Tips & Tricks: Sneaky Purées for Picky Eaters

Do you have picky eaters in your family like I do? I use these simple add-ins for my recipes to add more nutrition!

Sneaky Purées


How to Use:

I use these purées in my…pancakes (1/2c.), Mac n cheese (1/2c.), pot pies (1c.), chicken nuggets (1c.), brownies (1/2c. of 2 different Purées), scrambled eggs (1/2 c.), meatloaf (1/2c.), quesadillas (1/2c.), chocolate or white or yellow cake (1/2c.), spaghetti sauce (1/4c. of 2 different kinds), pizza sauce (1/4c.), 1/4c. Cookies, burgers (1/4c.), chili (1c. of 1 kind and 1/2c. of another), guacamole (1/2c.). You can put it in almost everything!

Store them in airtight containers in the fridge up to 3 days or freeze in 1/4c. or 1/2c. servings.

Spinach or Kale or Collard Greens
PREP: No prep at all for baby spinach. For mature spinach or other greens, fold leaves in half lengthwise with the stem outside, then strip the stem off the leaf.

COOK: Steam for 30 to 40 seconds, or cook in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of water for about 90 seconds, or just until wilted.

PUREE: In a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.

Sweet Potato Purée
PREP: Do not peel. Cut into quarters, if steaming. Leave whole, if roasting.

COOK: Steam for 40 to 45 minutes. Roast at 400° for 50 to 60 minutes.

PUREE: Scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor or blender.

Butternut Squash Purée
PREP: Cut off the stem, cut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds.

COOK: Roast the halves of a cookie sheet, flesh-side down, at 400° for 45 to 50 minutes.

PUREE: Scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes.

Beet Purée
PREP: Leave them whole (trim any stems to 1 inch) and unpeeled.

COOK: Wrap in aluminum foil and roast at 400° for about 1 hour (they’re done when they can be pierced with the tip of a sharp knife).

PUREE: After peeling, place in a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes.

Broccoli Purée
PREP: Cut into florets.

COOK: Steam for 6 to 7 minutes. Florets should be tender but still bright green (if they turn an olive green color, they’re overcooked).

PUREE: In a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes. Add a few teaspoons of water if needed for a smooth, creamy texture.

Carrot Purée
PREP: Peel, trim the ends and cut into 3-inch chunks.

COOK: Steam for 10 to 12 minutes.

PUREE: In a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes, with a few teaspoons of water if needed for a smooth texture.

Cauliflower Purée
PREP: Cut off florets and discard core.

COOK: Steam for 8 to 10 minutes.

PUREE: In a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes, with a few teaspoons of water if needed for a smooth, creamy texture.

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Meal Swap: April ’14 Recipes for Friday’s Group

April ’14 Menu for Friday’s Group


Lindsay – Bacon Wrapped Salmon with Maple Mustard Sauce


16oz. Salmon steak (cut into 2 fillets)
6 strips of bacon
3T. Grade B maple syrup
1T. Whole grain mustard
1/2 of a lemon, zested

Prep Day: Remove skin from fillet. Sprinkle salt on both sides. Tightly wrap each fillet with 3 strips of bacon. Insert toothpicks from both sides to secure bacon in place.

For Glaze: Stir maple syrup, mustard, lemon zest together.

Serve Day: Thaw. Heat your grill until hot or broiler. Place on grill or broiler pan. If using broiler place under broiler flame. Leave till bacon is crisp. Drizzle the glaze on top and then flip over. Baste the other side with glaze. Continue grilling/broiling until your thermometer reads 135F.

Kari – Boneless Ribs Country Style


2-3 lbs boneless pork country-style ribs
1/2 large onioin, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce salt and pepper

Prep Day Directions: Lightly salt and pepper pork and place in freezer safe bag. Mix together all other ingredients. Add all to the bag . Label and freeze.

Serve Day Directions:To cook, thaw freezer bag, then add to slow cooker. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Gretchen Pineapple Pork Chops


4 center cut pork chops 
1/4 Cup soy sauce 
1/4 Cup maple syrup
 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
 Coarse sea salt and pepper to taste Sauce 
1/4 Cup maple syrup 
1/4 Cup balsamic vinegar
 Pineapple, cut into small chunks

Prep Day Directions: Prop open a one gallon freezer bag. Add soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame seeds, and sesame oil to the freezer bag. Mix the marinade together by working the outside of the freezer bag with your hand. Salt and pepper the pork chops. Add the pork chops to the bag, and turn to coat. Squeeze excess air out of the bag, seal, and label the bag with a Sharpie. Lie bag flat in freezer. Freeze.

Measure and mix sauce ingredients in a ziplock bag and freeze.

Serve Day Directions: Thaw. Heat grill to Medium Hot. Place the marinated pork chops on the grill once it has preheated. You can discard the rest of the marinade. Grill the pork chops until done, around 6 minutes per side. While the pork chops are grilling, add maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and fresh pineapple to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until pineapple starts to break down and create its own syrup goodness! Serve the pork chops hot with pineapple on top.

Meghan – Wasabied Steak


1 lbs. strop steak
1/2 tsp. Minced ginger
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
8 oz egg noodles
4 tsp. olive oil sprinkle
garlic powder sprinkle
minced ginger
4 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. wasabi powder
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp white sesame seeds
1 tsp black sesame seeds

Prep Day Directions: sprinkle ginger, garlic and pepper on steak. freeze.

Note: I used ground ginger.

Serve Day Directions: Thaw steak. Bring water to a boil for noodles (I have also done it with rice). cook steak over medium-high heat until done way you like ( I recommend med. rare, 4-5 min/side, depending on thickness). remove from pan and let rest while cook noodles/rice according to pkg. directions Drain then toss with olive oil, and sprinkle of garlic and ginger. Add the rice vinegar to coat. Mix the wasabi powder with water, stir to blend then mix with soy sauce and sesame seeds. Slice steak into bite size pieces and add to the noodles. Drizzle with the wasabi-soy mix and toss again to combine and blend *be careful with the rice vinegar if you make rice. Not sure what the equivalent amount of rice is for 8oz of noodles. Not good to go over-board on the vinegar.

Vanessa – Hobo Dinners


NOTES: Lindsay’s recipe vote will come after she gets back from vacation.

Our next swap is 5/16 at 11:30am out front Vanessa’s house. There are 4 of us swapping.

Please submit May recipes to the blog on the Monday before swap.

May Swap Categories
Seafood/Fish – Gretchen
Meatless or Your Choice – Kari
Beef – Vanessa
Poultry – Meghan

We will break for June – August.


I think I found my new favorite cheesy potato recipe…PIMENTO CHEESE POTATO GRATIN


6 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
3 pounds (6 large) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1⁄4-inch thick rounds
Pint and 1/2 heavy cream
3 large or 6 small shallots, finely diced (scant 1 cup)
1⁄2 tsp crushed dried red chile flakes
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 (4oz.) jar pimentos, with their liquid
24 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (3 cups)

Heat the oven to 375°F, with racks positioned in the middle and the top third of the oven. (If freezing skip this step)

In a 3- to 4-quart stockpot, bring 2 quarts water and 2 teaspoons of the salt to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Then drain, and set them aside.

Combine the cream, shallots, chile flakes, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, the black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the liquid from the jar of roasted peppers in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the chile flakes have begun to stain the cream, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of the cheese and stir until it melts, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

Layer roughly a third of the potatoes in a 6-cup baking dish, overlapping them slightly so that they fit in an even layer. Scatter half of the roasted peppers on top of the potatoes (cut up any peppers that have remained whole so that they lie flat), and repeat layering potatoes and peppers until all the peppers and potatoes have been used. Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes and peppers, and agitate the dish to distribute the liquid throughout.

Cover with aluminum foil (If freezing cool and then freeze at this point).

(If frozen thaw!)

Bake on the middle rack for 15 – 20 minutes. Uncover the dish, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, and place the dish on the top oven rack.

Bake for 8 – 12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and gently browned on top. Serve immediately.

Happy Easter Everyone!