sneaky & deceptive cooking

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our four year old (and first born) is a wonderful eater!  He will eat any thing, any time and at any place.  I always knew that we were lucky but I didn’t truly realize how fortunate we were until our second one came along and pretty much only wants to eat anything that is flour-based (pasta, crackers, pretzels, oh, and an occasional banana when he’s feeling like it).  As a foodie mom that wants her kids to eat nutritionally sound meals, it can be a tug-of-war (it’s an internal conversation with me saying, “make him eat fruits and vegetables”/ he won’t eat, let him be excused from the table).  I’ve always known about the popular cookbooks, the Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious (and Double Delicious!) but never had to look into them… until now!

Times like this call for devious measures on mom’s part and I need to be getting fruits, vegetables and healthy foods into my little graham cracker (also known as my youngest).  I pulled out a copy of Deceptively Delicious and got cooking!  I made the "Chicken Nuggets (with Broccoli or Spinach or Sweet Potato & Beet)", "Macaroni & Cheese 1" and "Chocolate Chip Cookies" (recipes below).  My husband and oldest son happily gobbled up all three dishes.  My youngest loved the cookies, but as usual, dismissed his dinner.  I think I am going to have to add a lot of patience to my sneaky & deceptive cooking! 

Chicken Nuggets (with Broccoli or Spinach or Sweet Potato or Beet)
1 cup whole-wheat, white or panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup broccoli or spinach or sweet potato or beet puree (I used 2 jars of spinach baby food)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken tenders, rinsed, dried & cut into small chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
Nonstick cooking spray
1 Tablespoon olive oil (I used a lot more than this)

(1.)  In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, Parmesan, paprika, garlic, and onion powder on paper or foil and mix well with your fingers.
(2.)  In a shallow bowl, mix the vegetable puree and egg with a fork and set the bowl next to the breadcrumb mixture.
(3.)  Sprinkle the chicken chunks with the salt.  Dip the chunks into the egg mixture and then toss them in the breadcrumbs until completely coated.
(4.)  Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat.  When the skillet is hot, add the oil.  Place the chicken nuggets in the skillet in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side, 3-4 minutes.  Then turn and cook until the chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crisp all over, 4-5 minutes longer.  (Cut into a piece to check that it is cooked through).  Serve warm. 

Macaroni & Cheese 1 (with Butternut Squash or Cauliflower)
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
Nonstick cooking spray
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup nonfat (skim) milk (I used whole milk)
1/2 cup butternut squash or cauliflower puree (I used a jar of sweet potato baby food)
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (I used regular, full fat cheddar cheese)
4 ounces (almost 1/4 cup) reduced fat or nonfat cream cheese (I used full fat cream cheese)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon pepper

(1.)  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni, and cook according to package directions until al dente.  Drain in a colander.
(2.)  While the macaroni is cooking, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Add the oil, then the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture resembles a thick paste but has not browned, 1-2 minutes.
(3.)  Add the milk and cook, stirring every now and then, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3-4 minutes.  Add the vegetable puree, Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and seasonings, and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.  Stir in the macaroni and serve warm.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
I had to try these!  Seriously… chocolate chip cookies made with garbanzo beans!?!  Definitely make them!  They were really delicious and definitely worth baking.

Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
3/4 cup trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread (I used butter)
2 large egg whites (I used whole eggs)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
3/4 cup raisins (optional)
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (I omitted b/c I used salted butter)

(1.)  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
(2.)  In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and margarine with a wooden spoon or on medium speed until smooth.  Beat in the egg whites and vanilla, then the chickpeas and chocolate chips.  Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low speed until a thick dough forms.
(3.)  Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart.  Press gently with a fork to flatten.  Bake until the cookies are brown and just set, 11-13 minutes; do not overbake.   Transfer to a rack to cool.
(4.)  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

What tricks do you use to get healthy foods in your child(ren)?

Check out our e-cookbook, Cooking FUNdamentals: yummy, healthy and quick recipes for kids & grown-ups!

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