Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sneaky Chef to the rescue

We're still trying to rebound from the poor eating habits while at the hospital. Insisting on "real" food has been tough. The main reason is my concern for my son's health. Which in itself makes this weirder. Real food is best for his health but him continuing to eat is equally important. So if it's boxed mac and cheese for every meal with only a fresh strawberry and a cup of yogurt thrown in during the day, I'm just grateful he's eating.

In my core though, there is the need to make good food even out of a box of mac and cheese or a plain cheese pizza. Starting with the best of the processed choices is the first step. For instance, Trader Joe's makes a decent box of mac and cheese and so does Annie's. Next is making it with quality dairy. Then adding vegetables and/or protein. But if your child is anything like mine (the three year old anyway), adding veggies or protein he can see won't fly. And that's why I am thankful for the The Sneaky Chef.

I purchased the Sneaky Chef book a couple of years ago. I believe the purchase was made as a result of my first son's lack of desire for variety in his diet. As I was fretting a bit the other night about the abundance of mac and cheese my kid has been eating, I remembered the book. I quickly pulled it off the shelf and became reacquainted with it. The make-ahead puree recipes are genius. And they work. The orange puree is so subtle it goes undetected even in my son's beloved mac and cheese.

If you have trouble getting your kids to eat veggies or other nutritious items as is, I highly recommend giving the Sneaky Chef book a try. It has made it easier to deal with my son's current food rut and makes the food my toddler is eating even more nutritious. Can't go wrong with that! And in honor of the box and the Sneaky Chef, here is the Orange Puree recipe:

Orange Puree
1 medium sweet potato or yam, rough chopped
3 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced into thick chunks
3-4 tablespoons water

In a medium pot, cover carrots and sweet potatoes with cold water and boil for about 20 minutes until yams, and especially carrots are very tender. If the carrots aren't thoroughly cooked, they'll leave telltale little nuggets of vegetables, which will reveal their presence (a gigantic no-no for the sneaky chef).

Drain yams and carrots and put them in the food processor with two tablespoons of water. Puree on high until smooth; no chunks should remain. Stop occasionally to push the contents from the top to the bottom. If necessary, add the rest of the water to make a smooth puree, but the less water the better.

This makes about two cups of puree. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days, or freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.

To add to boxed mac and cheese: Prepare according to directions on package. Add 2-4 tablespoons orange puree into the cheese sauce, mixing until well blended. Note: Adding a 1/4 cup of grated cheese into the sauce will help mask the carrots a bit more if your little one detects them.


  1. It is. Let me know if you want any other recipes. I can let you borrow my copy.