Incorporating Veggies Into Your Diet

I’ve mentioned before that my daughter is a typical two year-old and thus getting her to try new foods can be challenging from time to time. Her favorite saying regarding food these days is, “Maybe I do like this!” My go-to strategy these days is to hide foods in things she already knows she likes. One of her favorite dishes recently is noodles with any kind of sauce. In order to get vegetables in her that she wouldn’t ordinarily eat, I end up stuffing them into sauce.

This covers two things my mom repeats over and over: first you need to train the palate. Not just your children’s palate, but everyone in your family, and second, get your family used to employing the Rainbow Rule when preparing meals. My daughter may not know she’s eating zucchini, kale, or swiss chard but she is getting used to the taste and texture. By including a variety of vegetables that may not traditionally be included in sauce I’m attempting to include a variety of vegetables she doesn’t willingly eat just yet.

Tomato sauce is a simple vehicle to load up on veggies but don’t count out white sauces either. Pureed cauliflower is mild enough and if your kid is smart like my mine, she would know there are pureed veggies if it wasn’t the correct color.

Back to the tomato sauce, I have a standard meat sauce that I use as a vehicle to get anything from zucchini and other summer squashes to kale, swiss chard or spinach into my child. I’ve adapted a traditional Bolognese recipe to fit whatever I have on hand.

I start with a traditional mirepoix of carrots, celery, and onion; then add some bacon because I never have pancetta on hand. This time, because I was so worried about how lean the venison was, I did a 1:1 ratio of ground venison and Italian sausage. If you’re vegetarian, using a variety of dried and fresh mushrooms would lend a meaty texture with lots of flavor. Once the meat is browned, I add some red wine and let the liquid reduce, then I so the same thing with some milk. I use whole milk, but whatever you have on hand would be fine. Once the liquid has been reduced, I add tomato, enough to bind it all together. Season it however you prefer, I usually add garlic and a little bit of salt and pepper. Depending on what kind of extra veggies you are throwing in you can add them before or after the tomato. This time I went with zucchini and swiss chard.

I try to follow a loose formula, that is dictated by whatever I have on hand that is fresh, instead of strictly following a recipe out of a book. It makes for a little bit more flexible cooking and the results vary from batch to batch. Happily, it was a success with the kid!

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