Saturday, 8 March 2014

Cooking For Kids - Hidden Vegetable Sauce

So as you guys know I have 2 year old and 8 month old boys so making sure that they eat nutritious and healthy meals makes up a huge part of my day. My 2 year old Eli is a great eater he will eat pretty much anything other then green vegetables, the only exception is peas! So whilst trying to figure out a way of hiding greens in his meals and also pureeing for Wesley I come up with the best disguise which is a winner with boys boys!

So first to prepare the vegetables for the base of the sauce just to note that all these vegetables can be varied you could even use a bag of mixed frozen vegetables for convenience. The Veg I like to use are leeks, carrots, celery, tomatoes and garlic, they only need to be roughly diced as it will all be blended later so it doesn't have to be perfect although the smaller the chunks the quicker it will cook.

All these vegetables can be put in a sauce pan with a tiny drop of olive oil and sweated down slightly at this point you can also add extra flavourings such as a little tomato puree and some dried herbs, I used parsley and oregano.

Now to add the liquids, a can of chopped tomatoes and stock makes the base of the sauce I like to use homemade stock or low salt stock cubes as ones like in the picture above contain 85% of your daily recommended allowance of salt in just one cube! That level of salt is not good for children so alternatively just top up with boiled water just so that all the vegetables are covered.

Simmer this mixture until all your vegetables are soft you may need to top up with more boiled water as it evaporates as a nice loose sauce will be easier to blend. Once your vegetable are soft add a handful of frozen peas at the end, they do not take a lot of cooking just 5 minutes should do.

Get out your blender and put a large handful of washed spinach in the bottom at this stage I also added some roasted beetroot that I had made the day before. Pour all of your sauce on top of the spinach and blend on a high speed for 10 minutes until it is really smooth and free of lumps.

You can freeze the sauce in ice cube trays for easy portions or keep it in a jar in the fridge for a couple of days. This sauce can literally be used in anything! Poured on top of pasta, chicken, used as a sauce for meatballs or mince for a healthy spaghetti bolognese. I like to cook some baby pasta stars and mix it with the sauce with some cheese on top as it is suitable for both boys. Its great knowing exactly what is going into the food you are feeding your children and that it is packed full of nutritious vegetables! 

Here is Eli enjoying his pasta with homemade hidden vegetable sauce and pictured above nutritious homemade baby food for Wesley much nicer then anything from a jar! 

I hope this recipe is useful to all you parents out there! Thank you for reading.


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