Chef Sizzle-Snap is back with recipes to turn your kids into vegetable lovers.
(You’ll like them, too!)
My 13- year old son and I recently made a deal that he will make dinner every night (and also a Smoothie every afternoon) if he doesn’t have to do any dishes or sweep the floor, and so this is basically his only COVID task. It works out well because we are constantly cooking now that we never eat out. And also because he is a chef. Chef Sizzle-Snap.
We had bison and lamb earlier in the week so I decided that Thursday should be a vegetarian dinner. The fridge was loaded with freshly picked vegetables from my neighborhood farm share so I wanted to find a way to use them.
The Vegetable Challenge.
Is it possible to make a delicious dinner with only vegetables? What happens when there’s no grain, like rice or pasta? Will it still be good? Will the kids like it? I had intended to incorporate sweet potatoes into the meal because they’re rich and filling and make a great companion dish to veggies, but they didn’t make it into the oven in time. (It takes an hour and a half till they’re mushy and dripping with sweetness).
Naturally, my son exclaimed, “Just vegetables!?” as if I had proclaimed that the earth was flat.
But then he rose to the task and had fun. Here’s what he came up with:
Chef Sizzle-Snap’s Dinner
- Roasted lime broccoli. 7 minutes prep. Wash and chop the florets, remove the outer layer of the stalks, squeeze the juice of one lime, season with red pepper flakes. Into the oven. BOOM!
- Stir-fried garlic zucchini. 4 minutes prep. Wash one zucchini and slice it up. Mash two garlic cloves.
- Cinnamon spaghetti squash. Lay it on the oven rack. DONE!
Prep was only 15 minutes. Roasting veggies takes longer than stir-frying them so Chef Sizzle-Snap set the prepped the zucchini aside and waited for the broccoli and squash to cook.
After about 25 min he checked the broccoli. It was nice and crispy on top so he removed it to the stove top.
Time for zucchini! He drizzled olive oil into a frying pan, placed the zucchini in, flipped each slice when ready, added garlic and butter, and BOOM, done!
Two veggies down, one to go.
Squash takes longer to cook. About 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the type of squash and its size. Luckily it sits there patiently and doesn’t need any attention. Check it after 30 minutes and again after 45. We didn’t coordinate everything to be ready at exactly the same time so ate in courses.
When the broccoli came out we all gathered around the stove and plunged our forks into the hearty pieces, so it never made it out of the casserole dish. So yummy!
The zucchini was sizzling and dripping with butter, oil, and garlic, so we moved it to a serving dish and that got scarfed down within 2 minutes.
10 minutes later he took out the squash. He scraped out the strands, which have the texture of spaghetti, added his favorite seasonings, mushed it all together the way the ice cream stores roll your chocolate chips and other extras into your favorite flavor and then sucked it down like a starving monster.
And that was dinner. Yep, no one was hungry after that.
Later in the evening, when hunger reared its teenaged head, my son was back at the fridge looking for a quick fix. He came up with a piece of sourdough bread (from the farmers market, made locally, no preservatives). Since it was close to bedtime I encouraged him to have some veggies instead. He has occasional reflux, like many of us, so it’s important that undigested food isn’t sitting in his stomach when he goes to bed. Veggies are low in sugar and quickly digested so it makes a good before-bed snack. He opted for some more squash!Print
Crispy crunchy meaty zesty broccoli!
- 2 heads and stalks of broccoli
- 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
- 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon each of red pepper flakes, crushed cilantro, and Himalayan sea salt
- Cut broccoli into medium florets.
- Drizzle on the olive or avocado oil.
- Squeeze lime juice evenly over them.
- Add salt, red pepper flakes and cilantro.
- Cook for 30 – 35 minutes at 400 degrees.
- Serve warm.
Do you usually throw away the stalk? Because if you peel off the rough edges and roast it, it is tender and delicious!
Sizzling slightly crunchy and tender veggie dollars.
- 1 large zucchini or 2 small
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon butter or ghee
- salt to taste
The strands really do taste like spaghetti, and the extras make it sweet, rich, and savory.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- half tablespoon honey
- half teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg
- pat of butter
- Scrape out desired amount.
- Sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon on top.
- Add a pat of butter and a half a spoonful of honey.
So what’s the secret to your kid enjoying veggies?
- less sugar. The less sugar they have, the more they will appreciate nuanced flavors.
- more butter/ghee/olive oil. These are harmless and satiating. But only use healthy fat.
- garlic and onions. They make almost everything taste better. We didn’t use onions tonight but often do. Onions get sweeter if you cook them.
- nutrient rich salt (like Himalayan) and cinnamon add a punch of flavor. And if you must, add a drop of honey.
Prefer to add a starch or some grains?
I recommend sweet potato (garnet yams are the tastiest) or quinoa (I like the mixed color blend).
Keep introducing veggies and try cooking them different ways to see what your kids like. Then offer them the opportunity to make it themselves and to customize it for their taste buds! Getting to make some choices will make the experience—and the final meal—more enjoyable.
Check out more great family friendly recipes here.