It’s January! Everyone in the family is cycling through colds, starting their resolutions for the new year, resuming extra-curricular activities and recovering from the recent Holidays and vacations. Needless to say, your family is busy right now and there is no better reason for feeding them a hot and hearty, but healthy, meal!
Crockpots are a time saving and amazing invention. There are so many recipes I have for a crockpot meal, from breakfasts to dinners, that I guarantee the whole family will love. Here’s my family’s favorite;
Chicken tortilla soup:
Add chicken stock, chicken breasts, can of crushed tomatoes, can black beans, can of hominy (or corn if you prefer), 1-2 cheyotes (Mexican squash that can be found In most grocery stores) or potato if you prefer. Season to taste and let everything cook on low 6-8 hours.
When you serve the bowls of soup, have separate ramekins for the toppings; tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, sour cream, shredded cabbage (soaked in lime juice), lime wedges, sliced olives. The kids will have fun adding the toppings of their choice from the ramekins! Add green chiles or jalapeños for the adults if wish, prepare to have your sinuses cleared from this hot & delicious soup!! Just what the doctor ordered and a fun flavorful twist to the traditional chicken noodle soup, that everyone can customize to make their own.
Vegetables and fruits are abundant during Summer time! It’s so easy (and sneaky, in a good way) to add vegetables or fruits to your child/ren’s favorite dishes. I added sweet peppers, onions and garlic to turkey meatballs the other day, chopped them finely so it just looked like a fiesta of fun colors rather than a blob of bland steamed vegetables on the side of the plate. You can add mushrooms, spinach and olives to a cheese quesadilla or grilled vegetables like zucchini and carrots to a bean burrito. My daughter loves avocado smoothies too! You can blend ice, avocado, almond milk or milk, and honey and/or a frozen banana for a creamy milkshake-like smoothie. Or we pick fresh blueberries from our blueberry bush for a berry smoothie. My daughter also loves this strawberry salad that I’ve made; chopped strawberries with a splash of Newman’s Own light balsamic dressing for some tangy sweetness. I added avocado chunks, squeeze of lime, a dallop of sour cream and shredded cheese to a vegetable puree soup I made the other day and the whole family loved it! My daughter asked for seconds and preferred it to her quesadilla! Pureed soup; water, zucchini (yellow and green), broccoli, carrots, onions, garlic and sweet peppers boiled until soft, season to taste. Then puree entire soup in a blender until smooth. Serve hot with avocado, lime, cheese and sour cream, as you desire. I also make a great low calorie squash casserole that the whole family devours. Squash casserole; grate zucchini (yellow and green) with a cheese grater in a bowl and season to taste, layer in a casserole dish with chopped mushrooms and spinach, pour a can of cream of mushroom soup over the veggies, add a layer of pre-cooked ground turkey or tofurky or tofu if desired, then top with shredded cheese. You may add bread crumbs as the bottom layer, I prefer not to even though it can turn out a bit soupy without the bread crumbs, serve with a slated spoon in this case.
Whole Wheat crust Mediterranean Hummus Pizza!
Buy a whole wheat pizza dough. Kids will have fun helping you flour and roll out the crust! Give them little aprons and/or a chef hat. Have the kids choose the vegetables (at least 5 kinds and colors is a must!), be it; different color bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, spinach, pineapple chunks, cherry tomatoes (red or golden, golden are sweeter). Have kids help chop the softer vegetables (age appropriate and with a butter knife. My 4 year old loves to chop and peel, with supervision). Once the crust is rolled out and all the veggies are chopped, have kids help spread on hummus, any flavor, to the crust and then sprinkle the veggies on anywhere and everywhere. The hummus not only adds hidden fiber, protein and a delicious flavor change for a pizza, but it’s much less messy than the traditional red sauce! Put in the oven and set a timer (based on instructions on the pizza dough wrapper). Delicious, fun, fresh and healthy for the WHOLE family!
Healthy families thrive together! Looking for an easy, healthy recipe the whole family will LOVE? Here’s my one-pan vegetable meal!
One sweet potato (or white potato), 2 zucchini, 1 bunch of asparagus, 1 box of
mushrooms (sliced), half a jalapeno (optional) or substitute a bell pepper or
any other kind of pepper. Peel and chop potato, place in a skillet with some
zero calorie non-stick spray and ¼ cup of water. Once potatoes start to become
soft (test by poking a fork in), add chopped zucchini and asparagus (discard
ends and slice lengthwise and then in half), stir frequently. Add in peppers
and mushrooms. If you used sweet potatoes, then season to taste with honey,
yellow curry and nutmeg! Kids WILL love this (and even dads too), my daughter
thinks the sweet potatoes are candy. If you used white potatoes, you may prefer
to season with garlic and curry, salt and pepper. For a true one-pan meal, you
can add any kind of cooked sausage or tofu and voila! I served this dish
along-side a fillet of salmon!