Sometimes your personal commitment to healthier eating can be sidelined by the other people you have to cook for! With all due respect to significant others and kiddies, of course :)
This is a time for baby steps. No need to force kale on them at evey meal. "They are chips, damn it! EAT THEM!!"
How about switching noodles in your soup to lentils? I mean, don't tell them about it. Just try it. A nice, cozy, easy to make chicken soup....with the HUGE nutritional benefits of lentils. We all know that the noodles in chicken noodle soup are far from beneficial. So make this small, healthy change and see what happens. I'm not saying they won't notice!! But - your family may surprise you. Lentils taste great and feel even better. So full of amazing nutrients - fibre, B vitamins, zinc, iron and potassium. (these are all things most people are severely lacking, by the way. Just saying.)
Here is a recipe for you to start your "family experiment" with. The flavours are super mild, no other surprises for them. Just start with the lentil thing :)
**The spinach may throw them off even more than the lentils, so choose wisely. You may not want to add this at this time in the food evolution. DO NOT OVERWHELM THEM!
**If you have chicken leftover from a previous meal, just add it (1 cup shredded or chopped) at the end of the cooking time to heat it through. Although, cooking the chicken in the soup adds flavour.
Chicken Soup (with lentils...shhhhh....)
2 tablespoons butter
½ large onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth (may need more, depending on how "soupy" you want this)
1 cup French lentils
½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
A couple of huge handfuls of organic baby spinach (optional)
(I spatter the word "organic" around in all recipes. If you can find/afford organic meats/produce then go for that. If not, don't stress about it. Promise?)
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat and add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Season the vegetables well with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and add the chicken. Cover and continue cooking for about 45 minutes (lentils to be softish.). Remove the chicken and put it on a plate to cool. Once cooled, use two forks to shred the chicken. Or cut it into pieces. Not with the forks. Grab a knife for this. Ahem.
NOW- Before you add the chicken at the end, you could blend this soup - a little or a lot. Personally, I like it as is. But, you know your family. What will be the most appealing approach? Return chicken to the pot. Add the spinach at this point, too. (if you are to be so daring, heeheehee). Stir and let sit for a couple of minutes to soften the spinach and warm it up. Taste and correct the seasoning. Don't be shy with the salt - we need salt.
If your family is already somewhat adventurous...add some fresh ginger with the veggies at the beginning (1 or 2 tablespoons, minced), or maybe some cilantro (1/4 cup chopped) at the end. Play around with some herbs and spices. Perhaps a squirt or two of Siracha chili sauce to add some heat?
Double the recipe next time, if they like it!
If they don't - all the more goodness for you :)
Here is a recipe from January, 2013. The update is that my children now eat Brussels sprouts and mushrooms (well not quite....Sophie and the mushrooms - not happening. Yet).
Panko is a cleaner choice than packaged bread crumbs. Have a look at the ingredient list on a tin of bread crumbs (don't let the "whole wheat" bullshit sell you) and you will see what I mean! If you have the time to make your own with some good, clean bread - awesome. Otherwise, buy Panko.
"Inner Athlete, Heather Roe, has inspired me to post a very easy and tasty chicken dish that you could make for dinner quite quickly (under 30 minutes, with very little prep work). My children liked it, although I had to add mashed potatoes and cucumber slices to the menu, as Josh and I consumed all the Brussels sprouts and mushrooms on their behalf. You are welcome, children.
Here is the recipe (serves 4)
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 lb. chicken tenders ( or chicken breast that you will cut into strips)
2 Tablespoons Grapeseed oil (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried Thyme (I love this herb so I used 1 tsp. but if you have young kids you may want to cut down or take it out altogether.)
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 lb. mushrooms, halved (or quartered if very large)
3/4 Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved lengthwise (quartered if large) - if you despise Brussels sprouts then use broccoli.
Halve your veggies and cut up the chicken (if you couldn't find tenders).
Preheat oven to 450, placing racks in upper and lower positions. In a small bowl, mix the Panko crumbs and Parmesan together. Set aside.
Toss the veggies on a rimmed baking sheet with 2 teaspoons of oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss again. Have a quick taste and make sure you can taste the salt!
Roast them on the lower rack until golden brown and tender, about 25 minutes (this will hopefully be timed perfectly for when the chicken is ready!)
Place the chicken in a 9"x 13" baking dish and then add 1 teaspoon of oil. Toss the chicken around in the oil, then sprinkle on the Thyme and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss the chicken around again (just not up in the air hahahaha). AND don't taste for salt!
Arrange the pieces so they are a single layer in the dish and then evenly distribute the Panko and Parmesan mixture on top. Drizzle a Tablespoon of the oil over top (if you use a little more to ensure each piece gets some, that's okay) and then place on the upper rack in the oven.
Bake until golden brown on top and chicken is cooked through (20 minutes or so). Check by cutting the largest piece in the middle.
Serve it all together and enjoy!!"