Sunday, November 27, 2011

"kids love it" casserole - spaghetti flavor casserole with spinach (and extra veggies)

I found this recipe on but it was all written out like a food storage recipe so I went to the source which was taste of home.  Then I changed it up plenty from there.  It turned out pretty well.
My changes - lots - too many to list really, sauces used, spices, extra veggies, less meat...
Verdict - older kids ate it fine, and I thought it was fine.  5 year old ate it with no complaint (he griped about orange chicken yesterday but ate it.) However, he left little piles of ground beef on the plate.  3 year old actually ate it - totally surprised me.  I thought he would gripe about the green things, but he griped about the red things.  He actually ate some bites of spinach.  He did leave the more heavily covered pieces of pasta on his plate.  I think he disliked the ground beef as much as the spinach.  Other than that, it seemed well enough liked by everyone.  Nothing spectacular, but likeable, full of veggies, and easy to prepare.  Not to bad for the crazy day I had around here.  (House alarm battery dead, no one in town has a replacement.  2 hours later I finally have one....  this after being up half the night with the thing beeping due to the dead battery -oh, and did I mention DH is out of town.  Yes, I was glad to have a simple to prepare dinner.  Probably why I streamlined the directions so much, but hey it worked, so it's all good right?)
So ideas for next time - puree the spinach, and the crushed tomato sauce to leave no trace of either, just a color to the sauce, and possibly leave out the ground beef??  Neither of the little 2 liked it.

Here's what I did today.


  • 1 pound ground beef - I used 1 contain pre-cooked with onions, salt and pepper.  
  • 1-2 Tablespoons dehydrated onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (I used jarred)
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cauliflower puree
  • 1/4 cup sweet potato puree
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning (Not sure if I threw in 1 or 2, but it could definitely use 2
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon each thyme, oregano, and basil (added because I couldn't remember if I used 1 or 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning and I wanted plenty of flavor.)
  • about 10 oz frozen chopped spinach
  • about 10-12 oz small pasta (I used a wagon wheel)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (I didn't feel like worrying if these would cook when I tossed them in hot casserole so I used 3 Tablespoons powdered eggs
  • about 1 cup sharp cheddar
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, to a saute pan, add cooked beef, onions, garlic, spices, spinach, crushed tomatoes and purees, (I just tossed both purees and the spinach in frozen and let them thaw while the sauce heated up.)   Heat through.  Simmer as the pasta cooks, adding a bit of water if necessary to keep it from being too dry.  (I think I added about 1/2 cup water during the cooking process.)  
  3. When the noodles are ready, stir in the cheese and egg (or egg powder.) Add the noodles and stir to combine.  (I probably cooked closer to 12 oz past, but added closer to 10 oz.)  Pour into a greased 9 X 13 pan, top with Parmesan, and bake at 250 for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

THousand Island dressing

HEre is a super simple THousand Island dressing to make if you are totally out of dressing at your house like we are.  (I'm trying to just get to where I make my own.  Works well when I run out.)

This is from a book called Quick-Fix Healthy mix.  Probably the first thing I've tried because despite the title, I don't find the recipes very healthy at all.  This isn't particularly healthy or anything, but it worked in a pinch. :)


  • 4 parts mayonaise (we made just 4 Tablespoons - original recipe called for 1 cup)
  • 1 part sweet pickle relish (1 Tablespoon in our case)
  • 1 part taco sauce (we used 1 Tablespoon as well.)
  1. Mix all ingredients together until well combined.  I actually added a bit of water to mine to thin it out a little, but DH used it just as it was.  We both liked it.

orange chicken (with hidden veggies)

I guess I'm getting way too into the hidden veggies thing.  I pulled out this orange chicken recipe to make and went and made it a bit healthier by using agave rather than brown sugar, and adding some veggie puree.  No one was any the wiser.  Still tasted great.  I was also super lazy today and just used Orange juice, dehydrated green onion, and tossed everything in the pot together.  No problems.  Makes for a quick and easy meal.  I served this with sweet brown rice.  That rice is so tasty.  Sticky, but tasty - for brown rice anyway.  :)

  • about 1 lb precooked chicken, defrosted 
  • 2 cups orange juice 
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest - I just used the zest of 1 orange - no measuring
  • 1/4 cup cauliflower puree
  • 1/4 cup sweet potato puree  (could probably have tossed in 1/2 cup, and would use carrot interchangeably.  I'm just out of carrot.)
  • 3/4 cup agave
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced ginger-I just grated some over the pot -  no measuring today.
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic -tossed in garlic powder here today
  • 2 tablespoons green onion - I used dehydrated and just tossed them in the sauce.
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch 
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 cups rice
In a medium saucepan combine orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, orange zest and whisk over medium heat for a few minutes. Then stir in purees (I just tossed them in frozen and let them defrost as the sauce heated.) agave, ginger, garlic, and green onion and let it come to a boil. Combine cornstarch with water and let it dissolve and add it to the sauce until thickened.  Remove about 1/2 of the sauce to a bowl (I used my gravy boat.)  Add the chicken to the remaining sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer while preparing rice.  (I just made min in a rice cooker.  3 cups lets me fill it up to line 4.)  Serve the chicken mix over rice with extra sauce for the rice.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Enchiladas (with hidden veggies)

I made so many changes to this original recipe that even with my notes, I'm typing it up as it is cooking in the oven.  (course I may not finish because it only had 15 min to cook and I just took half of that time putting ingredients away.)  But, at least I hope to get the ingredients down.
The original recipe came from The sneaky chef every day, BUT - I have only purees in single veggies not her colorful mix of veggies, AND her sauce looked like it would be bland, especially with the added veggies.  So I combined my own mix of veggies, and my sister's red enchilada sauce, with the recipe in the book and this is what I came up with.

So I did get the ingredients down before serving this, but not everything.  Just ate it and it tasted great.  I'm pretty impressed because of all the combining and the many different veggies I threw in there.  Tomatoes, cauliflower, carrot, sweet potato, yellow squash, spinach, and the tomato from tomato sauce.  Not bad if you ask me.  Aaron at 1/2 of his, which is pretty good considering #1 he is always super picky, #2 he actually has strep.  I'm not complaining at all.  :)


  • 1 container of pre-cooked beef (or 1 lb lean ground beef, cooked with onions, salt, and pepper and drained)
  • 3 8 oz containers of tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup orange or lighter color pureed veggies -book called for "orange" (carrot and sweet potato) or "white"(cauliflower and zucchini).  I used 3 T carrot, 5 T sweet potato, and 1/4 cup cauliflower = 3/4 cup (*see note)
  • 1.5 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (I'd probably leave this out - I forgot that the carrot and sweet potato would sweeten the sauce and I don't feel it was needed with the additional veggies)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup green or darker pureed veggies -I used 5 T spinach and 3 yellow squash
  • 1 1/2 -2 cups shredded cheese - I used sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack
  • tortillas -I used 7 flour and 7 corn 
* I froze my veggie purees in 1 Tablespoon (ice cube trays), 1/4 cup (muffin tins) and a couple 1/2 cup (plastic kiddie cups) increments.  I just happened to have 3 ice cubes of carrot left, then added the rest.  Same with the spinach.  If I had still had some broccoli I probably would have used 1/2 broccoli and 1/2 spinach, but I was out of broccoli.  In other words, feel free to add whatever puree you have handy.  The dark color hides well in the beef, and the orange or light color can hide anywhere.  The flavor will be covered by the sauce.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine tomato sauce, orange/white/light colored veggie puree, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, salt and pepper.
  3. Toss pre-cooked beef into a skillet.  (or cook and drain beef in a skillet)  Add green/darker veggies puree,  1 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce, and 1/2 cup of cheese to the beef.  Heat through.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  
  4. Meanwhile, heat tortillas.  Coat the bottom of the 9 X 13 with red sauce.  (I used about 3/4 cup)
  5. Fill each tortilla with about 1/4 cup meat mixture (total guess there)  Roll up filled tortilla and place seam side down in the sauce.  (I actually rolled mine a little in the sauce, adding a bit more to the bottom as necessary, but I can't say that was necessary.  I'm sure I could have coated the sides and top with the left over sauce.)  Pour remaining sauce over the top of the filled tortillas.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.  (This really only took 15 minutes)

pumpkin ravioli (flop)

I went to a church activity the other day where a girl was showing all of the things she had done to use food storage.  She demo'ed how she made ravioli.  I thought it would be a great idea to try the home made dough and try making my ravioli, but it was not such a great idea.  Apparently I made my dough too sticky.  (At least that is my guess in looking more closely at her pictures.  I think it came from my trying to use egg powder.  My egg powder can says 1 egg is 2 T egg powder and 4 T water.  I didn't use that much, but I think I ended up using more that the original post which is here.  Anyway, the pumpkin middle was from double delicious.  I thought the flavor was only OK.   It felt a bit too mushy to me.  Maybe needed a bit more ricotta.  Overall I was under impressed and it took me absolutely forever to make.  I hate that.  Waste hours for food that isn't very tasty.  Blah.  I did think that the double delicious idea of using wonton wrappers was cute, and I totally should have done that, but somehow after the demo home made noodles looked sooo easy.  Ha, Ha, Ha.  One day I will learn how to make them properly.   Saturday just wasn't that day.  :(  I do have to say that Tavio seemed to love these.  Had seconds and thirds.  I however just managed to make it through my firsts.

Tortellini with crisped bacon and peas

This meal was super simple.  I mean SUPER simple.  And the surprising thing - all the kids seemed to like it (or at least they ate it without complaint.)  I was sure it couldn't be very tasty since it was soooo simple, but alas it was.  Loved the crisp bacon.  It totally made the dish.
I also found this at the 6 o'clock scramble.  She suggests serving this with roasted brussel sprouts - I didn't even attempt this.  We served this on a night when we had a wrestling match meaning we were super busy.  I loved the simplicity and didn't feel like complicating my life with a side dish.  :)
Here is how I made it


  • 6-8 slices pre-cooked bacon (can use regular, I'm just lazy.)
  • 24 oz package cheese tortellini
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Add peas during last minute of cooking time
  2. Meanwhile, chop bacon into pieces (I just take all 6 slices and chop them with my kitchen scissors.)  Toss in a pan and cook to crisp it up. -or you can fry up some bacon and crumble it.)
  3. When pasta is done, drain, and toss with olive oil, bacon, and Parmesan cheese.

Indian spiced lentils with rice

I really liked this meal.  Loved the mild curry, and the sweetness of the raisins.  However, it wasn't a huge hit with the kiddos.  Gets a blog post because I liked it and have finally finished all of the left overs for lunch. (sure sign that I really liked it.)  YUM!  I found the original on 6 o'clock scramble.  I did modify it knowing that curry isn't a popular flavor in my house.  The modification was good enough that DH ended up liking it, and our oldest ate it and had seconds, but the rest of them were not impressed with the curry even though I cut it in half and added extra cumin.   Oh well.   They all tried it though.  Even Mr. Picky toddler ate 2 bites for me.  Happy day.  :)
The suggestion at 6 o'clock scramble was to serve this with a cucumber/avocado salad.  I wasn't a fan of that, but then again I'm not a fan of avocado (unless it is in guacamole.)

Here's how I made the lentil dish


  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • greek yogurt for serving
  1. In a large stockpot with a tight fitting lid, heat coconut oil over medium high heat and saute the onions, uncovered for about 5 minutes until they start to brown.
  2. Ad dthe rice, curry powder, cumin and bay leaves and stir for a minute to coat the rice with the oil.  Add remaining ingredients (except yogurt) and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until water is absorbed and the rice is tender, 50-55 minutes.  (I did 50 minutes, my water was absorbed, but my rice was not tender enough, so I added about 1/2 cup more water and simmered for 5 additional minutes)
  3. Remove bay leaves and serve topped with  yogurt if desired.

Macaroni and Cheese (with hidden veggies)

This started out as a recipe from Double delicious but I really had to add a lot more cheese to make it taste anything like macaroni and cheese.  I also didn't feel like doing the extra step of throwing this in the oven so I left that out.  Honestly for a mac and cheese recipe with veggies - I'd still go back to the nacho's recipe and just leave out the jalapenos.  I did that the other day and liked it as well if not better than this recipe.  This recipe was OK though, and the kids all ate it which automatically wins it a post on the blog.
I also did some funky things like used bean flour rather than regular - feel free to use regular.  Bean flour was just me experimenting.  :)  The cheese measures are approximate because I just kept adding until it tasted good.  I'm just guessing as to about what I ended up using.  The original only had 1 cup of cheddar with 2 T of Parmesan sprinkled on top for the oven.  So you can see how much cheese I added.  With only 1 cup you could have just called the dish orange macaroni and milk.  Of course it isn't as "healthy" with added cheese (and I didn't use the reduced fat called for either) but I like flavor and so do my kids.  :)


  • 1 pound pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons bean flour (or regular)
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 -3 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1/4-1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup carrot puree
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile heat the coconut oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  Whisk in the bean flour to form a paste.  Slowly whisk in milk to prevent lumping.  Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture thickens slightly.  (about 5 minutes)  Add remaining ingredients (both cheeses, salt, and carrot puree.)  Whisk until smooth.  
  3. Stir the cheese into the pasta and heat through.  Serve.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

pumpkin doughnuts

This recipe isn't from double delicious, but it is from Jessica Seinfeld's first book deceptively delicious.  I wasn't nearly as impressed with this recipe as the previous recipes.  The donuts had a weird texture to me - almost too soft??  Hard to explain.  They win a post because Mr. Picky 3 year old also gobbled these up.  I did have to make some modifications though.  The original dough was just way too thin.  I also thought the first batch was just way too heavy on the pumpkin/sweet potato flavor so I added more cinnamon to the rest of the batch.
This is how I made them - with extra flour and cinnamon, and instructions written for a doughnut maker.


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree (certainly you could just use another 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, but I had sweet potatoes to use up so I had made sweet potato puree)
  • 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 large egg white 
  • 1 Tablespoon tub butter, melted - I would probably omit this next time and just add the whole egg.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup unbleached flour  (you could use wheat, but I didn't have any ground and didn't want to wake anyone up just yet with the noise of the grinder)
  • 1/4 cup barley flour (again, just me being experimental, feel free to use regular flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (possibly more next time)
  • powdered sugar for dusting if desired
  1. Plug in doughnut maker to pre-heat.  In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, pumpkin, sweet potato, buttermilk, egg white, tub butter, and vanilla.  Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.  Mix until incorporated.
  2. Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough into doughnut maker.  Close lid and let cook for 5-6 minutes.  Remove.  Let cool and dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Sweet and sour meatballs (with hidden veggies)

This is yet another from double delicious.  Again I have to kind of laugh because this recipe was specifically mentioned in negative reviews for a couple of things - a typo - says to pre-heat the oven to 350 then never uses the oven.  There were also a lot of gripes about the texture of the meat being so soft.  I had no issues with either because #1 I didn't even try to pan fry the meatballs.  I stuck them all on a cookie sheet and baked them all at 400.  I didn't try rolling them by hand, I just scooped them out with my cookie dough size scoop. Didn't have either problem.
However, my super picky 3 year old at 3 of these meatballs.  Remember he is super picky.  He won't eat ground beef - wont even try it.  So I really didn't have super high hopes of him liking this one, but maybe the softer texture of these meatballs agreed with him.  I don't know, I'm just happy he ate 3 and got some great protein and even some veggies mixed in.
I also have to say I loved the sauce.  It reminded me of a sauce I've had on a chicken dish from a low fat cookbook.  It too used some orange marmalade and steak sauce.  Apparently I like that combination.  YUM!
I also have to say that I did double this recipe from the original (feel free to 1/2 it)  I used greek yogurt not regular (maybe that helped the texture?? - they were still super soft for a meatball) and I used ground beef not chicken or turkey.

Here is my version 

Meatball Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (use 1/3 for the meatballs, 2/3 for the sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minces
  • 4 slices wheat bread, crust removed, torn in pieces (I used my home made wheat)
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (93%)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Sauce ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • rest of onion (see above)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 4 teaspoons steak sauce (1 T + 1 t)
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple in juice
  • 2 Tablespoons orange marmalade
  1. Preheat oven to 400.  Heat coconut oil in a large skillet.  Add the onion and cook until soft and fragrent.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.  
  2. Place the bread in a large mixing bowl.  Add the cooked onion and garlic, yogurt, broccoli puree, egg, beef, salt, nutmeg, and pepper.  Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.  (I found that this seemed to pull out the fat in my meat or something.  I ended up with some globs which I removed.  It was actually kind of gross.  Not sure if I'd want to beat it soo much next time.  :)
  3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silicon baking sheet.  Scoop meat mixture onto cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.  
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by heating the coconut oil in a pan.  (I just used my onion pan since it was empty and I was just going to saute some onions again.)  Add onion and brown sugar.  Cook 7-8 minutes stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and starting to brown.
  5. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute more.  (Surely I cooked mine a lot longer than necessary because I was heating as I was measuring and adding and the sauce was winning --boiling faster than I was finishing adding ingredients. :)  Puree with an immersion blender or food processor until smooth.  I put mine in my immersion blender container and blended it there. Then it was in a nice container I could pour out of when I served.
  6. I served this with a bit of linguini noodles, some meatballs, and some sauce on top.  

Balsamic chicken sandwich (with hidden veggies)

OK, I have to say that I'm totally loving this double delicious book I have checked out from the library.  I may have to purchase this one.  It's definitely on my wishlist now.  I have to say, I was reading reviews and saw a bad one for this sandwich.  I do have to agree with the person that posted it, this sandwich ended up with a lot of liquid.  I would probably add a bit less beef broth next time, but only a little.  I added a lot of the sauce to the sandwich because the crusty bolillos we got could easily absorb a bit of liquid.  I also caught a child wiping the extra liquid off of his plate with his finger and licking it.  I'm not complaining because that is where the hidden veggies were.
I do have to agree with many of the commenters at amazon, you aren't getting a ton of veggies in there, but I'm super happy that my super picky, non vegetable eating 3 year old has eaten all 4 of the things I've made from this book.  He ate a whole 1/2 of this sandwich which is truely saying something for him.  He is super picky - has texture issues, color issues.....
I did of course have a couple of changes, but not many - just used barley flour instead of wheat, and I actually used a bit more than called for in the original. Here is what I did


  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed (I used 3 larger sized chicken breasts - not sure of the weight) 
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup barley flour (can use wheat or white as well, I just wanted to try barley)
  • 2 Tablespoons oil (can't remember if I used healthy blend or coconut this day)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic minces (been really lazy with garlic lately)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (this will make a lot of sauce.  I might reduce this to about 3/4 cup next time -or just have lots of sauce.  I'm undecided at this point)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 6 Tablespoons dark brown sugar (mine was a brick so I guessed.)  
  • 1/2 cup steamed and pureed broccoli (I made this earlier in the day -during nap time)
  • 1-2 Tomatoes sliced (depending on the size of your tomato)
  • 6-7 Bolillos or other type of crusty roll 
  • Mozzarella cheese
  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Toss chicken with flour to coat (either in a ziplock bag, or on a piece of wax or aluminum foil - or in a bowl.)  
  2. Warm oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add chicken.  Cook until chicken begins to brown adding garlic in the last minute or 2.  
  3. Add the stock, vinegar and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  (If I didn't add less stock next time, I would boil this uncovered to reduce the sauce a bit.)  While this is simmering, preheat the oven to 350 and cut the buns in half.  (I found that I liked not cutting all the way through the bun because it caught all of the juices better and held together better in the oven -   think cut it like a hot dog bun.)
  4. Add puree and cook 2-3 minutes more (I simmered it a bit longer to reduce the sauce some this time since I had left the pot covered in the previous step.)
  5. Place the bread on a cookie sheet.  Top each with tomato and chicken.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake until the 3-4 minutes until the cheese begins to melt.  Change oven to broil and broil for 45 seconds to a minute - just until the edges begin to brown.  Serve.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cheese Nachos (with hidden veggies)

Update 11/13 -yes I realize this is my very last post and I just posted it 2 days ago but I just made this cheese sauce again today - I used it for nachos and put it over noodles to make "mac and cheese" for my 3 year old.  Lunch for 4 people and it had veggies in it.  Posting to say that after making this the first time I got the idea to use bean flour in this instead of regular flour.  I think my first thought was just plain adding beans to the nachos, but then I though - hey why not use bean flour to thicken the sauce.  I tried that today.  Worked great, so definitely an option to make it gluten free, or add a bit of fiber and protein.  :) I was also lazy and just tossed in frozen carrot puree, let it thaw/heat, and then threw in the cheese.  Also worked fine.

This week I have checked out the hidden veggies books.  -Deceptively delicious, double delicious, and the sneaky chef.  Yes I've done this before in an attempt to get any type of veggie into my youngest, no it didn't work well then because he also doesn't like many things with any kind of texture I could hide something in but lately I've been feeding him a macaroni and cheese with hidden carrots (sold at costco) and he loves that so these nachos really caught my eye.  They have cauliflower hidden in the meat sauce and carrots in the cheese.  (couldn't get him to try the meat, but he loved the cheese.)  I did have to do some editing on the cheese sauce.  The way it was made in the book was super sweet from the carrots and didn't taste anything like cheese, so I had to add more cheese.  (hence actually coming and blogging the day after I made it.)  I did really like the flavor of the meat.  Could use this for tacos as well and it would be very tasty.  It had just the right amount of spice for me and my kiddos.
I almost rated this 4.5 star, but bumped it up because all of the kids liked it.  Tavio typically doesn't like a cheese that starts as a white sauce, but liked this one.  Both Benjamin and Aaron ate the cheese and loved it.  Even Brandon liked it.  Not too often to I find something that everyone will eat and enjoy, so this definitely moves up the scale to 5 stars.
Here is my adaptation of the original found on page 119 of double delcious.


  • 1 lb lean ground beef (I used 93% lean)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided (original called for less but I didn't pay attention that it got divided. :)  I ended up using 2 teaspoons but really loved the flavor.  Not sure I'd change it.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower puree (cooked and pureed cauliflower)
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon oil (I used my healthy blend this time)
  • 2 Tablespoons flour (white, wheat, or bean)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup carrot puree (cooked and pureed carrot)
  • 1 1/2 -2 cups grated cheese (I used a mix of sharp cheddar and Monterrey Jack)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped pickled jalapenos.  (I did choose ones with no seeds)
  • tortilla chips (I used some food should taste good multigrain chips. (also found at costco) those were tasty.  Kiddos had regular tortilla chips.)
  • any other desired toppings, salsa, sour cream, more jalapenos,...   We just ate them with meat and cheese -some of the kiddos with just cheese.
  1. Cook beef with the cumin, chili powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, salt and oregano until cooked through.  Drain fat.  Take off heat and add cauliflower puree and tomato paste.  Stir in until well combined.  Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the flour and stir until it forms a paste (this happens pretty quickly so have your milk measured and ready.)  Whisk in milk until smooth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and whisk in carrot, cheese, jalapeno and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.  Heat until the cheese has melted.
  3. Serve with chips.  


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