Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Strawberry, Yogurt, Honey and Balsamic Parfaits

Here is an easy recipe that gives you a great treat in no time at all. I made these the other day for dessert after getting some beautiful local strawberries at the farm stand.

Strawberry, Yogurt, Honey and Balsamic Parfaits  
Makes 2

10-12 ripe strawberries-sliced thin but keep 2-4 strawberries whole
1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
Honey or Agave-to taste
Balsamic glaze-optional but delicious
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate (I always suggest Ghiradelli chocolate)

1. Mix together yogurt and enough honey or agave to sweeten to your taste.

2. In a ramekin or other small serving dish, layer the bottom of the dish with some sliced strawberries, top with about 2 tbsp of yogurt mixture and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Continue to layer, sliced strawberries, yogurt and balsamic until you reach the top of your dish. Set aside in the refrigerator.

3.  In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips for 1 minute. Stir and continue to heat in 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Do not over heat or it will get clumpy.

4. Dip 2-4 whole strawberries in chocolate and set aside on wax paper to dry. Once the chocolate is mostly hardened, place 1-2 chocolate covered strawberries on each parfait.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tomato Veggie Sauce with Pasta

Something happened to my little girl around age one, she became a picky eater.  Every green item that I put on her plate (except avocados) would end up on the floor for the dog. Of course the dog doesn't like green things either so I would end up cleaning vegetables off the floor all the time. Once she developed a taste for certain flavors, getting vegetables in that belly became more of a challenge. I am always looking for ways to sneak some in her diet and that is why I thought this recipe was perfect.

Adding roasted vegetables to basic tomato sauce is a great way of getting nutritious items into your child's diet. This is a great recipe for adults as well. You can have this on any type of pasta or where ever else you would normally use tomato sauce. I made Layla different shaped pasta to keep her interest and it was very easy for her to feed herself with a fork. 

For myself, I am not a big pasta eater so I turned the leftover sauce into a tomato-vegetable soup. I will include that recipe below. It was delicious! 

In previous posts, I have recommended the book The Baby and Toddler Cookbook by Karen Ansel, MS, RD and Charity Ferreira. The book is very easy to navigate through and gives you recipe ideas from ages 6 months to 3 years old. The recipes are fun, healthy and help develop your child's palate. Along with the recipes, the book offers get information on when to introduce certain foods, as well as, great snack ideas. I will also add, that the recipes are great for adults too. You don't have to cook separate meals to appeal to kids and adults using this book. I would HIGHLY recommend buying this book if you enjoy cooking for your baby or toddler. 

Tomato Veggie Sauce with Pasta (recipe from The Baby and Toddler Cookbook)
Makes 3 1/2 cups of sauce

1 small carrot-peeled in finely chopped
1 small zucchini- peeled in finely chopped
1/2 red pepper-seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 yellow onion-finely chopped
1 clove garlic-minced
1 large can of crushed tomatoes (28-32 oz)
1/4 vegetable stock or low-sodium chicken stock
Cooked dried pasta shapes, shells or penne for serving

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small roasting pan combine, carrot, zucchini, and bell pepper. Drizzle with 1/2 the olive oil and stir to coat. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are tender. 

2. While the veggies are roasting, in a large saucepan over medium heat, warm remaining oil. Add in onion and garlic and saute until onion softens; about 5 mins. Add in tomatoes and broth, stir to mix well and simmer gently, uncovered, 15-20 minutes. Add in roasted veggies to the sauce. 

3. Let the sauce cool slightly, then transfer to food processor or blender and, working in batches if necessary, process until smooth or coarse puree, depending on the consistency you or your child prefers. Taste and adjust seasoning. 

4. To serve, toss the pasta with enough sauce to coat. Reserve remaining sauce for another use (such as vegetable soup below)
**Refrigerate the cooled sauce in air tight container for 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Round Two Recipe:
To make the roasted vegetable sauce into tomato vegetable soup, add the remaining sauce into a large sauce pan and add enough vegetable or chicken stock to a desired consistency for soup (between 2-3 cups) Add in chopped vegetables such as carrots, celery, green beans and simmer on low heat, partially covered, until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and add in chopped fresh basil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.