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Sneaky Chef's 3 Best Holiday Recipes for Kids

Morgan Kelly Burke
Nov. 14, 2011

Missy Lapine offers sneaky tricks for your holiday meal as part of the Care.com Interview Series

When Missy Chase Lapine, the Sneaky Chef, couldn't get her daughter to take her strep throat medicine a few years ago, she hid it in chocolate pudding. It disappeared in no time. Lapine had an 'aha!' moment and soon started sneaking healthy veggies and beans into kids' favorite meals.  Wouldn't you know, adults loved them too.

Now, after years of testing new ways to add healthy foods into classic kid food favorites, Lapine says, "I can get almost any kid eating spinach and broccoli by dinnertime tonight." Lapine shared these three sophisticated and classic holiday dishes your family and guests will eat!

See our kid-friendly holiday menu»

SNEAKY CHEF ROASTED SQUASH SOUP FOR THE HOLIDAYS

This fat-free creamy soup is a great first course to start holiday dinner. It can be as homey or elegant as you wish. A handheld stick blender to puree all the ingredients completes making this really simple to create.

Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 1 Hour
Makes 6-8 Servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 red onion, quartered
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 apple, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk, optional

  • Optional garnish: one-quarter cup toasted, shelled pumpkin seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.Rinse whole squash, prick with fork (as you would a baked potato), place on a baking sheet with the onion and bake for 45 minutes.
  2. Remove squash and onion from oven. Set the onion aside while you cut open the squash and scoop the flesh from the skin.
  3. Place the onion, squash flesh, broth, cinnamon, salt, apple, and Orange Puree in a large soup pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup to a smooth consistency. Alternately, you can puree the soup in batches using a blender.
  5. Stir in the evaporated milk, if using, and serve. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds, if using.

SNEAKY CHEF GARLIC MASHED POTATOES

There are so many heavy foods at Thanksgiving; these mashed potatoes make for a wonderfully lighter version of the traditional.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold or russet potatoes (about 4 medium-sized potatoes), peeled and quartered
  • 2 to 3 heads garlic
  • ½ cup White Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe below)
  • ½ cup low-fat plain yogurt (*Greek style yogurt works best with this recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 25 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are completely tender.
  3. Meanwhile, wrap the garlic heads in foil and roast them in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the garlic from the oven and squeeze the garlic flesh out of the skins.
  4. Drain the potatoes into a colander, then return them to the pot. Add the roasted garlic flesh, the White Puree, and the yogurt, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until well combined. Add a bit more yogurt if needed.
  5. Serve immediately, or keep the mashed potatoes hot on the stovetop in a metal bowl set over simmering water.

SNEAKY CHEF PUMPKIN SPICE DONUTS (OR MUFFINS)

This recipe has more fiber, pure vegetables, and whole grain, as well as being low in fat. Get yourself an inexpensive donut pan at the housewares store and convert all your muffin recipes to seemingly more decadent donuts!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 16-24 minutes
Makes 6 muffins or 12 donuts.

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups whole grain pastry flour (or ¾ cup all-purpose flour and ½ cup whole grain flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • One-half teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or equal parts cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons walnut, canola or vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe below)
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • One-half cup brown sugar, packed

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a mini-bundt (or donut) pan with oil. If you choose the cupcake option, line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, Orange Puree, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and brown sugar until well combined. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until the flour is just moistened. Don't over mix. Pour into donut molds or fill muffin cups almost to the top. Spray tops of donuts or muffins with oil before baking.
  3. For donuts: Bake 14 to 16 minutes until the tops spring back when pressed lightly. Loosen the edges with a knife and turn the donuts out over a plate. Allow to cool, and then decorate as desired.
  4. For muffins: Bake 22 to 24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn the muffins out of the tins to cool. Dust tops with powdered sugar or decorate as desired.

SNEAKY CHEF MAKE-AHEAD RECIPE: ORANGE PUREE

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Makes about 2 cups.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato or yam, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced into thick chunks
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water

Directions

  1. Place the carrots and sweet potatoes in a medium-sized pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes, until carrots are very tender. Careful - if the carrots aren't tender enough, they may leave telltale little nuggets of vegetables in recipes, which will reveal their presence to your kids-a gigantic no-no for The Sneaky Chef.
  2. Drain the carrots and sweet potatoes and put them in the food processor with two tablespoons of water. Puree on high until smooth - no pieces of vegetables showing. Stop occasionally to push the contents to the bottom. If necessary, use another tablespoon of water to smooth out the puree, but the less water, the better.

*You can double this recipe if you want to store more. Orange Puree will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze ¼-cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.


SNEAKY CHEF MAKE-AHEAD RECIPE: WHITE PUREE

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Makes about 2 cups.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (about ½ a small head)
  • 2 small to medium zucchini, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water, if necessary

Directions

  1. To prepare on the stovetop, pour about 2 inches of water into a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Put a vegetable steamer basket into the pot, add the cauliflower, and steam for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Drain.
  2. To prepare in microwave, place the cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl, cover it with water, and microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes or until very tender. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, place the raw peeled zucchini with the lemon juice in your food processor and pulse a few times. Next add the cooked cauliflower and 1 tablespoon of water to the food processor (work in batches if necessary) and puree on high until smooth. Stop occasionally to push the contents to the bottom. If necessary, use another tablespoon of water make a smooth puree, but the less water, the better.
  4. *You can double this recipe if you want to store more. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze ¼-cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.

> All recipes have been republished with permission from TheSneakyChef.com

Missy Chase Lapine is an author, a busy wife, and mother of two. Lapine works from home as a self-proclaimed 'mompreneur' -- testing recipes, touring, connecting with moms to help them find simple ways to feed their families healthy foods, and blogging over at The Sneaky Chef. Keep an eye out for her latest cookbook The Speedy Sneaky Chef coming January 2012. 

Image used with permission by Missy Lapine.

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