I once made a delicious onion and tomato relish to serve with dinner. My son took one look at his plate and said, “Mom, tell me you didn’t put onion on my plate”. And onion isn’t the only food on his list of ‘Things I refuse to eat at home’. He will regularly pick out tomatoes, butternut, cauliflower, beans and other vegetables or fruit he isn’t familiar with. So, to avoid him coming down with scurvy, or some other nutrient deficiency, I am always on the lookout for creative ways to serve up fruit and veggies.
One idea that went down well was potato shapes. These consist of making mashed potato and then presenting it in a shape, adorned with vegetable decorations. We went with a potato face, with carrots for eyes and tomato relish for hair. Something else that worked was butternut lasagne. It’s pasta, which is always good, that comes with a white sauce and cheese, so children are bound to go for it. It can work as a vegetarian dish, and I tried to sell this to my family, but the strange look I got from my husband prompted me to add some bacon. Fruit kebabs and veggie sticks, served with dips, also seem to work as an anytime snack. As do mini-quiches, made in a cupcake tray.
Something I want to try is a vegetable cupcake recipe. After all, what child would refuse something that comes from a cupcake tray? When mixed together, broccoli, rice and white sauce will hold together in a cupcake mould. Sprinkle this with cheese, and bake until it’s gone all gooey, and you can’t go wrong. Maybe a vegetable laced macaroni and cheese would work as well. Another dish I aim to try this winter is alphabet soup. This could be any soup, I suppose, but with the alphabet noodles added in to distract children from what they’re actually eating. Well, it worked for my mom.
- 1 box of lasagne sheets
- 1 punnet of butternut pieces, cut into cubes
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, diced
- Bacon or chicken strips (optional)
- 1 tin of diced tomato
- 3 or 4 sundried tomato halves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Dried herbs to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- White sauce or cheese sauce
- Grated cheddar or parmesan cheese
- Place the butternut on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and season. Roast it at 180°C, until just soft. This should take about 20-30 minutes.
- While the butternut is roasting, fry the onion, garlic and (optional) bacon or chicken. When this is done, add the tin of tomatos, the sundried tomatoes, sugar and seasoning, and simmer for a few minutes. Add the butternut to this mixture.
- For the layering of the lasagne, start with a thin layer of white sauce, followed by the pasta sheets. Make sure that the sheets don’t overlap. Top this with a layer of the butternut mix, and then a layer of white sauce. Repeat this once or twice, depending on the quantity you want. End off with a layer of white sauce, topped with grated cheese.
- Leave this to settle for about 30 minutes. When you’re ready, bake the lasagne at 180°C for about 30-40 minutes (check the lasagne package instructions for an indication of time). Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes and serve.