Thursday, June 16, 2011

Week One

Ok, it's week one and I'm already going to cheat.  My farm bucket this week consisted of the typical June harvest in Marquette.  Lettuce, lettuce, more lettuce, and a few hunks of broccoli, green onions, spinach, and radishes thrown in.  I couldn't entertain anybody with stories of salad, so I used some store bought produce to add to my meal today.

Yesterday, I picked up Jessica Seinfeld's book Deceptively Delicious at a used book store.  If you haven't heard of this book, it's basically a book of recipes that look like normal, kid friendly food, but have various vegetable purees hidden inside.  So, this morning I ran out to Target and splurged on a rice cooker (for steaming the veggies) and a Magic Bullet food processor.  She claims in the book that she can make a week's worth of purees in about an hour.  Maybe that's because she has a nanny and a housekeeper- but I digress.  Anyhow, I spent the afternoon whipping up a huge batch of purees based on the ideas in the book.  I made pureed broccoli (who knew you could puree broccoli?) , cauliflower, butternut squash, spinach, sweet potato, and carrot.  It brought me back to my baby food making days <3

I found a recipe in the book for meatball soup.  Hmmmm.  Bryce loves meatballs, but hates soup.  It was a challenge.  Her recipe didn't seem very adult friendly, though, so I spiced it up and created this dish that I'll call meatball chili.

Saute in pan with a dallop of Earth Balance Buttery Spread (for the chunky adult part of the chili!)
  • sliced green onion (from the bucket!)
  • minced garlic
  • one half of a large zucchini, sliced
  • one half a large red pepper sliced
  • a generous sprinkling of chili powder, garlic salt, and Penzey's black and red seasoning
In the magic bullet, puree (for the sneaky factor)-
  • other half of the red pepper
  • other half of the zucchini
  • 1/2 cup of pureed carrot
  • 5 medium sized roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 can of kidney beans
Then, add the liquid pureed mixture into the sauteed vegetables.  Add one large container of reduced sodium natural chicken broth, one can of chili beans, the other half can of kidney beans (not pureed).  Simmer for a while.  The longer you simmer, the more flavorful it becomes.  I simmered mine for about 2 hours, but if you were in a hurry it would probably be ok in about 30 minutes.

When my base was made, I created the meatballs with:
  • one pound of grass fed ground beef
  • chili powder
  • salt and pepper
  • sprinkle of dried sage
  • one egg
  • about a cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of pureed sweet potato
  • handful of miced, dried onion (Penzeys product)
Roll this mixture into small meatballs (about the size of a bouncy ball). When the soup base is boiling, place the raw meatballs and cover.  Boil for about 15 minutes until the meat is cooked.  Meanwhile in a separate pot, cook about 2 cups of pasta.  I used Ronzoni veggie pasta, but any pasta would work.  When the meatballs are cooked, add the cooked pasta and stir in.  Your meatball chili is ready to enjoy!

It was fantastic with a sprinkling of shredded cheddar and a dallop of sour cream.  On a scale of 1-10, I would give this creation a 8.5.  The only change that I would make would be to make the broth even more spicy and add more salt to the meatballs.  Otherwise, it was incredibly good!!  Bryce ate 2 helpings of meatballs and some noodles.  He still avoided the visible veggies, but didn't realize that the meatballs were laced with sweet potato and onion and the broth that cooked the noodles had a large variety of pureed veggie inside.  Bailey chowed it all down and focused on finding all the beans.

We finished our meal with the brownie recipe from Deceptively Delicious- which included a full cup of pureed veggies- spinach (from the bucket!) and carrots.  Both kids chowed the brownies down with a scoop of Breyers Natural Vanilla ice cream.  I think they're a bit weird, but hey dessert is dessert when you're a kid.  I didn't even mind giving them a second piece of brownie, knowing they were packed with veggies.  You can't even accuse me of being sneaky since Bryce helped make the brownies, even stirring in the spinach with a raised eyebrow.

I hope you enjoy!
                                                                    The Finished Product
                                                           Bryce Eating Soup?  Whoa!
                                                                        He approves!
Making sure there's nothing suspicious in there...
                                                                   Happy, full baby!
                                                                    Going in for more
                                                              Good brownie, mom

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