Once every couple of weeks I spend a little time doing something that makes my life a lot easier. Here's how I set myself up for success to meet our nutritional goals in five easy steps:
1. Clean out the fridge/freezer and put all the leftover veggies in a pot. Usually it's a wide range of colors and flavors - and only a small amount of each variety. This week's included cauliflour, beets, collard greens, broccoli and carrots. You could also use a frozen bag of some kind of veggie medley if you don't have much on hand.
2. Add enough broth (I use organic, low-sodium chicken broth, but veggie would work great, too!) to cover veggies and simmer until soft.
3. Let cool.
4. Use immersion blender to puree to a smooth consistency.
5. Pour into freezer safe container and pop in the freezer.I use small ones, because that way I can defrost one or two to pump up whatever meal we are having.
That's it. Then my freezer is stocked with some "rainbow in a cup" soup as we call it. It doesn't always look/sound appetizing, but often times it's great plain. Otherwise we add it to the meals we are eating that might not be as vegetable-rich as we'd like. It's an easy way to make sure my toddler is getting a dose of veggies on his pickier days and when the baby comes along and is ready for table food it will be able to do double duty.
Many times my toddler will gobble it down on its own; I just heat it up and add a sprinkle of feta or parmesan and he will eat a full bowl. But here are some other ways we use it:
Add to pastas. Whether it's made with a tomato, cream, or oil-based sauce, this soup will add a broader spectrum of nutrients.
Pair with rice. Mixed with a little brown rice (and possibly beans or other protein) it becomes a whole new meal.
Casseroles and Mac and Cheese. Our toddler loves casseroles and one-dish meals - adding a little soup packs a little more punch than some of our favorite comfort classics alone.
Meatloaf and Burgers. Add this soup to ground beef/turkey meals before cooking to infuse a little extra nutritional oomph.
How do you manage to work in some extra veggies? Do your kids eat veggies willingly or do have to be creative to get them to eat them?
My kids will eat veggies as readily as they will candy, thank goodness. The only exception for many years was carrots - they would only eat them raw, never cooked, because my father-in-law expressed his deep hatred for that orange veggie, lol. But once I convinced them that MY cooked carrots aren't soft and mushy as he describes them (apparently his mom used to overcook them like my mom did but his forced him to eat them often, lol), they gave in. Now they love cooked carrots if I make them, or if I let them know that this person or that restaurant does them the same way I do, lol.
I love your idea. I have never thought of doing this. What I have done is to make refrigerator soup. I put any leftovers from the refrigerator, as well as any bits that I have saved in the refrigerator, and turn it into soup. Sometimes I had a can of commercial soup, or pasta or rice, or a can of beans if it needs a protein boost.