So you want your kids to eat healthy but they’re hip to your game, right? They have you convinced that mac & cheese and pizza cover the four food groups—not because you really believe that, but because you’re just too darn tired. But what if you could make mealtime fun, healthy and argument-free all at the same time? It sounds impossible, but we found five recipes that will infuse fruits, veggies and even quinoa (yes, quinoa) into their food pyramids. Oatmeal fruit smoothies, quinoa-covered chicken nuggets, broccoli alfredo that is gluten free (I repeat: gluten free), veggie cauliflower pizza, and homemade pasta from Jamie Oliver, the chef who has taken on the mission of making our kids and their schools healthier. Go on, give these recipes a try. We promise not to show the ingredients to your kids. (And in the meantime, check out the American Girl bakeware, Junior Chef classes, whimsical cookie cutters and character-themed utensils and tools at Williams Sonoma to make cooking time fun for the whole family.)
Slideshow images: Kate Oakley / Adorned Photography
Image and recipe via Kristine's Kitchen
OATMEAL BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE
¼ cup old-fashioned oats (raw)
½ medium banana
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
¾ cup frozen mango
¾ cup frozen strawberries or ½ cup frozen blueberries
¾ cup milk of choice (dairy, almond, etc.)
Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
CRISPY BAKED QUINOA CHICKEN NUGGETS
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes | Servings: 4
9 oz chicken breast
1/4 cup flour (can be gluten free)
1 large egg
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Cut the chicken breast into small bite sized pieces. When you add the quinoa, it really increases the nuggets in size so keep the chicken pieces small! In one bowl add the flour and in a second bowl crack in the egg and whisk. In a third bowl add the cooked quinoa and herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper. Take one piece of diced chicken and coat in the flour, dip in the egg and the roll in the quinoa. Place on the baking tray and then repeat with each piece of chicken. Once all the chicken has been coated, spray the nuggets with some spray oil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and then turn and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Serve immediately.
Image and recipe via In The Kids Kitchen
GLUTEN FREE BROCCOLI ALFREDO
7 oz gluten free elbow macaroni
2 cups broccoli florets
1½ cup milk
½ cup cornstarch
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup parmesan cheese
2 tbsp parsley, chopped (optional garnish)
salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Lightly boil salted water in a pot. Add the pasta to the pot and cook according to the packaging instructions. While it cooks, chopped the broccoli and steam it for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 tbsp water until it forms a paste (use more or less water as needed). In a medium saucepan, mix the garlic, olive oil, cornstarch, salt, pepper and milk. Stir until thickens. Add the parmesan cheese and broccoli. Stir for 4 minutes. Once the pasta is done, drain it, serve in bowls, and pour the sauce. Top with parsley (optional garnish). Serve and enjoy.
Image and recipe via Gimme Delicious Food
RAINBOW CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes | Servings: 4
1 small to medium sized head of cauliflower, should yield 2 to 3 cups once processed
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ cup mozzarella cheese
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp basil or rosemary, minced (or dry)
½ tsp oregano, minced (or dry)
½ cup marinara sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup diced bell peppers (yellow, orange, red, green, or any combo of your choice)
½ cup broccoli florets
½ cup diced red onion
¼ cup canned corn (optional)
½ cup tomatoes, diced
Directions: Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the stems from the cauliflower and cut into chunks. Place the cauliflower into a food processor and pulse it until it resembles the texture of rice. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a cheese grater or chop it very finely. Microwave the processed cauliflower uncovered in a microwave safe bowl for approximately 4-5 minutes on high. Remove it from the microwave and allow it to cool for at least 4-5 minutes (don't rush this step!). After the cauliflower is slightly cooled, place it in a kitchen towel and squeeze all the liquid out of it. Be sure to squeeze as much liquid as humanly possible. Combine the cooked cauliflower, egg, garlic, cheese and seasonings. Stir until a dough texture forms. Spread the cauliflower mixture out onto lightly greased parchment paper or a pizza pan in the shape of a pizza crust. Bake the crust for approximately 10-15 minutes (depending on your oven), or until the crust is golden and crispy. After the crust is golden, remove it from the oven and top with pizza sauce, then cheese, then the chopped veggies. Place the pizza back in the oven and bake for another 12-15 minutes.
Image and recipe via Lunch Lady via Jamie Oliver
HOMEMADE COLORED PASTA
3 free-range eggs
100g veggie puree (see below)
1/2 tsp sea salt
315-375g plain flour, add a little extra if the dough is a bit wet
Directions: Pop eggs, veggie puree and salt into a food processor and whiz until combined. Add the flour and whiz until a dough just forms. Remove dough from the food processor and place on a well-floured surface. Knead until the dough is smooth. Rub a little olive oil over the dough and cover in cling film. Leave to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Feed the dough through a pasta machine set on the widest setting. As the sheet comes out, fold it into thirds and feed it through the rollers again, still on the widest setting. Repeat this 4 times. Continue to feed the pasta dough through the rollers, gradually reducing the settings, one pass at a time, until the pasta is at your chosen thickness. Your sheet of pasta dough will get pretty long, so, if you’re struggling to control it, you can cut the sheet in half and feed each piece through separately. Once the sheets of pasta dough are at a thickness you’re happy with, hang them over the back of a chair or a (clean) broom handle to dry a little—this makes cutting easier. Or, if you’re in a rush, dust the pasta with a little flour and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Now you’re ready to make whatever shaped pasta you like!
2 medium carrots (you could also use pumpkin)
Pop carrots in a medium saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender—about 20 minutes. Drain.
Whiz carrots in a food processor until smooth, and set aside.
1 large beetroot
Rinse beetroot in cold water, remove greens, and peel with a veggie peeler. Chop into small chunks. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, reduce heat, and cook beetroot until tender—about 10-15 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Whiz beetroot in a food processor until smooth, and set aside.
LEAFY GREEN PUREE
2 handfuls of leafy greens (basil, spinach, rocket, kale, etc.)
Remove stems and soak in cold water for 2 minutes. Rinse thoroughly under cool water and pat dry. Steam leaves until tender—about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water. Squeeze as much water as you can from the leaves. Whiz leaves in a food processor until smooth, and set aside.