The Sneaky Chef Blog

 

I think I've gained and lost those same 5 or 6 pounds a hundred times over the years. Not one for deprivation (being a foodie and cookbook author!), I came up with 6 simple and painless (aka "sneaky") ways to lose those 6 pounds for good...you won't even know you're dieting, cause you're not!  Just remember the simple rule of "6-S"

Six Simple “S” Strategies for Staying Slim
💦 😴 🕙 🍭 🍹

1. Sit down when you eat anything
2. Soup or salad to start the meal
3. Slow down by putting your fork down between bites
4. See if a craving will pass by waiting 10 minutes before indulging
5. Sleep more! Lack of sleep leads to cravings.
6. Sip eight ounces of room-temperature water fifteen minutes before each meal (flavor water with cucumber, mint, basil or fresh fruit)

SNEAKY ALERT! CHOCOLATE NO-NUT BUTTER COMING SOON - BE THE FIRST TO GET A JAR HERE!!
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Want to drink more fresh water with no calories or sweetener? Try simple and delicious infusions at home - today I tossed a few leaves of fresh basil and slices of cucumber into my glass. Add a straw for the fun factor - and you'll drink more - you'll never need to buy another flavored water again!

Other delicious infusions - use fresh or frozen fruit all year long:

-strawberry + lime

-cucumber + mint

-raspberry + lime

-watermelon

-watermelon + basil

-mango

Pretty much any fruit or veggie works well for an infusion!

colander01.jpg Don't forget to subscribe to my tips & recipes and a chance to win cool stuff like food processors, my cookbooks, aprons etc! click here to enter


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Happy Labor Day Weekend Sneaky Chefs!

Grilling this weekend? This easy, fast recipe for grilled chicken drumsticks offer more meat, less fat and all the fun of finger-licking Buffalo wings. Pair with my cool and creamy blue cheese dip, and with a few of my Sneaky Swaps like yogurt for sour cream, you can happily eat them without the guilt.

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BBQ CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS WITH BLUE CHEESE SNEAKY DIPPING SAUCE

Makes 4 servings
8 chicken drumsticks, rinsed and patted dry
3 tablespoons olive oil
Approximately 1 teaspoon Tabasco or hot sauce
2 tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons plain low fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons Sneaky Chef White Puree 
2 tablespoons white or champagne vinegar
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese (about 1 ounce)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 ribs of celery, sliced into sticks

Preheat an outdoor grill (or indoor grill pan) to medium-high and brush or wipe the grill with oil.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the olive oil and hot sauce, to taste. Brush the chicken with the hot sauce mixture and place on heated grill. Cook, covered, turning occasionally to evenly brown, for about 30 to 35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches a minimum of 170 degrees Farenheit.

For the blue cheese dipping sauce:
Combine the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, White Puree, vinegar, blue cheese and salt and pepper in a serving bowl (for a smoother sauce, place ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth).
Serve drumsticks with celery and dipping sauce.

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAY!!

Don’t forget to make back-to-school super simple and successful with my new Sneaky Chef Smooth Red Sauce & No-Nut Butter (delicious peanut butter alternative) – find a store near you here  
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Nutrition Highlights: Fruit, calcium, and probiotics
The name alone makes kids giggle and school mornings go a bit smoother. Your kids will think you’re the best when you call them into the kitchen for their morning “ ice cream” ! These two-minute recipes are fun enough to entice even the grumpiest kids. This is the only way I get my youngest daughter, Samantha, to eat anything in the morning!

Your food processor is the only way to puree the frozen fruit without having to add a lot of liquid — and for these small quantities, a three-cup mini food processor works best. These recipes can be quickly converted to a thinner smoothie by adding an extra ½ cup of milk to all the variations below and then mixing them in the blender:

Each variation below serves 2 children

Chocolate Banana Breakfast Ice Cream
1 frozen banana, cut in pieces (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt (use Greek yogurt if you want extra protein)
1 tablespoon honey or sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder


No-Nut Butter n Banana Breakfast Ice Cream

1 frozen banana, cut in pieces (about 1 cup)
1-2 tablespoons Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter (new! check it out here) or use peanut butter, optional
1 - 2 tablespoon milk
 

Really Easy Strawberry Breakfast Ice Cream 
1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries, without syrup or added sweeteners
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon honey or sugar

Extra Sneaky Strawberry Breakfast Ice Cream
1/4 ripe avocado
1/2 cup frozen strawberries, without syrup or added sweeteners
2 tablespoons plain yogurt (use Greek yogurt if you want extra protein)
1 tablespoon honey or sugar

Banana Breakfast Ice Cream
1 frozen banana, cut in pieces (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt (use Greek yogurt if you want extra protein)
1 tablespoon honey or sugar

Note: If you prefer to use sweetened yogurt (the vanilla flavored yogurt works well with all of the above), you probably won’t need the extra sugar or honey.

 

 


Eating low carb, gluten free or low calorie and want a simple "pasta" dish? This zucchini pasta with fresh ripe tomatoes, mozzarella and basil does the trick!

zucchini at market.pngI've been using a "Vegetti" to get the long spiral strands, but a regular carrot peeler will also make wider ribbons, more like pappardelle.


zucchini pasta raw.JPGSimply blanch the strands for 2 minutes in salted boiling water, drain well.

zucchini pasta boiling.JPGToss as you would any pasta. I added olive oil, mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil. Also works well with red sauce (try my Sneaky Chef Smooth Red Sauce with 8 more "hidden" veggies).
zucchini pasta mozz tom.JPGTop reasons to eat zucchini:
• One cup of zucchini has 36 calories and 10 percent of the recommended daily amount of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating.
• Zucchini contains Vitamin C, which helps the immune system and reduces such conditions as asthma and bruising.
• It’s Mother Nature’s gift to dieters: very low in calories and no fat.
• This veggie is a good source of energy-boosting potassium, which is also a heart-friendly electrolyte that helps regulate blood pressure and counters the effects of sodium.
ENJOY IN GOOD HEALTH!!


 

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Intro to Hummus

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As our kids grow, their palate grows too—though some kids need to be introduced to stronger flavors more slowly than others. My Intro to Hummus recipe uses kid-friendly taste of my new No-Nut Butter(or peanut butter) in place of the stronger flavors of sesame paste and garlic traditionally used in more sophisticated hummus. Kids of all ages love to dip, so surround the hummus bowl with your child’s favorite dippers like whole-grain pita chips, crunchy cucumber rounds, or carrots. The combination of whole grains, protein from the beans, veggies, and good fats make this a substantial after-school mini-meal.

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Intro to hummus

Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup Sneaky Chef Creamy No-Nut Butter*

1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons honey

4 teaspoons water (a little more if needed to make smooth)

Dippers: Toasted whole-grain pita triangles or chips, cucumber rounds, and/or carrot sticks or homemade tortilla chips (below).

 

*my delicious new No-Nut Butter (peanut butter alternative made from golden peas can be found here or feel free to substitute peanut butter or other PB alternative)

 

Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and puree on high, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl until mixture is a very smooth dip.

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Having a party this July 4th? One of my favorite party appetizers is Crab Cakes, but traditional recipes can be high in fat and calories. So this year, I'm getting sneaky with my Crab Cakes and replacing high fat mayo with my simple puree of white beans. I also snuck in some amazingly healthy wheat germ instead of empty white bread crumbs. My family loves these, especially my husband Rick! When I eat them, I feel like I'm on a romantic tropical getaway in Key West. 

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CONCEALED CRAB CAKES

Makes 8 crab cakes

1 tablespoon light mayonnaise 

1 egg white

1⁄4 cup White Bean Puree

1 tablespoon Dijon or coarse-grain mustard

1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon hot sauce

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

1⁄3 plus 1⁄3 cup wheat germ

Freshly ground pepper

1⁄2 pound fresh lump crabmeat (about 2 cups), drained

Optional extra boost: handful of chopped green onions, celery, and/or bell peppers 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with oil.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk the egg white, then mix in the White Bean Puree, mustard, hot sauce, Old Bay, 1⁄3 cup of the wheat germ, a few grinds of pepper, and the crabmeat. 

Pour the remaining 1⁄3 cup of wheat germ on a plate. Scoop about 1⁄3 cup of crab mixture and form it into a fairly thick cake. Dredge the cakes in the wheat germ, fully covering all sides of the cake, and place the crab cake on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining crab mixture. Spray the top side of the cakes with oil and bake for 10 minutes. Flip once, spray oil on the tops of the cakes, and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown.


 Wake Dad this Father’s Day with a warm homemade Breakfast Cookies ’n milk!  So quick and easy, even the kids can make – with a little help from mom. 

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BREAKFAST COOKIES

Makes 16 to 18 cookies

2 cups whole grain cereal flakes

3/4 cup Flour Blend (equal parts all-purpose flour and whole grain flour)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 large egg

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

Cinnamon sugar for dusting

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray with oil).

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

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together Flour Blend, crushed cereal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, oil, vanilla, and ricotta cheese. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just enough to moisten dry ingredients. Drop single tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about an inch between cookies. Flatten cookies with the back of a fork and then sprinkle tops generously with cinnamon sugar (or just sugar if your kids don’t like the cinnamon flavor). Bake about 18 to 20 minutes, or until nicely browned and crispy around the edges.

 

Sneaky Tip: Cinnamon has been found to help stabilize blood-glucose levels, thereby preventing the usual “ crash and burn” feeling we all get after eating sweets.



What better way to kick off summer than with berries? Here are three deliciously healthy ways to enjoy the freshest produce of the season, from my BBQ E-book. Enjoy your weekend! 

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 STRAWBERRY LIME SLUSHY

Makes 3 servings

2 tablespoons pomegranate or cranberry juice

Juice of one lime (about 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice)

2 tablespoons sugar, ideally raw

2 cups fresh, sliced strawberries

3 to 4 cups ice cubes

Fill blender or food processor with pomegranate (or cranberry) and lime juices, first, then sugar, strawberries, and ice. Blend or puree until thick and smooth, stopping to mix contents and push ice to bottom, if needed.

Serve in a tall glass with a straw.

  

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FOUR BERRY ICE CUBES

These berry ice cubes instantly convert plain water or seltzer into a naturally low sugar sports drink. As these purple cubes melt, they release a sweet burst of berry flavor.

Makes about 20 standard size ice cubes

1 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 1Ž2 cups coconut water, berry or any flavor

1 to 2 tablespoons honey, to taste

 

Combine berries, lemon juice, coconut water, and honey in a blender and puree until smooth.

Pour the mixture (over a bowl) through a fine mesh stainless steel strainer to remove the seeds and pulp (you can save the strained pulp and add it to smoothies within next few days).

Pour into ice cube trays and freeze until solid. Add two or three cubes per glass of cold water or seltzer.

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BBQ Sneaky Turkey Burgers

Makes 4 burgers 

¼ cup Sneaky Chef Purple Puree 

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon chili each chili powder and onion powder

½ teaspoon salt and a few turns of freshly ground pepper

½ cup ground oats (ground in a food processor or blender) or ground flaxseed

1 pound ground turkey (ideally white meat, or a mix of light and dark meat)

4 whole grain English Muffins

Optional topping ideas: tomato slices, pickles, cheese, onions, mustard, ketchup

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Purple Puree, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Add in the oats and ground turkey, mixing until combined (easiest to mix using your hands). Dampen hands and form into 4 equal sized balls, then gently press into patties, about ½ to ¾-inch thick.

Preheat an outdoor grill (or indoor grill pan) to medium-high and brush or wipe both the grill and both sides of the burgers generously with oil.

Grill burgers for 7 to 8 minutes on each side until cooked through and no longer pink inside (or until burgers reach internal temp of 160 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Serve on warmed English Muffins (or hamburger buns) with optional toppings. 


My Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter (made from golden peas) works as a great substitute for peanut butter in Asian sauces like in my these Cold Sesame Noodles. But instead of using soy sauce in my recipe, I often use tamari if I'm cooking gluten-free. This sauce is great for a variety of asian recipes, from noodles to stir-frys. 

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Gluten-Free No-Nut Asian Sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

 3 tablespoons tamari sauce

1⁄3 cup Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter

1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar

 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, to taste

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, tamari sauce, No-Nut Butter, and vinegar. Add red pepper flakes to taste.


It's officially Allergy Awareness Week, so I'm putting the spotlight on allergy-free recipes. I've found that many granola bar recipes contain dairy products, like milk or butter. That's why I created this recipe that's kind of like a cross between a granola bar and a Rice Crispy Treat that's dairy-free, as well as egg and gluten-free too. 

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Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free Granola Bars

(Makes 24 bars)
2 cups cornflakes, crushed to about 1 cup
1/2 cup Ground Almonds 

2 cups crispy brown rice cereal (or Rice Krispies)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Optional extra boost: 1/4 cup raisins or dried blueberries

Sneaky tip: Measure the oil first, then the honey. This way the honey won’t stick and will slide right out of the measuring cup.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch square or 7-by-11 inch baking pan completely with parchment paper or foil and butter the foil (or spray with oil).

In a medium bowl, combine crushed cornflakes, almonds, rice cereal, cinnamon, and salt. Mix in the canola or vegetable oil, honey, vanilla extract, and chocolate chips (and/or dried fruit, optional). Mix well, then pour into the prepared baking pan. Press down with palm of hand, evenly distributing the mixture into the corners of the dish and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Check occasionally to prevent burning.
Remove from the oven and using the foil to help you, lift the entire bar out of pan. Place on a flat surface and while still warm, cut into small bars.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze in plastic bags.


This week is Allergy Awareness Week, and today I want to focus on Egg Allergies.   I love this recipe for Eggless Pancakes because I know that getting any rise out of a pancake without eggs is a true feat of nature. 

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 EGGLESS PANCAKES

Makes about 18 pancakes

1 cup Gluten-Free Flour Blend 

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup low-fat buttermilk*

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Optional extras: one-half cup fresh or frozen blueberries or chocolate chips

*if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by mixing 1 cup of low-fat milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice; let stand 5 minutes

Mix together Flour Blend, baking soda, and salt. Set aside, if using immediately. (To store for later use, triple the dry ingredients and keep in a sealed, labeled plastic bag. You’ll have instant pancake mix anytime you want it.)

In another bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones until just blended. If the batter is too thick, add a little more buttermilk. Add the optional blueberries or chocolate chips, if desired. (If using frozen berries, don’t thaw them before adding; this will prevent bleeding) and mix lightly.

Butter or spray a large skillet over medium heat. Test the pan to see if it’s hot enough by tossing a few drops of water in — it should sizzle. The skillet will grow hotter over time, so turn it down if it starts to smoke.

Drop tablespoons or small ladles of batter onto the skillet in batches. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the skillet-side is golden (peek under), gently flip them over. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set.

Serve stacked high drizzled with warm maple syrup. 


Happy Mother's Day, Sneaky Chefs! Give mom the gift of peace at the table and a healthy meal kids will actually eat and love with some Sneaky Chef Foods – available at many stores nationwide (enter zip code here to find store near you)

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Plus give a simple recipe that Dad and the kids can whip up:

Apply Pie Parfait
(Makes 2 servings)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 large apple, cored, and thinly sliced, ideally unpeeled
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon or apple pie spice
1/2 cup low-fat granola
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed and/or wheat germ
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

Add butter to saucepan and melt over medium heat. Mix in the apple slices, brown sugar, and cinnamon or spice, sautéing for about 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of water to pan, if necessary, if apple mixture gets too dry.
In parfait or serving glasses, layer granola/flax/wheat germ, yogurt, and apples as desired, and serve.



I'm playing around with Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter (peanut butter alternative made from golden peas). It works as a beautiful substitute for peanut butter in Asian sauces like these Cold Sesame Noodles (with half the fat of your local take-out!). 

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Cold Sesame Noodles

(Makes 6 servings)

 

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1⁄3 cup Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter

1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar

 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, to taste

1 pound Asian noodles or Sneaky Chef Veggie Spaghetti, cooked

Optional extra boost: 3 green onions, thinly sliced; 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds; and/or sliced cucumber strips

 

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, No-Nut Butter, and vinegar. Add red pepper flakes to taste.

Put the pasta in a large serving bowl. Spoon the sauce over the pasta, tossing to coat the pasta evenly. Garnish with sliced green onions, cucumber, and sesame seeds, if using. Refrigerate until cool, or feel free to serve it warm.

 

Enjoy!

 

Passover Pancakes

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 Happy Passover!  These flourless Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes look like “white” pancakes, with all the nutrition of whole grain, and packed with protein from egg whites and ricotta cheese.

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Makes about a dozen pancakes

 

4 egg whites

1⁄2 cup part-skim or fat-free ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 cup oat bran (or rolled oats, ground in food processor or blender)

1⁄4 cup almonds, finely ground (grind in food processor  or blender; or use “almond meal”)

1 cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries

   

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, ricotta, and vanilla. In another large bowl, whisk together the baking powder, salt, oat bran, and ground almonds. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just blended. Batter should be fairly thick and slightly lumpy. But if the batter is too thick, add a touch of milk. Add the blueberries and mix lightly.

Butter or spray a large skillet over medium heat. Test the pan by tossing in a few drops of water; it will sizzle when it’s hot enough. The skillet will grow hotter over time, so turn down the heat if the pan starts to smoke.

Drop medium-size ladles of batter onto the skillet in batches, making sure there are some blueberries in each pancake. When bubbles begin to set around the edges and the skillet-side of each pancake is golden (peek underneath), gently flip them over. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is fully set.

Serve stacked high, drizzled with a little warm maple syrup.


When I have extra eggs left in the fridge, I whip up some egg salad for a quick sandwiches. If your family likes thick, old-fashioned egg salad sandwiches, they'll love this recipe. No one will notice the missing egg yolks or the hidden, cholesterol-cutting tofu and White Bean Puree, both of which increase the volume of the salad while reducing the fat.

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Egg-Me-On-Salad Sandwich

Makes 2 sandwiches

4 large eggs

1 cup (1⁄2 of a 14-ounce block) firm tofu

2 tablespoons light mayonnaise

2 teaspoons mustard

2 tablespoons White Bean Puree 

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

4 slices whole grain bread

Optional extra boost: chopped celery and pickles; lettuce leaves

 

Place the eggs in a small pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the simmering water and place them in a bowl of cold water to cool.

Place the tofu in the simmering water for 2 minutes. Whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, and White Bean Puree in a bowl. Drain the tofu, chop it into small pieces, and add it to the mayonnaise mixture.

Once eggs are cool enough to handle, crack and peel them. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, remove 2 yolks, and set them aside for another use. Chop the whites and the remaining yolks into small pieces. Add them to the tofu mixture and stir together all ingredients, including any optional extras, until well combined. Season with salt and pepper, and serve on whole grain bread with any optional ingredients.


 

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Do you like mayo on your sandwiches, or in your chicken or tuna salad? I do too, but for a boost of nutrition, I like to make a sneaky swap-- my Sneaky Chef White Bean Puree. The puree has no fat, and it's packed with fiber. On Sundays, I make a extra and keep it in the refrigerator for sandwiches or salads during the week. 

Here's the recipe. Enjoy! 


I created Sneaky Chef Pasta Sauces to add more veggies to the dinner table, but what do you do if your kids won't eat pasta sauce at all? Plain pasta with butter presents the ultimate challenge for Sneaky Chefs, yet it’s the universal favorite among the “no tomato sauce” set. You can sneak in some White Bean Puree as long as you use grated Parmesan cheese as a decoy on top. Who doesn’t love cheese on their pasta? Aside from the fiber and added vitamins from the beans, the combination of beans and pasta creates a “complete protein” out of this normally no-protein high carb meal. Of course you can also use my Veggie Pasta for sneaking in 6 hidden veggies + whole grains – cooks up white!

 

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PASTA WITH BETTER BUTTER SAUCE

Make 4 servings

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup  White Bean Puree  

4 cups cooked small pasta (such as elbows, ideally whole wheat)

3 to 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil, chicken broth, and White Bean Puree over low heat. Add the pasta and toss to evenly coat all pieces. Serve with a Parmesan cheese, if desired.

 


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Macaroni & Cheese is the ultimate comfort food, and my whole family can't get enough of it, especially during the chilly winter months. Luckily, there's a quick and easy way to make this decadent dish a bit more nutritious. I like this Easy Stove-Top Mac & Cheese recipe from Food.com when we've had a busy day and I don't have much time to make dinner. 

But here's my trick-- after the recipe is complete, I add 2-4 tablespoons of Orange Puree, made with carrots and sweet potatoes, or  2-4 tablespoons of White Puree for a boost of nutrition from zucchini & cauliflower. That's extra veggies you would have missed out on otherwise! Mix well, serve, and enjoy. 

Here's a fascinating artilce just printed in the New York Times: Peanut allergy has become a nemesis for increasing numbers of children and parents in recent years, forcing them to maintain nut-free households and prompting many schools to ban a childhood staple, peanut butter, from the lunchroom.

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When a child is allergic to peanuts, families must closely monitor everything the child eats both in and outside the home, because accidental consumption of peanuts could prove fatal. Many airlines no longer offer peanuts for fear that an allergic passenger might inhale peanut dust and suffer a life-threatening reaction at 30,000 feet.

The prevalence of peanut allergy among children in the United States has risen more than threefold, to 1.4 percent in 2010 from 0.4 percent in 1997, according to a study by food allergists at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Most people with an allergy to peanuts are also allergic to one or more tree nuts, like walnuts, pecans or almonds.

To help protect such people from inadvertent exposure to nuts, labels on packaged foods must now state whether they were prepared in a facility that also processes nuts.

Some cities have nut-free bakeries that now sell products safe for allergic children, who can bring their own special, albeit expensive, cake or cupcake to a party.

While experts doubt the necessity of some extreme measures taken to prevent indirect exposure to peanuts, the danger to someone with a peanut allergy who eats them is unquestioned.

The potentially fatal reaction, called anaphylaxis, can occur with a child’s first exposure to peanuts: itchiness, swelling of the tongue and throat, constriction of the airway, a precipitous drop in blood pressure, rapid heart rate, fainting, nausea and vomiting.

Unless the reaction is stopped by an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline), anaphylaxis can kill. In one infamous instance in 1986, Katherine Brodsky, 18, a freshman at Brown University with a known nut allergy, died after eating chili that a restaurant had thickened with peanut butter.

There is no cure for nut allergies, although several preliminary studies suggest that it may be possible to temper a reaction to peanuts with immunotherapy. Like shots given for pollen allergies, the approach starts with exposure under the tongue to a minuscule amount of the offending peanut protein, followed by exposure to gradually increasing amounts under strict medical supervision.

The latest study, conducted in Cambridge, England, and published in The Lancet last week, found that after six months of oral immunotherapy, up to 91 percent of children aged 7 to 16 could safely ingest about five peanuts a day, far more than they could before the treatment. About one-fifth of treated children reacted to ingested peanuts, but most reactions were mild, usually an itchy mouth. Only one child of the 99 studied had a serious reaction.

When immunotherapy works, the research suggests, the severity of the allergy is lessened, enabling an allergic person to safely ingest small amounts of the offending protein. It is not known how long protection lasts without continued immunotherapy, however, and the researchers warned that no one should try it on his own. Further study is needed before the treatment can be used clinically, probably years from now.

Meanwhile, everyone with a peanut allergy is advised to carry an EpiPen for emergency treatment.

Ideally, allergists would like to prevent the development of peanut allergy in the first place. Experts had thought that one way would be to keep fetuses and breast-fed babies from exposure to peanut protein by restricting consumption by pregnant and nursing women.

Various studies had suggested that early exposure to peanut protein by infants with allergic tendencies could sensitize them and lead to a serious peanut allergy. In 2000, pregnant and nursing women were advised to avoid eating peanuts, especially if allergies ran in the family. And new mothers were told not to give babies peanuts before age 3, when digestive systems are more fully developed.

But this advice did nothing to curb the steady climb in peanut allergies, and it was abandoned in 2008.

Today, the thinking is exactly the opposite. Instead of restricting exposure to peanut protein by unborn or nursing babies, the tiny amounts that may enter the baby’s circulation when a pregnant or nursing woman eats peanuts might actually induce tolerance, not sensitization.

In a recent study of 8,205 children, 140 of whom had allergies to nuts, researchers found that children whose nonallergic mothers had the highest consumption of peanuts or tree nuts, or both, during pregnancy had the lowest risk of developing a nut allergy. The risk was most reduced among the children of mothers who ate nuts five or more times a month.

The researchers, led by Dr. A. Lindsay Frazier of Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, wrote: “Our study supports the hypothesis that early allergen exposure increases the likelihood of tolerance and thereby lowers the risk of childhood food allergy.” They added that their data “support the recent decisions to rescind recommendations that all mothers avoid peanuts/total nuts during pregnancy and breast-feeding.”

The study was supported by Food Allergy Research and Education, a New York-based nonprofit, and published in December in JAMA Pediatrics.

According to an accompanying editorial by Dr. Ruchi Gupta, an associate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University, “some studies actually showed that avoiding peanuts during pregnancy increased the risk of a child developing peanut sensitization.”

Further support comes from studies of other common food allergens. In an Israeli study of 13,019 infants, those who were exposed to cow’s milk protein as a breast-milk supplement in the first two weeks of life were less likely to become sensitive to it than infants first given cow’s milk much later.

An Australian study of 2,589 babies found that those first introduced to egg at or near 1 year of age were more likely to develop an allergy to egg protein than those first given egg at 4 to 6 months of age.

In her editorial, Dr. Gupta emphasized that further research was needed to understand how maternal diet affects the development of food allergies and “why more and more children are developing food allergy and how we can prevent it.”

But for now, she said, “pregnant women should not eliminate nuts from their diet, as peanuts are a good source of protein and also provide folic acid,” which can help prevent neural tube defects.


Super Bowl Sunday -- for many of us, it may as well be called Super Size Sunday -- because we’re all making trips to Costco and Sam’s Club, picking up giant bags of chips and enormous containers of guacamole. Super Bowl Sunday runs a close second to Thanksgiving, when it comes to food consumption -- but instead of turkey, according to the National Chicken Council, we’ll be gobbling up more than a billion chicken wings. And it’s definitely a day for celebration in the pizza industry. Dominos alone, sells 11 million pizzas slices on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s no wonder that 7-Eleven has reported a 20% increase in antacid sales the day after the big game!

According to the NFL, more than 20 million Americans hold Super bowl parties each year -- and you can count my house as one of them. Yes, even the Sneaky Chef’s home will be filled with bowls of guacamole, piles of chicken wings and plenty of pizza. There will also be platters of decadent brownies -- but what there won’t be, is a need for antacids. I like to think that my guests may even leave a little healthier than when they arrived!

How is that possible? Well, that’s the sneaky secret we’re going to keep from our guests. But from my home to yours, here are 5 ways to make Super Bowl Sunday a great day filled with food and fun, but far less stomach aches, thanks to the imperceptible additions of my Sneaky Chef Purees, made from fresh veggies and beans. They not only reduce the acids in tomato based sauces, while naturally sweetening them, my purees cut the fat and calories in the dish by as much as 50%...so we all WIN!

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Recipes:

One-and-Only Guacamole

Makes about 6 appetizer servings

2 ripe avocados

Juice from 1 lime

¼ to ½  teaspoon salt

1⁄2 cup Green Puree

Optional extra boost: 1⁄2 cup chopped red onion, chopped tomatoes, handful of chopped cilantro (or fresh basil), and/or chopped jalapeños, to taste

Halve the avocados lengthwise, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh. In a small bowl, combine the avocado with the lime juice, salt, Green Puree, and the optional extras, if using. Blend lightly with a fork.

 

Heartichoke Dip (your heart will love it!)

I’m not sure what it is about guys and dips, especially hot dips, but they love them almost as much as kids love finger food. Hot artichoke dip seems sinful, and it usually is—it’s typically loaded with saturated fat from mayo and cheese. But here the White Bean Puree works overtime, cutting more than half the fat of the traditional dip while simultaneously adding a good dose of fiber and nutrients. And don’t discount the benefits of the common canned artichoke heart: this pantry staple is top-rated for antioxidants among all veggies.

Makes about 4 appetizer servings

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained, and coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons light mayonnaise

1⁄2 cup White Bean Puree

1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon wheat germ

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the artichoke hearts, mayonnaise, White Bean Puree, 1⁄4 cup Parmesan, and the onion powder. Transfer the mixture into an ovenproof soup crock, baking dish, or large ramekin, and sprinkle the top with the wheat germ and the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is bubbly and golden.

 

Crunchy Corn Chips

After seeing how fast, fun, and easy these chips are to make, you’ll wonder why anyone buys the kind in the bag. These chips are so tasty they probably won’t make it off the cookie sheet and into the bowl before most of them are eaten. You can easily vary the seasoning and spice level.

Makes 96 tortilla chips

12 (6-inch) round corn tortillas (white or yellow)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

optional: dust with cayenne and chili powder to spice things up!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush both sides of the tortilla with oil. Stack 6 of them together and, using kitchen shears or scissors, cut the stack into 8 triangles, for a total of 48 chips. Repeat with the final 6 tortillas. Scatter the chips in a single layer onto a large cookie sheet and sprinkle them evenly with salt. Bake 10 minutes, then flip them using a wide spatula and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes until crispy and golden brown.

 

Spiced Rattle Snacks

Roasted chickpeas are a popular snack in low-carb diets. Borrowing from that philosophy, I’ve added our favorite “man spices” to entice guys to crunch on this high-fiber, high-protein snack rather than high-fat chips.

Makes about 2 servings

1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch to 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the chickpeas, and toss until well coated. Spread the chickpeas on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, shaking the sheet and mixing occasionally until the chickpeas are crisp and “ rattle” on the pan.

BRAWNY BROWNIES

http://www.thesneakychef.com/free_recipe_brawny_brownies.php

Sneaky Tip:

Here’s something you probably won’t have to nag your man to do. A Greek study suggests that taking a daily afternoon nap may reduce the risk of dying from heart disease by more than 30 percent, which may account for the low level of heart disease in Mediterranean countries where siestas are common.

 


 The idea behind slow cookers is to have a tender, delicious dinner that’s cooking while you’re gone and ready when you walk in the door. Chicken and stew recipes are most ideal for this hands-off gadget.

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Makes 6 servings 

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups store-bought BBQ sauce* (or 2 cups Sneaky BBQ Sauce, below)
¾ cup White or Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe below)
¼ cup vegetable or chicken broth
2 tablespoons oat bran
4 skinless half chicken breasts, with bone (about 2 lbs)
6 hamburger buns or English muffins (ideally whole grain)

*If using my Sneaky BBQ Sauce, use 2 cups of sauce and omit the additional Orange or White Puree in this recipe

Preheat slow cooker to desired setting.

In the slow cooker pot, mix BBQ sauce with White or Orange Puree, broth, and oat bran. Add chicken to slow cooker and toss. Cover. Cook 5 hours on low or 2 ½ hours on high. 

Remove chicken from slow cooker. Shred chicken using 2 forks and toss with the hot sauce. Serve on warm hamburger buns or English muffins, if desired.

NoteFor best results, do not remove cover during cooking.

SNEAKY BBQ SAUCE
Makes 2 cups of sauce
Ingredients:
½ cup vegetable broth
One cup Orange or White Puree
One-half cup cider vinegar
Three-quarters cup tomato paste
One-quarter teaspoon each salt and garlic powder
2 tablespoons Worcester sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
Hot sauce to taste
Freshly ground pepper

Whisk together all ingredients except chili powder, hot sauce, and pepper. Add chili powder, hot sauce, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Thin with more vegetable broth, if desired. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 


I like to make this good-for-you version of a Mexican favorite in a few batches at a time and freeze them. When it’s time to load up the lunchboxes, I simply thaw them in the microwave!

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Makes 8 taquitos (4 servings)

Ingredients:

4 ounces cooked chicken, turkey, or ham

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1⁄4 cup Green 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

Toothpicks

 

 Directions:

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).

 


Presto Pizza Mac & Cheese

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 Hard to believe kids could ever tire of boxed mac ’n’ cheese, but this pizza version is a nice variation on the familiar and an opportunity to sneak in even more veggies. The tomato paste isn’t just one of the ultimate ready-made healthy purees, it also lends an authentic pizza flavor to the recipe.

 Makes 3 servings

 Ingredients: 

 (6-ounce) box macaroni and cheese, ideally whole grain

1⁄4 cup low-fat milk

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons Orange Puree 

Optional toppings: handful of diced low-fat pepperoni (turkey, soy, or other), sliced mushrooms, olives, or other favorite pizza “toppings”

 Directions:

Boil macaroni according to package directions and drain. Combine milk, tomato paste, and puree in pot and return to simmer, stirring until well combined. Add in pepperoni and/or other toppings, if using, and serve.


Presto Pizza Mac & Cheese

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 Hard to believe kids could ever tire of boxed mac ’n’ cheese, but this pizza version is a nice variation on the familiar and an opportunity to sneak in even more veggies. The tomato paste isn’t just one of the ultimate ready-made healthy purees, it also lends an authentic pizza flavor to the recipe.

 Makes 3 servings

 Ingredients: 

 (6-ounce) box macaroni and cheese, ideally whole grain

1⁄4 cup low-fat milk

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons Orange Puree 

Optional toppings: handful of diced low-fat pepperoni (turkey, soy, or other), sliced mushrooms, olives, or other favorite pizza “toppings”

 Directions:

Boil macaroni according to package directions and drain. Combine milk, tomato paste, and puree in pot and return to simmer, stirring until well combined. Add in pepperoni and/or other toppings, if using, and serve.


Brownie Cookies

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Need a homemade brownie fix fast? These scrumptious cookies bake up in one-third the time it takes to bake pan brownies. And, they have all the taste of my signature Brainy Brownies, the treats that had pastry chefs scratching their heads trying to figure out how I managed to sneak spinach and blueberries into a fudgy, delicious dessert!

 

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Makes about 36 cookies

 Ingredients:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1⁄4 cup ground flaxseed

2 large eggs

1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon

1⁄4 cup Purple Puree or baby food blueberry puree

1 box (about 19 ounces) brownie mix (ideally dark chocolate) or Make-Ahead “Instant” Brownie Mix 

Optional: 1⁄2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Melt butter in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl in microwave on high for one minute (cover with wet paper towel). Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flax, eggs, cinnamon, puree, and brownie mix. Add slightly cooled melted butter and chocolate chips, if using, and mix until well incorporated (batter will be fairly thick). Drop single tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet, leaving about an inch between cookies.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container or freeze in a sealed plastic bag for up to 3 months.


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Trendy coffee milkshakes have inched their way up to a whopping 600+ calories and 25+ grams of fat —about the equivalent of a double cheeseburger. If you want the creamy, frozen satisfaction without the fattening consequences, try this sneak-a-chino. Not only is it less sinful, but it also sports some super healthy ingredients like avocado, lurking under the whipped cream!

Ingredients: 

1⁄2 cup strong coffee (with or without caffeine)

1⁄4 cup low-fat or skim milk

1⁄4 ripe avocado

2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus additional for garnish

1 tablespoon semisweet chocolate chips

1 to 2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup ice

Whipped cream, for garnish

 Directions:

Blend all ingredients except garnishes together in a blender until smooth. Serve in a tall glass with a quick squirt of whipped cream, a light dusting of cocoa powder, and a straw.


The Power of the Pea

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Many of us grew up reading about The Princess and The Pea. In that story, you may recall, that only a real princess could feel the impact of a tiny pea that was hidden under twenty mattresses and twenty featherbeds. The good news is -- that was just a fairy tale. And the even better news is -- you don't have to be royalty to feel the power of peas. What many people don't know is that peas are packed with protein. Just one cup of peas has as much protein as an egg.

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That's why we're beginning to see pea protein as the foundation of baking mixes and even protein drinks. Here at The Sneaky Chef, we've created No-Nut Butter, a delicious peanut butter alternative made from golden peas! People who are sensitive to nuts or soy protein, or those who follow a vegan diet have been thrilled to discover a better tasting peanut butter alternative.

Peas have been my own long-time sneaky snack. I've been known to run a bowl of frozen green peas under hot water, put them in a cup and take them with me when I'm on the run. They are the fastest healthy snack available -- no chopping or prep time. But there are many more ways you can get a protein punch for yourself or your family -- even for picky eaters who swear they'll never go near anything green, unless it's guacamole, of course. Somehow even my fussiest friends seem to scoop up that tasty snack, emptying the bowl in what seems like seconds.

So let's begin there. I'm going to show you how to double your pleasure and your protein, by sneaking not only peas, but broccoli and spinach -- also surprisingly great sources of protein -- into your favorite weekend snack and holiday appetizer - fresh guacamole. And by doing so, you'll not only get all the benefits that protein brings you, you'll be cutting out 25 percent of the fat.

You want to begin by making my Sneaky Chef Green Puree (recipe below)

2 cups raw baby spinach leaves
2 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen 
1 cup sweet green peas, frozen
2 to 3 tablespoons water

Raw baby spinach should be rinsed well, even if the package says "prewashed."

To prepare Green Puree 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 broccoli, and steam for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the frozen peas to the basket for the last 2 minutes of steaming. Drain.

To prepare in the microwave, place the fresh broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with water, and microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes (frozen florets take only 1 to 2 minutes), until very tender. Add peas for last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain.

Place the raw spinach in the food processor first and pulse a few times. This will reduce the spinach significantly. Next add the cooked broccoli and peas, along with 2 tablespoons of water. Puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally to push the contents to the bottom. If necessary, use another tablespoon of water to make a smooth puree.

This recipe makes about 2 cups of puree; double it if you want to store more. You only need half-cup of this puree for the guac below. Green Puree will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1/4-cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.

To make the guac: Scoop out two ripe avocados, add the juice from one lime and half a teaspoon of salt and mix it together with half-cup of the Green Puree. If you want to spice things up, you can also add a half-cup of chopped red onion, chopped tomatoes, a handful of chopped cilantro or fresh basil -- even chopped jalapenos. 

The end result? Every cup sneaks in 8 grams of protein!

You can use this same green puree in any dish that includes ground meat and tomato sauce -- allowing you to cut down on the amount of red meat you use, while boosting the protein in dishes like meatloaf, meatballs and tacos.

Want to pack a punch of protein into dessert as well? Then turn to another member of the pea family -- chickpeas! Just half a cup has 6 grams of protein. And because they're white, when you puree them into your favorite cookie mix, no one will notice that you've snuck them in (not even Santa -- in this recipe for Santa's Sugar Cookies with hidden Chickpea Puree.

And that's the real secret of the oh-so-unappreciated pea. Sometimes real life is even better than fairy tales!


Leftover Potato Pancakes

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Even the most devoted Mashed Potato fans might be stuffed after last night’s dinner. So what should you do with the leftover mashed potatoes? Potato Pancakes!  Perfect whether you’re celebrating Chanukah or just celebrating the end of a long week of cooking. But, of course, we’ve added a sneaky spin that everyone can probably use at this point -- a little extra fiber. 

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LEFTOVER POTATO PANCAKES

This recipe can be made from any leftover mashed potatoes. I came up with this one on the third day after Thanksgiving when our family couldn’t bear to eat another serving of mashed potatoes! And by that point, we all needed a little more fiber and vegetables in our diets, which the wheat germ provides discreetly. My kids like these dipped in applesauce or low fat sour cream.

 

Makes 8 small pancakes

Ingredients:

1 cup leftover mashed potatoes

1 to 2 teaspoons whole wheat flour

2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup wheat germ, unsweetened 

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional dips: applesauce or low fat sour cream

Directions:

Mix 1 teaspoon of flour into cold, leftover mashed potatoes. If still too wet, add the other teaspoon of flour. Pinch off tablespoon sizes of the mashed potatoes and use your hands to form about 8 balls. Add the oil to a large skillet and heat over medium high heat. Turn down to medium if oil starts to smoke. 

Mix the wheat germ with the parmesan cheese and salt on a plate. Roll the balls in the wheat germ mixture, covering completely. Add 4 potato cakes to the hot skillet, flatten gently with a spatula and cook until they have browned on one side, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turns cakes over with a spatula and cook the other side until golden brown, another 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat with next 4 cakes, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

 Place cooked potato cakes on a plate lined with paper towels to blot excess oil. 

 

 


After a long week of cooking and baking, you deserve a little break. So here’s a speedy sneaky recipe that your kids will gobble up. They’ll never guess that it includes that fiber rich cereal that they’d never dream of eating!

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BROWN SUGAR BREAKFAST COOKIES

Makes 16 to 18 large cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups whole grain cereal flakes (such as Wheaties or Total)

3/4 cup Flour Blend (equal parts whole grain and all-purpose flour) 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 large egg

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

Cinnamon sugar for dusting 

 
Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray with oil).

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

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together Flour Blend, crushed cereal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, oil, vanilla, and ricotta cheese. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just enough to moisten dry ingredients. Drop single tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about an inch between cookies. Flatten cookies with the back of a fork and then sprinkle tops generously with cinnamon sugar (or just sugar if your kids don’t like the cinnamon flavor). Bake about 18 to 20 minutes, or until nicely browned and crispy around the edges.

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Brainy Brownies

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What’s a holiday weekend without some yummy snacks lying around? No one has to know that you’ve snuck in a little spinach! 

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Sneaky Chef Brainy Brownies

(Makes 30 Brownies)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter 

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips  2 large eggs 

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 

1/2 cup sugar 

1/2 cup Purple Puree 

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Flour Blend 

1/4 cup rolled oats, ground in a food processor

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

Butter or non-stick cooking spray 

Optional extra boost: 1 cup chopped walnuts 

Directions:

> Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

> Butter or spray only the bottom, not the sides, of a 13-by- 9-inch or 9-inch square baking pan. 

> Melt the butter and chocolate chips together in a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water (or in a microwave, checking every 15 seconds). Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool a bit. Meanwhile, in another bowl, stir together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, and Purple Puree. Combine this purple egg mixture with the cooled chocolate mixture. 

> In a mixing bowl, stir together Flour Blend, cocoa powder, oats, and salt. Add this to the chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly. Mix in the chopped walnuts, if using, then pour the entire mixture into the baking pan. 

> Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in pan before cutting the brownies and use a plastic or butter knife. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. 

Keeps for a week in the refrigerator, covered tightly.

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  What kid doesn’t love peanut butter and jelly? And now, with The Sneaky Chef No Nut Butter -- a peanut butter alternative -- it’s peanut butter (or No-Nut Butter) for everyone! And there’s an extra sneaky bonus packed inside these PB&J muffins that your kids will never suspect -- sweet potatoes and carrots!

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No Nut Butter & Jelly Muffins

(Makes 8 Large Muffins)

Ingredients:

1 cup Flour Blend (or half all-purpose flour and half whole grain flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

3/4 cup lowfat milk

3/4 cup Sneaky Chef Creamy No-Nut Butter

8 heaping teaspoons favorite jam

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners.

 In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined, then whisk in the oil, milk, and No-Nut Butter. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until flour is just moistened (don’t over-mix or the muffins will be dense).

Scoop about two tablespoons of batter into the large muffin cups until half full. Place a heaping teaspoon of jam in the center of each muffin. Cover the jam with another 2 tablespoons or so of batter, filling the cups just over the top. If you’re using mini-muffin cups, scale back quantities to fit into the smaller sized cups.

 Bake for 20 to 24 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

 

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When your out-of-town guests wake up to these Bacon, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sticks, they’re going to think you had breakfast catered! Imagine bacon, egg and cheese on a buttered roll -- just a little bit healthier. And one very sneaky ingredient.

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BACON EGG & CHEESE BREAKFAST STICKS

 

Makes about 18 servings

Ingredients: 

1 cup rolled oats, old-fashioned, not quick cooking

1 cup Flour Blend 
½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter 

3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup
White Bean Puree 
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cup low-fat cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2
cup cooked bacon or 1 cup cooked ham, diced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line an 11-by-7 inch baking pan completely with foil and butter the foil (or spray with oil). Remove butter from refrigerator to let soften.

In a large bowl, combine oats, Flour Blend, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in White Bean Puree and the egg. Mix in dry ingredients on low speed. Stir in one cup of the shredded cheese and ham or bacon, if using. Pour entire mixture into prepared baking pan. Spread remaining one-quarter cup of cheese evenly over the top.

Bake for 22 to 24 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a metal rack.

Let cool before cutting into approximately 1 inch by 3 ½ inches. Store wrapped in refrigerator for up to 3 days; freezer up to 3 months. 

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Lunch Box Biscuits

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This is the perfect on the go treat. You can pack these Lunch Box Biscuits in the car if you’re planning a Thanksgiving road trip! Or slip them in your purse, if you’re bringing the kids along on a big Black Friday shopping spree. There are two hidden vegetables in these babies! 

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LUNCH BOX BISCUITS 

Makes 14 biscuits

Ingredients:

2 cups Flour Blend

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

¼ cup plain yogurt

¾ cup White Puree 

¼ cup low-fat buttermilk

1 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese (plus extra ½ cup for tops of biscuits)

Optional “Mix-Ins”:

Cheesier Biscuits: Add one-half cup shredded low-fat cheese

Ham and Cheese Biscuits: Add one-half cup shredded low-fat cheese and 2 cups diced, cooked, ham (about 8 ounces)

Turkey and Cheese Biscuits: Add one-half cup shredded low-fat cheese and 2 cups diced, cooked, turkey breast (about 8 ounces)

Bacon and Cheese Biscuits: Add one-half cup shredded low-fat cheese and 1 cup diced, cooked, bacon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees; Grease (or spray oil) a baking sheet. In a large bowl, whisk together the Flour Blend, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Using your fingertips, work the butter into the dry mixture evenly, forming little pea-sized clumps.

In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, White Puree, buttermilk, and 1 cup of shredded cheese. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just enough to moisten the dry ingredients. Stir in the “mix-ins” of choice.

 Drop one-quarter cup amounts of dough on prepared baking sheet. Top each biscuit with about a tablespoon of shredded cheese, and then spray the tops with oil. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. 

 

 

Coffee Cake

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 Let them eat cake! (Even for breakfast.) This is the perfect morning after Turkey Day treat. They’ll think they’re still celebrating, but there’s a sneaky something inside this cake that no one will ever suspect -- and it’s packed with protein!

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Makes 8-10 servings (loaf pan)

Ingredients:

1 cup Flour Blend 

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar

¼ cup canola or vegetable oil

1 large egg

¼ cup low-fat milk

1 teaspoon almond extract

¾ cup White Bean Puree 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 4-inch-by-8-inch  loaf pan with butter, or spray with oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the Flour Blend, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, egg, milk, almond extract, and White Bean Puree. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just enough to moisten the dry ingredients. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top, if using, then spray the top evenly with oil. Bake for 37 to 40 minutes, or until the top is light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Optional Crumb Topping for Coffee Cake
2 tablespoons oat bran
1 tablespoon Flour Blend 
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the oat bran, Flour Blend, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Using your fingertips, work the butter into the dry mixture evenly, forming clumps with your fingertips. 

 


Stacked Blueberry Pancakes

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Expecting guests for the long weekend ahead?  These protein packed sneaky Stacked Blueberry Pancakes will give them all the energy they need for the fun-filled days you’ve got planned. They may look like the pancakes your kids love -- but wait til you see what I’ve snuck in!

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STACKED BLUEBERRY PANCAKES
Makes 8 to 10 large pancakes
 
Ingredients:
4 egg whites 
1⁄2 cup part-skim or fat-free ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt 
1⁄2 cup oat bran 
1⁄4 cup Ground Almonds
1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries 
   (optional)
Maple syrup, warmed, for serving
 
Directions:
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, ricotta, and vanilla. In another large bowl, whisk together the baking powder, salt, oat bran, and ground almonds. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just blended. Batter should be fairly thick and slightly lumpy. But if the batter is too thick, add a touch of milk. Add the chocolate chips or blueberries, if using, and mix lightly.

Butter or spray a large skillet over medium heat. Test the pan by tossing in a few drops of water; it will sizzle when it’s hot enough. The skillet will grow hotter over time, so turn down the heat if the pan starts to smoke.

Drop medium-size ladles of batter onto the skillet in batches, making sure there are some chocolate chips or blueberries in each pancake. When bubbles begin to set around the edges and the skillet-side of each pancake is golden (peek underneath), gently flip them over. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is fully set.
 
Serve stacked high, drizzled with a little warm maple syrup.


Champion Cheesecake

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 This is absolutely the Cheesecake of champions! Your girlfriends will think you’re a champion for cutting the fat and sugar in half. The men in your life will love the creamy texture and your kids will never know you’ve even found a way to sneak the good stuff into dessert! 

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CHAMPION CHEESECAKE

 Makes 8 servings

1 (14-ounce) block firm tofu

8 ounces light cream cheese, at room temperature

1 large egg

3 egg whites

11⁄2 cups vanilla yogurt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3⁄4 cup sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 prepared Hi-Fi Pie Crust for cheesecake,  below

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the tofu and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor and puree on high until smooth. If your food processor is large enough, add the egg, egg whites, yogurt, vanilla, sugar, and salt and process for a few more seconds. Alternatively, transfer tofu mixture to a large bowl and whisk in the egg, egg whites, yogurt, vanilla, sugar, and salt.

Pour the cheese mixture over the prepared crust and bake until the center is set, for about 75 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen; remove the side of the pan. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

 

Hi-Fi Pie Crust

Makes 1 pie or cheesecake crust

6 tablespoons Flour Blend (equal parts whole grain and all-purpose flour)

1/2 cup walnuts, finely ground 

6 tablespoons oat bran

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons walnut, almond, or canola oil

 Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch pie pan (or for cheesecake, a 9-inch springform pan) with oil.

In a medium-size bowl, combine the Flour Blend, ground walnuts, oat bran, salt, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix in the oil. Press the mixture into the prepared pie pan, prick it a few times with a fork, and bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until golden brown.

 

 


Think there’s nothing healthy about Mashed Potatoes and Gravy? Then you haven’t tried the Sneaky recipe!  Add a few extra hidden ingredients, and this not only becomes a great healthy dish for kids, but a complete protein! Your vegetarian guests will love you. 

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MASHED POTATOES AND GRAVY

Ingredients:

- 2 pounds of Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered 

- 2 to 3 heads of garlic 

- 1/2 cup of low-fat plain yogurt* 

- 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil 

- 1/2 teaspoon of salt 

- Freshly ground pepper 

*"Greek" style yogurt works best with this recipe 

Directions:

> Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

> 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. 

> 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. 

> Drain the potatoes into a colander, then return them to the pot. Add the roasted garlic flesh, yogurt, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until well combined. Add a bit more yogurt if needed. Serve immediately, or keep the mashed potatoes hot on the stovetop in a metal bowl set over simmering water. 

For the Gravy:
(Makes about 3 cups)
 
Ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons butter or pan drippings (from chicken or turkey) 
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of whole-wheat flour 
- 2 cups of chicken broth, ideally low-sodium 
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce 
- 1/2 cup of apple sauce 
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
 
Directions:
> Heat the butter or pan drippings over medium heat in a sauté pan. 
 
> Whisk in the flour, then the broth, Worcester sauce (or Gravy Master) and apple sauce. 
 
> Cook for about 5 minutes until thickened. 
 
> Add a touch of milk, if you desire lighter colored gravy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
 
> Serve hot with mashed potatoes and turkey.


Pumpkin Pie

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Yes, you can have your pumpkin pie and eat it too! And there’s a Sneaky way to make even this holiday favorite healthy. I bet you can tell what I snuck in by the color. But if you’ve got the time to make a crust from scratch, this Sneaky pumpkin pie is almost health food! 

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PUMPKIN PIE 

This is one of the easiest pies to make (especially if you start with pure canned pumpkin). It is naturally very forgiving -- and when you lower the fat and sugar content, it still remains rich and creamy with that distinctive pumpkin flavor. It's a piece of cake to sneak in some of my signature Orange Puree. Use your favorite pie crust or the sneaky pie crust below. 


Makes 8 servings

- 1/3 block (about 5 ounces) firm tofu

- 1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin 

- 1/2 cup Orange Puree 

- 2 large eggs

- 1/2 cup sugar

- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

- 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

- 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

- 1/2 teaspoon salt

- 1 tablespoon cornstarch

- One store-bought pie crust or Holiday Pie Crust 


Directions:

> Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

> Place the tofu and pumpkin puree in the bowl of a food processor and puree on high until very smooth. If your food processor is large enough, add the Orange Puree, eggs, sugar, vanilla, yogurt, spice, salt, and cornstarch and process for a few more seconds. Alternatively, transfer tofu mixture to a large bowl and whisk in the Orange Puree, eggs, sugar, vanilla, yogurt, spice, salt, and cornstarch. 

> Pour the pumpkin mixture over the prepared crust and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and cook for an additional 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

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Roasted Squash Soup

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This Roasted Squash Soup is the perfect beginning to a festive holiday. It’s not only beautiful, but with the magic of a sneaky puree, your kids are getting more vegetables than they’d ever agree to eat during Thanksgiving dinner -- especially with all that other good stuff in front of them! And Sneaky Moms, as creamy as this looks, it’s fat free too!

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ROASTED SQUASH SOUP

Makes 6 to 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

- 1/2 teaspoon salt

- 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk, optional

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

Directions:

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.

Remove squash and onion from oven. Set the onion aside while you cut open the squash and scoop the flesh from the skin. 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. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup to a smooth consistency. Alternately, you can puree the soup in batches using a blender.

Stir in the evaporated milk, if using, and serve. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds, if using.

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Chanukah Latkes

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 Chanukah comes early this year! For the first time, since 1888, Chanukah falls on Thanksgiving. So for our friends who celebrate (and everyone else who just loves a great potato recipe), here’s the Sneaky Mom’s way of bringing the two holidays together -- and making them healthy! 

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LATKES

Makes 1 dozen latkes

 

- 1 1/2 pounds of Russet potatoes 

- 2 large eggs 

- 3 tablespoons of White Bean Puree

- 1 small onion, grated or finely chopped 

- 6 tablespoons of whole-wheat flour 

- 1/2 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground pepper 

- 1-4 tablespoons canola/vegetable oil, for cooking 

- 1 cup of apple sauce on the side 

Directions:

Peel and coarsely grate potatoes into a large bowl (add cold water to the bowl if you are not cooking the latkes immediately - this will prevent the potatoes from turning brown. You can refrigerate the grated potatoes in water for up to one day, if necessary. 

 When ready to cook, drain potatoes in a colander and pressing down with your hand to squeeze out as much water as possible. While the potatoes are draining, beat the eggs with the White Bean Puree in a large mixing bowl. Grate the onion into the same bowl. Stir in the grated potatoes, flour, salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Mix well. 

Below are two ways to cook the latkes. The oven-baked method is a lower fat time-saver, and the result is nearly as good as pan-frying. 

Oven-Baked Method Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil. Form 1/4-cup sized scoops of the potato mixture into flat patties and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the tops of the latkes generously with oil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip the patties, spray the other side with oil, and bake for another 15 minutes. 

Pan Fry Method Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large (10- or 12-inch) nonstick skillet. Reduce the temperature to medium if the oil starts to smoke. Working in batches of 4 to 6 latkes, scoop about ¼ cup of the potato mixture into the hot skillet and flatten gently with the back of a spatula. Reduce heat to medium and cook until one side is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn over and brown the other side. Repeat with the next batch of 4 latkes, adding more oil to the pan as needed. Place the cooked latkes on a plate lined with paper towels to blot away excess oil. 

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Cranberry Apple Turkey

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 What are Sneaky Moms going to be thankful for this Thanksgiving? Well, if you use this slow cooker recipe for Cranberry Apple Turkey, you’ll not only be thankful for the extra time you’ll have to relax, but for the sneaky fruits and vegetables your kids will be eating! It’ll be a truly happy (and healthy!) holiday. 

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CRANBERRY APPLE TURKEY

Ingredients:

- 1 1/2 cups of apple sauce 

- 1/2 cup chicken broth 

- 1 cup of dried cherries or cranberries 

- 1/2 cup of pomegranate juice 

- 1 large red onion, pureed or diced 

- 1/2 teaspoon each salt and onion powder 

- 1 six-ounce can of tomato paste 

- 1 turkey breast 4-5 lbs (ideally boneless) 

Directions:

Preheat slow cooker to desired setting. 

In the slow cooker pot, mix all ingredients. Add turkey to slow cooker and toss. Cover. Cook 5 hours on low or 2 ½ hours on high. 

Remove turkey from slow cooker and serve. 

Note: For best results, do not remove cover during cooking.

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Quick Fix Mac N Cheese

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Guilt be gone! This sneaky recipe may start with your kid’s favorite mac n’ cheese mix, but with a few hidden ingredients, they’ll be getting a bowl full of yummy goodness and super veggies!

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Quick Fix Mac N Cheese

Each of the nutritional boosters listed here have been kid tested and have proven to be undetectable in taste, texture and color. Start by adding the least amount recommended of just one of the nutritional boosters listed below. Add a little more each time you serve this dish (which is served in our house every day!). 

Ingredients:

- 2 to 4 tablespoons White Puree 

- 2 to 4 tablespoons Orange Puree 

Directions: 

Prepare macaroni and cheese according to directions on package. Add White Puree into the cheese sauce, mixing until well blended. If sauce becomes too dry, simply add an extra tablespoon of milk and extra cheese.

Prepare macaroni and cheese according to directions on package. Add Orange Puree into the cheese sauce, mixing until well blended. This one works best with an extra slice of American cheese or 1/4 cup of grated cheddar melted into the sauce to help mask the carrots, which have a bit more distinguishable taste, in the puree.


Hamburger Stuffed Potatoes

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Do you see any spinach, broccoli or peas on this plate? I didn’t think so! And either will your kids. But the sneaky secret is that inside this really fun recipe, is a whole lot of healthy stuff!

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Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

3 large russet potatoes

For the hamburger mixture:

One tablespoon olive oil

One-half pound lean ground beef or turkey

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 teaspoon Worcester Sauce

3 tablespoons tomato paste

¼ cup Sneaky Chef Green Puree 

1 tablespoon oat bran

½ teaspoon salt

For the potato:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt

¼ teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Time saving tip: if you have leftover meat sauce or meatballs on hand, use either as a substitute for the ground meat mixture 

Prick potatoes several times with a fork and place them directly on oven rack. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until tender. 

While potatoes are baking, heat the oil over medium heat in a deep skillet or earthenware pot. Add the beef (or turkey), stirring to break it up, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the meat is no longer red. Stir in the ketchup, Worcester Sauce, tomato paste, Green Puree, oat bran, salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Mix well. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove potatoes from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl, leaving some potato in the skin to keep shells intact. Mash potatoes lightly with a fork, adding the butter, yogurt, and salt. Set aside.

Fill each potato shell with about 2 tablespoons of the cooked hamburger mixture, then top with about 3 tablespoons of the potato mixture, mounding slightly. Spray tops with oil and place back in the oven for 5 minutes, to crisp the top of the potato. Serve immediately. 

Cheeseburger variation:  Follow same instructions for Hamburger Stuffed Potato above, adding one-half slice of American cheese to completed stuffed potato half and returning to oven for 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.


Parmesan Chicken Fries

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The crunchy goodness your kids love, without the deep fryer. And even better, we’ve snuck in wheat germ and flaxseed! Include our dipping sauce and you’ve got a healthy well balanced meal with several different vegetables. Who says “Fries” can’t be good for you? 

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Parmesan Chicken Fries

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:

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

Dip:

1⁄2 cup Sneaky Chef Pasta Sauce

1⁄4 cup Orange Puree or carrot baby food or sweet potato puree

Directions:

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.

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There’s always room (and time) for cake, if you use our Sneaky Lickety Split recipe. You can even begin with a store bought mix. No one needs to know that you snuck in a little spinach, blueberries and flaxseed! 

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Lickety Split Chocolate Cake

Makes about 12 servings

Ingredients:

1⁄4 cup ground flaxseed

3 large eggs

1⁄2 cup Sneaky Chef Purple Puree

1 cup pomegranate juice

1 box (about 18 ounces) chocolate cake mix

 

Frosting:

2 cups chocolate hazelnut spread, such as Nutella®

2 cups reduced-fat cream cheese

 Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottom of pans with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine flax, eggs, puree, pomegranate juice, and cake mix. Mix at low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium for another 2 minutes. Pour batter into cake pans. Bake for 33 to 36 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes, then remove from pans and discard wax paper.

For frosting:

Combine chocolate hazelnut spread with cream cheese in a mixing bowl.  

To frost cake:

Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1⁄2 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer; spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.

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Chicken Parm Pops

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 What’s more fun than Chicken Nuggets? Chicken On A Stick! And it’s even more fun for Sneaky Moms, not only because it’s easy to make, but because there’s eight hidden vegetables in our special sauce.

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SPEEDY CHICKEN PARM POPS

 

Makes 4 servings: 

Ingredients:

- 1 package (about 14) fully cooked chicken nuggets 

- 3/4 cup Sneaky Chef Smooth Red or Cheesy Red Pasta Sauce OR 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1/4 cup Sneaky Chef Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead #2) 

- 1 cup shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese 

- 14 skewers or craft sticks, optional 

Directions:

> Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking sheet with oil. 

> In a mixing bowl, combine tomato sauce and 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.

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 With all the cooking that’s coming up for the holidays, make breakfast easy with this make ahead “Instant” pancake recipe. It’s got lots of sneaky extras that will give your kids a great start on the day, plus you can use the same mix to whip up waffles, crepes and even breakfast cookies! 

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Banana Pancakes:

1 large egg

¾ cup low-fat milk

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

1 large banana, mashed 

¼ cup Orange Puree 

1 cup boxed pancake mix

¼ cup wheat germ

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil, mashed banana, and Orange Puree. Add boxed pancake mix and wheat germ, mixing just until combined (don’t over mix - leave small lumps). If the batter is too thick, add a little more milk.

 

Chocolate Pancakes:

1 large egg

¾ cup low-fat milk

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

½ cup Purple Puree 

1 cup boxed pancake mix

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder 

¼ cup oat bran

¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil, and Purple Puree. Add boxed pancake mix, cocoa powder, and oat bran, and chocolate chips, if using, mixing just until combined (don’t over mix - leave small lumps). If the batter is too thick, add a little more milk.

 

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While you may have packed away the costumes til next year, there’s no reason Moms can’t add a little magic to dinner tonight. Our Sneaky Magic Meatballs and Sauce will do the trick. They’re loaded with whole grains and greens, but we promise, they’ll disappear right off of your children’s plates! 

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MAGIC MEATBALLS AND SAUCE

Makes about 42 small meatballs: 

- 6 to 8 tablespoons Green Puree

- 2 tablespoons tomato paste 

- 1 teaspoon salt 

- 1/4 cup wheat germ, unsweetened 

- 1 large egg, beaten 

- 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey 

- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, for browning meatballs 

> In a large bowl, combine the Green Puree and tomato paste, mixing well (with the back of a fork) until the green color turns brownish. Mix in salt, wheat germ, and egg, and finally add the ground meat and mix with hands until well combined. Using damp hands, pinch off about 2 teaspoons of meat and gently shape mixture into mini meatballs. 

> Sneaky tip: Mini one- bite meatballs work better than larger ones for hiding purees. 

(Below are 2 ways to cook the meatballs, depending on how much time you have. You will definitely get out of the kitchen quicker with the oven-baked method, and the result is nearly as good as the pan frying.) 

Brown-in-pan method: 

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large (10 inch or 12 inch) nonstick skillet over moderately high heat, until hot but not smoking. Add meatballs in four batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Allow to brown on all sides for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally with the help of 2 teaspoons. Reduce heat to low and cook through for another 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and add more oil as needed for the next batch. Serve with toothpicks as "cocktail" meatballs, dropped in almost any soup, or smothered in my Smooth Red Pasta Sauce over spaghetti. 

Oven-baked method: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a large cookie sheet with 2 tablespoons of oil, gently place meatballs on sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. Using a spatula to loosen, turn the meatballs over to brown on the other side, then return to oven for another 10 minutes. Serve with toothpicks as " cocktail" meatballs, dropped in almost any soup, or smothered in my Smooth Red Pasta Sauce over spaghetti.

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An all time favorite with a sneaky spin! There are five superfoods in this really fun recipe. But Shh! That’s our little secret. 

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GRILLED CHEESE AND TOMATO SOUP 

Makes 2 Sandwiches

4 teaspoons butter

4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

4 teaspoons Sneaky Chef Orange Puree 

4 slices yellow American cheese

4 slices bread, preferably whole wheat

Melt 1 teaspoon of butter with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Spread 1 teaspoon of Orange Puree in the center of each slice of bread, staying away from the edges (to keep the puree from oozing out). Top each side of the bread with 2 slices of cheese, close sandwiches, and place 1 sandwich in the skillet. Cook, without pressing, about 3 to 4 minutes until the bread is golden. Flip sandwich, adding another teaspoon each of the butter and oil to the pan, and brown the other side, about 3 to 4 minutes more.

 Repeat with the other sandwich. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting.

TOMATO SOUP:  equal parts TSC Smooth Red Pasta Sauce and low-sodium chicken broth 

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Sneaky Sliders

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 After a weekend packed with fun, it’s tempting to just swing through the drive-thru. These Sneaky Sliders will make your kids think that’s exactly what you did. Why spoil the fun? Just wrap these up in a little wax paper and they’ll happily gobble up our sneaky version which is loaded with extra protein and vegetables. 

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SNEAKY SLIDERS

Makes 12 mini-burgers (6 servings)

Ingredients:

½ cup Sneaky Chef Green Puree 

1 tablespoon ketchup

¼ cup wheat germ

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 pound lean ground beef 

12 small soft dinner rolls (ideally whole wheat)

Optional garnish: cheese, pickles, lettuce, and/or ketchup

 

Directions:
In a large bowl, mix Green Puree, ketchup, wheat germ, salt, and onion powder. Then add the ground beef, mixing with hands until well combined. If too sticky, add a bit more wheat germ. 

Using damp hands, shape mixture into 12 small patties, about one-half inch thick. At this point, freeze for future use (within 3 months) or proceed to cook immediately.

Spray a large skillet or grill pan with nonstick cooking spray and set over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Cook the burgers for 2 to 3 minutes on each side then flip and add cheese (optional) to melt over patties for another minute.

Cut dinner rolls horizontally in half and lightly toast. Serve mini-burgers on rolls and garnish with lettuce, ketchup and pickles, if using.

 

 


Doctor's Choice Chili

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What’s better than the aroma of a warm pot of chili on a crisp Fall day? A warm pot of chili that’s packed with protein and vegetables! We won’t spill the beans if you won’t! 

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DOCTOR'S CHOICE CHILI

Makes 6 Servings

Ingredients:

- One tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 

- 1 large onion, minced 

- 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey (or a combination) 

- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced 

- 2 tablespoons chili powder 

- 1 teaspoon ground cumin 

- One-quarter teaspoon cayenne 

- One-half cup to 1 cup White Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #4) 

- One-half cup Green Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #3) 

- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste 

- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes 

- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained* 

- 1 to 2 cups vegetable broth 

- Salt and pepper to taste 

Optional garnishes: chopped green or yellow onions, low-fat sour cream, and shredded low-fat cheese 

*if your guy objects to whole, visible beans in his chili, simply substitute one cup of White Bean Puree or one-half cup of oat bran for same nutritious effect. 


Directions:

> Heat oil over medium heat in a chili or soup pot. Cook the onions until they are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes, and then add ground meat, stirring to break it up, cooking about 5 minutes until meat is no longer red. Then add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and a few grinds of pepper. Add the White and Green Purees, tomato paste, tomatoes, 1 cup of vegetable broth, and the kidney beans, and mix well to combine the colors. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, adding more vegetable broth as necessary. Season with salt, pepper, more cayenne for extra spice, and top with optional garnishes. 

Save leftovers and put a portion in a thermos or plastic container for your man’s lunch pail. 

Chili represents your three stages of matter: solid, liquid, and eventually gas. Roseanne 

Vegetarian Variation: 

> Omit the meat and add 2 more cans of pinto and/or kidney beans. 

Serve with Grilled Corn Bread from The Sneaky Chef book. 

Sneaky Tip: Yale researchers report that eating just one-half cup a day of beans can help significantly in keeping diabetes away. So sneak some White Bean Puree in chili, soup, salad or your favorite casseroles and help beat the diabetes epidemic.

 


Oven Fried Drumsticks

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Let the Halloween magic continue all week long! Tonight “fried” chicken. But we’ve got a tasty recipe that you’ll never find in a red and white bucket. Oven Fried Drumsticks taste like they came from the Colonel, but this skinless version cuts out the fat and sneaks in an extra dose of fiber. Tricky, huh? 

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OVEN FRIED DRUMSTICKS

Makes 8 drumsticks

Ingredients:

2 cups whole grain cereal flakes (such as Wheaties or Total)

1/4 cup wheat germ, unsweetened

1/2 cup Sneaky Chef White Puree 

2 tablespoons bottled ranch dressing

8 chicken legs, skinless

1 teaspoon salt


Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Using a rolling pin, gently crush the cereal in a sealed plastic bag into coarsely ground crumbs. Alternatively, you can quickly grind the cereal in a food processor. Pour crushed cereal on a plate (or keep some in a plastic bag for future use), and add wheat germ. Mix well. 

Pour ranch dressing and White Puree into a large plastic bag. Drop the drumsticks in the plastic bag and coat with the dressing mixture. At this point, you can refrigerate the chicken for as much time as you have, up to a day (this helps add flavor and tenderizes the chicken), or proceed to next step.

Roll each drumstick in the cereal mixture, pressing the crumbs evenly onto the chicken. Set drumsticks onto a baking sheet sprayed with oil. Also spray the top side of the chicken legs evenly with oil. Cook for 45 to 50 minutes, until the chicken is lightly browned and cooked through.

 


After last night’s sugar rush, you want to be sure to have something protein packed on the table tonight. But with bags full of chocolate, chances are your kids won’t be interested in much else. Unless, of course, you serve them one of their favorite foods! Speedy Stovetop Lasagna -- with a special treat for Moms --  8 super veggies hidden inside!

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Speedy Stovetop Lasagna

Makes 6 Servings

Ingredients:

- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

 - 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey 

- 1 jar (24 ounces) pasta sauce or Sneaky Chef Smooth Red or Cheesy Red Pasta Sauce 

- 8 or 9-ounce box uncooked lasagna noodles, roughly broken into strips 

- 1 1/2 cups part skim shredded mozzarella 

Directions:

> 1. Heat oil over medium heat in large, deep skillet. Add the turkey or beef, stirring to break it up, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the meat is no longer red. 

> 2. Stir in half of the Sneaky Chef Smooth Red Pasta Sauce, add broken noodles on top, then cover with remaining pasta sauce. 

> 3. Fill empty pasta sauce jar two-thirds full of water (about 2 cups) and add to skillet. Stir to combine. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cheese on top, do not stir again; cover for about 5 minutes until cheese is melted. 

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY NEW SNEAKY CHEF FOOD LINE COMING TO A GROCERY STORE NEAR YOU!  

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 What do kids love most on Halloween? Well, right behind chocolate and maybe costumes, it’s probably pizza! Halloween is one of the busiest nights of the year for pizza delivery. So why wait? Especially when you’ve got a sneaky way to give them the extra protein and veggies they’ll need to ward off those ghouls and goblins!

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Power Pizza
Makes 1 large pizza or 4 smaller pizzas 

Ingredients:

- 1 store bought pizza dough or 4 "Greek style" pocketless pitas (whole wheat preferred) 

- 3/4 cup Sneaky Chef Pasta Sauce (Smooth Red, Cheesy Red, or Turkey) OR 3/4 cup tomato sauce mixed with 3 tablespoons Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #2) 

- 1 to 2 cups low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese 

- Toppings: sliced mushrooms, onions, sweet peppers, artichoke hearts, etc. 

- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and preheat a pizza stone, if using one, or spray a baking sheet with oil. 

Directions:

Stretch pizza dough, or roll out with floured rolling pin on floured surface, to form a pie and transfer it to the stone or baking sheet. If using pocketless pitas, place them on the prepared baking sheet. Spread 1/2 to 1 cup of the sauce mixture across the large pizza dough (use only 1/4 cup of sauce for each pita), then top with about 1 cup of mozzarella (use about 1/2 cup of cheese per pita). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned. Allow to cool a few minutes, then cut into triangles and serve.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY NEW SNEAKY CHEF FOOD LINE COMING TO A GROCERY STORE NEAR YOU!  

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Halloween Cupcakes

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Halloween will always be a nutritionally challenging holiday. This cupcake recipe has fiber, pure vegetables, and whole grains, as well as being low in fat. You can also get yourself an inexpensive donut pan at the housewares' store and convert these healthy muffin recipes to seemingly more decadent donuts! 

Enjoy in good health!

Missy

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Halloween Cupcakes/ Donuts

- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or combine with equal parts whole grain flour) 
- 2 teaspoons baking powder 
- One-half teaspoon salt 
- 2 1/2 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 #2) 
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
- One-half cup brown sugar, packed 
- Optional decorations: white or orange colored frosting with orange and black sprinkles or Halloween candies 

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. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the Flour Blend, 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. 

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 

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.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY NEW SNEAKY CHEF FOOD LINE COMING TO A GROCERY STORE NEAR YOU! 


One of the best things we can do for the man in our lives this Father's Day is to cook him up one of his favorite meals. And what man doesn't love breakfast in bed?!
 
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Stacked Pancakes is one of the most requested recipes out of my Men's Book and guys go nuts over them. It's fast, easy, and it lets you make his favorite breakfast both tastier and healthier–he'll not only flip for the flavor but he'll be able to enjoy them guilt free : )
 
These pancakes have more nutrition than a boring bowl of oatmeal, but they have the look and taste of a white flour pancake (and yet there is absolutely no flour in them!) and enough protein and whole grains to keep your man energized all morning long.
 
Plus, make an extra batch for future mornings when you want a great grab-n-go breakfast during the week. Just place the extra cooked pancakes in a plastic bag and freeze them for months, then simply toast them in the morning. He'll love them as a handheld breakfast in the car on the way to work, and remember his sweet Father's Day breakfast for many more mornings to come.
 
Happy Father's Day to one and all!
 
Missy
 
Makes 8 to 10 large pancakes
 
4 egg whites 
1⁄2 cup part-skim or fat-free ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt 
1⁄2 cup oat bran 
1⁄4 cup Ground Almonds
1⁄4 cup semisweet chocolate chips or 1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries 
   (optional)
Maple syrup, warmed, for serving
 
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, ricotta, and vanilla. In another large bowl, whisk together the baking powder, salt, oat bran, and ground almonds. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just blended. Batter should be fairly thick and slightly lumpy. But if the batter is too thick, add a touch of milk. Add the chocolate chips or blueberries, if using, and mix lightly.

Butter or spray a large skillet over medium heat. Test the pan by tossing in a few drops of water; it will sizzle when it’s hot enough. The skillet will grow hotter over time, so turn down the heat if the pan starts to smoke.
Drop medium-size ladles of batter onto the skillet in batches, making sure there are some chocolate chips or blueberries in each pancake. When bubbles begin to set around the edges and the skillet-side of each pancake is golden (peek underneath), gently flip them over. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is fully set.
 
Serve stacked high, drizzled with a little warm maple syrup.
 
Cinnamon apple pancake variation
 
Follow the instructions for Stacked Pancakes, adding 1⁄2 teaspoon of cinnamon and substituting a peeled, chopped apple for the chocolate chips or blueberries. For smoother texture, grate the apple before adding it to the batter. Serve with a dusting of cinnamon sugar.

Delicious BBQ!

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turkey burgers smaller.jpgWhat better way to celebrate summer than with a delicious BBQ outing with the family? That's why I wanted to share a couple of my favorite BBQ recipes with you from my BBQ e-book, my BBQ Sneaky Turkey Burgers and Sneaky Greek Grilled Pizza. They're both packed with hidden healthy ingredients, yet you would never know by the taste. 

Enjoy and have a happy and healthy summer!
 
Missy

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and I (as I’m sure all moms out there!) am looking forward to taking full advantage of this holiday. One of my favorite things about Mother’s Day is enjoying all the housework, cooking and cleaning I WON’T be doing. (My husband and kids are such good sports!)

Every year on Mother’s Day in thousands of households around the nation, children decide to “surprise” their moms with breakfast in bed. I absolutely love it! It’s great seeing my kids working together, taking pride in a job well done and let’s face it, who doesn’t love to be catered to? But after all is said and done and I’ve finished my breakfast, I’m typically overwhelmed by the tornado that seems to have become my kitchen!

With measuring cups and spoons tossed on the counters, and plates covered in who-knows-what, it’s easy to lose that Mother’s Day feel amidst a kitchen disaster. So this year, I’m determined to help myself and other moms keep Mother’s Day relaxing by offering some breakfast-in-bed recipes that are healthy, nutritious and most importantly, provide less mess!

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Sneaky Chef Strawberry Short Shake 
A rich and creamy way to start the morning without worrying about disarray in the kitchen!
(2 servings)
Ingredients:
½ cup low-fat milk
¼ cup low-fat cottage cheese
¼ cup low-fat strawberry yogurt
8 strawberries (about ½ cup fresh or frozen), no added syrup or sweetener
Handful of ice, if not using frozen strawberries
2 whole-grain mini waffles, toasted
Optional: whipped cream and honey or sweetener, to taste
1. In a blender, combine all ingredients except the waffles. Blend until smooth.
2. Pour into tall glasses. 
3. Make a small cut in each waffle and hang off the side of each glass.
4. Serve with straws and top with squirt of whipped cream, if desired. 
 
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Tropical Twist Breakfast Ice-Cream Cones 
This “ice-cream” can be made the night before and it’s a great treat to make with your kids while avoiding a mess. 
(2 servings)
Ingredients:
½ cup frozen mango, no added syrup or sugar
½ cup frozen strawberries, no added syrup or sugar
1 banana, peeled and chopped
½ cup low-fat milk
1 to 2 tbsp. honey or sugar
4 wafer ice cream cones (can be substituted with bowls)
 
1. Fill bowl of food processor with frozen fruit and pulse several times to start the puree.
2. Add banana, milk, and sugar and puree on high until smooth, stopping if needed to scrape down the sides of the bowl and push contents to the bottom. 
3. Ice cream will be soft – fill cones or bowls to just below the top, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze to further harden (or fill cones and serve immediately).

Both of these recipes are healthy and perfect for the whole family, so make sure to purchase all the needed ingredients, drop some hints to your husband and suggest these recipes to your kids! Have breakfast with everyone in bed with the reassuring knowledge that your kitchen is still intact. I’m wishing everyone a no-mess Mother’s Day on Sunday!

What a party it was going to be that night! The guest of honor was receiving all the goodies any kitchen could want from a potato masher to a Panini maker to a 3 in 1 slow cooker. There were cookie sheets and muffin tins.  I stood there admiring the untouched beauty of a loaf pan that I was gift wrapping.

Sounds like a wedding shower doesn’t it? 

My son who had been diagnosed to be on the Autism spectrum several years before, turned 17 that day.  
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Since The Sneaky Chef method so effectively removes the sensory concerns from so many foods, it allowed my son’s diet to drastically improve. Then The Sneaky Chef inspired methods were made part of his life skills training. He learned to love cooking.

The Sneaky Chef started him on his journey less than a year ago when I made for him the first burger. I used the green puree and rejoiced that my son ate veggies without gagging!

In no time at all, I watched my son shopping for fresh spinach and kale for him to chop up in a safety chopper and toss into ground chicken or a whole wheat veggie pizza crust he was making himself.  Whole wheat spinach waffles anyone?

We didn’t stop with just cooking projects, with our continuous supervision he agreed to be responsible to shop for and prepare all of his own foods.

I purchased a pair of kitchen islands to form his own counter space with bottom shelves used for his pantry and for his disability appropriate kitchenware and appliances.

He cooks the foods and stores them in the freezer. He eats them for his meals.

It’s a good feeling as his mother to know that he is he eating far better now. Further, it’s great to know that his daily life reinforces him being in the habit to thoughtfully prepare health foods for himself. It doesn’t bother me that we have to supervise him. It is what it is. He is far more independent than before.

Now I have only one question and it really is for him. I need to ask him if sometime I can borrow his mini muffin pans. His are nicer than mine ☺.

–Guest Blogger Cindy Appel is a midwest mom whose teenage son,diagnosed with autism, has focused being creative in not only what he eats, but in gaining important life skills. She tell us that it was an important breakthrough when they discovered The Sneaky Chef.


Green smoothie smaller for sure.pngHappy Earth Day! As a mom, I’ve always believed in the importance of teaching my children about the benefits and gifts we receive daily from our planet. Although Earth Day is an ideal time to recycle and make steps to take better care of the environment, it’s also a perfect opportunity to teach our kids the difference between real, whole foods from nature, and overly-processed foods that are often filled with chemicals and fake ingredients.

Taking the time to enjoy foods that are as close to their natural form like, fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains and lean proteins, can be a delicious and eye-opening way to celebrate Earth Day with your children, and all the bounty our planet provides us. 

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to teach my kids the difference between foods from the earth and heavily processed items is by taking them grocery shopping with me. It can be fun and educational to walk the perimeter of the store where the fresh produce is, and then show them a few examples of unhealthy packaged foods. I know how hard it can be to convince kids not to go for the super sugary cereals and fruit roll-ups, so here are a few different techniques to try:

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1. Read them the nutrition labels and ingredients list. I like going by the rule of “if you can’t pronounce it; you probably shouldn’t be eating it.” Let them give it a try too! Reading labels will help set healthy habits for the rest of their lives early on. 

2. Try explaining how natural foods are changed by other ingredients to become something different that is less healthy for our bodies. Although some processed foods can be a part of a healthy diet, try to go for those that still have real ingredients in them (that you can pronounce). 

3. If your kids aren't impressed by Earth's natural bounty, try this win-win approach: make them my Earth Day Milkshake (recipe below) but don't tell them what's in it. About an hour later, ask them how they're feeling: good? sleepy? sugary crash? Now tell them that you made it really easy for them to eat their veggies today by putting them in the milkshake. Point out that you balanced out the sugar with the high quality nutrition of spinach. This is the classic "sneak and teach" approach. Kids get to experience first hand the energy and mood benefits of the veggies in a way that's completely easy and delicious for them. What's not to love about spinach when it tastes so good? Try this in my other free recipes for kids' favorites including: Sneaky Chef mac n' cheese, Speedy Stovetop Lasagna, chicken nuggets, Brainy Brownies, spaghetti and meatballs, Power Pizza, etc!" 

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My Earth Day Milk Shake features one of my all-time favorite whole foods, spinach. This green superfood has countless nutritional benefits, and the green color makes it fun for the kids on Earth Day. 

I hope these tips and recipe helps you celebrate Earth Day with your children in a fun and delicious way!

Earth Day Milk Shake

Yes, it’s bright green, but so are mint chocolate chip and pistachio ice creams and that never stood in anyone’s way. Tell the kids you’re celebrating Earth Day or just having fun. They will gobble it up and you’ll be amazed. The key is to start with a really good tasting vanilla frozen yogurt or light ice cream; the vanilla extract will help its flavor shine through. Each tablespoon of Spinach Juice is the equivalent of eating about 1/4 cup of spinach, so you can feel great about serving this delicious treat. Start with the lesser amount of juice called for, and work up to more over time.Makes 2 servings

2 cups vanilla low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt
4 to 6 tablespoons Spinach Juice (See Make-Ahead Recipe)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Serve in tall glasses with a quick squirt of whipped cream and a straw.

For more fun recipes featuring spinach and other healthy veggies, click here!


My top tips and rules about texting in my home as part of the Care.com Interview Series

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Check our my ground rules when it comes to texting ("Think twice, text once") and why it is important to be up front and open with your kids about rules and expectations for texting and phone use....more


In order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism, the Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s. The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community.
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Many of these significant issues have to do with foods: texture, taste, color and flavor issues are frequently seen in children suffering from autism. This often results in inadequate nutrition, especially from vegetables, as well as severe limitations on the foods that the children will actually eat. 

Helping to ease this challenging situation was not what I originally set out to do when I first created the Sneaky Chef method, but I have since recieved hundreds of testimonial letters from families with autistic children. Here's one that brings tears to my eyes every time I read it: 

"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)"

I'm still amazed by the positive effects that proper nutrition can bring to small bodies, minds and souls. 

With healthiest regards,

Missy


Celebrate Easter this year with these healthy recipes and treats the whole family will love – featuring sweet delicious strawberries, one of the first fruits of the spring season!
strawberry cupcake etc.jpgSneaky ‘n Speedy Strawberry Cupcakes
This recipe is a terrific way to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary this Easter! All you need is a box of yellow cake mix. The Strawberry Puree and cranberry juice will add a super boost of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants and will make the cupcakes even more moist and flavorful.

Makes about 18 cupcakes
3 large eggs
3⁄4 cup Sneaky Chef Strawberry Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe below)
1 cup cranberry juice
1⁄2 cup oat bran
1 box (about 18 ounces) yellow cake mix
Pink sprinkles and pink vanilla frosting, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with pink paper muffin cups.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, place all ingredients, except sprinkles, if using. Blend at low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium speed for another 2 minutes. Using a spoon, mix 2 tablespoons of pink sprinkles into the batter. Pour batter into muffin tins. Bake for 19 to 21 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). Remove and cool before frosting with strawberry or vanilla frosting with pink sprinkles.

Sneaky Chef Make-Ahead Recipe: Strawberry Puree
2 1⁄2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
1⁄2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 to 2 tablespoons water

Makes about 1 cup

Combine the strawberries, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of water in the bowl of a food processor and puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally to push the contents to the bottom. If necessary, use another tablespoon of water to smooth out the puree.
Strawberry Puree will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1⁄4-cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers. Also great for smoothies or mix into yogurt!

Sparkling Strawberry Float
You won’t have a problem helping your kids meet their goal of 5 fruits and veggies a day with this fizzy fruit drink! Serve it at your Easter brunch in champagne glasses (plastic ones, that is).

Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 1⁄2 cups frozen strawberries
1 1⁄2 cups cranberry juice, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 cups sparkling water, divided
Four whole fresh strawberries, straws, and/or drink umbrellas, for garnish, optional

Place frozen strawberries, 1⁄2 cup of the cranberry juice, sugar, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor, cover, and process on high, stopping occasionally to scrape the contents to the bottom to make a smooth sorbet. Note: At this point, the sorbet will be very soft—if you prefer a firmer “scoop,” simply pour sorbet into a plastic tub or glass baking dish, cover, and place in the freezer for at least an hour. When ready to serve, pour 1 cup of sparkling water and 1⁄4 cup cranberry juice into each glass. Scoop about 1⁄4 cup of sorbet into each glass. If desired, garnish each glass with a fresh strawberry, slightly split and placed on the rim of the glass, and serve with a straw and/or drink umbrella.

Anyone-Can-Make Crepes — Strawberry
Makes 4 crepes

1⁄2 cup Sneaky Chef Orange Puree or ½ cup baby food carrot puree
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1⁄4 cup whole-grain pancake mix
2 tablespoons water

Lightly grease or spray an 8-inch or 9-inch nonstick pan with oil.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Orange Puree (or baby food), eggs, vanilla, flax, pancake mix, and 2 tablespoons of water (unlike pancakes, you don’t want any lumps in crepe batter).
Heat pan over medium. Pour in 1⁄4 cup of batter into prepared pan; tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly. Cook the crepe for 1 to 2 minutes until edges look golden and top looks dryer, then loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side for 1 minute.
Remove crepe to plate and set aside until ready to fill. Or, crepes can be made in advance, stacked between sheets of wax paper, wrapped in plastic, and stored refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 3 months (thaw before using).
Brush or spray oil on pan before making each crepe.

Sneaky Strawberry Filling
1⁄4 cup all-fruit strawberry jam
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 1⁄2 cups sliced fresh or frozen strawberries
Optional: powdered sugar

Mix the jam, flax, and berries in a bowl. Place one quarter of the mixture down the center of each crepe. Fold sides in over filling and turn over on the plate, seam side down. Dust with powdered sugar, if using.

Happy Easter!
 


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Spring has officially sprung today, which means summer—and summer camp—is bubbling away vigorously on the front  burner. This year, I won’t be making a last minute scramble trying to find good camps for my girls. I found this great camp consultant (a free service) who found camps that fit my two kids’ widely different interests. The name of this superhero is Ann Travis—aka, “The Summer Lady.”
 
Not only does The Summer Lady find safe camps and programs that focus on language immersion, sports, outdoor adventure, teen travel, academic enrichment, community service and more: she has also kept a keen eye on the health and well-being of thousands of  children for over 20 years, which really gives me peace of mind.  After all, just because my kids will be out of sight as they snorkel and splash, or travel with panache, doesn’t mean I’ll settle for less when it comes to what they’ll be fueling up on.
 
The Summer Lady and I see eye to eye when it comes to good food. She’s a big fan of my new food products: Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter, a delicious and healthy peanut butter substitute; and Sneaky Chef Pasta Sauces, with 8 hidden veggies in every bite. Both of us are excited to start bringing these great products to the attention of summer camps across the nation. Imagine a camp that is nut-free, still able to give our kids the all-American classic taste of a PB & J! Imagine kids eating their (hidden) veggies without a food fight as they slurp up pasta after being active all day!
 
I’ll be greeting the summer with a big smile this year, letting The Summer Lady tuck my daughters into great camps. And I'm grinning ear to ear, joining my new friend's efforts to spread more sneaky love to our kids! Hello, sunshine!

We all know that kids are picky eaters and some won't even eat certain colors, especially "yucky" colors like green. If you have a picky eater in the family who refuses to eat anything green, St. Patrick's Day is a great way to introduce the color into their diet! Your kids are sure to enjoy green-colored meals to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with their friends and family, so give them green food that they'll want to enjoy all year long!

Adding green to food is easy, especially with my Sneaky Chef Green Juice made with spinach. The green juice can be added to almost any light-colored foods, like eggs, vanilla yogurt, ice cream, and even icing, while boosting the nutritional value since it's packed with spinach. The sneakiest trick is that baby spinach has almost no taste in this juice-form, so your family won't even notice a difference in taste!  You can find The Sneaky Chef Green Juice recipe below, along with a few of our favorite green-colored recipes. If your family has a favorite St. Patrick's Day recipe, then just add a few drops of the Sneaky Chef Green Juice and enjoy!

The Sneaky Chef Green Juice
Makes about 1 cup of juice

Ingredients:
3 cups raw baby spinach leaves
1 cup water

Directions:
Thoroughly wash the spinach, even if the package says “prewashed.” In a medium-sized pot, heat the spinach and the water to a boil; reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a fine mesh strainer over a container or bowl, pressing the green “pulp” with the back of a spoon until all the liquid is released.
 
This recipe makes about 1 cup of juice; double it if you want to store another cup. 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.
 
"St. Sneaky Day" Green Milkshake
Makes 2 servings
 
Ingredients:
2 cups vanilla low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt
¼ cup Sneaky Chef Green Juice
¼ cup milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
ice, if needed

Directions
Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Serve in tall glasses with a quick squirt of whipped cream and a straw.
 
Green Eggs and Ham

Ingredients:
¼ cup Sneaky Chef Green Juice
2 eggs
Options: light-colored cheese and ham
 
Directions:
Add the Sneaky Chef Green Juice and eggs into a bowl and mix until smooth. If desired, add cheese and ham into mixture. Scramble mixture on stovetop or make into an omelet.

Twitter Chat Feb. 28, 2013

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Hope you'll join top nutritionists from the prestigious NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and me for a Twitter Chat to "Test Your Heart Health IQ" Thursday, Feb. 28, 3013 at 8pm EST


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More Family Dinners

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Hey Sneaky Chefs!

We're a few weeks into the new year; how are your resolutions going so far? My 2013 resolution is to have more family dinners. You may think this would be a given since I'm "The Sneaky Chef," but with a busy schedule, it doesn't always happen. So I'm focusing on doing it in small bites to help me achieve my goal. Some recipes make my resolution easier, like Speedy Stovetop Lasagna-- they gobble it up! My Sammy will even eat it for breakfast!
 
I'm also committing to making one puree per week, and using a dollop here and there in baked goods, sauces, soups, etc. I've included recipes for both my lasagna and green puree here to help you make your 2013 health goals happen too!
 
Happy & Healthy New Year, 
Missy

 


Christmas Morning Smoothie

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Christmas Cookies 00243rt.jpgHappy Holidays Sneaky Chefs!
The holidays are one of the best times for food, but also one of the most dangerous for your waist line. That's why I've created some healthier versions of my family's favorite traditional recipes, as well as some new ones too. In this post, you'll find recipes for two of my favorites-- a Christmas Morning Smoothie (a winner with the kids) and Santa's Sugar Cookies (a winner with the kids AND Santa!).

Plus my 5 Tips To Stay Slim This Holiday
1. Plan to indulge, but in moderation. Deprivation can lead to over-indulging.
2. Use a salad plate for your main course, so you'll grab less food.
3. Pop a mint or gum at a party, it will help you avoid snacking.
4. Don't serve "family style," you'll be more likely to go back for seconds!
5. Drink a large glass of water to stay hydrated and eat less.

Happy & Healthy Holidays,
Missy
 


brownies 300x300.jpgSugar and our kids. This is a tough issue for us parents, presenting choices and challenges all day long. From cold cereals at breakfast, to cupcakes at birthday parties, to the bedtime snack of cookies and (chocolate) milk, just about every “treat” – especially those aimed at kids – seems loaded with added sugars. 

As a member of the Children’s Advisory Council for the prestigious NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, I was asked to join a panel of doctors to speak on the topic of sugar and our children. The parents present at this educational symposium asked some excellent questions. I’ve compiled 10 of them, along with our discussion, below.

Milkshakes 300x300.jpgFirst, the sickeningly sweet facts: According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the average teen consumes 125g of sugar a day, which amounts to about 500 calories (one quarter of a typical 2,000 calorie a day diet).  Considering the American Heart Association’s recommended amount of added sugar is no more than 12-36g per day, depending on age and gender, we are way, way over the limits. Read this excellent article to sort out the facts and help rebalance the scales:   

1.  Should I forbid sugar outright?
No! Don’t be the extreme mom who won’t let her kids have a slice of cake at the birthday party, or who bans all sweets on the home front.  Nothing makes kids want it more, and ultimately they’ll over-indulge when they find access to the “forbidden fruit.” 

From a scientific perspective, our brains need sugar every day to function –we just need to pay attention to what type of sugar and how much sugar is being ingested.

2. How are natural sugars different from “added” sugars?
Naturally occurring sugars are found in fruits (fructose), dairy (lactose), vegetables, and whole grains. They do not need to be avoided. If you serve your child a cup of fresh strawberries, for instance, she’ll be getting 7 grams of naturally occurring fructose sugar wrapped in nature’s perfect package of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that help the body properly digest and utilize this natural sugar.

Any sugar that is not found naturally in the food is considered “added” sugar. This includes white or brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and sweeteners such as corn syrup. See the American Heart Association’s (AHA) helpful guide for more. 

Cupcakes 300x300.jpg3.  How much sugar is too much sugar? 
According to the AHA, the recommended daily sugar intake for adult women is 20g, for adult men, 36g, and for children (depending on age) it's about 12g. But who’s going around counting the grams? The simple answer is moderation. If your kids are having a donut and hot cocoa for breakfast, cookies and juice for snack, and jellybeans after lunch, they’re having way too much!  

4.  Will sugar make my kids fat?
Added sugar makes food taste good (why do you think they sweeten children’s medicines) and makes us want to eat more. This can lead to overeating and possibly to obesity.

5.  Is it okay to serve dessert every night?
Yes.  Just make sure added sugar isn’t always high on the ingredient list, and that the dessert portions are on the small side (no need to bring out a whole pie—just one slice per person suffices). 

Variety is the spice of life, so broaden your definition of dessert to include juicy fruit (or fruit salad), popcorn, kale chips, dark chocolate, a homemade goody, or an occasional outing to an ice cream parlor (which is less damaging than making daily dips into an ice cream carton in the freezer!).  When you make a dessert, you can usually reduce the sugar the recipe calls for. Better yet, replace those undesirable “added sugars” the Sneaky Chef way, with naturally sweet fruit and veggie purees

6.  Are artificial sweeteners ok for kids? What about natural ones, like stevia?
While artificial sweeteners taste sweet, they are designed to be indigestible in the stomach. These sweeteners can lead to bloating, gas, and diarrhea.  They can also play tricks on the mind and body, sending all kinds of mixed signals and possibly making us crave sweets even more. Do not steer your children toward these unsafe sweeteners.

Stevia is a natural sweetener made from herbs. It is many times sweeter than table sugar, and has virtually no calories. A little goes an unbelievably long way, so follow the recommendations.

Sneaky cookies 300x300.jpg7.  How do I get my kids to eat their dinner (and not just want dessert)?
Two words: No grazing. Kids should eat 3 meals (with 1 or 2 small snacks) a day. They should come to the table hungry.  Make sure they don’t skip breakfast even if they say they’re not hungry. 

8.  Is sugar “toxic” or even cancerous?
Researchers who study the effects of sugar on the body are still unable to answer this conclusively.  Sugar does cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to numerous health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Here is a must-read article on the toxicity of sugar, by Gary Taubes (author of “Why We Get Fat”). 

9.  What’s an easy way to read a food label and look out for sugar?
Sugar is in almost all packaged and processed foods – from salad dressings to soups, condiments, fruit tubs, and of course, cereals. It lurks in large quantities in some surprising places, as well: for instance ketchup, bread, pasta sauce, many so-called “healthy” cookies, and BBQ sauce. 

An easy rule of thumb: if sugar (or High Fructose Corn Syrup) is the first or second ingredient, don’t buy it. And watch out for “low fat” and “fat free” versions of anything –  this usually means there’s more sugar to make up for the loss of fat.

10.  What can we do about sugar cravings?
If you think you or your kids are addicted to sugar, you’re probably right. When we eat something sugary, our brains release dopamine, which is a happy hormone that prods us to eat more of what is making us happy. 

Breakfast Ice Cream 300x300.jpgHere are a few tips to quell sugar cravings:

•  Minimize munchies that combine sugar, salt, and fat (French fries, cookies, chips, etc.). When these three pair up, sugar cravings are amplified.

•  Make sure you’re giving your kids enough protein, which curbs sugar cravings.

•  Give your sweet tooth natural sugars (which are complex carbs)— rather than added sugars—whenever possible.  Simple sugars are too easy for the body to break down, and will make you get hungrier faster. Complex carbs, such as sweet potatoes and brown rice, will keep you fuller longer. 

•  Reduce the added sugar in recipes (I usually reduce it 25% without a problem).

•  Replace the “added sugar” in recipes with the Sneaky Chef solution: naturally sweet purees, made from veggies and fruits. 

The result? Healthier kids, no sugar spikes, and less cravings for the added sugars none of us need. Sweet!


Happy Thanksgiving Sneaky Chefs! While it's one of the most indulgent holidays of the year, it doesn't mean we can't slim things down a little bit. I've made a few changes to the traditonal Thanksgiving menu that cuts the extra calories and fat, without sacrificing the flavors of your favorite comfort foods. Check out this link  to get some of my sneaky recipes like Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Pumpkin Pie and Roasted Squash Soup. 

PS. Don't pay attention to those Thanksgiving food myths! Here's a great article busting them. 

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

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

Prep Time: 50 mins
Serves 6

INGREDIENTS
2 pounds Yokon gold or russet potatoes (about 4 medium-sized potatoes), peeled and quartered
2 to 3 heads garlic
1/2 cup White Puree 
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt ("Greek" style works best)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste 

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350, and place 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.

Meanwhile, wrap the garlic heads in foil and roaste them in the oven for another 30 minutes. Remove the garlic from the oven and squeeze the garlic flesh out of the skins.

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. Serve immediately, or keep the mashed potatoes hot on the stovetop in a metal bowl. Set over simmering water.

Serve with Sneaky Gravy. 

Enjoy!
 

 


Truth is, candy tastes really good and I’m fighting with my own demons that will make me want to raid my kids’ loot bag after trick or treating on Halloween!  It makes genetic sense that my two girls love sweets: I, too, was born with a sweet tooth.

Being a responsible parent, as well as a healthy cookbook author has made me wrestle with my own inner candy monster and I have, over the years,found some sneaky and not-so-sneaky ways to mitigate the damage unlimited candy can cause even the best of children and parents. Here are some tips to enjoy a happy Halloween with just the right amount of responsible restraint and plenty of sweets for all. Enjoy!

m & ms XSmall.jpeg

BEFORE HALLOWEEN

– Put off buying candy until the day before Halloween. You know those bears at Yosemite that rip open your tent to grab the granola bar they smell, even though you put it into a plastic container? Well, kids are even better at sniffing out candy stashes. By delaying your candy purchase, you will not only thwart your cublings: you will probably get your candy on sale.

– Do NOT buy family favorites. This way, if there are leftovers, your children will not mind if you dump or donate them.

– Focus on costumes, ghost stories, games and all the other Halloween traditions. If you notice candy-obsessed dialog, bring up the other sides of Halloween: those cool costumes, scary-looking houses, telling ghost stories by flashlight, bobbing for apples and other Halloween traditions.

DURING
– Give kids a good breakfast, lunch and dinner on Halloween.  By “good,” I mean food your kids will happily eat that is nutritious (high in protein and fiber, and low in—duh!—sugar!). Make them feel full and satisfied, which lessens their need to overeat candy during their trick or treating. Start their day with Pumpkin Pie Hot Cereal (see recipe below) and you’ll be their Halloween Queen. If you have trouble coming up with a lunch and supper menu that is as nutritious as it is delicious, visit my website where you’ll find scores of free recipes.  

Halloween girl.jpeg 
– Chew gum while trick or treating -  If your kids want to dip into their goods between houses, limit them to chewing gum, which will keep their mouths happy and occupied for a relatively long time, for just a few calories.

-- Consider handing out non-food treats.  I’m not trying to get your house egged, just the opposite!  Be the cool house that gives out little toys instead of candy. Here’s some ideas of items that can be purchased for very inexpensively at party stores, dollar stores, or discount sites online: temporary tattoos, bubbles, glow-in-the-dark items, crayons, silly putty, bouncy balls, crazy straws, etc.

– You can’t skip the holiday, so keep on skipping. As your kids dip into their booty, avoid sugar spikes and mood-busting crashes by burning some sugar-fueled caloriesoff. Skip or hop from house to house. Enjoy setting the example, and savor seeing your youngsters following. The giggles will be well worth the effort!

AFTER

Halloween group of kids.jpeg
Be charitable. So now your youngsters have poured out their pumpkin-basket of goodies, and are gloating over their bounty. Believe it or not, they are probably willing togive some of it away. Besides donating to your church, synagogue, or homeless shelters, there are some non-profit organizations that collect extra candy for the troops overseas.

Even if your children choose to give just one or two bonbons away, they are learning the joy of being charitable.

Here is an adorable sneaky twist to the holiday that I heard about on CoolMomPicks: one clever mom came up with a “Switch Witch” tradition. She collects the candy the children don’t want or can give up, leaves it on the front step after Halloween, and the next morning  the “Switch Witch” has taken the candy and left a small toy for each kid.

Out of sight, out of mind (and tummy). To lessen temptation, keep the candy somewhat out of sight. Put it in a non-see-through bowl on an obscure counter top (a little too high for the youngest ones to reach!).

Refocus. Help your kids remember what the fun was all about: the silly skipping, the fab costumes, the scary houses, the great feeling of giving some of the candy away…ask them what their best memory was, and whip them up to expect even better times ahead.  No ifs, ands, or boo’s about it: Halloween can be fun!

PUMPKIN PIE HOT CEREAL (from The Speedy Sneaky Chef)
One of the unsung healthy heroes in the ready-made food world is 100% canned pumpkin. It’s also an excellent source of the vitally important antioxidant beta-carotene. Fun fact: Did you know pumpkin is a fruit?

Makes 2 servings (Make it in about 8 minutes!)
2 packets (about 2/3 cup) Instant Healthy Grain Original Cream of Wheat®, unsweetened
6 tablespoons canned 100% pure pumpkin
2 cups low fat milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 graham crackers
Add all ingredients except the graham crackers into a pot, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, stir, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes until cereal has thickened. Placegraham crackers in a plastic bag and using a rolling pin or your hands, gently crush crackers into coarse crumbs. Pour hot cereal mixture into bowls and top each with graham cracker crumbs, spreading evenly over the top.


September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. I’d like to rename it: National Childhood Obesity Solutions Month. Why? There are sound scientific findings that show how calorie intake can be reduced in an easy, delicious way. Which just happens to be The Sneaky Chef way!

In a Penn State University study, research shows that preschoolers ate twice as many vegetables & 11% fewer calories just by eating their favorite foods - creatively enhanced with pureed fruits and veggies!! The study underscores what I have believed in and promoted for years now: slip the good stuff into the food your kids love, and they’ll have their veggies tonight, without a fight! It adds up to great health benefits and fewer calories. Did I say “adds up”? OK, well, here’s another addition equation for parents to solve by tonight:

Broccoli + Peas + Spinach =  ?
Green Puree small.jpg

(Correct Answer: Green puree, which you can add invisibly to this meatball recipe your kid will happily eat tonight!)

Magic Meatballs

Nutrition Highlights: Whole grains, protein, and vegetables. Rich in vitamins A, K, B12, C and E, tryptophan, manganese, folate, zinc, protein, iron, and fiber

Sneaky Spaghetti 300x300.jpg

There’s no mystery about the health benefits of these perfectly “ normal”  looking and tasting meatballs. Yet unlike those at the Italian restaurant, our meatballs are loaded with whole grains and greens. Thanks to a little help from a preschool color wheel, I found that the green disappears into the color of meaty brown when mixed well with the tomato paste. My kids love to eat these off toothpicks or smothered in red sauce on top of their favorite spaghetti. The extras save well for months in the freezer packed in a sealed plastic bag. You can gradually work up to larger amounts of sneaky puree.

Makes about 42 small meatballs

6 to 8 tablespoons Green Puree (See Make-Ahead Recipe #3)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup wheat germ, unsweetened
1 large egg, beaten 
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, for browning meatballs

In a large bowl, combine the Green Puree and tomato paste, mixing well (with the back of a fork) until the green color turns brownish. Mix in salt, wheat germ, and egg, and finally add the ground meat and mix with hands until well combined. Using damp hands, pinch off about 2 teaspoons of meat and gently shape mixture into mini meatballs. 

Sneaky tip: Mini one- bite meatballs work better than larger ones for hiding purees. 

(Below are 2 ways to cook the meatballs, depending on how much time you have. You will definitely get out of the kitchen quicker with the oven-baked method, and the result is nearly as good as the pan frying.)

Brown-in-pan method: 

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large (10 inch or 12 inch) nonstick skillet over moderately high heat, until hot but not smoking. Add meatballs in four batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Allow to brown on all sides for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally with the help of 2 teaspoons. Reduce heat to low and cook through for another 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and add more oil as needed for the next batch. Serve with toothpicks as “ cocktail” meatballs, dropped in almost any soup, or smothered in Easy Homemade Pasta Sauce, (see Book 1) over spaghetti.

Oven-baked method: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a large cookie sheet with 2 tablespoons of oil, gently place meatballs on sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. Using a spatula to loosen, turn the meatballs over to brown on the other side, then return to oven for another 10 minutes. Serve with toothpicks as “ cocktail” meatballs, dropped in almost any soup, or smothered in Easy Homemade Pasta Sauce over spaghetti.

Enjoy in good health,

Missy


Car with dog & kid.jpeg
Summer is the season of family travel, which usually means more time spent in the car. With little ones (and older ones too), moms and dads need to stock up on car snacks to avoid those all-too-familiar “I’m hungry!” complaints. 

 
I’ve picked out my 7 favorite kid-friendly car snacks for you to bring or buy on your next family car ride. They are non-perishable, so you don’t have to squeeze a cooler into cramped quarters. Best of all, they are healthy and wholesome, not loaded with sugars, additives, and fats. So take a few moments in the kitchen to sweeten up your next road trip, while avoiding sugar spikes on the turnpikes! 
 
1. Grab N Go Crispy Granola Bars: this bar does it all, with a boost of whole grains, fiber, and calcium. The optional dark chocolate chips aren’t so optional in our family! 
Granola Bars.jpg
 2. Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins-no one gets tired of this classic taste, with a Sneaky twist! I've amped up the health factor by choosing whole grains, natural peanut butter (or a nut-free substitute), all-fruit jam, and of course, lots of sweet veggies inside.PB&J muffins smaller.jpg 3. Sweet & crunchy chick peas (super popular "Rattle Snacks" from my first book): Rinse a can of chick peas, spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 30 minutes (till crunchy). Season to taste with cinnamon sugar or sea salt, chili powder, etc.chickpeas roasted.jpg 4. Crunchy Snap Peas and/or Green Peas in the Shell: you may be surprised to see how kids take to these friendly green guys, even if they turn up their noses at a dinner plate with cooked peas. Popping open pods to find the sweet peas inside is as much fun as eating them!
snap peas.jpg5. Drive thru options: if you run short on rations, consider drive thru snacks that won’t transform your kids into hyper hellions five miles later. Options include BK Apple Fries & milk, Starbucks fruity smoothies, and Subway subs topped with superfood guac.BK-AppleFries.jpg 6. Popcorn: here’s a great snack to make with your kids before loading up! Let them each flavor a bag of popcorn (you can control the health factor by putting the possible seasonings on the counter). Our present favorite? A light dusting of cocoa powder & sea salt.Popcorn_00004.jpg 7.  Power drink: don’t let your darlings dehydrate! Before hitting the road, load some of my “Super Sports Cubes” in their water bottles, and you’ll love what these ice cubes, made with fruit concentrates, deliver: antioxidants galore, without the sugar level of sports drinks or sodas.
ice cubes 4 berry smaller.jpg... MOST OF ALL, PLEASE DRIVE DEFENSIVELY & BE SAFE!!
HAPPY TRAILS.

 

lunch box istock small for website.jpgIt's back-to-school time and that means we need ideas for simple recipes to make-ahead and put in the lunch box...my kids love a change from boring sandwiches - here are some fun options using my Sneaky Chef Orange Puree (carrots and sweet potatoes) and other nutritious boosts:

LUNCH BOX MUFFINS – MAC ‘N CHEESE FLAVOR
These are a handy lunch box alternative to sandwiches and loaded with hidden veggies! The Sneaky Chef mac 'n cheese formula is tried and true, and this turns it into a hand-held meal that can be popped into the kids’ lunch boxes. No fork is needed as they are eaten just like a muffin. (For some reason, children prefer to give up flatware whenever they can and eat with their hands.) Kids don't mind them cold. Make ahead and freeze, take them out and put into the fridge the night before, and you are set to go.
mac cheese muffins 00117rt web.jpgMakes 8 muffins
4 large eggs
1 cup Orange Puree or baby food carrot puree
2 cups low-fat shredded cheese
2 cups cooked macaroni
Salt and pepper, to taste

Below are two ways to cook the muffins:

Oven baked method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Lightly spray liners with oil.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and Orange Puree. Mix in the macaroni and ¾ cup of the cheese. Divide the mixture evenly among the 8 muffin cups. Top each with about one tablespoon of cheese and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly on top. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Microwave method:
Line 8 microwave safe ramekins or custard cups with paper muffin liners. Lightly spray liners with oil.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and Orange Puree. Mix in the macaroni and ¾ cup of the cheese. Divide the mixture evenly among the 8 lined ramekins. Top each with about one tablespoon of cheese and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

SNEAK-WICHES
By now you know what a fan I am of taking time to make things ahead so they are ready to grab when we’re in a rush. “Sneak-wiches” are a good example of this method. Much like the packaged versions in the grocery store, this is a homemade, healthier version of the conveniently made-ahead sandwich that you keep in the freezer. The key is to remove the crusts of the bread and crimp together the edges to “seal” the sandwich together. I suggest making several sandwiches at a time, and freeze each individually in a plastic bag. There are several filling options below.

Makes 1 sandwich
2 slices sandwich bread, ideally whole grain
Choose fillings below
Sneakwiches 00214rt.jpg

Filling options: mix puree with other ingredient, then spread on each side of bread
-one tablespoon each Orange Puree and Tomato Sauce plus 1-2 tablespoons cheese
-one tablespoon each Orange Puree (or White Bean Puree) and peanut butter, plus jam, if desired
-one tablespoon each Cherry or Strawberry Puree and light cream cheese
-one tablespoon each Orange Puree and shredded cheese plus 1-2 slices ham
-one tablespoon light cream cheese mixed with mashed sardines (and/or tuna fish)
-one tablespoon each Green Puree and mashed avocado, plus cucumber slices if desired

Trim crust off bread. Use a rolling pin to roll out each slice of bread on a cutting board until flattened (alternatively, use the palm of your hand to flatten the bread). In a small bowl, mix the filling ingredients. Spread about a tablespoon of the fillings on each flattened slice of bread, keeping about 1⁄4 inch away from the edges. Crimp the edges together with your fingers, then put sandwich in a plastic bag and freeze until ready to eat. Put in lunch box frozen and it will defrost by lunch time.

 

PORTABLE PIZZA MUFFINS
These are great for the lunch box, especially for kids who are tired and bored with sandwiches. They get three top-notch veggies, three whole grains, calcium, and protein all in a portable package of a muffin. Kids love anything called "pizza." They are also a great after school snack.

Makes 8 muffins
1 cup Flour Blend (equal parts whole grain flour, white flour and wheat germ)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon each salt and dried oregano and/or basil
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
¼ cup tomato paste plus 3 tablespoons tomato paste (for the tops)
½ cup Orange Puree or baby food carrot puree
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Optional extra boost: 1 cup chopped mushrooms, onions, and/or olives

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 12-muffin pan or line with paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together the Flour Blend, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and oregano (and/or basil). In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, canola or vegetable oil, ¼ cup of the tomato paste, Orange Puree, and grated Parmesan cheese until well combined. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until the flour is just moistened. Stir in optional extras, if using. Don’t over mix.

Divide the batter evenly among the 8 muffin cups. Top each muffin with a dollop (teaspoon) of tomato paste and about one tablespoon of grated mozzarella.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn the muffins out of the tins to cool or serve warm.


NO-BAKE PEANUT BUTTER BAR - GLUTEN FREE 
Because my kids are always asking for protein bars, I wanted to come up with a simpler, homemade, less processed version. I was so excited to come up with a delicious, easy-to-make, “mini-meal-replacement” bar. This one requires no baking, so it is a speedy staple for peanut-friendly houses or schools. These are great as an after-school or after-sports snack. My husband eats them frozen, but I prefer mine slightly thawed so I can gobble it up even quicker!

Makes about 12 bars

1 cup Orange Puree or baby food carrot puree
1⁄2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons all-fruit jam
3⁄4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup ground flaxseed
2 cups crispy rice cereal, ideally brown rice (gluten free)
1⁄4 cup sugar, ideally raw sugar

Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with foil, letting the foil extend over edges of pan. Spray with oil.
In a mixing bowl, combine puree and peanut butter, then stir in jam, milk powder, flax, and rice cereal. Pat into prepared pan, and sprinkle sugar evenly over the top. Freeze for at least one hour. Lift out foil and cut into approximately 12 rectangular bars, place in individual sealed plastic bags, or in a plastic container with wax paper between layers, and keep frozen for up to 3 months.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY BEST-SELLING RECIPES & TIPS ON HOW TO GET YOUR FAMILY EATING BETTER! 


BBQ SNEAKY TURKEY BURGERS
turkey burgers smaller.jpgNo one will guess these are turkey burgers - they look and taste like beef! Adding my beautiful Purple Puree of blueberries and spinach not only gives a sweet moistness to turkey burgers which can often be dry – and combined with tomato paste (the ultimate healthy ready-made puree) and seasoning make these burgers look and taste like the real thing! I love these on whole grain English Muffins.

Makes 4 burgers
¼ cup Sneaky Chef Purple Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #1)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chili each chili powder and onion powder
½ teaspoon salt and a few turns of freshly ground pepper
½ cup ground oats (ground in a food processor or blender) or ground flaxseed
1 pound ground turkey (ideally white meat, or a mix of light and dark meat)
4 whole grain English Muffins
Optional topping ideas: tomato slices, pickles, cheese, onions, mustard, ketchup

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Purple Puree, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Add in the oats and ground turkey, mixing until combined (easiest to mix using your hands). Dampen hands and form into 4 equal sized balls, then gently press into patties, about ½ to ¾-inch thick.

Preheat an outdoor grill (or indoor grill pan) to medium-high and brush or wipe both the grill and both sides of the burgers generously with oil.

Grill burgers for 7 to 8 minutes on each side until cooked through and no longer pink inside (or until burgers reach internal temp of 160 degrees Fahrenheit).
Serve on warmed English Muffins (or hamburger buns) with optional toppings. 

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ribs on grill sm.jpgA simple marinade adds flavor and tenderizes meat, plus adds an unexpected health benefit. Before grilling beef, marinate it in a thin liquid to infuse flavor and reduce the health risks that can accompany high-heat grilling. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), marinating meat can reduce formation of potentially carcinogenic HCAs as much as 92 to 99 percent.

pomegranate.jpgPomegranate Marinade for Beef or Chicken
Makes 1 cup marinade, enough for about 2 pounds of meat or chicken2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup pomegranate juice
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together all the ingredients. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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4TH OF JULY RECIPE: BBQ CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS WITH BLUE CHEESE SNEAKY DIPPING SAUCEchicken legs ebook.jpegChicken drumsticks offer more meat and all the fun of finger-licking Buffalo wings with cool and creamy blue cheese dip, and with a few of my Sneaky Swaps like yogurt for sour cream, you can happily eat them without the guilt. Happy & healthy 4th of July!

Makes 4 servings
8 chicken drumsticks, rinsed and patted dry
3 tablespoons olive oil
Approximately 1 teaspoon Tabasco or hot sauce
2 tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons plain low fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons White Puree (see simple Make-Ahead Recipe #4)
2 tablespoons white or champagne vinegar
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese (about 1 ounce)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 ribs of celery, sliced into sticks

Preheat an outdoor grill (or indoor grill pan) to medium-high and brush or wipe the grill with oil.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the olive oil and hot sauce, to taste. Brush the chicken with the hot sauce mixture and place on heated grill. Cook, covered, turning occasionally to evenly brown, for about 30 to 35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches a minimum of 170 degrees Farenheit.

For the blue cheese dipping sauce:
Combine the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, White Puree, vinegar, blue cheese and salt and pepper in a serving bowl (for a smoother sauce, place ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth).
Serve drumsticks with celery and dipping sauce.

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A new series by food humorist and commentator, Rob Rosenthal. He calls himself a "modern food man."  What does he mean by that? We're about to find out...
rob head shot.jpgEnjoy this short, funny video on complicated subject of food these days!  


ebook cover w jerry smaller.jpgJust in time for summer season, the following is adapted from my first in a series of e-books that I plan to offer this year! In this book, we take a sneaky detour outside to the family BBQ, the center of all things yummy and historically not-so-good-for-you meals. In the warm weather months, I loosen my sneaky mask to reveal the abundance of fresh, seasonal, mouth-watering ingredients, simple to make and enjoy with family and friends. When I think about summer, I think BBQ and the smell of juicy burgers on the grill, the taste of fresh local peaches, corn, and tomatoes, icy refreshing strawberry slushies, and of course, my sneaky dipping sauces!
I never had the courage to take my sneaky wand outside and tackle what had traditionally been known as “the man’s kitchen,” the outdoor BBQ grill! As a result, I’m happy to bring you 15 all-new delicious and healthy meals you can share with your family and friends (and not feel guilty the next day) - and best of all, you never have to turn on the oven!

CLICK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD FULL E-BOOK FOR 15 DELICIOUS & HEALTHY BBQ RECIPES!
AMAZON KINDLE
B&N NOOK
iTUNES


STRAWBERRY LIME SLUSHY
I recently asked my Facebook fans what flavor they wanted for a healthier “Slurpee” or “Icee” copycat recipe – strawberry lime won hands down, so here it is – equally as refreshing, delicious and fun, without all the artificial color, sweeteners and chemicals!

slushy ebook smaller 3.jpgMakes 3 servings 
2 tablespoons pomegranate or cranberry juice
Juice of one lime (about 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice)
2 tablespoons sugar, ideally raw
2 cups fresh, sliced strawberries
3 to 4 cups ice cubes

Fill blender or food processor with pomegranate (or cranberry) and lime juices, first, then sugar, strawberries, and ice. Blend or puree until thick and smooth, stopping to mix contents and push ice to bottom, if needed.
Serve in a tall glass with a straw.


SNEAKY GREEK GRILLED PIZZA
Bring the taste of the Mediterranean into your backyard with this Greek-inspired grilled pizza. Convert your outdoor grill to a high-heat pizza oven simply by closing the lid! Pocketless pita bread makes the perfect-sized ready-made pizza crust (use whole grain, if available).

Diverging from my usual puree of cauliflower, now we’re going to simply “rice” raw cauliflower and sprinkle it in with flavorful feta cheese – the vitamin-rich cauliflower crumbles will disappear, so no one will know!greek pizza sm2.jpgMakes 4 Personal Pizzas
4 pocketless “Greek-style” pita breads
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup raw cauliflower florets
4 ounces feta cheese, about 1 cup crumbled
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano)
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
24 kalamata olives, sliced in half and pitted
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium (or inside oven to 400 degrees) and take out a pizza stone or large baking sheet.

“Rice” the cauliflower by pulsing the raw florets in a food processor until they resemble rice or crumbles (not pureed).

In a mixing bowl, combine the riced cauliflower together with feta, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, oregano, tomatoes, olives, and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Place pitas on pizza stone or large baking sheet and brush with the remaining olive oil.

Top pitas with the feta mixture, divided evenly among 4 crusts. Transfer onto the grill (or oven), close grill cover, and cook for about 10 to 12 minutes or crust is golden and cheese is slightly melted. Remove from heat and serve – can also be eaten folded in half like a soft taco.

Tip to Make More Kid-Friendly: use the pitas as crust, but substitute kids’ favorite pasta or pizza sauce mixed with some Sneaky Chef Orange Puree and/or White Puree. Top with favorite cheese and grill as above. 

CLICK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD FULL E-BOOK FOR 15 DELICIOUS & HEALTHY BBQ RECIPES!
AMAZON KINDLE
B&N NOOK
iTUNES


How I gained weight on this trendy diet

Check out my article just up on The Huffington Post - My gluten-free diet disaster - see why I gained weight eating gluten-free foods (some are almost double the calories with no fiber of regular foods!)

pasta comp gf2smaller.jpg

Gluten-free Pasta can have 50 percent more calories and less fiber

bun comp gf2smaller.jpgThis gluten-free bun has more than twice the calories plus 6 more grams of fat and 3 fewer grams of fiber. 

More comparisons here.

 

 


slurpee.jpgIn light of the new "Slurpee Lite" at 7-Eleven aka chemical cocktail - even if it has only 20 calories (please save yourself and avoid this sacrificial artificial load on your body)....I'm coming up with a healthier Slurpee knock-off recipe.
I recently asked my Facebook fans what flavor they wanted for a healthier “Slurpee” copycat recipe – strawberry lime won (fizzy berry came in second), so here they are -  equally as refreshing, delicious and fun, without all the artificial color, sweeteners and chemicals!

slurpee ingrds.jpg

Strawberry Lime Slushy
Makes 4 servings –
1/4 cup pomegranate or cranberry juice
juice of two limes (about 1/3 cup fresh lime juice)
2 tablespoons sugar, ideally raw
4 ½ cups ice cubes
5 cups fresh strawberries, washed and caps removed

Fill blender or food processor with pomegranate and lime juices, first, then sugar, ice, and strawberries. Blend or puree until thick and smooth, stopping to mix contents and push ice to bottom, if needed.
Serve in a tall glass with a straw.

slurpee straw lime.jpgFizzy Berry Slushy
Makes 2 servings – 
2 ½ cups frozen mixed berries
2 tablespoons sugar, ideally raw
1 cup seltzer water or club soda, unsweetened
dole mixed berries.jpg

Fill blender or food processor with frozen berries, sugar and seltzer.
Serve in a tall glass with a straw.
 fizzy berry.jpg



HotApplePieParfait_0002.jpgApple Pie Parfait for Mother's Day - so easy even the guys and kids can put this together while we stay in bed!

Ingredients:
- vanilla yogurt
- apple slices or sliced berries (adults please do the slicing)
- granola or any cereal
- dash of cinnamon (if using apples)
- tall glass

Assemble Parfait:
1. Put some fruit in bottom of glass (if using apple slices, sprinkle cinnamon on top of apples).
2. Spoon some yogurt on top of the fruit.
3. Sprinkle a handful of granola or cereal on top of yogurt.
4. Repeat steps 1,2, 3
5. Clean-up kitchen

Serve to mom in bed with hugs & flowers!  Happy Mother's Day!!
tulips for mothers day.jpgFor more tips & healthy kids' recipes, follow The Sneaky Chef on Twitter & Facebook!


Mac &Cheese small[1]crop.jpgMac ’n’ cheese continues to be one of the favorite American comfort foods. You can never have enough varieties to choose from of this cheesy, creamy family staple.

There’s not a kids’ menu in the United States that doesn’t offer some variation of macaroni and cheese — the favorite — if not the most popular — of American comfort foods. Kraft now sells more than one million boxes every day! The beauty of these easy mac 'n cheese recipes is that even the packaged version offers ample opportunity for Sneaky Chefs to slip in extra nutrition that even the toughest little critics won’t detect. Try to keep a straight face as your kids beg for more of these surprisingly healthy variations.

mac-n-cheese food dye.jpg

Note: Yellow macaroni and cheese usually contains yellow food dye (which has come under scrutiny for good reason), whereas the white version does not. If your child insists on yellow, you can add a slice of yellow American or cheddar cheese and a dash of paprika to the white cheese sauce, which will help safely change the color to yellow without affecting the taste.

Each of the nutritional boosters listed here are nutrient-dense superfoods and have been kid-tested and has proven to be undetectable in taste, texture and color. Start by adding the least amount recommended of just one of the nutritional boosters listed below. Add a little more each time you serve this dish (which is served in our house every day!).You can also mix two or more of thesuperfood boosters as long as the total is no more than about 1/2 cup total of puree per six ounce box of macaroni and cheese.

• 2 to 4 tablespoons butternut squash puree (frozen or baby food squash puree)

squash.jpg• 2 to 4 tablespoons Sneaky Chef Orange Puree (carrots & sweet potatoes) or the baby food equivalent)
baby food orange.jpg• 2 to 4 tablespoons Sneaky Chef White Puree (cauliflower & zucchini)

cauliflower smaller.jpg• 2 to 4 tablespoons Sneaky Chef White Bean Puree or hummus (more flavorful, so be careful)
white beans istock.jpg• 1 to 2 slices American cheese or 1⁄4 cup grated cheddar cheese - for extra protein & calciumshredded cheddar.jpg
 
What do you like to add to your family's mac 'n cheese? Please share with us!

 


artichokes steamed.jpgYes, I’m The Sneaky Chef and I’m known for hiding healthy foods in kids’ favorite meals…..however, this post is from my alter ego, The not so Sneaky Chef! There are certain fun, healthy foods that most kids will eat without any arm-twisting. This is probably the least sneaky of all of my tricks because most mothers have figured out which fruits and vegetables their kids will think of as snacks and not resist. More often than not, they are finger foods of some kind. For reasons child psychologists haven’t figured out, children like little foods they can hold in their hand and pop in their mouth. They provide kids with a kind of mini-adventure in the culinary realm. The moment they have to use a knife and fork, it isn’t so fun anymore.

Through experimentation, I have pinpointed the top 10 unusual, surprisingly popular fruits and vegetables that (most) kids will eat without a fight:

  1. Artichokes, whole
  2. Edamame (soybeans), in pod
  3. Strawberries
  4. Sweet green peas, in shell
  5. Grapes
  6. Cherries
  7. Pomegranates
  8. Popcorn
  9. Snap peas, raw
  10. Corn on the cob

cherries.jpgAnd just in case your kids aren't willing to try these new foods, here are my top 5 ways to entice kids to eat the above healthy foods in their natural, undisguised state:

  1. Offer the new food without competition - don't put out the snap peas you want them to try next to their favorite bowl of chips.
  2. Make sure the kids are hungry when you set out a new food.
  3. Don't tell them this new food is "healthy" or that they "must" try it.
  4. Eat it yourself - let the kids see you enjoying the food you want them to try.
  5. Call the new food a "special treat."

    What's your child's favorite fruit or vegetable?

 


Special thanks to Janet Lynch for this guest blog. Janet works with people to help them meet their weight-loss goals. Through a well chosen delivery diet many of the people she helps are able to easily achieve their goals.

easter eggs.jpg

With today’s focus on better eating habits – and especially in light of the fact that the U.S. is estimated to have nearly 20 percent of its children in the overweight category – the upcoming Easter holiday could call for more healthy choices in kids’ baskets.
Yes, gone are the days of lining up the jelly bean trail and filling up the kids’ Easter baskets with chocolate bunnies and extra large Cadbury eggs – or at least those days should be gone in order to promote a healthier holiday as well as better overall food choices.
The truth is that the long term effects of eating sugary foods are not very sweet. Over time, an abundance of sugar in the body’s system can lead to reduced bacteria-fighting white blood cells and an overall compromised immune system. In addition, the blood glucose effect can even be a trigger for the onset of diabetes.

 

Some Healthier Alternatives
Although it may seem a bit out of the ordinary to forgo candy at Easter, there are a number of healthier alternatives – some that aren’t even consumable at all – that should be considered for kids today.
Filling Baskets with Treats You Can’t Eat
In taking the focus completely away from eating, there are a wide variety of items that can be used to overflow the Easter baskets of your little ones. In fact, many of these items may even be much more preferable and longer lasting than candy. Here are some suggestions:

● Small Toys – Depending upon the age of your children, small toys such as super balls, a set of jacks, or even a deck of cards can do the trick. For those with fancier tastes, gifts such as iPods or video games will also suffice.

● Movie Passes – Putting some movie passes or other types of gift certificates in kids’ baskets are another great way to say Happy Easter, without a lot of sugary candies.

● Money – For any age child, you would be hard pressed to find one who would not be happy to find money in their Easter basket. This can be cleverly disguised inside of a plastic egg or other similar item.
Good Tasting Treats that Won’t Cause a Sugar High
For those who simply want to keep Easter somewhat traditional in that baskets should be filled with something eatable, there are several suggestions that will help keep the tradition alive, while at the same time not spiking kids’ sugar levels. Some of these can include:
● Nuts and Seeds – Treats such as sunflower seeds, cashews, and pistachios can make for wonderful Easter basket treats, while also offering protein rather than a mouth full of sugar.

● Fresh Fruits – Fresh fruits such as blueberries, grapes, and strawberries can not only make for a healthy basket but can also add a great deal of color.

● Hard Boiled Eggs – Certainly, no Easter basket would be complete without some colorful hard boiled eggs. And, by adding just a touch of salt, these can be a much healthier alternative to the chocolate egg version.

Janet Lynch works with people to help them meet their weight-loss goals. Through a well chosen delivery diet many of the people she helps are able to easily achieve their goals.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY BEST-SELLING RECIPES & TIPS ON HOW TO GET YOUR FAMILY EATING BETTER!

 

 


I always draw a sharp breath when I see the school's number pop up on my caller ID in the middle of the day. I know I'm not the only parent who kisses their kids goodbye at the bus stop and silently prays it'll be just another normal, uneventful day. This time, it wasn't. My 11-year-old daughter, Samantha ("Sammy," as we call her), had fallen and hit her head on the pavement while playing touch football at recess. I asked all the questions moms ask -- is she OK, how serious do you think the injury is? The nurse told me Sammy seemed well enough to stay at school, but suggested I watch her carefully over the next few days to make sure she didn't show any signs of concussion. The hallmarks are headache, confusion, nausea or vomiting, slurred speech and fatigue. And they're often not immediately apparent. And with spring sports upon us, we should all be aware of these symptoms and how to treat them.

Sammy did, indeed, get increasingly dizzy, nauseous, confused (uh, even more than usual!) and complained of wicked headaches. She couldn't concentrate. And her vision became so blurred that she couldn't read a word. Her doctor diagnosed her with a mild concussion and prescribed both physical rest and "cognitive rest" for two weeks -- as in, no heart rate elevating physical activity of any kind -- and no texting, video games or any other kinds of electronic stimulation. Research has shown all of these things to be mentally taxing -- even more so than schoolwork -- which can slow the healing process. Sammy was allowed only one hour of TV a day, which had to be broken up into two half-hour sessions.

We're not all that big on screen time in our house in the first place. But take away that and reading and anything active and I couldn't help but think: What the heck is she going to do for the next 14 days? Sammy is super athletic -- not the type of kid who would be content to just blob around in bed. This was all completely new and eye-opening to me. No one ever talks about how to handle that aspect of helping a kid with a concussion, right? I'll tell you two key things that worked for me -- about how to pass the time, as well as how to actually speed the healing process.

Considering that nearly half a million kids are admitted to the ER each year with a traumatic brain injury -- and many more cases of concussion are diagnosed by pediatricians -- this advice may come in handy someday. (Of course, I do hope you won't ever have to use it!) First, Sammy and I raided the craft store. It was a goldmine. She spent hours and hours making friendship bracelets -- and have you seen all the other cute projects and kits that are out there, too? And since Sammy couldn't actually read, I got her a bunch of audio books (the entire Hunger Games book series downloaded from iTunes). Baking -- muffins, cookies, you name it -- also helped pass a lot of time. And we took a lot of nice, easy walks together.

What made the biggest difference, however: Her diet. A few days into Sammy's recovery, I remembered my New Year's Eve dinner partner, Dr. Michael Lewis, a physician who, after retiring recently following a career in the Army, started the Brain Health Education and Research Institute to continue his work on the role of omega-3s and concussions. Michael makes the case that omega-3s are the foundation of the brain and, if they are essential for the brain to develop, maybe they would help the brain heal when it gets damaged. There's some evidence that healthy doses of it may reduce inflammation in the brain and could even help it recover faster from an injury. Omega-3s are good for so many other reasons, anyway -- like heart health and mood -- that I thought why not give it a shot.

tuna in pita.jpgI mashed sardines into Sammy's beloved tuna salad. They don't really alter the flavor, but they do boost -- by a ton -- the amount of Omega-3s you get from just the tuna (while reducing the mercury). I fed her edamame, put extra beans and veggies in the muffins we baked, and sprinkled flax seed on her morning cereal -- all foods rich in Omega-3 fats. And I whipped up a batch of what I dubbed "concussion chowder," made with clams, sardines, broth and veggies. 

Within 7 days Sammy felt better, and by day 10 she was able to read again. The doctor had told me the symptoms would probably last two weeks -- and that Sammy wouldn't be able to read or concentrate until the tail end of that time. I have no way of knowing for sure if Omega-loading my daughter helped her recover as fast as she did. But I believe it did make a big impact. I'd tell any parent to give it a try. At the very least, you'll have a kid who is happier and heart-healthier. And who doesn't want that?
 


autism awareness.jpgThe following story was reprinted from The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue. I wanted to share it with you in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day.

“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 your White and 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)


 

concussion chowder smaller.jpgA delicious Manhattan-style clam chowder loaded with brain-boosting omega-3 fish oil from clams & sardines - suggested to aid in the recovery from concussions and other brain injuries.

Concussion Chowder
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-size onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1⁄2 cup White Puree or Orange Puree
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 (28-ounce) can diced, peeled tomatoes, with liquid
1 large russet potato,* diced, with skin
2 (61⁄2-ounce) cans chopped clams, with liquid
1 (3- to 4-ounce) can skinless and boneless sardines, packed in water, drained
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Dried red pepper flakes, to taste
Optional extra boost: 2 celery ribs, diced

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and sauté until they are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery (if using) and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic, White or Orange Puree, tomato paste, clam juice, diced tomatoes, potato, and clams with their liquid. Stir to combine well. Add the sardines, breaking them up with the spoon, slightly mashing them into the pot so there are no remaining visible pieces. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Ladle into 4 soup bowls, and season with freshly ground pepper and red pepper flakes.

Sneaky Time Saving Tip:
Use low-fat frozen hash browns instead of dicing fresh potatoes

FOR MORE TIPS & TRICKS, FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER!


blueberry photo.jpgTop reasons to eat blueberries & spinach:
• Blueberries are packed with more antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable.
• Blueberries contain 38 percent more heart-healthy anthocyanins than red wine.
• Blueberries boost lutein which helps protect vision.
• Calorie for calorie, leafy greens like spinach provide more nutrients than almost any other food.
• Spinach is an excellent source of antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and manganese.

Easiest Ways to Get Spinach & Blueberries into Your Diet
- Make Sneaky Chef Purple Puree & Add it to:
brownies 190x150.jpg• muffins & other chocolate baked goods
• chocolate pancakes
• taco meat - beef and/or turkey
hamburgers
• smoothies & Sneaky Chef Breakfast Ice Cream

Click here for healthy kids' recipes & follow me on twitter for healthy tips & more ideas


Excerpt adapted from "The Speedy Sneaky Chef: Quick, Healthy Fixes for Your Favorite Packaged Foods"
SPEEDY COVER FINAL smaller for web.jpg
It's a weekday evening and I'm standing in my kitchen. Our dogs Princess and Buddie are chasing each other around the island, my daughter Emily is looking for a notebook she needs for her homework, and her sister Samantha is finishing violin practice -- with gusto. Everyone, including my husband Rick, is starving, the clock is ticking, and I am just about to see if I can find something deep in the bottom of the freezer to shove in the microwave, or failing that, to pick up the phone for takeout, when I stop myself. I'm the 
Sneaky Chef for crying out loud! I've written five books on how to feed families healthfully and deliciously. I dream in menu plans, can recite nutritious shopping lists by heart, and have a pantry that's stocked with good-for-you choices. But what I don't have is time. So, I slow down -- deep breath -- and remind myself: I don't need lots of time. Quick meals kids will gobble up are at our fingertips....more

Here are 10 superfast, supercharged Speedy Sneaky Chef recipes that you can cook in under 2-minutes flat. 

Strawberry short shake smaller 2.jpg

Strawberry Short Shake
Makes 2 servings
1⁄2 cup low-fat milk
1⁄4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1⁄4 cup low-fat strawberry yogurt
8 strawberries (about 1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen), no added syrup or sweetener
Handful of ice, if not using frozen strawberries
2 whole-grain mini waffles, toasted
Optional: whipped cream and honey or sweetener, to taste

In a blender, combine all ingredients except the waffles. Blend until smooth. Pour into tall glasses. Make a small cut in each waffle and hang off the side of each glass. Serve with straws and top with a squirt of whipped cream, if desired. Add honey or sweetener to taste, if desired.

CLICK FOR ALL 10 RECIPES

Per Serving:
Calories 102; Total Fat 2g; Saturated Fat 1g; Trans Fat 0g; Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 198mg; Carbohydrate 15.1g; Dietary Fiber 1.2g; Sugars 8.4g; Protein 6.6g; Vitamin A 8%; Vitamin C 39%; Calcium 16%; Iron 5%.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY BEST-SELLING RECIPES & TIPS ON HOW TO GET YOUR FAMILY EATING BETTER!


 


green milkshake.jpg

While some kids run screaming from naturally green foods (think spinach & broccoli), St. Patrick’s Day is a fun way to get them to try almost anything green – no food dye required! Here are some kid-friendly, fun ideas:

1.  "St. Sneaky Day"  Green Milk Shake

Makes 2 servings
2 cups vanilla low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt
¼ cup Sneaky Chef Green Juice (See recipe below)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
ice, if needed
Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Serve in tall glasses with a quick squirt of whipped cream and a straw.

2.  “Green Juice” as food coloring

use a few drops of this Sneaky Chef Green Juice to naturally color vanilla yogurt, ice cream, even icing (note: baby spinach has almost no taste in this form):

spinach photo.jpgSneaky Chef Make-Ahead Recipe: Green Juice
3 cups raw baby spinach leaves
1 cup water
(Makes about 1 cup of juice)
Thoroughly wash the spinach, even if the package says “prewashed.” In a medium-sized pot, heat the spinach and the water to a boil; reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a fine mesh strainer over a container or bowl, pressing the green “pulp” with the back of a spoon until all the liquid is released.
This recipe makes about 1 cup of juice; double it if you want to store another cup. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1⁄4-cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.

3.  Guacamole with Green Puree
– use St. Patty’s Day as an excuse to get your kids to try this delicious and healthy dip!


4.  Green Eggs n Ham

Mix ¼ cup of Sneaky Chef Green Juice (recipe above)  into 2 raw eggs, then scramble or make into omelette. Add light colored cheese and ham, if desired.


5.  Green Goddess Dressing

Makes about ½ cup
2 tablespoons low-fat Ranch dressing
Juice of whole lime
1 tablespoon red wine or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Sneaky Chef Green Puree
In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the Ranch dressing, lime juice, vinegar, and Green Puree. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY BEST-SELLING RECIPES & TIPS ON HOW TO GET YOUR FAMILY EATING BETTER!

 

 




I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes - and how I aspire to raise my children 

children learn what they live quote.jpg

 

Back to Sneaky Chef recipes!


squash cooked crop.jpgIt's Sunday Soup Day! Today is Kabocha Squash Apple Soup. I find the easiest way to cook squash is to treat it like a baked potato - prick it whole, bake at 375 degrees for 45 mins, then it slices open effortlessly. Discard seeds, add squash flesh to pot with veg broth, sliced peeled apple, carrot (or 1/2 cup Sneaky Chef Orange Puree) & dash of salt & cinnamon. Simmer 20 minutes....squash soup before puree.jpgPuree with stick blender or let cool a bit & transfer to blender. Puree until smooth. Top with a handful of pumpkin seeds or croutons, if desired. Enjoy with a slice of crusty warm bread for a comforting & healthy Sunday supper!  Let me know your favorite way to cook with squash!

SC3_Squash Soup 00038rt.steam.jpg


 

pancakes smaller.jpg

QUICK FIXES FOR BOXED PANCAKE MIX
You do it, I do it, we all do it. You know what I’m talking about. Dare I say out loud that we use boxed pancake mix instead of making pancakes from scratch! C’mon, we live in the real world where convenience is a must. Here are several ways to add a nutritious home-made touch to your favorite boxed mix. 

Banana Pancakes:

1 large egg
¾ cup low-fat milk
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 large banana, mashed
¼ cup Orange Puree (click for simple reicpe)
1 cup boxed pancake mix
¼ cup wheat germ

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil, mashed banana, and Orange Puree. Add boxed pancake mix and wheat germ, mixing just until combined (don’t over mix - leave small lumps). If the batter is too thick, add a little more milk.

Chocolate Pancakes:

1 large egg
¾ cup low-fat milk
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
½ cup Purple Puree (click for simple recipe)
1 cup boxed pancake mix
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup oat bran
¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil, and Purple Puree. Add boxed pancake mix, cocoa powder, and oat bran, and chocolate chips, if using, mixing just until combined (don’t over mix - leave small lumps). If the batter is too thick, add a little more milk.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY BEST-SELLING RECIPES & TIPS ON HOW TO GET YOUR FAMILY EATING BETTER! 


Breakfast Ice Cream 300x300.jpg

A reader recently asked me, "What does a day in the life of a Sneaky Chef Household look like meal-wise? I would love a daily food log that I could sort of use as a mold to create my own family menus." -Stephanie

I LOVE that question, Stephanie! This is for a typical day in my house - I must admit, a little prep ahead of time goes a long way toward easier weekdays when schedules are busy - not sure if you have my books, but I cook out of all of them....although I end up using my first book a lot (and my newest book, The Speedy Sneaky Chef).

School Day 5-minute Breakfast: Breakfast Ice Cream (from my first book-blue border) - frozen chopped banana/cocoa/avocado//Greek yogurt/touch of honey and milk in mini food processor - puree to "soft serve" consistency; serve in a parfait glass with a little squirt of organic whipped cream for fun!

Lunch box: Quick Fix for Tuna Fish Sandwich (recipe here) - mix chunk light tuna with skinless/boneless sardines and my White Bean Puree/touch of light mayo and a little wheat germ - add chopped celery or dill, if desired; serve on whole grain bread. Carrot sticks/apple or applesauce on side.

After-school snack: Red pepper slices with light ranch dressing/plain nonfat Greek yogurt dip (I try to do less and less Ranch, more and more plain Greek yogurt) or One & Only Guacamole (guac with my Green Puree mixed in - I keep my purees made in baggies in the freezer); they also love the homemade corn chips (just brush corn tortillas with olive oil, salt, cut into triangles, bake for 10-15 minutes on 400 degrees until crisp)
guac smaller.jpg

Dinner: Saucy Turkey Meat Sauce (from my first book - blue border) over whole grain pasta (one of my girls is gluten-free now, so we make 2 kinds of pasta) - served with a romaine salad with olive oil and vinegar (they'll eat it if I call it a "Caesar Salad" and add grated Parmesan)

Dessert: a "sometimes" event - My Say Yes to Sorbet (also book 1) - frozen berries and pom juice in food processor; or an orange or an ice pop from one of my books - sometimes I just pour chocolate coconut water into popsicle molds and freeze - they love this too (so do I - and very few calories)
Sorbet horiz 300x300.jpg

 


The twelve most important foods to buy organic
crop sprayer.jpgSometimes referred to as the “ dirty dozen,” the following fruits and vegetables have been found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program to be the most contaminated with pesticide residues. Therefore, they warrant buying organic whenever possible. You will notice that most items on the list below have either thin skin or no skins, which is the reason they are exposed to more pesticides that we end up ingesting. If you eat these foods on a regular basis, you are exposing yourself to more than twenty different pesticides per day.

If you can’t always buy organic, then be sure to wash your produce with a good fruit/veggie spray - I like Eat Cleaner Wipes & Wash, available here

Here’s the list of the “Dirty Dozen” – they are cataloged from the most to least contaminated:

1 - Apples
2 - Celery
3 - Strawberries
4 - Peaches
5 - Spinach
6 - Nectarines-imported
7 - Grapes-imported
8 - Sweet Bell Peppers
9 - Potatoes
10 - Blueberries-domestic
11 - Lettuce
12 - Kale/Collard Greens

Click for more info on the Dirty Dozen and the Clean List.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY BEST-SELLING RECIPES & TIPS ON HOW TO GET YOUR FAMILY EATING BETTER!


 Join The Sneaky Chef community on Twitter and Facebook to get free recipes, tips on healthy eating, giveaways, and meet other "sneaky" parents & share your stories and opinions! Looking forward to seeing you there! Missy

twitter.jpglike me.jpg

 


Valentine's Day is a great day to spoil our loved ones...and I love love love making all sorts of Sneaky Chef Breakfast Ice Creams! What a fun way to start your day with lots of giggles when you call your kids down to breakfast and hand them an ice-cream cone -- never mind it's loaded with fiber & antioxidant rich superfruits, avocado & protein-rich yogurt, all they'll know is it's deelish and fun!

ValentineSoftServe smaller.jpgValentine’s Soft Serve
For homemade ice cream in a hurry, whip out your mini food processor. If you use less liquid than you would for a smoothie, you’ll end up with a great soft-serve consistency. Put it in a cone or parfait glass and your kids will be screaming for it in minutes!

Makes 2 servings
1 cup frozen raspberries, no added syrup or sugar
1⁄2 cup strawberry or raspberry yogurt
2 tablespoons ripe avocado
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
Optional: 2 wafer ice cream cones
Put all ingredients in a food processor and puree on high (add a little more yogurt if needed to make a smooth, thick consistency). Serve in an ice-cream cone or parfait glass. If you desire harder ice cream, freeze for at least 30 minutes.

For lots more fun healthy recipes, see my new book, The Speedy Sneaky Chef.


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
Toothpicks

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

Dip
:
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.


Scroll down to skip to 4 new recipes
It’s a weekday evening and I’m standing in my kitchen. Our pooches Princess and Buddie are chasing each other around the island, my daughter Emily is looking for a notebook she needs for her homework, and her sister Samantha is finishing violin practice—with gusto. Everyone, including my husband Rick, is starving, the clock is ticking, and I am just about to see if I can find something deep in the bottom of the freezer to shove in the microwave, or failing that, to pick up the phone for takeout, when I stop myself. I’m the Sneaky Chef, for crying out loud! I’ve written five books on how to feed families healthfully and deliciously. I dream in menu plans, can recite nutritious shopping lists by heart, and have a pantry that’s stocked with good-for-you choices. But what I don’t have is time.

The above is the opening paragraph in my newest book, The Speedy Sneaky Chef
Quick, Healthy Fixes for Your Family’s Favorite Packaged Foods & Healthy Meals in a Hurry
.

SPEEDY COVER FINAL smaller for web.jpgIn The Speedy Sneaky Chef, I extend the concept of “sneaky” into “speedy”, giving you more than 80 all-new healthy recipes that you can prepare in a flash, including:

• Quick fixes for jarred tomato sauce, mac-and-cheese, pancake mixes, and cereals.
• Clever shortcuts that will get weeknight cooks out of the kitchen in a hurry.
• Info on navigating options in the supermarket, and what to look for when choosing packaged foods, which can shave minutes—and calories—from every shopping trip.
• Recipes that are dense in nutrients, while low in calories, fat, sodium, and sugars.


The Speedy Sneaky Chef
is not only about saving you time, it’s also about sharing what I’ve learned over the course of writing five cookbooks—spilling all the secret tips and tricks I’ve discovered during the course of creating and testing thousands of recipes myself, and hearing feedback from countless readers every day. This is my best book ever and I'm so excited that you can now order your own copy.

“Moms and dads, if you’re at your wit’s end trying to get your kids to eat healthy . . . well, fret no more! . . . As the mother of a very picky eater, the only way to get my son Josh to eat his veggies is to sneak it, and Missy’s recipes are not only creative and delicious, they are a lifesaver for this often over-worried mom.”
Natalie Morales, co-host, NBC’s Today Show

CHICKEN FRIES 

Makes 4 servingsChickenFries smaller.jpg2 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

Dip:
1⁄2 cup store-bought marinara sauce
1⁄4 cup Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe) 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. ORDER BOOK

TROPICAL TWIST BREAKFAST ICE-CREAM CONES  

BreakfastIceCream trop twist smaller.jpgMakes 2 servings
1⁄2 cup frozen mango, no added syrup or sugar
1⁄2 cup frozen strawberries, no added syrup or sugar
1 banana, peeled and chopped frozen or fresh)
1⁄2 cup low-fat milk
1 to 2 tablespoons honey or sugar
4 wafer ice-cream cones
Fill bowl of food processor with frozen fruit and pulse several times to start the puree. Add banana, milk, and sugar and puree on high until smooth, stopping if needed to scrape down the sides of the bowl and push contents to the bottom. Ice cream will be soft—fill cones to just below the top, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze to further harden (or fill cones and serve immediately). ORDER BOOK

CHICKEN PARM POPS

ChickenParmPop_0006 web.jpgMakes 4 servings
1 package (about 14) fully cooked chicken nuggets or One-Step Chicken Nuggets
(p. 159)
1⁄2 cup store-bought tomato sauce
1⁄4 cup Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe) or baby food squash or
carrot puree
1 cup shredded, reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
Optional: 14 skewers or craft sticks
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking sheet with oil.
In a mixing bowl, combine tomato sauce and puree. Dip one side of 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. ORDER BOOK

4O-SECOND SOFT TACOS  
Makes 4 tacos (2 servings)
6 tablespoons canned refried beans, no lard
2 tablespoons tomato paste 
2 tablespoons wheat germ or ground flaxseed
Pinch of salt
1⁄2 cup shredded, reduced-fat Mexican cheese
4 (6-inch round) corn or flour tortillas, ideally whole grain
Optional toppings: dash of taco seasoning, shredded lettuce, salsa, and/or plain 
Greek yogurt

In a mixing bowl, combine the refried beans, tomato paste, and wheat germ or flax. Lay a few wet paper towels on the microwave turntable, place 2 of the tortillas on the paper towels, and top each tortilla with about 2 tablespoons of the bean mixture. Top each with about 2 tablespoons cheese and a pinch of salt. Leave open-faced and microwave on high for 40 seconds. Remove tacos from microwave, add optional toppings, fold in half and serve warm. Repeat with remaining 2 tacos. ORDER BOOK
 


Let's be honest...the Thanksgiving feast doesn't just last one day -- it marks the beginning of a free-for-all eating season that lasts through New Year's. A time when we celebrate less, not more, structure in our food lives. However, the holiday food fest doesn't have to derail any work you've done feeding your family healthier meals.

As The Sneaky Chef, I’m known for hiding healthy foods in everyone’s favorite meals – and one of my key “methods of disguise” is simply adding pureed vegetables to traditional comfort foods. Research now validates this method as a way to cut calories and increase vegetable intake for kids and adults alike. In a recent study, researchers at Penn State found that by “adding puréed vegetables to favorite foods, children consumed nearly twice as many vegetables and 11 percent fewer calories over the course of a day.”

Don't worry, I'm not going to suggest cutting out pumpkin pie or not serving creamy mashed potatoes. But I am going to suggest making small alterations to your already loved and anticipated Thanksgiving recipes. Even the most traditional dishes offer lots of great hiding places for us Sneaky Chefs to slip in the good stuff, cut calories, and enhance nutrition and flavor.
So who says we can't have our pumpkin pie and eat it too? Just follow some of my simple tips and sneaky swaps below!

Sneaky Roasted Squash and Apple Soup:
Everyone loves a hearty autumn soup as a first course, so don't leave out this family favorite! But do leave out the heavy cream as the added fat calories just get in the way of your delicious delight. Use evaporated skim milk instead, and add some carrot or white bean puree to thicken this creamy soup.

Sneaky Gravy:
No Thanksgiving meal is complete without gravy, but it can load on the fat calories. In my sneaky gravy, I use pureed lentils and less pan drippings to cut the fat in traditional gravy by a whopping 72%, while adding a depth of hearty flavor as well as a great dose of fiber and nutrition. To further thicken gravy, substitute whole grain pastry flour for white flour – the whole grain pastry flour retains the fiber and nutrients of regular whole grain flour, but has a much lighter texture so works magically in soups, stews, or your baked goods. You can find whole grain pastry flour at Whole Foods Market or Amazon.

Sneaky Mashed Potatoes:
One of my favorite tricks for reducing fat in almost any dish is to add a “flavor decoy” – this is a burst of bold flavor that you know people love – make roasted garlic, parmesan cheese, chives, or even real bacon bits the hero of your mashed potatoes, so you can use less butter and heavy cream.

I also substitute low-fat plain Greek yogurt for the heavy cream and use extra virgin olive oil in place of some of the butter - it's delicious and so much better for you! For an added boost of nutrients, I include pureed cauliflower, which also provides a beautiful taste and texture.

A special treat for the kids: Sneaky Temples

As we’re often blessed to be surrounded by children at our table, let's try to make them happy without causing a sugar rush that can interfere with the tranquility of this holiday! If your kids are anything like mine, they will love and appreciate anything special you make for them. But instead of providing a common Shirley Temple filed with color dyes and sugars, why not make them a Sneaky Temple? Merely swap ginger ale (which is high in sugars) for plain seltzer and swap out the grenadine (made with food dye) for real pomegranate juice! For extra pizzazz, place a real cherry or strawberry in each glass, and let them enjoy this fun mocktail.

Finally, Yummy Sneaky Pumpkin Pie:
If you’re not starting with fresh pumpkin (and not many of us are), one big trick here is to always use 100% pure canned pumpkin, as opposed to canned Pumpkin Pie Mix, which is filled with unnecessary sugars. You can, however, save time and money by using a pumpkin pie spice blend (which combines cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg) to add the traditional flavor to your pumpkin can. Another trick is to substitute vanilla low-fat yogurt for sweetened condensed milk (which has tons of sugars and even corn syrup) and/or blend in some tofu or carrot/sweet potato puree with the pumpkin for a great texture and boost of nutrients. Follow you own recipe and eat to your heart's content with no guilt!

Here’s to a healthy, happy Thanksgiving, and remember to “Treat your family like friends and your friends like family.” – Anonymous


Chicken Soup with Veggie Patch Broccoli Cheese Croutons

The leaves are falling and the weather is getting colder and colder and colder! That can only mean one thing...fall is here to stay! I actually adore the fall because two of my favorite things occur doing this time: the chance to light up the fireplace, and the opportunity to eat delicious comfort foods!

On the downside it seems that the fall brings on sniffles, chills and runny noses. Luckily though, it seems that one of the remedies for the cold or flu is yummy, comforting chicken soup! The steam of the soup works to open the air passages and thus making it easier to breathe. Plus, it seems the one thing that actually tastes enticing when your nose hurts, your eyes are watery and your bones ache.

The truth is, I actually love chicken soup any time of the year, for any occasion. That is why I have spent a lot of time perfecting my chicken soup recipes and trying to make them even healthier and more nutritious (note the sneaky inclusion of my White Bean Puree). Now that we are in the pre-Thanksgiving madness season, chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food to enjoy! I tend to want to eat lighter and healthier the days leading up to the Thanksgiving feast (and leftovers) so that I can overindulge without guilt or restrictions! And this recipe does the trick! It provides the steamy tastefulness of the soup with the added crunch of delicious and nutritious Veggie Patch Broccoli Bites with Cheese!

So enjoy in good health or in sniffles!

Chicken Noodle Soup with Veggie Patch Broccoli Cheese Croutons

Makes about 4 servings
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
1/4 cup White Bean Puree (See Make Ahead Recipe below)
1/4 cup dry egg noodles or macaroni
1 cup diced, cooked chicken meat
1/4 cup evaporated low-fat milk
1 cup total diced celery, carrots and/or parsnips
1 box Veggie Patch Broccoli Bites with Cheese
Salt to taste

Cook Broccoli Bites with Cheese according to package directions. Set aside. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and stir constantly for a minute with a wooden spoon. Pour in the broth and mix in the White Bean Puree, dry pasta, and diced vegetables of choice. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pasta and vegetables are soft. Stir in the cooked chicken and the evaporated milk, mixing for a minute. Cut Broccoli Bites with Cheese in half. Ladle soup into serving bowls, top with Broccoli Bites with Cheese, and serve. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sneaky Chef Make-Ahead Recipe: White Bean Puree

1 (15-ounce) can white beans*(Great Northern, navy, butter, or cannellini)
1 to 2 tablespoons water

*If you prefer to use dried beans, soak overnight and cook as directed

Makes about 1 cup

Rinse and drain the beans and place them in the bowl of your food processor. Add 1 tablespoon of the water, then pulse on high until you have a smooth puree. If necessary, use a little more water, a tiny bit at a time, until the mixture smoothes out and no pieces or full beans are visible.
White Bean Puree will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1⁄4-cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers, and store for 3 months.

 


Would You Act Differently if Your Kids Were Secretly Videotaping You?

The recent youtube post by Hillary Adams, the daughter of Texas Judge William Adams, showing her father beating the then 16-yr old girl with his belt, is disturbing beyond words. According to a description of the video, the judge “took a belt to his own teenage daughter as punishment for using the internet to acquire music and games that were unavailable for legal purchase at the time. She has had ataxic cerebral palsy from birth that led her to a passion for technology.”

As a mom, I’ll tell you right up front that I don’t believe in hitting/spanking/smacking or any other form of physical punishment for children, and what this guy did to his daughter was way over the line, no matter what parenting camp you live in. Not to mention the fact that she has Cerebral Palsy, or the fact that this monster is a prominent judge in a position to affect other children’s well-being. In my opinion, this video of his home life has definite bearing on his character to stand as a public official, but that is not my role or business to address. Hopefully the proper authorities will take into consideration society’s (and my) outrage on such matters and place the appropriate consequences on this "parent.”

That said, it made me think about whether I would do things differently in my everyday life as a mother if I knew a video camera were rolling onto the internet for all to see and judge. Vanity aside (I’d probably put on a bit of concealer and lip gloss before serving breakfast), I don’t think I’d make major changes to how I parent my daughters. I’m no saint as a mom, wife, sister, or any other role in my life. I’m not always proud of every reaction or lack of patience or retort that I blurt out without the benefit of the “filter” between my brain and my mouth that I should be using more often. There are lots of times that make me cringe as I think back on how I mishandled situations, screamed like a raving lunatic, or used the dreaded “you are” phrase before some pretty harsh character-assassinating adjectives. I would like to redo those ugly parenting moments.

Thinking back, I wouldn't look my proudest on camera when the kids were younger and I had to plop them in front of the television (aka substitute babysitter) while I hurried a deadline or scrambled to get work done from home. Maybe yelling at the kids not to yell was not my best self and wouldn't go over too well on the small screen, nor would screaming at them to eat their veggies, in direct contrast to my philosophy as The Sneaky Chef. But overall, I am proud to be a person of integrity, and I live by my word.

It’s a good question to ask ourselves as parents – it’s a good exercise to imagine yourself being videotaped, and to ask yourself whether you’d make any real changes to your style.

It seems that parents are getting caught on camera left and right doing horrific acts towards their children (e.g., hot sauce mom and Botox mom). And since, in many cases, this seems to be only way to expose the acts and the people who seem to think this behavior is okay, I say let the cameras roll! Although the majority of us care for our children immensely and would go to great lengths to make sure they are safe and well and happy, we are only human. The little imperfection in our patenting skills can only be excused if we take a chance to periodically examine what and how we do things. So it seems like a great opportunity to take a look our exposed life and make sure we are happily on track.

Because, in the end, “it’s what we do when nobody’s looking that makes us champions.” And, thank goodness, most of us would pass with flying colors!




Let the kids have some squishy spooky fun this Halloween! 

I love putting out a healthy (but no less FUN) dinner before the kids go out to Trick or Treat! My motto is, if you feed them good protein and whole grains and veggies before going out, the temptation to fill up on candy will be so much less….and even if they do eat some candy, the sugar spike (and corresponding crash) won’t be nearly as bad if their bellies are filled with nutritious foods.



So let’s play Spaghetti, Brains ‘n Fingers! 
Just make a bowl of whole grain spaghetti, toss it with olive oil and add some chopped Veggie Patch Veggie Dogs – cut in varying lengths so they resemble fingers (or pieces of cut off fingers….mwahaha!!)
Add some lightly steamed cauliflower florets for “brains” and to take it one step further, let the kids eat out of their own bowls with their clean hands….blindfolded!! Tell them to find the cut off fingers among the spaghetti “intestines,” but to watch out for the edible “brains” along the way. So fun, and a really tasty, healthy meal!


Another “trick” I use for Halloween is to make special spooky dipping sauces for my kids favorite Veggie Patch Corn Dogs. They go great with seasonal colors and flavors like “bloody” ketchup with some baby food carrot puree mixed in, and green “slime” (guacamole) with my Green Puree mixed in!



Here’s some more of my sneaky tips to help us all get through this nutritionally challenging holiday – these have saved my kids and me lots of lots of extra calories!:



-Don’t buy Halloween candy early – get it only the day before – that’ll prevent eating it before the 31st.



-As described above, give kids a good dinner (high protein and fiber) before they go out trick or treating - this will keep them full and prevent overeating candy during the evening; see ideas above.



-If your kids want to eat candy throughout their time trick or treating, give them a lollipop to suck – this will keep their mouths happy for very few calories (it’s a trick I use on myself when I take the kids out – so I don’t nibble on too much candy!).


-After Halloween, give away a handful of candy everyday until it magically disappears – tossing the entire bag out at once will cause a riot. Allow kids to eat a piece or two of candy a day.



-To avoid temptation, keep the candy somewhat out of sight (and hopefully out of mind) – not in clear glass bowls/jars out on the counter.

Have a sneaky and spooky Halloween!!
 


Nothing says autumn like the abundance of fresh, crisp, juicy, colorful apples. I get giddy when I go to my neighborhood farmer's market and see the beautiful display of barrels filled with red, yellow, and green apples!

I usually end up buying bags (yes, plural) of apples and still never have enough the upcoming weeks! Between snacking throughout the day on crisp apples, making apple pies & apple puree and using in numerous recipes like pancakes. It's the most versatile, healthy, loved fall fruit at the market! And the most amazing thing about apples are they actually have such great health benefit. We all grew up with the phrase, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" and it kinda does! Apples are a good source of fiber and loaded with protective phytonutrients.

Here's a sneak peek from my new book, THE SPEEDY SNEAKY CHEF (due out Jan 2012):

HOT APPLE PIE PARFAIT (5 minute recipe)
The aroma of apples sautéing in butter and cinnamon on an early school morning is a sure way to get things moving! This dish will lure even the grumpiest kid—or hubby—out of bed with a smile.

Makes 2 parfaits
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 large apple, cored, and thinly sliced, ideally unpeeled
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon or apple pie spice
1/2 cup low-fat granola
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed and/or wheat germ
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

Add butter to saucepan and melt over medium heat. Mix in the apple slices, brown sugar, and cinnamon or spice, sautéing for about 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of water to pan, if necessary, if apple mixture gets too dry.
In parfait or serving glasses, layer granola/flax/wheat germ, yogurt, and apples as desired, and serve.

 


Oh remember the long lazy days of summer….seems so far away already! I miss summer’s carefree attitude, the light clothing, the active lifestyle, the ice cream, the ice cream, the ice cream!ice cream photo.jpgRegardless of whether we are actually away or just spending lazy days at home during the summer, we tend to loosen up the "rules" in our household. And in one respect, that's what makes summer so much fun for everyone - even if we don't go on that much desired exotic cruise! So we all sleep a little later, become a little more lazy in the mornings and definitely eat a little more!

Then summer comes screeching to a halt with September!... it's painful! School, schedules, routines, activities, games, homework, preparations - it seems to all come too fast, too much!

This year I decided to stop reinventing the wheel and to start preparing in advance for this transition phase. I still refuse to corrupt my summer's carefree style, so I will put my emphasis on regaining my routine back slowly but steadily. One of the first priorities I have is gaining ground on our nutritional habits again. While I wouldn't say we are on a family diet, I would say that we need to start eating smarter and healthier again. So a few little sneaky weight loss strategies are always useful!!

Here are a few tactics that I have implemented in my daily dinner habits:

• Set a date on the calendar at least once (or more!) a week to have sit down dinner in the dining room - this ensures the family all sit down together for a more relaxing, less hurried meal – note: kitchen counter doesn’t count like dinner around the dining table.

• Downsize plates for optical illusion - After reading studies that show that eating from smaller plates creates the illusion of eating more and being more satisfied, I was sold! So I traded my huge dinner plates that I tend to overfill and we now eat better proportioned meals on smaller (appetizer sized) plates (same goes for ice cream bowls – oops, I mean cups!)

• Stop serving “family-style” dinners - Small changes make big differences! I now “plate the food” in the kitchen and do not leave bowls/platters on table. Again, I want to be in a better position to control portion sizes and discourage dipping back into the pasta bowl for seconds and thirds! Exception: Only salads and vegetables are displayed on family table and encouraged for second servings before anything else

• Serve less starchy options - I'm making meals with more fresh vegetable options and relying less on filling, less-nutritious starchy options.

If you have any ideas for breaking the summer habits, I would love to hear from you!! 


We’re off to a good start in the new school year, and my girls are finding their way with new teachers, new (and old) friends, and challenging new classes. I’m getting back into the swing of things, leaving the carefree days of summer in my rear view mirror and gearing up for homework, after-school activities, unavoidable chaos and of course, making healthy foods that my kids will actually eat and enjoy.

Even after just a few weeks of school, though, the kids are complaining they’re bored with sandwiches in their lunch box! Back to the drawing board.... Luckily my quest for something interesting and new gave rise to a totally delicious recipe that we are all psyched about - "Veggitos"!

Made with Veggie Patch’s Veggie Dogs, they take all the goodness of a meatless hot dog and a burrito and leave all the unnecessary and unhealthy out! They are fun, easy to make, portable, and most of all, the kids love them. And yes, you are right...they are absolutely healthy with vegetarian protein, beans, whole grains, and tomato! That will be our little secret though ;-)
Just pack a couple of extras in the lunch box because your kids will be hounded to share!!


VEGGITOS
Makes 6 servings
6 Veggie Patch Veggie Dogs
1/4 cup tomato paste
1⁄2 cup canned low-fat refried beans
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
6 (10- to 12-inch) flour tortillas, ideally whole wheat
3/4 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Cook Veggie Dogs according to package directions. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the tomato paste, refried beans, and chili powder. Place tortillas between moist paper towels and microwave on high for 30 seconds to soften. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the bean mixture onto the bottom half of each tortilla. Top with the Veggie Dog and 2 tablespoons of cheese. Fold the end of the tortilla closest to you over the filling ingredients and then tuck the right end in and roll up. One end of the burrito is left open and unfolded. Repeat with the remaining burritos.
Wrap in wax or parchment paper, microwave on high for one minute, and serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 2 days. Simply reheat for 30 seconds in the microwave when you’re ready to serve.

Safety note: This recipe is not advised for kids under 3, as hot dogs can pose a choking hazard. 


With the beginning of August comes the first thoughts of back-to-school, so I can't help but start to stock my freezer with ready-to-go meals that I can pull out in a pinch. Those first few weeks are always more hectic than I anticipate, and having some frozen meals at the ready never fails to take the pressure off when we're still organizing our daily routines. 

So while I'm making a dish now, I simply double the recipe and freeze half. I still have time during our relaxed summer schedule to make the special meals my kids appreciate so much, and when I trot them out during the beginning of the school year, they feel extra special. 

One of our favorites is my No-Harm Chick’n Parm recipe made with Veggie Patch Chick'n Cutlets. This meatless version has whole grains, nuts, protein, and vegetables. It's  essentially a large, thin meatless chicken nugget covered in sauce and cheese, which together provide ample opportunity to sneak in vegetables, none of which is visible to the eye or detectable by the taste buds. This recipe converts a decadent dish into a nutritional superstar and a favorite for the kid in all of us!

So make a little extra now, freeze it well wrapped, and your family's transition back to the school day schedule will be a breeze. 

You can also find a host of other good back to school ideas in a great article here, and another very interesting artcile on the evolution of school menus here.

Enjoy in good health, 

Missy

NO HARM CHICK’N PARM RECIPE

Makes 4 servings 

(double proportions to freeze half)

4 Veggie Patch Chick'n Cutlets

Olive oil for pan frying
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
1/2 cup store-bought tomato sauce (or Easy Homemade Pasta Sauce)
1/2 cup Orange Puree
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large non-stick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add two Cutlets at a time, pan frying on one side until the crumbs look golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Watch for burning and turn down heat if necessary. With tongs, turn the pieces over and lightly brown the second side until golden, about 3 minutes. Place pan-fried Veggie Patch Chick'n Cutlet pieces on a large baking sheet, sprayed with cooking oil.

Mix the store bought tomato sauce with the Orange Puree.

Top each Veggie Patch Chick'n Cutlet with about 1/4 cup of tomato sauce/ Orange Puree mixture and cover sauce with mozzarella and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.

Serve with whole wheat spaghetti and tomato sauce.

(NOTE: Be sure to wrap well for freezing)  


The summer is officially here, and with it comes all the fun little extras like barbeques, outdoor pools (if you have access to them) plus plenty of extra heat this week! 

With the temperatures as high as they are this week, there's no better way to keep the heat out of the kitchen, and therefore out of the house, than by cooking on the outdoor grill.

My family has been LOVINGVeggie Patch Ultimate Meatless BurgersVeggie Dogs and Chick’n Cutlets for the past several days, deliciously slathered with my sneaky sauces, including a delicious mayo improvement I make by adding one part of my simple White Bean Puree to one part light mayonnaise, and my eat-it-with-a-spoon Orange Puree to the ketchup. It all takes only a few cool minutes to prepare.

Our family is not the only one enjoying–our neighbors have also been cooking on their grills, and we’re all sharing with each other. It’s really been taking the pressure, and the heat, out of the kitchen activities for all of us.

So grab the grillers and get together with some neighbors for a cool, fun time at the grill!

Enjoy in good health,

Missy


During the weekend I read this article that put a huge smile to my face - "Food companies take veggie cue from sneaky trend" by the Associated Press. Definitely worth reading as it introduces food labels in the market that have adopted the Sneaky Chef philosophy and are placing veggies in well-known packaged recipes.

Who would have thought that Kraft would put cauliflower in their infamous mac-and-cheese?! And it seems Chef Boyardee and Ragu have been hiding nutrients and vitamins for years!

Hopefully, this is a trend that is just starting. I would love to see more manufacturing companies looking out for the nutritional value of our kids! Have you seen any other companies following the trend? Let me know if I missed any!

With healthiest regards,

Missy

 


My good friends are coming for a Fourth of July blowout in just three days – so I'm in planning menu mode. This year I decided to do things a little differently and make crab cakes (recipe below) for my friends since they're trying not to eat red meat or chicken these days.

I thought back to my crab cake recipe I developed for my Mens' Book, and I was excited to replace high fat mayo with my simple puree of white beans. I also snuck in some amazingly healthy wheat germ instead of empty white bread crumbs – my hubby Rick loves these, and the best part is, no matter what time of year you make them, you'll feel like you're on vacation!

Just pick up a can of lump crab at the market (or even cheaper at Costco) and some canned white beans – I'll probably pick up some nitrate-free* organic hot dogs for the kids in case they're not feeling adventurous. 

I'm also making my sneaky cole slaw and potato salad (recipes below) using that same White Bean Puree to replace the mayo. Since I have to break out the new bathing suit, I will not be missing the extra fat in these salads!

*why nitrate-free? Although not proven, nitrates are being studied as possible carcinogens – why take the chance when really delicious nitrate-free versions are available these days? If you do serve regular hot dogs with nitrates, have a vitamin-C rich food or drink with them to mitigate the harmful effects (such as orange or tomato slices).

Here's to a delicious, fun and healthy Fourth,
Missy

CONCEALED CRAB CAKES

I can’t think of a tastier way to give your man a good dose of fiber and omega-3s than with these authentic yet low-fat crab cakes. Put on a Jimmy Buffet disc and your favorite sundress and you’ll feel like you’re in Key West for a romantic getaway.

Makes 8 crab cakes
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise 
1 egg white
1⁄4 cup White Bean Puree
1 tablespoon Dijon or coarse-grain mustard
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1⁄3 plus 1⁄3 cup wheat germ
Freshly ground pepper
1⁄2 pound fresh lump crabmeat (about 2 cups), drained
Optional extra boost: handful of chopped green onions, celery, and/or bell peppers 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with oil.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk the egg white, then mix in the White Bean Puree, mustard, hot sauce, Old Bay, 1⁄3 cup of the wheat germ, a few grinds of pepper, and the crabmeat. 

Pour the remaining 1⁄3 cup of wheat germ on a plate. Scoop about 1⁄3 cup of crab mixture and form it into a fairly thick cake. Dredge the cakes in the wheat germ, fully covering all sides of the cake, and place the crab cake on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining crab mixture. Spray the top side of the cakes with oil and bake for 10 minutes. Flip once, spray oil on the tops of the cakes, and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown.

SIDE OF SLAW

Makes 6 servings
6 tablespoons White Bean Puree 
6 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 teaspoon celery seed
1⁄4 cup oat bran
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 (16-ounce) bag pre-washed cole slaw mix
Optional extra boost: 2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds; 2 green onions, chopped

In a large serving bowl, whisk together the White Bean Puree, mayonnaise, celery seed, oat bran, sugar, and salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the cole slaw mix and toss well. Garnish with the slivered almonds and green onions, if using. Serve chilled.

Sneaky Tip:
Green onions, also called scallions, have significant prostate cancer–fighting properties. In one study, men who ate as little as one-tenth of an ounce of green onions per day experienced a 70 percent reduction in the risk of developing prostate cancer.

PACKED POTATO SALAD

This is a classic potato salad, perfect for everyone who doesn’t like fancier versions. The herbs add great flavor, but feel free to omit them if seeing green will make anyone in your family see red! If you decide to limit yourself to the healthiest of all the optional extra boosts, go for the green onions.

Makes 4 servings
2 pounds small Yukon gold or small white potatoes
1⁄2 cup White Bean Puree
1⁄4 cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon and/or fresh dill (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Optional extra boost: 1⁄2 cup chopped celery and/or red or green onions 

Peel the potatoes if you don’t want to see the skins in the potato salad, then place them in a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let cool.

In a bowl large enough to hold the potatoes, whisk together the White Bean Puree, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, fresh herbs, salt and pepper, and celery and/or onions, if using.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, quarter them and add them to the bowl, stirring gently until all the potatoes are coated with the mayonnaise mixture. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.


It’s that time of year again, when all the kids are finishing up school, the summer is heating up, and the fun begins! So we thought we would throw a party for the kids to kick off the summer and say goodbye to another school year. But we didn’t want to throw a typical, boring pizza party–we thought we’d kick it up a notch with a spread that the kids, and the parents, would really enjoy, while being healthy, too!

The party was all about letting the kids have fun (while saving time for the adults). We started everything off with my kids’ favorite Veggie Patch Mini Corn Dogs. I paired them with sneaky dipping sauces including ranch dressing with hidden plain Greek yogurt (mix up to half Greek yogurt into your ranch dressing to cut calories and increase the calcium & protein) and ketchup with up to 50% hidden orange puree.

The result? Everyone devoured the corn dogs so fast I had to break out the back ups! Fortunately, I also had a stock of Veggie Patch Broccoli Bites with Cheese on hand in the freezer. I warmed them up and had just enough to satisfy everyone. Everything was a hit with both kids and adults.

For dessert we kept it simple with lemon and watermelon ice pops. They were as easy as pureeing some watermelon, squeezing a few lemons with a hint of orange juice, and pouring the fruit into layers in disposable paper cups with a coffee stirrer. Then freeze and voila! A zesty and healthy treat to finish the party with.

Try these delicious, simple and healthy treats for a fun change from the typical pizza party!

Enjoy in good health,

Missy


One of the best things we can do for the man in our lives this Father's Day is to cook him up one of his favorite meals. And what man doesn't love breakfast in bed?!

Stacked Pancakes is one of the most requested recipes out of my Men's Book and guys go nuts over them. It's fast, easy, and it lets you make his favorite breakfast both tastier and healthier–he'll not only flip for the flavor but he'll be able to enjoy them
guilt free : )

These pancakes have more nutrition than a boring bowl of oatmeal, but they have the look and taste of a white flour pancake (and yet there is absolutely no flour in them!) and enough protein and whole grains to keep your man energized all morning long.

Plus, make an extra batch for future mornings when you want a great grab-n-go breakfast during the week. Just place the extra cooked pancakes in a plastic bag and freeze them for months, then simply toast them in the morning. He'll love them as a handheld breakfast in the car on the way to work, and remember his sweet Father's Day breakfast for many more mornings to come.

Happy Father's Day to one and all!

Missy

STACKED PANCAKES RECIPE:

4 egg whites
1⁄2 cup part-skim or fat-free ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup oat bran
1⁄4 cup Ground Almonds
1⁄4 cup semisweet chocolate chips or 1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries
(optional)
Maple syrup, warmed, for serving

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, ricotta, and vanilla. In another large bowl, whisk together the baking powder, salt, oat bran, and ground almonds. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just blended. Batter should be fairly thick and slightly lumpy. But if the batter is too thick, add a touch of milk. Add the chocolate chips or blueberries, if using, and mix lightly.

Butter or spray a large skillet over medium heat. Test the pan by tossing in a few drops of water; it will sizzle when it’s hot enough. The skillet will grow hotter over time, so turn down the heat if the pan starts to smoke.

Drop medium-size ladles of batter onto the skillet in batches, making sure there are some chocolate chips or blueberries in each pancake. When bubbles begin to set around the edges and the skillet-side of each pancake is golden (peek underneath), gently flip them over. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is fully set.

Serve stacked high, drizzled with a little warm maple syrup.

Cinnamon apple pancake variation

Follow the instructions for Stacked Pancakes, adding 1⁄2 teaspoon of cinnamon and substituting a peeled, chopped apple for the chocolate chips or blueberries. For smoother texture, grate the apple before adding it to the batter. Serve with a dusting of cinnamon sugar.

 


Michelle Obama and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack just unveiled a brilliant revision to the long standing US food pyramid. 


As expected, it emphasizes veggies, but surprisingly, and happily, it opens up the protein category beyond just meat and beans, calling it simply "protein," and has also expanded the milk portion to include all dairy products. This is exactly how I teach my kids to eat, and how I design my Sneaky Chef recipes as well.

Their practical and easy to use revision can be seen here, along with a good article by the Huffington Post on the topic.

Everyone will now be able to easily visualize ideal food proportions without having to consult a full color wall chart at every meal. Michelle Obama put it best when she said, "As long as our plates are half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we're golden." 


Even nutrition watchdogs likes The Center for Science in the Public Interest are saying that it's a huge improvement, and so easy to understand that everyone will be able to remember what their own plate should look like.


Mrs. Obama got started on this revision as part of her Let's Move! campaign, aimed to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation.

I look forward to recommending this greatly simplified and practical tool to all of my readers. 


Enjoy in good health,

Missy


This Memorial Day, toss some of these outrageously delicious Sneaky Chef Veggie Dog Kebabs on the grill alongside juicy Veggie Patch Ultimate Meatless Burgers and watch your friends and family literally line up for more!

The Veggie Dog Kebabs are super easy: just cut up some Veggie Patch Veggie Dogs into half inch pieces and skewer them with alternating pieces of pineapple chunks, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini & onion chunks, etc. Then coat with some of my famous Sneaky Chef BBQ Sauces (recipe below) and grill on the rack or, if you have them, on veggie grillers (flat non-stick pans with holes) that you set on the grill--they hold the sauce better than on open racks directly. We do this here all the time in summer and they make Veggie Dog Kebabs that are out of this world! Simply serve over rice and with sneaky sides like corn on the cob, sneaky cole slaw, etc. 
 
Next, for the healthiest, juiciest, best tasting burgers you've ever had, go gourmet! Just put some Veggie Patch Ultimate Meatless Burgers on the grill and you'll quickly see why these thick and juicy burgers are a far cry from ordinary vegetarian burgers. They are sure to please even the most discerning burger-lover. Serve on a whole wheat bun with plenty of Sneaky Chef BBQ Sauces (recipe below), onions, lettuce, and with sides like corn on the cob and cole slaw. 
 
Use these simple and delicious recipes to make this Memorial Day your most healthy and delicious ever!
 
Enjoy in good health,
 
Missy
 
*QUICK FIXES FOR STORE-BOUGHT BBQ SAUCE
Each of the boosters below both enhances the nutritional profile of your favorite bottled barbecue sauce. In addition, they cut the sauce’s acidity, which may help to prevent acid reflux. Start by adding the smallest recommended amount of just one of the nutritional boosters, and add a little more each time you serve the sauce. You can also mix in two or more of the boosters below, up to a total of about 1⁄2 cup booster per 1 cup of store-bought barbecue sauce.
* 2 to 4 tablespoons White Bean Puree,  White Puree or Orange Puree: Combine the Puree of your choice with 1/2 cup of store-bought BBQ sauce, mixing until well blended.
 
*SNEAKY CHEF HOMEMADE BBQ SAUCE:
This quick and versatile sauce can be made as spicy as desired.
Makes about 2 cups of sauce
1 green tea bag
3⁄4 cup tomato paste
1⁄2 cup cider vinegar
3⁄4 cup White or Orange Puree 
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
Hot sauce, to taste
Steep the tea bags in 1⁄2 cup boiling water for 2 minutes (no longer or it will taste bitter). Allow the tea to cool, then whisk a 1⁄2 cup of tea together with the tomato paste, vinegar, White or Orange Puree, garlic, pepper, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and honey. Add the chili powder and hot sauce to taste. Thin with more green tea if desired.
Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

I love the warmth and ritual of tea... I start each morning with a cup to ease into the day. And when the girls come home from school, we often have our own tea party complete with Sneaky Chef brownies to catch up on the day and take the edge off an afternoon slump. A cup after dinners curbs my craving for something sweet & sugary.

That's why I'm so excited to have found the Tuffy Tea Steeper. It simplifies making an individual cup of tea. I just place the tea steeper in a cup, spoon in some special tealeaves, pour in water and let it steep. No brown, messy tea bags. No stale tea taste. The Tuffy Tea Steeper is collapsible, making it ideal for travel, and it’s made of food grade silicone so it’s dishwasher safe (music to my ears).

The Tea Spots’ assortment of these three loose-leaf tea blends is my favorite. From the minute I open a can and take an aroma therapeutic whiff, I’m already benefitting from calming effects. They’re so fresh and fragrant!

My day starts with Boulder Blues, a blend of Japanese green tea with an infusion of wild strawberries and rhubarb. (I serve it chilled in summer garnished with a few strawberries.) When I stop and take a moment during stressful days, I brew myself a cup of Meditative Mind, a medley of Chinese white tea, rosebuds and jasmine pearls that soothes and calms. I like a cup of Red Rocks with red rooibos, vanilla & almonds after dinner. Since it’s caffeine-free it won’t keep me up at night, and even my girls can enjoy a cup. Try it with a little milk.

This collection of teas will get you through the day and will suit you and everyone else to a tea!

I'm excited to share this find with you! Be sure to follow me on OpenSky to get the inside scoop this Friday!

With healthiest regards,

Missy


Mother's Day is May 8th so it's time to start planning! We all know how hard our moms work every day of the year, so this year dad and the kids should show her the ultimate gesture of appreciation: Breakfast in bed! (Now, if you happen to be a mom reading this and want to pass it on to your kids or husband as a subtle hint: just make some Orange Puree a few days ahead and leave it in the fridge with the this blog and recipe printed out underneath it ; )

Nothing beats a warm, comforting quiche right out of the oven to make any mom feel loved. Here's my quick, unbelievably delicious quiche recipe that I've been working on all year which will be perfect, guaranteed. I've named it "Veggie Patch Spinach Bites Quiche" since it uses Veggie Patch’s Spinach and Cheese Bites as an instant and outrageously delicious crust.

WOW are they good! Using the Spinach and Cheese Bites also makes the prep time way faster, easier and more delicious than traditional quiche. No need to measure out flour, fold in butter and roll out the dough, hoping it turns out right. Simply line the pan with the Spinach and Cheese Bites and cover them with the whisked ingredients. Then pop it in oven till it's set and top with cheese. It's done when the cheese has melted and it looks bubbly and lightly brown on top.

Let cool for a few minutes before cutting a wedge, and serve on a special plate (not one that's used every day) with a side of fresh squeezed OJ and a bud vase. You'll all be heroes and mom won't know what hit her!

Have a happy Mother's Day everyone!

With healthiest regards,

Missy


VEGGIE PATCH SPINACH & CHEESE BITES QUICHE

Makes 6 to 8 servings

3/4 cup shredded low-fat cheddar or Colby cheese, divided
1/3 cup liquid egg whites (3 large egg whites)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup low fat milk
1⁄3 cup Sneaky Chef Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead below)
1 package (11 pieces) Veggie Patch Spinach & Cheese Bites
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease or spray a 9 to 12 inch pie pan.

Place Veggie Patch Spinach & Cheese Bites on bottom of pie plate and bake for 13 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, egg whites, Orange Puree, milk and 1/4 cup of the cheese.

Remove Spinach & Cheese Bites from oven and pour mixture over the top of the Spinach and Cheese Bites, then top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until eggs are set and cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Let stand five minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

Sneaky Chef Make-Ahead Recipe: Orange Puree

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

Place the sweet potatoes and carrots 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 vegetable in recipes, which will reveal their presence to your kids, a gigantic no-no for The Sneaky Chef.

Drain the carrots and sweet potatoes and put them in the food processor with 2 tablespoons of water. Puree on high until completely smooth—until no pieces of vegetable show. 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.

This recipe makes about 2 cups of puree. Orange Puree will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1⁄4-cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers, and store for 3 months.


VitaMix Giveaway!!

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Vitamix Blender Photo.jpgGreat news! I'm one of the newest OpenSky Curators! 

For those who aren't familiar, OpenSky is a members only shopping site that allows me to hand-pick all of the things I know and love, and share them with you at a VIP price.

As I discover different products & tools while I'm creating my Sneaky Chef cookbook series, OpenSky will help me get those amazing products for you at an insider price for a limited time. All you have to do is sign-up to follow me on OpenSky here.

Once you join, you'll be invited to weekly private sales featuring all the kitchen tools and delicious foods items that'll keep your family healthy and happy!

And to celebrate this amazing new adventure, I'm giving away a VitaMix Blender! Not only can you make my delicious purees, you can also make super nutritious whole food soups, sauces, and smoothies; plus, grind grains, make fresh low-fat ice cream, nut butters, cole slaw, hummus, knead dough, and a whole lot more. 

All you need to do is follow me before my first offer on Friday, April 15!

So what are you waiting for? Come shop with me!

With healthiest regards,

Missy

 


Click HERE to watch a fun new video of Sneaky Chef Masterful Mac n' Cheese in action: Fitness Guru Michael Feigin and his adorable daughter Elle do a blind taste test of Annie's boxed mac n' cheese made the traditional way versus the Sneaky Chef way. Click Here to see who won!


Parenting magazine just posted a great article with fast, healthy recipes for each meal of the day ranging from good to better to best. Click Here for the full article. 

And ParentDish.com has some great tips for the parents of Picky Eaters on How to Get Your Kids to Try Healthy Foods. 

Enjoy in good health!


Missy


Colorful Eating

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Did you know that the more colors you eat the better? You can actually identify the health benefits of super veggies by their colors. Cook with as many colors as you can, and watch your family's eyes light up, as well as their health.

Green foods, like spinach, kale, lettuce, broccoli and cabbage are loaded with B vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, which include powerful anti-cancer compounds. And the best news is that these whole food sources work way better than the pill form!

Green & yellow foods like avocado, peas, corn and collards have carotenoids that are great for vision and help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Purple, red & blue foods, like blueberries, strawberries, red apples, beets and cranberries have powerful antioxidants that protect again heart disease and have many anti-aging phytonutrients.

White & green foods like celery, onions, garlic and pears have a plethora of phytonutrients. That particular strong taste in garlic and onions is allicin, a potent anti-viral/ anti-bacterial/ anti-fungal. Celery is wonderfully alkalizing to the body and has easily absorbable minerals that keep our body's tissues healthy.

Yellow & orange foods like peaches, tangerines, oranges, and pineapple are high in antioxidants like vitamin C, have been shown to strengthen the body's resistance to invaders and help to prevent inflammation, which studies are now showing may be involved in many more ailments than previously thought.

Red foods, like tomatoes and red cabbage, have powerful phytonutrients including lycopene to ward off free radicals and protect the skin.

Orange foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin are absolutely loaded with carotenoids which do everything from helping prevent cancer to improving our vision.

The web is filled with info about the health benefits of foods by color, so do a simple Google search and dig in!

Enjoy in good health,

Missy


My friends Amy and Rich had been to a cooking school recently and learned twelve new ways to make bread pudding, all of which were loaded with high fat, artery-clogging sinful ingredients. On a recent day off from school, the kids were playing hide-and-go seek in the living room, while the grown-ups were playing the same game in the kitchen, but to a more serious purpose. We were trying to come up with a healthier version of bread pudding that we could eat for breakfast, with all the flavor and none of the guilt. Rich proclaimed this equally as satisfying as the vacation bread puddings!

Banana Bread Pudding Recipe
Makes 8 servings
 
1 cup low-fat milk
2 large eggs
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large bananas, mashed with the back of a fork (about 1 ½ cups)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, melted
4 slices whole grain bread, cut or torn into 2” pieces
Garnish with cinnamon sugar
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease or spray a 2-quart (approximately 11-inches by 7-inches) glass baking dish.
 
In the prepared baking dish, whisk together all ingredients except the bread. Add the bread and toss to combine. Let sit for a few minutes (or cover with foil and refrigerate overnight) until the bread is soft and has absorbed most of the liquid.
 
Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes, until top is golden brown and the pudding is firm in the center.
 
Serve warm, drizzled with maple syrup and garnish with chopped walnuts, if desired.

Vote for the grand prize winner this week in Veggie Patch's Ultimate Sneak-Away Contest--the winner will be announced on Feb. 23rd!

Mom's from across the country have submitted their favorite sneaky recipes and tips for great weekly prizes, and their chance to win the grand prize. The grand prize includes an exclusive culinary consultation with me at the lucky winner's house, where I'll teach them great ways to sneak veggies into meals, snacks and desserts and share advice for how to get their family the nutrition they need with foods that taste great. I'll also prepare a delicious dinner for their whole family, while they use a $150 SpaFinder gift card to sneak away and indulge at a spa!

I had a great time helping to choose the Undercover Mothers from all of the fantastic entries submitted over the past five weeks. One of these will be chosen as the lucky grand prize winner, so check out the delicious sneaky recipes submitted by the Undercover Mothers and vote for your favorite now!

I can't wait to see who wins!

With healthiest regards,

Missy

 


Here's an excerpt of a great article on Picky Eaters on Parenting.com:

If it seems like your child's eating only a few bites of plain pasta, you're not alone. Nearly 40 percent of kids under 6 are picky eaters, and while it can be frustrating for you, it's actually a normal developmental stage.

At this age, kids' instinctual response to something new is suspicion and caution, and they may be asserting their independence by refusing your offerings. But picky eating won't last forever - most kids grow out of it by age 8 or 9. In the meantime, there are plenty of things you can do to try to expand his palate:

Encourage adventurous eating: Use these tips and your child may finally eat his broccoli:

Set the Salad Bar...

Rename it...

Ditch plates...

Roll it up...

Stick it...

Add flavor...

And more!

Here's to your success with your picky eater!

Happy reading,

Missy


It looks like the Blizzard of 2011 won't be delaying this weekend's big game–but I've got my own plans for a "white out" in the kitchen!

With company coming, I'm going to make a big batch of Doctor's Choice Chili from my Men's Book with healthy additions of two of my white purees. Now this is good stuff!

The tomato sauce is made even smoother and creamier with addition of healthy portions of White Puree (cauliflower and zucchini) and White Bean Puree. Then, add extra virgin olive oil, onions, and great spices like cumin, cayenne pepper, and chili powder, plus a good dose of vegetable broth, and you've got a fantastically delicious and nutritious super bowl meal that everyone will rave about!

I've also posted the vegetarian version. Click Here for the full recipes.

And when you're looking to get your younger couch potatoes moving, be sure to check out the new article on Sneaky Fitness on this week's Scholastic.com website.

Have a fun weekend with lots of good food!

With healthiest regards,

Missy


Still Time to Enter!

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I'm so excited to share the first three week's of responses from Veggie Patch's Ultimate Sneak-Away Contest! The contest is almost half way through and we already have nine of the 15 winners. But there are two weeks still to go! It's super easy to enter, just click Here. Every time I look, there are more fantastic recipes freshly uploaded by moms across the country. I can't believe how creative and sneaky you all are!

Recent winners included simple and delicious gluten-free pizza crust, power cupcakes, cauliflower rice and veggie potato pancakes.

You can see why it's so difficult to choose only three Undercover Mothers each week from so many truly great entries and tips. Take a look at the contest entries page and you'll see all of the recipes. So far, six moms have each won a camcorder, Veggie Patch apron, my best selling book and an entire year's supply of Veggie Patch products.

Plus, one of them will win the Grand Prize which includes an exclusive culinary consultation with me at your house, where I'll personally teach you great ways to sneak veggies into meals, snacks and desserts and share advice for how to get your family the nutrition they need with foods that taste great.
I'll also prepare a delicious dinner for your whole family, while you use your $150 SpaFinder gift card to sneak away and indulge at a spa!

So what are you waiting for--Check it out Here!

I can't wait to hear from you all : )

With healthiest regards,

Missy


We all know I love to sneak vegetables into kids’ meals and am always eager to hear your favorite sneaky recipes!

I am excited to announce that I have teamed up with Veggie Patch, makers of better-for-you vegetarian foods and meatless snack options, to host The Ultimate Sneak-Away Contest and celebrate moms across America!

We’re asking moms to share their favorite ideas for sneaking vegetables into family meals for the chance to win fabulous prizes… including an in-person consultation with me and a relaxing trip to a spa in your hometown!

In case you need a little inspiration, here are a couple of my favorite sneaky recipe ideas!

• Magic Meatballs with eight hidden veggies (including the dreaded green ones) – how many can you hide?
• Masterful Mac 'n Cheese with hidden sweet potatoes and carrots
• Chocolate Banana Avocado Breakfast Ice Cream
• Brainy Brownies baked with spinach and blueberries

Now it’s time for you to show me what you can do with veggies. Enter on the Veggie Patch Facebook page for your chance to be recognized as one of 15 Undercover Mother’s across the U.S. who will compete for the ultimate grand prize!

I’m excited to see what fun, healthy and tasty recipes you come up with! And don’t forget to check back often for new recipes and ideas from other moms.

Good luck,

Missy


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays (as you might have imagined!). It's a holiday that includes everyone and it's all about being at home with family and enjoying wonderful homemade food. I'm excited to share with you the recipes that my family will be enjoying this year.

We're starting with Cranberry Apple Turkey which uses a 4-5 pound turkey breast, not the entire turkey. It's good for a smaller group of about 8 or so people as it cooks much faster than the whole turkey.

Then we'll be adding some of my favorite sides, including Garlic Mashed Potatoes & GravyRoasted Squash Soup for the Holidays, and Pumpkin Pie. These are every bit as delicious as their traditional counterparts, and no one will ever know that they've been made sneakily healthier with hidden cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potatoes, carrots, pomegranate, yogurt, whole wheat flour, apple sauce, tofu and more! These super healthy additions replace much of the unwanted fat while actually enhancing the flavor.

My warmest wishes for a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

Missy 


I'd like to thank my health food idol, Jane Brody, for including my suggestion in her recent New York Times column "Learning to Love Veggies: Readers Weigh In". 

Ms. Brody opens the follow-up to her original article by saying, "I’m overwhelmed! A recent column asking for suggestions on how to entice Americans to eat more vegetables drew nearly 600 e-mailed responses and a long, long menu of food for thought."

She then goes on to mention some of the best responses, including one of my own favorites: "Missy Chase Lapine, who has won fame as the Sneaky Chef, suggested 'slipping veggies in the meals people already like to eat, like spaghetti and meatballs. Once people realize that the meal they just loved contained spinach, they become more open to trying spinach straight up.'”

Ms. Brody's original article was spurred by a recent CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report which noted, "that Americans have fallen far short of the goals set a decade ago to increase consumption of vegetables. In 2009, just 26 percent of adults had three or more servings a day (including those who count a tomato slice and a lettuce leaf on a burger as a vegetable serving). That was half the percentage public health officials had hoped for."

There are dozens of wonderful suggestions contained in the article and I encourage anyone wishing to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables–either for themselves or for their kids–to read through it. 

Thank you, Ms. Brody, for continuing to lead Americans towards a healthier way of life!

With healthiest regards,

Missy Chase Lapine
The Sneaky Chef 


Halloween is fast approaching and I'd like to share my great Sneaky Halloween Cupcake Recipe, plus some Sneaky Tips to help families get through this nutritionally challenging holiday. 

 
Tips: 
 
-> Don't buy Halloween candy yet–buy it Friday or Saturday–that'll prevent eating it before the 31st. Plus, you can get it on sale! And be sure NOT to buy your kids' favorites.
 
-> Give kids a good dinner (high protein and fiber) before they go out trick or treating. This will keep them full and prevent overeating candy during the evening. Examples of a good dinner are whole grain pasta with turkey meatballs or meat sauce, or Speedy Stovetop Lasagna loaded with pureed veggies in the sauce.
 
-> If your kids want to eat candy throughout their time trick or treating, give them a lollipop to suck–this will keep their mouths happy for very few calories (it's a trick I use on myself when I take the kids out, so this mom doesn't nibble too much candy!).
 
–> Encourage your kids to skip or hop to their next Halloween destination instead of just walking. Not only will they burn at least twice the calories, they'll use up a lot of the excess sugar energy they're eating, and they'll have a lot more fun doing it!
 
Here's to the best Halloween ever!
 
With healthiest regards,
 
Missy
 
(In case you missed it above, here's the link again to my great Sneaky Halloween Cupcake Recipe. Enjoy in good health!)
Read More>
 
Enjoy in good health!
 
Missy
 

Dear Ms. Brody,

Like you, I was extremely disheartened to read the recent CDC report showing that nearly all of the efforts and billions of dollars spent on nutritional education has resulted in Americans eating fewer vegetables than ever.

Nutrition education has failed because it addresses the wrong premise–everyone now knows that they should eat their veggies. The problem is how to get them to do it. 

That’s why slipping veggies in the meals people already like to eat can be such a huge help. It gives people an easy way to experience the benefits that eating a healthy diet can bring, yet still lets them enjoy their favorite comfort foods, like spaghetti and meatballs–-only now they’re loaded with spinach, broccoli, peas, wheat germ and cauliflower. This is a different means to the same healthy end. 

Pureeing and hiding veggies takes less than 10 minutes, and even store-bought purees can be used for a nutritional punch-–like baby food carrots, sweet potatoes, beans or peas. The best part is that hiding healthy foods doesn’t mean sneaking forever.  Many children and adults are now “in on it” and actually prefer that their favorite foods be made with hidden healthy ingredients–-as long they don't change the taste, or look, of the foods they love. Sneaking in this way actually facilitates teaching. Once people realize that the meal they just loved contained spinach, they become more open to trying that spinach straight up. 

Perhaps these reader letters sum it up best:

“I always knew WHAT to feed my family, but did not know HOW to get them to eat it.” 

–Andrew C., Philadelphia, PA

“Every time I use one of your healthy (and sneaky) tips or wonderful recipes, I just want to scream with joy because they eat it." –Mindi B., Keller, TX

Thank you for bringing this invaluable awareness to the world.

With healthiest regards,

Missy Chase Lapine, The Sneaky Chef

<Read the original New York Times Article here:  www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/health/05brody.html>


“We have to make the healthy choice the easy choice.”–Dr. Jennifer Foltz


The New York Times just published an eye popping article on this week's study by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). The article gives an astounding overview of the CDC's comprehensive nationwide behavioral study of fruit and vegetable consumption. The conclusion: only 26 percent of the nation’s adults eat vegetables three or more times a day. (And no, that does not include French fries.)

These results fell far short of health objectives set by the federal government a decade ago. The amount of vegetables Americans eat is less than half of what public health officials had hoped. Worse, it has barely budged since 2000.

“It is disappointing,” said Dr. Jennifer Foltz, a pediatrician who helped compile the report. She, like other public health officials dedicated to improving the American diet, concedes that perhaps simply telling people to eat more vegetables isn’t working.

“There is nothing you can say that will get people to eat more veggies,” said Harry Balzer, the chief industry analyst for the NPD Group, a market research company.

There may be nothing we can SAY, but there is everything we can DO about it. Make it easy: Sneak it in! 


Tell kids they're having "ice cream" for breakfast and watch them literally jump out of bed to get to the table those first few days of school! Fortified with low fat yogurt--one of my favorite power tools of health--my soft serve has probiotics to boost kids immune system and protect our kids for those first weeks back at school.  

Kids absolutely love the chocolate, fresh banana and strawberry flavors. You'll love them because they're super healthy and take 2 minutes to make. 

Enjoy in good health, 

Missy

Breakfast Ice Creams

Nutrition Highlights: Fruit, calcium, and probiotics

The name alone makes kids giggle and school mornings go a bit smoother. Your kids will think you’re the best when you call them into the kitchen for their morning “ ice cream” ! These two-minute recipes are fun enough to entice even the grumpiest kids. 

Your food processor is the only way to puree the frozen fruit without having to add a lot of liquid — and for these small quantities, a three-cup mini food processor works best. These recipes can be quickly converted to a thinner smoothie by adding an extra ½ cup of milk to all the variations below and then mixing them in the blender:

Each variation below serves 2 children

Extra Sneaky Strawberry Breakfast Ice Cream

Rich in vitamins C and K, potassium, folate, calcium, fiber and protein.
1/4 ripe avocado
1/2 cup frozen strawberries, without syrup or added sweeteners
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey or sugar

Banana Breakfast Ice Cream

Rich in vitamins B6, C, potassium, fiber, calcium, and protein
1 frozen banana, cut in pieces (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey or sugar

Chocolate Banana Breakfast Ice Cream

Rich in vitamins B6, C, potassium, fiber, calcium, protein, and antioxidants
1 frozen banana, cut in pieces (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey or sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Note: If you prefer to use sweetened yogurt (the vanilla flavored yogurt works well with all of the above), you probably won’t need the extra sugar or honey.

For each of the above Breakfast Ice Creams, put all ingredients in food processor and puree on high —  hold on tight, the first few seconds are a bit rough until the mixture smoothes out. Each makes about 1 1/2 cups of ice cream. 

Another sneaky hint: Make popsicles out of these ice creams by pouring them into ice pop molds and freezing the night before. It’s double the fun to eat it this way in the morning!


I'll be in New York all day today doing a "Satellite Media TV Tour " where I'll be demonstrating my newest back-to-school recipes on morning shows across the nation.

I'll be using Uncle Ben's whole grain white rice as the featured ingredient. It's an amazing new product that will become every mom's secret weapon in the kitchen!

It's the first and only whole grain rice that looks and tastes like white rice.

This is truly the ultimate sneaky product and, as you can imagine, my dream come true. It even has twice the amount of fiber of brown rice! 

Kids will never know they're eating something healthy.

I can't tell you how good I feel about this product. 

See you on your local morning show!



Enjoy in good health,

Missy

Big News about Calcium

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I've just seen the shocking new study linking calcium supplement to heart attacks. The study Shows Patients Taking Pills to Boost Calcium Levels Face 31 Percent Increase in Heart Attacks. 

My kids and I have been taking calcium supplements for years. Not any more. Foods naturally rich in calcium are far better – they raise the blood level of calcium slower than supplements, avoiding the artery-clogging mechanism described in the study. There are many excellent whole foods that are rich in calcium: figs, for example, have as much calcium as skim milk!

And check out these other great whole food sources: Sardines and salmon (canned, with bones) are rich in calcium, as are sesame seeds (think tahini in hummus), almonds, kale, yogurt, and cheddar cheese.

Eating the whole food has always been my philosophy, and this new study bears this out again. See below for a list of calcium-rich foods to eat instead of taking supplements. I agree with the article that more study is definitely needed, but now it looks like it's better to get calcium through food, which doesn't seem to cause this type of heart problem.

Another mitigating factor is that taking vitamin D along with calcium helps to reduce the risk. 

H
ere's a list of whole foods that contain lots of calcium:

Top 5 Non-Dairy Foods High in Calcium 
1. Figs (four pieces contain 506 milligrams of calcium) 
2. Sardines with bones (3 ounces contain 324 milligrams) 
3. Soybeans (1 cup contains 261 milligrams) 
4. Salmon with bones (3 ounces contain 181 milligrams) 
5. Sesame Seeds (1 tablespoon contains 80 milligrams) 
Top 3 Foods with Calcium (by Category) 
Nuts 
1. Sesame Seeds 
2. Almonds 
3. Walnuts 
Fish/Shellfish 
1. Sardines (with bones) 
2. Salmon (with bones) 
3. Oysters 
Vegetables 
1. Soybeans 
2. Broccoli 
3. Chick Peas 
Fruits 
1. Figs 
2. Apricots 
3. Oranges 

This July 4th weekend, give your family all the delicious fun foods they’re expecting while still ensuring that they get all the nutrition they need. I’ve got a fantastic recipe I’ve named “Bonus Burgers” that’s a guaranteed hit!

This version of the traditional hamburger has been deliciously "sweetened up" with completely hidden pureed blueberries and spinach, plus whole grains. The blueberries add a mild sweetness that everyone loves, plus loads of nutrition your family needs.

Plus, if you’re adding the optional chickpeas, you’ll boost the fiber and vitamin content, so as you sit back and watch everyone devour these burgers, you’ll know that you’ve made this Fourth of July the most delicious and nutritionally fun holiday weekend ever! Click Here for the Free Recipe.

Enjoy in good health,

Missy

BONUS BURGERS

Makes 8 to 10 burgers

1 large egg
1/4 cup Purple Puree (see Make Ahead Recipe #1)
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
1 pound lean ground beef
8 to 10 American cheese slices (optional)
8 to 10 hamburger buns or English muffins (preferably whole grain)
Pickle slices and ketchup to garnish
Optional extra boost: 2 teaspoons Chickpea Puree (See Make-Ahead Recipe Below)

In a large bowl, mix egg, Purple Puree, ketchup, salt, and bread crumbs. Then add the ground beef, mixing with hands until well combined. If too sticky, add a few more bread crumbs. 

Using damp hands, shape mixture into 8 to 10 patties that are fairly thin. At this point, the burgers may be prepared a day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. If you are not freezing for future use, proceed to next steps.

Spray a large skillet or grill pan with nonstick cooking spray and set over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Cook the burgers for 3 minutes on each side then flip and add cheese (optional) to melt over patties for another 3 minutes.

Serve on fresh, soft burger buns or English muffins with ketchup and pickles. 

Make-Ahead Recipe #8: Chickpea Puree 

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas* (garbanzo beans)
2 to 3 tablespoons water
*If you prefer to use whole beans, soak overnight and cook as directed

Rinse and drain the chickpeas and place them in the bowl of your food processor. Add 1 tablespoon of the water, then pulse on high until you have a smooth puree. If necessary, use a little more water, a tiny bit at a time, until the mixture smoothes out and no pieces or full chickpeas are visible.

This recipe makes about 1 cup of puree; double it if you want to store another cup. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1⁄4-cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.

 


This Father’s Day, make him feel special right from the start with a decadent treat he’s guaranteed to love. Deliver breakfast in bed this Sunday with a stack of hot fresh pancakes and warm strawberry syrup. These pancakes have the look and taste of a white flour pancake, yet there is absolutely no flour in them! You’ll be nourishing him with hearty fare, packed with enough protein and whole grains to keep him feeling good all morning long.  And when dad’s happy, everyone’s happy!

Keep this recipe for regular weekdays when your mornings are rushed (and whose aren’t?!). You can make the batter the night before, then serve freshly made pancakes any day of the week; or place the cooked pancakes in a plastic bag and freeze them for up to three months, then simply toast them in the morning. These pancakes also hold up well as a “grab and go” handheld breakfast in the car on the way to work. You can find the Free Recipe right below this post.

Make the man you love feel special this Father’s Day!

With healthiest regards,

Missy 

Sneaky Chef Father's Day Pancakes with Warm Strawberry Syrup

Makes about 6 servings

1⁄2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1⁄2 cup low-fat milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1⁄2 cup rolled oats
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1⁄2 cup Flour Blend (equal parts all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour and wheat germ) 
2 to 4 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional

In the container of a blender, combine all ingredients except Flour Blend and chocolate chips and blend until smooth. Add Flour Blend and pulse a few times until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and mix lightly with a spoon (do not blend the chips if you want them to remain whole).

   Spray non-stick cooking oil on a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Test the pan by tossing in a few drops of water; it will sizzle when it’s hot enough. The skillet will grow hotter over time, so turn down the heat if the pan starts to smoke.

   Drop small ladles (about 1 tablespoon) of batter onto the skillet in batches, making sure there are some chocolate chips in each pancake. When bubbles begin to set around the edges and the skillet-side of each pancake is golden (peek underneath), gently flip them over. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is fully set.

   Serve stacked high, drizzled with a little warm Strawberry Syrup (see recipe below) or dusted with powdered sugar.

Strawberry Syrup: 

Strawberries (fresh or frozen) combined with an equal part pure maple syrup. Pulse in blender. Warm, and serve.

Sneaky Time-Saving Tip! 

Put all ingredients (except the sprinkles) in the blender the night before and refrigerate overnight. 


CHONY BOY MAY 2010.jpg


Earlier this week I spent a truly remarkable day at the Children's Hospital of New York–Presbyterian  (CHONY). I've been trying to find a way to write about it all week.



I was invited to spend a couple of hours at the integrative therapies program for children with cancer, in order to teach kids about good nutrition. But as often happens with kids, it was the teacher who became the student. I learned more about hope and love, and real joy, on that one day, than I have in my whole life.



There was one six year old boy in particular, Justin (in photo above), who was so happy the whole time, and who was totally eager to dive into everything that was going on around him. The hardship that he was going through was plain to see on his physical body, but this did not dampen his enthusiasm one bit. His spirit was magnificently contagious and everyone was touched by him. I completely fell in love.



I felt compelled to share his joy and carefully picked him up over my head. He loved it. But not as much as I did. This child reminded me how to fully live in each moment, and why it's so important to love freely and completely in every moment that we have. 



I will never forget this day at CHONY, and I dedicate this blog to my wonderful friend Justin.

Missy


This just in: The Huffington Post just did an article on 5 Remarkable Female Entrepreneurs. I'm flattered to have been chosen by Rob Rosenthal!

The"Mompreneur": Missy Chase Lapine
The mompreneur seamlessly blends motherhood with commerce. That's no easy feat as looking after children is itself a full time proposition. But if it can be done it comes with the built-in advantage that the mompreneur is her own "walking demo" -- she really knows her audience. 


MyRecipes.com just did a feature story loaded with great recipes. You can find easy and healthy recipes, quick dinner ideas, and kid-friendly meals–approved by kids and moms. 

Here's their first question and my answer:

Q: What is your definition of a healthy recipe for kids?

Sneaky Chef
A recipe is only healthy if you can get kids to eat it! By starting with tried-and-true favorites that kids already love (macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets) and hiding healthy ingredients inside, you're sure to have a winner. This is what differentiates Sneak Chef recipes from the other "healthy" recipes out there.

Q: How do you hide nutrients in kid-friendly recipes?

Sneaky Chef
: I actually have 13Sneaky Chef "methods of disguise;" the most famous of which is to pureesuperfoods–such as carrots, yams, whole grains, beans, broccoli, spinach, and blueberries–and hide them in kids' favorite foods (try my Barbell Burgers or Power Pizza). The other methods include decoys (like a few rainbow sprinkles or chocolate chips) to make foods look totally fun and kid-friendly, plus healthy substitutes for common ingredients.

Next: Parents' Questions >

Enjoy in good health, 

Missy 


One of the great perks of being the Sneaky Chef is meeting people who love food and fun as much as I do! I had a great time last week with a truly amazing group or women: Dallas' top mom bloggers. Thanks to Uncle Ben’s who brought us together, I got to connect with this bunch of passionate, energetic, fun-loving folk. We had plenty of laughs as we whipped up pizza rice balls, chocolate rice pudding, and lots more.

One of the bloggers posted this entertaining blog after the event:

“I am still toying around with the name of this post. I had to so much fun today that I just don’t know what title fits best. I met some old friends and some new friends today. It goes to show that in Texas, no one is a stranger. You would have sworn we were all family. Just check out our family photo:

uncle bens event dallas may 2010-300x225.jpg
“What could bring this quirky group together? FOOD! Today, myself and a few of my blogging buddies were blessed to be able to learn how to be sneak from Missy Lapine, The Sneaky Chef. Missy showed us how to become more diverse with our cooking and with Uncle Ben’s (WHITE) Whole Grain Rice. Now me being the child of the group, I didn’t want to try anything! The thought of veggies touching these lips was unheard of and quite frankly, not gonna happen. I figured I would make the suggested recipes and then feed them to my veggie eating crumb snatchers at home. My kids love veggies but me on the other hand, yeah not happening…

“Long story short, as Dr. Phil would say, this is the changing day in my life. I was convinced that one of the wonderful recipes was worth trying so I tried <http://www.thesneakychef.com/index.php> Sneaky Chef Pizza Rice Balls. Let me make this announcement now because it rarely ever happens but, I was wrong. Those little balls of rice renewed my faith in vegetables and made me wanna buy wheat germ! I am as picky as it gets and this dish tastes like a delicious pasta or spaghetti o’s to a kid. I had trouble saving some for my kids but I did and guess what, they no longer think that Missy Lapine should be brought up on charges of treason!”

Read another great blog Here (scroll down to May 13th)  


I'm thrilled when celebrities come out in support of kids and veggies. Jenny Garth just posted a great interview online where she talks about how The Sneaky Chefcookbooks help her to get her family to eat their veggies. You can view the entire interview at: CelebrityBabyScoop.com.

Here's the quote:

JG: "I was shocked to find out how many kids are not provided with fruits and vegetables every day... We have our own garden and have a great appreciation for fresh vegetables at our house, but I have been known to use The Sneaky Chefcookbook now and then."

Even with her own garden, the Sneaky Chef method helps to get her kids to eat their delicious home grown veggies. Try it. It will help you, too!

Enjoy in good health, 

Missy


I just completed a great new full length cooking demo that was filmed at a recent event. Don't miss it!

Enjoy in good health,

Missy
 


Look for me demonstrating