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?
April 25, 2012 at 8:31 AM
I have to hide them in other foods such as rice, lasagna, or pizza. My son usually cant tell if I put them in one of his favorite foods.
by Mrs.Pool2BeApril 25, 2012 at 8:33 AM
My kids are 16, 13 and 12 and while my 16 and 13 year olds will eat veggies, my 12 year old will not and there is no being creative with that girl because she would know the difference if I put something extra in her food. I wish I could get her to eat more veggies but I am working on it and won't give up.
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.
by millerbunchApril 25, 2012 at 9:03 AM
i usually put spinach in with my lasagna.. or boil up cauliflower with my potatoes and do mashed cauli/taters :)
i like the idea of an emulsion blender..
by ceciliamApril 25, 2012 at 9:38 AM
This sounds like a good idea but when you cook vegetables down like that, you are removing all the essential enzymes. I like this idea but I would maybe puree vegetables without cooking them down.
To get my son to have a good variety of vegetables I add them to smoothies. My favorite is fresh organic baby spinach.
by gacgbakerApril 25, 2012 at 9:51 AM
Hum, not sure this one would fly at my house...
by amy7243April 25, 2012 at 10:37 AM
My kids eat them willingly. They love their veggies.