes.  Then flip wedges over and bake 15 minutes more.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Creamy Roasted Pepper & Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta


As you may know, I had about 3 ounces of cream cheese sitting in my fridge that I needed to use up (I used about an ounce on challah this weekend).  So tonight was the ultimate in using leftover ingredients in my fridge - what a rush! (Yes, I am aware of the fact that I have no life).  I used up a jar of sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and the rest of the cream cheese (yay!) in a pasta dish.  To add protein and fiber, I even added a can of white beans. 

The results? Henry's first bite was less than stellar.  He immediately cringed, and threw the bite a few feet from his highchair.  I thought that was the end.  But, when I brought my bowl of pasta over, he had renewed interest.  The next thing I knew, he ate about 10 shells, followed by a couple of apple slices.  I'm not quite sure if that means Henry really liked it, but I guess I'll find out tomorrow when I try to give him leftovers for lunch.  Either way, I thought it was really good!

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Sundried Tomato Pasta
1/2 pound pasta (I used medium shells)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, diced
2 roasted red peppers, diced
1 can (15 oz) cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
3 ounces cream cheese
a couple of ladle fulls of pasta water
pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

1.  Prepare pasta according to directions.  Be sure to retain the pasta water.

2.  In a large skillet, saute garlic in olive oil for 1 minute.  Add sundried tomatoes and red peppers, and saute 2-3 minutes more.  Add cannelini beans and mash mixture together with potato masher (I kept mine kind of chunky).  Then add cream cheese (still over the heat), and mix together.  Add 1-2 ladles of pasta water to thin out sauce.  Then add red pepper, salt, and pepper to taste.

3.  Serve over pasta (I just mixed it all together).

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Unlikely Pairing

Last night I decided to make tilapia again.  You might remember from last time that tilapia did not go over so well with Henry.  This time I decided to make it really easy and I just poured some Mr. Yoshida over the fish and cooked it.  I gave a few pieces of it to Henry along with some leftover roasted asparagus.  At first he just stared at the food and refused to try it.  And then I offered him hummus.  Definitely not a flavor that necessarily goes with Teriyaki sauce and fish, but Henry loves it.  So, I put some in his bowl on top of the fish and asparagus.  Next thing I knew Henry ate the entire stalk of asparagus along with all the pieces of fish.  He even ate a couple of the fish bites without hummus.  And then he asked for more.  Granted, he was asking for more hummus, but he accepted the fact that it came with more fish.  A very pleasant dining experience...thank you hummus!

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Not Just Cholent

For Saturday lunch this weekend we had company.  We don't use fire or electricity on the sabbath, and since I'm not a huge fan of leaving my oven on over the entire sabbath, or keeping a hot plate plugged in the whole time, I usually stick to cold/ room temp foods or cholent that can go in my slowcooker.  This weekend, however, I wanted to try something different from my usual beef cholent, so I looked for some chicken stew recipes online.  After much searching, I found a French Chicken Stew and figured I would give it a try.  Since I was going to be cooking it a lot longer than the 8-10 hours, I had to do some doctoring...instead of boneless, skinless chicken breasts that were diced up, I decided to use bone-in, skinless, chicken thighs so that they wouldn't dry out.  I also wanted it to be more stew-like so I added some quinoa.  And, I wanted to make sure it didn't end up dried out, so I added more water...and some white wine for added flavor.  Oh, and I adjusted the seasonings because...well because I'm almost incapable of following a recipe as it's written.

Anyway, everyone at lunch seemed to like the stew...although it's always possible that everyone is just saying it's good to be nice.  But, I do know that Henry happily ate chicken from the stew on Saturday, and then gobbled up a pretty big bowl of it today.  So, my toughest critic seemed to approve!

French Chicken Stew (adapted from topcrockpotrecipes.com)
1 cup navy beans (soak the night before, and then throw out water)
8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
3 stalks celery, sliced
3 large carrots, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tsp granulated garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground sage
1 heaping tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp chicken consomme powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup white wine
3 cups water

Spray cooking spray in your crockpot.  Put all the ingredients in (I tend to put the beans on the bottom so if they burn it's a cheaper ingredient that's lost).  Cook on low setting for at least 12 hours.  (Mine cooked for about 20 hours).

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Black Bean Roll-ups

I hate to waste food.  I will go to great lengths to use up all leftover food and food ingredients.  Leftover soda from having company? It becomes the base for a sauce for chicken or meat.  Leftover kosher for passover mustard? Once again, it gets mixed into a sauce for meat or some sort of pasta dish.  Amazingly, even with some pretty gnarly ingredients, the end product usually turns out okay. 

This past weekend, I bought cream cheese because we were having brunch.  The problem is that we pretty much only eat cream cheese on bagels (aside for when I was pregnant and had a craving for cream cheese and Triscuits), and I normally don't eat bagels.  So, I quickly had to think of what to do with so much cream cheese.  Tonight I didn't have anything prepared for dinner, and I also didn't have much time.  I remembered, however, a recipe that my cousin Deb had made with wraps, black beans, and cream cheese.  I didn't have time to look up the recipe, so I improvised.  I took some cream cheese, mixed in some medium salsa, spread that on a whole-grain wrap, and then sprinkled diced red pepper, black beans, and corn. 


It took a total of 3 minutes, and Henry ate almost an entire wrap.  Makes me wonder why I make more time-consuming dishes... (As a side note, Henry preferred the half of the wrap that I hadn't cut up into cute little rolls). 

I still have about 4 ounces of cream cheese left.  Anyone have ideas of what else to do with it?

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Monday, January 31, 2011

3 Forks, 2 Plates, and a Frittata

Sounds like the name of a TV show, but that's what it took to get Henry to eat dinner tonight.  First, I made the mistake of giving him the "serving" fork (a regular fork) with his frittata.  He liked it, but couldn't really use it.  So, then I brough over his baby fork.  He was able to eat with it, but still wanted the big fork.  Then, as Henry was eating with his two forks, I came to sit at the table with my plate and a dessert fork (I like to eat with smaller utensils).  Suddenly Henry wanted the same frittata but from my plate and using my fork.  Basically, throughout dinner, he just kept going back and forth between all 3 forks and both plates of the frittata.  He did eat a full piece though!

Potato Frittata
2 tsps olive oil
1 medium potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 plum tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped frozen spinach
salt and pepper to taste
4 egg whites
4 whole eggs
1/4 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup low-fat grated cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, saute potato, onion, and tomato in olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add frozen spinach, salt, and pepper, and cover with lid.  Cook on low for another 4-5 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. 

In a bowl, whisk together egg white, whole eggs, and milk.  Pour egg mixture over the veggie mixture.  Let cook, on low heat, for about 4 minutes with lid on for eggs to set.  Add the grated cheese on top.  Stick pan under the broiler for about 3 minutes, or until eggs have completely set and frittata is lightly brown on top.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chickpea & Mango Curry!

Though I do like to experiment with flavors, I'm not one to usually put fruit in with my savory dishes.  Occasionally I'll throw fruit in a salad, or Craisins in a rice dish, but it's not really my thing.  My husband, however, loves anything sweet.  The sweeter the brisket, meatballs, or veggies, the more he likes it.  So, when I saw a Chickpea & Mango Curry Recipe by Mollie Katzen (author of the Moosewood Cookbook...among others), and I saw how easy it was, I figured I would give it a try.  Aside from having to remember to buy a bag of frozen mango from the store (I never even knew they carried that!), I had everything else in the house.  Plus, the whole thing took me no more than 20 minutes.

And what do you know? We ALL loved it.  Henry was a little slow going in trying it, but once he did, he ate a good portion of my bowl (he didn't want his bowl and fork...only mine).  With such an easy and unusual recipe (at least by my standards), we will definitely be having this again!

I basically followed the entire recipe by Mollie Katzen, but I'll write it out anyway with my slight changes - I also used some of her suggestions as additions to the recipe.

Chickpea & Mango Curry (adapted from Mollie Katzen's Get Cooking)
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, diced
1 HEAPING tbsp curry powder (for me it was more like a tablespoon and a half)
1/2 tsp salt
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 heaping cups frozen mango (I used the 12 ounce bag)
1 cup chopped frozen spinach
cayenne pepper to taste (I used very little)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
lime wedges

1. Place a large pan over medium heat and wait for about a minute. Pour in oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onion, curry powder, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften.

2. Add the chickpeas to the onions, stirring until they get completely coated with the onion and spices. Turn the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the mango and spinach, and cover the pan. Let it cook on its own for another 5 minutes, then give it a stir. If it looks like it needs more “sauce,” you can add up to 1/2 cup water. If you do, let it come to a boil, then turn the heat back down to low, cover the pan again, and cook slowly for and additional 10 minutes. (At this point, the curry benefits greatly from being allowed to just sit, covered, off the heat for about 5 to 10 minutes longer. Not absolutely necessary, but it helps develop the flavor.) Top with a bit of cayenne and the fresh cilantro.  

Serve over rice with a lime wedge for squeezing on top.

Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!