January 2012 Archives

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Your Name: Alex C., Australia
Inquiry: I just wanted to say I haven't even made any of your recipes yet but I am so excited that someone finally is being serious about what our kids like and realise most kids like sweet treats. I have looked at so many vege cookie recipes before I stumbled upon yours. Who wants to eat actual vegies shaped like a cookie? Your recipes look so yummy and I really believe they will taste as good as they look simply because they will taste normal. Your recipes are exactly what I have been looking for thank you!

Dear Alex,
Wow, all the way from down under! We have lots of love from happy readers using Sneaky Chef in Australia, in fact! Can't wait to hear what you think of my recipes - and you're correct, kids are way too clever these days to simply cut veggies into cookie shapes and call them cookies....a rose by any other name....
Pls stay in touch!!
My best,

P.S. I couldn't resist sending this quote I got from a wonderful mom (Mum, as you say!) in Australia:

“I am a mum of six children ranging from 19 to 8. My three youngest have autism.
Finding food that they would eat is hard enough but healthy food is even harder. We decided to take out a lot of the preservatives in their diet as well as getting them to eat healthier. Finding your book was a Godsend. While making up the purees, I despaired getting them to eat them. Then I stood in awe as my 9-year-old took off with the bowl that I had made the "Brainy Brownies" in and began to lick it.

I can make up food now knowing that in most things they are getting such wonderful vegetables. Putting a White and an Orange Puree into plain baked beans and watching them eating it is incredible. My son’s teacher came up to me after two weeks and asked me what I had done. She told me that my son was now working alone without needing much help and his spelling and English had improved dramatically. My 9-year-old daughter is amazing. Since starting with the purees and other things in the book, her speech has improved dramatically and she had now at least twice the amount of words. When she got out of the car the other day, and just before she ran off to school, she turned and called out. "I love you mummy." I sat and cried because that is not something she says. If I could meet Missy I would give her the hugest hug because without this book I would definitely not have the kids I have today. Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving my kids back to me.” Tina E., Australia (mum of 6)

Twitter request
@sneakychef corn flakes & cheese pudding? Sounds interesting!  
Here you go, Harika....thanks for asking:

From The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue
I dedicate this recipe to my late Grandma Betty. As with many of the recipes passed down from generations above, there’s no way to replicate the exact taste of my wonderful Grandma’s pudding (it was either the love – or some other secret ingredient they never wrote down – that made it taste different), but this is pretty darn close – even with all the extra healthful ingredients that I slipped in to give it a boost. I make this every Sunday and on rushed weekday mornings when I want to give the kids an instant hot breakfast.

Makes 6 servings
1 ½ cups low-fat cottage cheese (ideally “whipped”)
2 large eggs
¼ cup Sneaky Chef White Bean Puree
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole grain cereal flakes (like Wheaties® or Total®)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease or spray a loaf pan (approximately 9-inches by 5-inches) with oil.

Using a rolling pin, gently crush cereal (in a sealed plastic bag) into coarsely crushed flakes. Alternatively, you can quickly pulse the cereal in a food processor. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cottage cheese, eggs, White Bean Puree, salt, sugar, and vanilla. Pour about three-quarters of a cup of the crushed cereal on the bottom of the prepared loaf pan. Next, pour all of the cottage cheese mixture on top of the cereal, then top with the remaining crushed cereal. Spray the top with oil and bake for 45 minutes, uncovered. Serve with drizzle of maple syrup.

Two sure bets on Superbowl Sunday – one set of fans will be disappointed and everyone will overeat! Here's a way to make everyone a winner with a few of my Superbowl recipes that taste way too good to be healthy!  From my new book, The Speedy Sneaky Chef: Quick, Healthy Fixes for Your Favorite Packaged Foods

Sneaky Chef Too-Good-to-Be-True Taquitos
TrickyTaquitos sm crop.jpgMakes 8 taquitos (4 servings) 
4 ounces cooked chicken, turkey, or ham
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed 
1⁄4 cup Sneaky Chef Green Puree or baby food mixed green 
vegetable puree
1⁄4 cup tomato paste
1 to 2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix 
8 (6-inch round) corn tortillas (white or yellow)
1⁄2 cup shredded, reduced-fat Mexican or cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with oil.
Cut chicken, turkey, or ham into thin strips, easily done using kitchen scissors. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flax, puree, tomato paste, and seasoning. 
Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave on high for 30 seconds to one minute to make soft and pliable (you may want to do a few tortillas at a time so they don’t get stiff again).
Remove paper towels and lay soft tortillas out on the baking sheet. Spread each with about one tablespoon of the tomato mixture, top with about 1⁄2 ounce of chicken, turkey, or ham, and one tablespoon of cheese. Roll tightly and place seam-side down on the baking sheet (secure with a toothpick, if necessary). Spray the tops of the taquitos with more oil and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove toothpicks and serve warm, or allow to cool and freeze for up to 3 months (simply pop the taquito in microwave)

Sneaky Chef Easy Cheesy Chicken Nachos
nachos group shot crop.jpgMakes 4 servings
12 (6-inch round) corn tortillas (white or yellow) 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
1⁄4 cup tomato paste
1⁄4 cup Sneaky Chef Orange Puree or baby food carrot puree
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1⁄2 cup shredded, reduced-fat Mexican or cheddar cheese
Optional garnish: plain Greek yogurt, chopped jalapeños, salsa

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
If not using my Make-Ahead “Instant” Tortilla Chips, brush or spray both sides of the tortillas with oil. Stack 6 of them together and, using kitchen scissors, cut the stack into 8 triangles. Repeat with the final 6 tortillas, for a total of 96 chips. Scatter the chips in a single layer onto a large cookie sheet and sprinkle them evenly with the flax and taco seasoning. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy. Remove from oven and transfer to an ovenproof serving bowl or casserole dish.

In a mixing bowl, combine the tomato paste, puree, and cooked chicken. Spoon the chicken mixture evenly over the crispy corn chips, top with cheese, and bake until chicken is warmed through and cheese is melted, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Top with optional garnishes and serve warm.

Sneaky Chef Parmesan Chicken Fries
ChickenFries smaller crop.jpgMakes 4 servings
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed 
2 tablespoons wheat germ 
1 cup breadcrumbs, ideally whole grain
12 ounces uncooked boneless, skinless, thinly sliced chicken breasts
Cooking spray oil

1⁄2 cup store-bought marinara sauce
1⁄4 cup Sneaky Chef Orange Puree or baby food carrot or 
sweet potato puree

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and generously coat baking sheet with cooking spray oil.
Cut tenders into French fry–shaped strips, easily done using kitchen scissors. Combine flax, wheat germ, and breadcrumbs in zip-top plastic bag, seal, and shake to mix. Add chicken strips, seal, and shake to coat chicken evenly. Remove chicken pieces and place on prepared baking sheet. Generously coat top of chicken with more cooking spray and bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
Combine marinara sauce with puree and serve as dip alongside the chicken fries.

From my new book, The Speedy Sneaky Chef: Quick, Healthy Fixes for Your Favorite Packaged Foods

Contributed by guest blogger:
Robert Rosenthal, Short Order Dad

Paula Deen is a hero to millions. With restaurants, books, magazines, TV shows and more, Deen is both an icon and an industry.

So many people really seem to love her, understandably. She is lively, gregarious, charming and fun. And she cooks the kind of Southern fried favorites that people dream of, doing it with joy in her heart.

But hers is also the kind of food that can bring you some trouble over the long term if you eat too much of it too often. As evidenced now by Paula Deen herself. Hey, I like fried chicken as much as the next guy, but I don't make a steady diet of it.

So when it was announced this week on the Today Show that Paula was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, it was as surprising as an alcoholic waking up with a hangover and tremors.

The real surprise surfaced when she revealed that she was diagnosed three years ago. She has known about her condition for three years. Al Roker rightly inquired as to why she waited until now to say anything at all about it.

Because, she said, she had "nothing to bring to the table."

Except that she did.

For three whole years, she continued to bring to the American table a steady diet of the very same death-defying food that brought her Type II diabetes. Her belated claims of having preached moderation would be laughable if they weren't so transparent.

What finally brought Paula out of the pantry was her announcement that she is now being paid as a spokesperson for a big drug company that sells diabetes medicine. She had the opportunity to do the right thing without having to be compensated. Instead, whether one views hers as a savvy business maneuver or distasteful, disingenuous hypocrisy is up for discussion. As is her legacy.

She had the prerogative not to say a word, but how many others have been similarly diagnosed during her three-year silence? She has to live with her coverup.

As of now, the Paula Deen message is that you can eat as much of whatever you want as you'd like without regard or worry because there's a drug for that.

But she still has the opportunity to do the right thing and turn this into what they call a "teachable moment."

Let us know how you feel about the way Paula handled the situation.

Robert Rosenthal is the Short Order Dad®, making food fun for parents. On Twitter @shortorderdad or facebook.com/ShortOrderDad

Here we are, a couple of weeks into the New Year, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to renew and reinvigorate my resolutions! As The Sneaky Chef and a cookbook author known for the art of hiding healthy foods in everyone’s favorite meals, you’d think I have this health thing nailed – but I’m the first to admit when there’s room for improvement!

I know they say writing down resolutions helps ensure success – and I’m posting mine here for YOU to help keep me accountable on these 5 resolutions!

Resolution: get more superfoods into my family’s meals – including leafy greens, broccoli and blueberries
Action Step: take a page out of my own books (lol!) and when I need a quick fix, serve veggie products the kids love, like Veggie Patch Broccoli Bites with Cheese

Resolution: swap sugary desserts for fruit-based desserts most days
Action Step: make my Breakfast Ice Cream for dessert! Check out my newest flavor, Tropical Twist, just published in The Speedy Sneaky Chef 

BreakfastIceCream trop twist smaller.jpgResolution: lose those stubborn 5 (ok, 8) pounds (and help hubby lose a few too!)Action Step: slip those veggie purees into my recipes since research shows this sneaky method can cut out about 360 calories/day which can equate to more than a pound of weight loss every 10 days! 

Resolution: serve at least one completely vegetarian dinner per week
Action Step:
use smart vegetarian substitutes such as Veggie Patch Chick’n Nuggets instead of chicken in my kids’ fave new recipe Chick’n Parm Pops below or Meatless Meatballs with spaghetti.
ChickenParmPop_0006 web.jpg
Resolution: do at least 2 spinning classes and 3 exercise videos per week
Action Step: just do it, as they say!

What are your resolutions for this year? Please share with us!

Chick’n Parm Parm Bites
Serves 4
1 package (about 14) Veggie Patch Chick 'n Nuggets
1/2 cup store-bought tomato sauce
1/4 cup Sneaky Chef Orange Puree
1 cup reduced fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
14 skewers or craft sticks, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking sheet with oil.
In a mixing bowl, combine tomato sauce and Orange Puree. Dip one side each nugget in the sauce mixture, place on the prepared baking sheet, then sprinkle with about a tablespoon of cheese. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. If using, insert a skewer or craft stick into each nugget and serve.

Thank you Laura Fuentes, Chief MOM

Three years ago my daughter entered a picky eating stage and I could not get her to eat anything! My son followed her path a year later. I came across Missy’s book The Sneaky Chef and I immediately fell in love with her ingenuity! The brownies were such a hit that I began putting them in their lunch box. They wanted a treat? Have a brownie! I’d say.

My daughter has slowly grown more open to trying new things; my son is another story. For the past year he has eaten macaroni and cheese nearly 2-3 times per week. Initially, I used Missy’s technique of adding pureed carrots or squash (anything orange) to add a nutritional boost to the organic, out of the box pasta. Soon, it became apparent that I needed to come up with my own “power sauce” in order to really maximize nutrition.
momables mac n cheese 1[1].jpg

They say desperation is the mother of all invention. After trying many sauces and online recipes, I realized that simple ingredients worked best. There are days I whip up a single serving of “power sauce” while the pasta cooks; other days, I get really inspired and whip up a huge batch so all I have to do is pull a serving from the freezer and warm it up. Below, I’ll share with you both options so you can make the power sauce at home.

Power Sauce: Homemade Creamy Cheese Sauce
momables mac n cheese 2[1].jpgCourtesy of MOMables™’ Recipe Stash

Large Make ahead recipe: yields 12 1cup servings.
• 5lb bag organic carrots, peeled and washed
• 32oz (2lb) container part skim ricotta cheese
• 12 oz sharp cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup milk
1. Peel and wash carrots. Cut in a few pieces. Steam
2. Steam carrots until soft (12-15min for that size load)
3. In a blender/food processor add half of all the ingredients above and blend/puree well.
4. Repeat process for second batch.
5. After cooling, pour 1 cup of pureed mac and cheese into individual zip bags or freezer containers.
6. To make mac and cheese dinner: pour 1 cup power sauce and mix with cooked pasta (12oz dry pasta)

Single Batch: yields approx. 1cup sauce
• 3/4 cup steamed carrots
• 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
• 1-2 oz sharp cheddar cheese
• 2TB milk
Repeat directions.

momables plated mac n cheese.jpg
Laura Fuentes is the Chief MOM at MOMables™. A wife, mother of 3 and a lunch enthusiast who insists on healthy, wholesome food for her family. 
She’s on a mission to help busy parents overcome the difficulties of packing fresh school lunches. On her personal blog, SuperGlueMom.com, she writes about motherhood, deadlines, healthier living, and keeping her cool, even when her kids super-glued her hair. She’s also a food contributor to numerous sites and is published weekly on an online news hub.

You can find her on Facebook or Twitter and MOMables on Facebook and Twitter


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