As a mom, one of my biggest goals is to make sure my kids are eating healthy meals. That’s not always easy since they would much prefer a cheeseburger and fries to something filled with fresh vegetables. However, with a few favorite recipes from around the world and a little inspiration from the Whole Foods Market produce section, I can keep both the kids and me happy and satisfied.
Italian Comfort Food
On my last visit to the Whole Foods Market, the first thing to catch my eye was the beautiful piles of locally-grown kale. Kale?! You may be thinking there’s no way this lady’s kids eat kale. Generally, I would agree with you. Like a lot of vegetables, it took some trial and error with a few different recipes to find a way that my family will actually enjoy this super food. We found a winner with Sausage, Kale, and Potato Soup. They even ask for seconds.
Sausage, Kale, and Potato Soup
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 medium onion , diced
• 3 garlic cloves , finely chopped
• 1 package smoked sausage sliced in half then 1/4-inch moons
• 4 cups torn kale leaves
• salt and fresh ground pepper , to taste
• ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme
• 3 cups cubed potatoes
• 1 carton (32-ounces) low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
• 2 cups half-and-half
Instructions: Add olive oil to soup pot over medium-high heat. Put in the onions and sausage and allow to brown for a few minutes. Next, add garlic and kale. Stir to combine and cook another 5 minutes. Add potatoes, chicken broth, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Then add half and half and heat gently to just under boiling. Check for seasoning and make adjustments as necessary. I like to serve with crusty bread and sliced apples.
I am not a fan of the sneak-foods-into-your-kids-dinner club. However, I have found that taking a recipe that started out heavy on the meat and swapping out some of the protein for vegetables to be a good strategy. Yes, the kids know the vegetables are in there, but combined with familiar tastes in an already well-loved dish, this one is a hit at our house. Luckily for me, the Whole Foods Market had beautiful summer squash available during my last visit. Not only was there plenty of zucchini and yellow squash, but they also had some cute flying saucer squash (their real name is pattypan squash if you go looking for them). They make the perfect addition to a pan of cheesy, delicious enchiladas.
• 2 teaspoons oil
• 1-2 zucchini or other summer squash, diced
• 1 onion, diced
• ½ pound ground beef
• salt and pepper to taste
• 2 teaspoons cumin
• 1 teaspoon oregano
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• ¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
• 1 14 oz. can beans (black, pinto, refried—whatever you like)
• 1 14 oz. can corn
• 1 28 oz. can enchilada sauce
• 1 package flour tortillas
• 8 oz. cheddar, shredded
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil over medium heat and sauté zucchini and onion, adding salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Add ground beef to skillet and brown. Add spices, salt and pepper, and ½ cup of water. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Stir in drained beans, corn, and zucchini mixture. Turn off heat. Grease a 9”x13” baking dish with spray oil. Pour enchilada sauce into a pie pan or other wide, shallow dish. Dip a tortilla into the sauce and place onto a work surface. Scoop ½ cup of filling onto tortilla and roll. Place in baking dish, seam side down. Repeat until all of the filling has been used. Pour any remaining sauce over the rolled tortillas in the pan. Top with shredded cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Serve with a variety of garnishes—guacamole, sour cream, black olives, cilantro, salsa.
Our next stop around the world is India. My family adores curry so they are happy to gobble up a plate of vegetables and tofu as long as it is covered in one of their favorite creamy, rich sauces. This recipe is extremely versatile. It can include whatever vegetables are in season or on sale, meat or no meat, and a different variety of sauces. This week, I included broccoli, red pepper, and mushrooms. Other times, I have used snow peas, water chestnuts, zucchini, and anything else that strikes my fancy. Eating a variety of vegetables is a priority in our house.
While sometimes I make it from scratch, the Whole Foods Market offers several packaged sauces that make Indian food easy and fast enough for a weeknight dinner. Bonus: thanks to this recipe, my kids have decided that tofu is one of the best things ever.
Kashmiri Chicken, Tofu, and Vegetable Curry
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 onion, diced
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
• 3 teaspoons (or approximately 6 cloved) minced garlic
• 2 chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
• 1 container extra firm tofu
• 1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
• 1 red pepper, chopped,
• 1 8 oz. container mushrooms, chopped
• 1 14 oz. can coconut milk
• 1 jar simmering sauce (I used Maya Kaimal Kashmiri Curry)
Instructions: Add 1 tablespoon of oil to large skillet over medium high heat. Add tofu and brown slightly. Remove to plate. Add another tablespoon of oil and chicken to skillet and brown. Remove to plate. Add final tablespoon of oil to skillet along with onion, garlic, and ginger. Being careful not to burn the garlic, cook until lightly browned and soft. Add vegetables and stir. Cook for five minutes. Return chicken and tofu to pan. Add sauce and coconut milk. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with basmati rice and naan.
Thanks to the Whole Foods Market, my family can sample foods from around the world while while eating healthy meals. Enjoy!