Sometimes it’s hard to get enough vegetables into your family’s diet. You think picky toddlers are difficult? Try stubborn teenagers. One of my favorite ways to hide veggies is using veggie powder. You can put it into soups, casseroles and (my favorite) meat loaf or meat balls. I use it in the place of crackers or bread crumbs when I make meat loaf. Not only is that good for people who need to watch their carbs, but veggie powder can fortify each serving of meat loaf with as much as two servings of vegetables.
My vegetable problem this week?
Squash. Remember I told you about the great squash that has stored so well? Unfortunately squash is on the boys’ Do Not Eat List. (We allow the boys two vegetables that they don’t have to eat.) So how am I going to use a 12-pound squash before it goes bad?
Answer: I disguise it. Today it was hidden in chili. Since squash tends to be a little on the sweet side, so I added extra salt and made sure the chili was spicy. The recipe was simple:
2 cups pureed squash
4 cups cooked pinto beans
1 lb hamburger, cooked and drained
1 1/2 cups of powdered dried tomatoes
1/2 C chopped onions
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt (adjust seasonings to taste)
Simmer everything together. Add water if it’s too thick. That’s it. With the onions, tomatoes and squash this chili has 1 1/2 servings of vegetables in every 1 1/2 cup serving. Both boys devoured the chili without ever suspecting that it contained Evil Squash.
Next recipe with hidden squash: Lasagna.
The lasagna was a hit. I added 2 cups pureed squash to 2 cans of ready-made spaghetti sauce. To disguise the sweetness, I added a couple cubes of frozen pesto, a minced garlic clove and extra salt. Then I just used the spaghetti-cum-squash sauce in a regular lasagna recipe. And voila! Everyone loved it–even my squash haters.