6 Dinner Recipes That Sneak in a Hidden Serving of Vegetables

Many kids will pick sweets, snacks, and junk food over a vegetable-packed meal. Unfortunately, preparing dinner can quickly turn into a trying situation when you’re working to find nutritious meals that will appeal to your veggie-resistant children. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that kids consume between 1 to 2½ cups of vegetables each day, depending on their age, sex, and physical activity. Fortunately, there are easy ways to incorporate vegetables into your dinner without your kids being any the wiser. Here are 6 supper recipes that are secretly packed with produce.

Source: iStock

1. Veggie Sneak In Meatballs

AllRecipes.com’s magnificent meatballs are packed with vegetables. You’ll grate the carrots and zucchini so that they become small, unrecognizable, and virtually flavorless. The recipe yields 16 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup grated carrot
  • ½ cup grated zucchini
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup dry bread crumbs

Directions: Preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Beat the egg in a mixing bowl, then stir in the carrot, zucchini, onion, salt, basil, and oregano. Add the turkey and Parmesan cheese; mix until evenly blended. Form the turkey mixture into 16 meatballs, roll in bread crumbs, and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until the turkey is no longer pink on the inside, and the meatballs are golden brown, about 1 hour.

Source: iStock

2. Chilaquiles Casserole

Eating Well’s casserole sneaks in vegetables by including finely shredded zucchini and diced onion. This dinner dish’s flavors blend together perfectly, creating a savory supper that your child will love.The recipe yields 10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 (19-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1½ cups corn, frozen (thawed) or fresh
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 12 corn tortillas, quartered
  • 1 (19-ounce) can mild (red or green) enchilada sauce
  • 1¼ cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, beans, tomatoes, corn, cumin, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are heated through, about 3 minutes.

Scatter half the tortilla pieces in the pan. Top with half the vegetable mixture, half the enchilada sauce and half the cheese. Repeat with one more layer of tortillas, vegetables, sauce, and cheese. Cover with foil. Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the casserole is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more.

Source: iStock

3. Cauliflower-Cheese Soup

All You’s sensational soup seamlessly blends cheese and cauliflower, creating a creamy dish that cleverly disguises the vegetable’s flavor. Web MD notes that cauliflower is extraordinarily healthy and is packed with vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and folic acid.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large head cauliflower, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1½ cups shredded sharp or extra sharp white cheddar
  • Croutons, for serving, optional

Directions: In a large pan, melt butter with oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower and broth, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat; let cool slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in a blender. Return soup to clean pot; stir in milk and mustard. Bring back to a simmer over medium heat. Add cheese and stir until cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with additional cheese or croutons, if desired.

Source: iStock

4. Power Pizza Bagels

Bagel bites are a kid-friendly favorite. Thanks to Parenting’s recipe, you can now make them much healthier by discreetly including vegetables. You’ll make nutrient-packed purees, which consist of yams, carrots, and beans, and use them as a topping for your Power Pizza Bagels.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup White Puree
  • 3 tablespoons Orange Puree
  • 4 mini-bagels, sliced in half (preferably whole wheat)
  • 1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella

Directions: Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine tomato sauce with white and orange purees. Mix well. Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of sauce on each bagel half, and then top completely with 2 tablespoons grated cheese. Bake 5 to 6 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Source: iStock

5. Sneaky Spaghetti Sauce

Mommy’s Kitchen presents a Sneaky Spaghetti Sauce that includes pureed carrots, zucchini, celery, and pepper. You can also shred your veggies, but pureeing them creates a smoother sauce that will ensure your produce is well blended. Note: This recipe must be cooked in a crockpot for 6 to 8 hours, so plan accordingly!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 sweet Italian sausage links, remove casings
  • 1 small to medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 orange, green, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and pureed
  • ½ cup carrots, shredded or pureed
  • ½ cup zucchini, shredded or pureed
  • 1 medium rib of celery, chopped or pureed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Italian style tomatoes in puree
  • 1 (14-ounce) can Italian diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • ½ cup water (if using frozen pureed veggies omit the water)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon crushed thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti noodles

Directions: In a large sauce pan, crumble the turkey and Italian sausage. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until the meat is cooked through. Drain off any fat. Add the meat mixture to a 4 to 6 quart crock pot. Stir in the tomato paste and all the canned tomatoes. Use a large spoon to break up the whole tomatoes. Stir in the pureed vegetables.

Add the spices, sugar, water and bay leaf. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Stirring occasionally. Serve over cooked pasta. If using shredded vegetables add the carrots, celery, and zucchini when the meat mixture is fully cooked and drained. Continue to cook, stirring, until the vegetables are limp, about 5 minutes.

Source: iStock

6. Chicken and Veggie Nuggets

To create Cheeky Kitchen’s Chicken and Veggie Nuggets, you’ll blend vegetables with ground chicken, coat them in bread crumbs, and bake. It’s an easy-to-prepare dinner that your children will quickly devour. You can add even more veggies to your meal by whipping up Ditch the Carbs’ Homemade Ketchup with Hidden Vegetables to pair with your nutritious nuggets.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14-ounce) package California veggies, thawed
  • 1 egg
  • ½ pound ground chicken
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Put the vegetables and egg in a blender. Blend until pureed. Pour puree into a large bowl. Add the ground chicken and onion salt. Mix together with a fork until well mixed. On a large cutting board, spread a thin layer of the panko crumbs, salt and pepper them lightly. Spread chicken mixture on top of the crumb mixture until it’s about ½-inch thick.

Sprinkle more panko crumbs, salt, and pepper on top of the chicken mixture. Use a cookie cutter to cut the chicken into the shapes of your choosing. Transfer to a cookie sheet which has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 14-16 minutes, or just until the chicken is cooked through.

More from Life Cheat Sheet: