Counting Our Veggies

Please join us as we focus on learning about and trying one vegetable each week.


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Week Seven (a little late): Baked Broccoli with Brown Sugar Spiced Baked Chicken

Hello again! We are a bit behind on our blog. Last week was our week for broccoli. We tried a few new broccoli recipes, one of which we will be sharing with you in this post. We entered an art contest and with help from our wonderful friends, family and blog readers, we won! Thank you for voting! And this week we chose to try brussel sprouts. We will be sharing those recipes after we get caught up with broccoli. I will say that brussel sprouts turned out better than I expected. We are undecided about what next week’s veggie will be.

I mentioned in our first post about broccoli that the kids all love it. They like basic broccoli: uncooked or steamed. The girls also like broccoli cheese soup. We decided to try something new instead of what we knew they already liked. We began with Baked Broccoli from Rachel Schultz‘s blog. Her blog features a chicken recipe that she said is great to bake along side the broccoli, so we tried it too.

We used the pre-cut kind of fresh broccoli from Costco. I love having a bag of this in the fridge – easy veggies!

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I (mostly) followed the recipes from Rachel Shultz’s blog. I marinated the chicken breast fillets in a mixture of 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons paprika, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 tablespoon garlic powder and a bit of salt and pepper for about 15 minutes. (Her recipe suggests 1 to 3 hours, but we were short on time.) Then in a plastic bowl with a lid, I tossed about 1 pound of the broccoli florets with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic (the recipe calls for 1 clove) and a bit of salt and pepper. I was a little worried that doubling the amount of garlic would make it too strong, so I tasted a bite of the uncooked broccoli after it had been coated with the oil, garlic, salt and pepper. To my surprise, it was delicious uncooked! I normally do not like uncooked broccoli, but I could have eaten a bowl full of this. Trying new veggie recipes is great for grown-ups too! Lucie and Theo wanted to try it and also loved it. I put the chicken and broccoli on a jelly roll pan and baked it all together at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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The kids were ready to eat! They thought it smelled delicious!

Theo was a bit groggy and had “grumpy” hair, so I was expecting him to be negative. This stuff must be great because he gave an enthusiastic two thumbs up.

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Josie, who can almost always find something to improve upon, also loved it!

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No surprise – two thumbs up from Lucie!

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They all three cleaned their plates with no complaining. A rare occurrence!

I agree with the kids – fantastic! And very easy to make. Dave missed out on the broccoli, but he had some leftover chicken and he loved it.

It is great to try new things with a veggie that you love! What is your favorite way to eat broccoli? Do you love it or hate it?

Thanks for visiting,

Jen


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Week Five: Chicken, Bacon and Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce

We have had a busy week. The weather was warmer than it has been in a while. On Thursday we even went to the zoo. It was in the low 40s, after all. Time to get some fresh air! Yesterday, we got some beautiful snow.

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We baked heart shaped cookies and made Valentine’s too.

In the middle of our crazy evening we tried another artichoke recipe for our Valentine’s Day dinner. We already had the kitchen a mess from the cookie baking, so there was no way we were cutting up more fresh artichokes. Lucky for us, this recipe called for canned artichoke hearts. Chicken, Bacon and Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce from Iowa Girl Eats looked delicious, but a little bit complicated. By complicated, I mean that I had to use three of my stove burners at one time. This kind of complexity in a recipe makes me very nervous. With help from Dave, I managed to pull it all together.

Theo is allergic to dairy, so we fed him some of the chicken and pasta before we added the sauce. He was not willing to eat any of the artichoke, but he did like the plain chicken and pasta. Setting aside part of a recipe before the dairy ingredients are added is something that works well for us, since the rest of us love dairy. We don’t have to make two meals and everyone feels included in what we have cooked

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Josie decided to try the artichoke. Just as she suspected, she thought it was horrible. She did like the chicken and bacon part of this dish and managed to eat a few noodles.

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Lucie loved it!

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Dave and I thought this recipe was wonderful. It was a great Valentine’s Day dinner. Yum!

We have two more fresh artichokes left to try. We did not get to them today, but we did ice our heart cookies. The girls did most of the decorating themselves and they are very proud!

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Even though Josie and Theo did not enjoy eating artichoke, they did eat other things that were cooked with artichoke. I think this is a good strategy for helping children grow accustomed to the taste of different vegetables. Even with two thumbs down from two kids, I consider this a positive vegetable experience.

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

I will have to ask Lucie for her thoughts tomorrow. She is already sound asleep.


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Week Three: Red, Orange & Yellow Bell Peppers

After two weeks of rather challenging vegetables, we decided to go with something we know and love. My kids love red, orange and yellow bell peppers. I keep a container of sliced bell pepper strips in the refrigerator for them to snack on. Sometimes they eat them plain, sometimes with salad dressing or hummus. We frequently eat them for lunch and pack them in lunch boxes. The kids think the orange ones taste the best. I think we should do a blind taste test to check that theory sometime. Anyway, we definitely have two thumbs up ratings from everyone in our family about raw bell peppers. So, this week we decided to try cooking with them.

Since we all love bell peppers, I figured we could manage a dairy-free recipe to start the week, so that Theo could try it. No need to smother the peppers with cheese in order to make them tolerable! We chose stir-fried honey ginger chicken with peppers from marthastewart.com. I had the bell peppers already sliced and the chicken prepared. I decided to add baby portabello mushrooms to the recipe and I had those ready, too. I had ginger and garlic minced and waiting to add to the skillet.

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I felt so organized as I began to prepare this recipe. Then, my printer quit working, so I had to go back and forth from the kitchen to the computer to read the recipe. Then, I found out that I did not have the rice vinegar. How can the right kind of vinegar not be in this ridiculous vinegar assortment?

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I went with the white wine vinegar.

Soon, I found out that I had forgotten to take the chicken out of the skillet before cooking the veggies, like the recipe says. Oops… I figured I would make Minute-Rice while the chicken and veggies were cooking. Um. Where was the Minute-Rice? I was just sure I saw a red box in the pantry. Arg. That box was a cake mix. Here were our rice choices:

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I chose the black rice. But, it didn’t exactly take 5 minutes to make. It took 35 minutes. So, the rice was ready long after the chicken and veggies. In the end, it all ended up cooked. It smelled great and the kids came running to the table.

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Upon seeing their lunch, some of my tasters were in a great mood.

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And some were not.

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“Mama, why did you ruin the peppers by cooking them? And MUSHROOMS? I HATE mushrooms! They are slimy!”

Here is a summary of ratings for this recipe:

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I really liked this dish. If I could make any changes, it would be to use less honey. I thought it was a bit on the sweet side. The kids all liked the chicken, but Josie did not like the cooked peppers or mushrooms. Theo and Lucie asked for seconds and thirds! We ended up without any leftovers.

If you ever see the black rice in the grocery store, give it a try. It turns dark purple when you cook it and tastes pretty much like regular rice, but contains anthocyanins. Anthocyanins, which are also found in blueberries, eggplant and other red and purple fruits and vegetables, have antioxidant properties.

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

Today we ate red, orange and yellow peppers. We tried a new recipe with them. I give it two thumbs up. This was my favorite recipe so far and I want to make it again. I am especially glad that Theo liked it. I think Josie would have liked it better if she was in a better mood.