Thursday, January 29, 2015

Recipe For Getting Picky Eaters to Eat Veggies

            It came as a total surprise, but I think I finally discovered the magic formula for getting my kids (and hubby!) to eat veggies for dinner, without all the usual whining and complaining.
            I know many of you have kids who were born loving salad, and prefer green vegetables over candy. But, for those whose kids are like mine, I want to share a secret I stumbled upon last night.
            My family has always been the meat and potato kind, the plainer the better. Which is really boring to cook for. Being a sanguine personality, I like to try new recipes. Having picky eaters has greatly hindered my cooking experimentation.
            The meat and potato dinners usually have the plain meat in one corner of the plate. Then separated, so nothing touches, are the potatoes, and separated again, some type of vegetable or fruit. The problem with this setup is the veggies are on full display for everyone to comment about, critique, criticize, and separate out what they don’t want.
            Last night I tried something totally different and it worked. I made ‘Mom’s-Cute-Crock- With- Hidden-Veggies-Pasta-Bowls.’ I told the kids they were Pasta Bowls.
                       The key ingredient, and it is a must – no substitutions – are these                                       incredibly cute crock bowls.

            They are probably sold everywhere, but I bought mine at Costco. They come in six fun colors, have a handle, and are just so cute. The key is the opening of the crock bowl is smaller than the belly of the bowl.
            Here is the recipe I threw together. I boiled bowtie pasta. While it cooked I made some marinara sauce. I was then inspired to throw a bunch of veggies in the sauce. So, in went diced tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, slivered carrots and half a bag of spinach. I stirred it all together. Then, I mixed the pasta and the sauce together in a large bowl.  I carefully ladled the yummy veggie pasta sauce into the crock bowls. For the two who like cheese, I topped theirs with mozzarella and melted it in the oven.
            An interesting thing happened. As I was waiting for the two crocks that were in the oven, the non-cheese laden bowl sat on the table. Usually, we wait for everyone to get to the table to pray and then eat. As it seemed like it would be a while for the others to arrive, the sans-cheese boy began to dig in and eat his. Normally, I would have stopped him to wait for everyone. But he has eating with gusto and never said a word about all the veggies. I was shocked! Didn’t he know there was at least a cup of veggies in his saucy pasta crock? No, he didn’t. He couldn’t see them because the opening was smaller and it all looked like pasta and sauce. He ate and ate and ate.
            Next the cheese lovers arrived. Who could resist the cute crocks with melted cheesy goodness on top? They ate too. Nobody complained. Nobody commented about the veggies. Crocks were devoured.
Score one for the Mom!
            I’m thinking all meals from here on will be served in these cute concealing crocks! There is no limit to the veggies that could be added and hidden, and then eaten as part of the pasta bowl.
            Here is the recipe. May you have great success in hiding vegetables for your kiddos to devour as well!

Cute-Crock-Pasta-Bowls-With-Hidden-Veggies  (aka Pasta Bowls)
1.     Buy cute crock bowls.
2.     Boil any type of pasta according to directions: penne, bowtie, gluten-free
3.     Make spaghetti sauce: homemade, store bought, or combination
4.     Sauté, or throw in raw, any veggies you have on hand: canned or fresh tomatoes, carrots, spinach, asparagus, kale, mushrooms, zucchini, onions, bell peppers
5.     Mix all together in a large bowl. Then ladle out portions into the cute crocks. Top with cheese, if desired. Melt 2 minutes in oven or microwave.
6.     Sit back and be amazed as they eat all those veggies!

              Please share in the comments if you have a healthy veggie recipe that kids love.


  1. That sounds YUMMY!!! I currently am only cooking for two; myself and my hubby...we don't really eat gourmet, or a lot so I don't cook every day. But for families of more, and growing kids, this is a great recipe! I am passing it on to my two daughters!!

    1. Thanks Barbara! And thanks for persevering and getting in. I appreciate it!

  2. That sounds great! I am working on gradually getting rid of the junk food and replacing it with some healthy stuff so any tips like this are right up my alley.