Last week, my very funny and very lovely galpal, Bec from saynothingactcasual blogged about the tribulations of making a healthy, preservative-free dinner that everyone at the table will actually eat, night after night after night. While reading her post I was nodding my head in agreement hell, because as anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm a vegetable scoffing, wheat-free, yeast-free, sugar-free, preservative-free try-hard, whose children came out of my you know where with two food likes on their palates; refined sugar and complex carbohydrates. My arch nemeses. (Is that even a word?) Needless to say, coming up with popular dinners in our household is an issue, but I have a few winners up my sleeve, and here they are for you.
1. COTOLETTA – This is a fancy word that we Southern Italians use to describe crumbed veal or chicken. I don’t even know if it’s real Italian or dialect, but I don’t care, because my kids would eat it every day if I gave it to them. Basically, you lightly salt thin slices of whichever meat, dip it into a beaten egg, press it into a mixture of bread crumbs, parsley and parmesan. Shallow fry in a decent oil, drain on a paper towel and serve with cherry tomatoes that only one kid will eat, carrot pieces that the other one will, and cucumbers dowsed in tomato sauce that they’ll both suck up.
2. ZUCCHINI OMLETTE – By far the easiest. I think. Three eggs, whisk, whisk, whisk. Add milk (I use rice milk, cos we’re half dairy-free). Grate some zucchini and add it to the mix. Slice some tasty cheese. Melt a little oil (coconut oil) in the pan, then pour in the mixture. Lay the cheese on one half of the circle and turn the heat down by half. When it looks like it’s holding together, flip the cheeseless side to make a semi-circle, and cut in half. Voila! Healthy dinner for two fussy punks.
3. TACOS/BURRITOS – My kids won’t have the tomatoes, avos or lettuce on the taco or wrap, but I sneak red kidney beans, capsicum, celery and tomato into the beef mixture so I don’t care! I absolutely won’t touch the preservative-laden store-bought taco mix, but I add spices like cumin and tumeric for the Mexicano flavour. Beware; I once turned my neighbour’s kid into Angelina Jolie for two days after eating this, and although his mum didn’t think it was the herbs, I’ve never seen a lip swell so quickly in my life, so do test first! Other than that, my kids – who are tiny – will eat two tacos and a burrito each, including the beans, so knock yourself out!
|Crap photo of awesome blender.|
4. PUMPKIN SOUP – Some time ago, my blender broke, and I convinced myself that instead of buying an $80 replacement, I needed a $320 version that also heats things. The upside is that all I need to do is heat some chopped onion. In the blender. I know. It’s amazing. I add the stock and the pumpkin, hit boil, and when it’s nice and soft, I hit blend. Add a little cream, there’s dinner. Making the toast is the hardest part! My kids like to chop their toast and mix it into the soup, then, simply by eating the massive chunks of soggy toast, the soup disappears as well. It is, seriously, magic!
5. VEGETABLE FRITTERS – Again, these hail from my mother’s Italian kitchen where I can’t pretend to belong, but the fritter-making skill is one I’ve picked up and has seen me through many agonising weeknight dinners. I tend to use zucchini and sweet potatoes, or corn or any veges I have in the fridge. Mix with eggs, salt, pepper and parsley. Finely chopped shallots also go well with the corn ones. Add flour to make a batter-ish mix. I use rice flour, because of the wheat-freeness of my home. Again, pull out a good quality cooking oil, heat it, and shallow fry these babies. Dollop big spoonfuls of the mix into the oil, and really let them cook for a while before attempting to flip them, otherwise they’ll be a great big mess. When cooked properly they’ll be lovely light brown on both sides. The kids will still drown them in tomato sauce, but like I always say to my husband, it’s better than a burger!
I’d love to put a picture of some of these delectable delights up, but it’s almost 10pm and I’m not hitting the kitchen at this hour. Will post a pic next time I make one…probably tomorrow night!