Results tagged “sneaky chef recipe” from The Sneaky Chef

10 Tips for a Healthier Halloween

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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!

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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.  

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– 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

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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.

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipe

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Hi Missy,

I bought your book after reading few recipes and I am trying to find your pizza dough recipe... Thanks!

Dear Lori,

Here's my recipe for Gluten Free Pizza Crust from my book, Sneaky Chef to the Rescue. 

Enjoy in good health!

Missy

GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA CRUST

As I’ve said before, the true taste test for a good GF product is whether non-GF kids like it too. That also solves another problem for mom, since she can finally make one recipe for the entire family and not single out her allergic child with a separate recipe. My Sammy, who fortunately is not allergic to gluten, proclaimed “oh, yeah, that’s delicious” when I asked her to give this a try – and that was even before I added the sauce and cheese!

Makes one medium pizza crust

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup Chickpea Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe below)
1 large egg
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon each oregano, onion and garlic powder
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (*substitute rice or soy cheese if dairy allergy)
½ cup GF flour (such as garbanzo flour or rice flour)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush the olive oil in the center of a baking sheet.

In a mixing bowl, combine Chickpea Puree with the egg, salt, oregano, onion and garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese. Add the GF flour and mix until well blended. Lightly oil your hands then remove the mixture from the bowl and shape into a large ball.

Place the dough on the oiled cookie sheet and, using the palm of your hand, press the dough with the palm of your hand into an imperfect, rustic flat circle or oval shape. Don’t cover the entire baking sheet. Spray the top side of the dough generously with oil.

Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and save (wrapped in foil) in the refrigerator for use within 3 days or proceed to make pizza immediately.

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.

 Dear Missy,

I wanted to make the brainy brownies, but was wondering if I could use a box mix instead of completely from scratch???..I have plenty of box mixes that I wanted to use up, and also didn't have all of the other ingredients on hand...Thank you so much for any help! –Staci

Dear Staci, 

You certainly can! Here's the recipe right out of book #1. 

Enjoy in good health!

Missy


Quick Fix to Store-Bought Brownie Mix

If you don’t have time for the scratch version, this doctored-up packaged brownie mix fits some great nutrients in. Simply replace half of the oil and all the water with nutrient-rich Purple Puree and replace some of the dry mix with wheat germ. No one I’ve asked, kids or adults, could tell the difference between these and the regular version.

1/2 cup wheat germ, unsweetened
1 box (about 21 ounces) brownie mix (preferably without hydrogenated oils)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup Purple Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #1)
1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or coat with cooking spray a 13-by- 9-inch or 8-inch square baking pan.

Measure and discard (or save for future use) 1/2 cup of the dry packaged brownie mix and replace with 1/2 cup of wheat germ. Mix together with the eggs, oil, and Purple Puree until well blended. 

Follow package directions for baking time, depending on size of baking dish used.

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.

Freezing Purees

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Dear Missy,

I am always guilty of one thing...going gung-ho at first over something \"new\" and then dropping the ball because of my hectic schedule with work and the kids. So, 2 questions for you:
1. How long do purees last in the freezer (chest freezer)?
2. Are any of your recipes (and which ones) good for freezing?

Just heard an old Vicky and Jen podcast with you and it re-ignited my passion for trying to get some veggies back in our lives! –Julie

Dear Julie,

I know exactly what you mean: I have the best of intentions when I hear of a good thing, and then life inevitably crashes in. But I've also learned to prioritize!

To answer your questions: the purees will last about 3 months properly sealed in the freezer. Almost all of my recipes freeze well. Nothing special to consider there.

If you puree once per month, it will pay off over and over again in everything you make. It is VERY worth it. You'll feel great feeding your family such healthy recipes. It's what got me hooked!

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year,

Missy

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!

Satellite Media Tour Today

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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

Great Egg Salad Sandwich Recipe

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Dear Missy,

What creative way can you get  my children to eat egg salad? Thanks!

Dear Christy,
 
Here's my recipe for egg salad from my Men's Book. If you're making it for your children, just reduce the mustard by about 2/3 or eliminate it altogether. The result will be some of the best egg salad they've ever tasted, fortified with a substantial amount of tofu and white beans to boot!

Enjoy in good health!

Missy
 
Egg-Me-On Salad Sandwich
 
If your guy likes thick, old-fashioned egg salad sandwiches, he’ll love this recipe. He won’t 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. For kids, just reduce the mustard by 2/3 or eliminate altogether.
 
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 (see Make-Ahead Recipe #9)
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.

 

Dear Missy,

how do you get eggs to appeal to kids so they will like them.I would like to do eggs (scrambled, sunny side up) and french toast for breakfast, egg salad for lunch... Thanks! Christy

Dear Christy,

Here's my recipe for Fortified French Toast, French Toast Dip Sticks and Popeye's Eggs. That should get you off to a great start!

Enjoy in good health,

Missy

Fortified French Toast
Nutrition Highlights: Whole grains, protein, and vegetables
Rich in vitamins B, C, A, and K, potassium, fiber and calcium
 
I often make this batter the night before and leave it covered in the refrigerator for quicker french toast in the morning. The pureed sweet potatoes and carrots in the batter lend a hint of sweetness to the already delicious batter, and the optional crunchy topping is not only a great decoy technique, it adds whole grain health. If you don’t have time for the topping, a light dusting of powdered sugar also does the trick.
 
Makes 4 slices French toast
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #2 on Free Recipe Page this website)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 slices bread (preferably whole wheat)
Butter for pan frying
Powdered sugar for dusting
 
In a large shallow baking dish, whisk together the eggs, milk, Orange Puree, maple syrup (or honey), cinnamon, and vanilla. Dip bread until soaked through, then flip and soak other side. Cook on a moderately hot, well-greased skillet or frying pan, turning to brown each side. Dust lightly with powdered sugar.
 
French Toast Dip Sticks
Following recipe above, cut the pieces of french toast into kid-friendly finger-sized sticks so that they can dip them into maple syrup or Homemade Berry Syrup (see recipe, pg.(book only)).
 
Crunchy French Toast Variation
1 cup whole grain cereal flakes (like Wheaties or Total)
1/4 c wheat germ, unsweetened
 
Using a rolling pin, gently crush cereal (in a sealed plastic bag) to coarse crushed flakes. Alternatively, you can quickly pulse the cereal in a food processor. Pour crushed cereal on a plate, and add the wheat germ. Mix well. Dip each side of the soaked bread from the above recipe in the topping. Proceed to pan fry in butter as instructed above.
 
Popeye’s Eggs
Nutrition Highlights: Protein, vegetables, whole grains, and calcium
Rich in vitamins A and K, folate, iron, tryptophan, selenium, and calcium
 
Here’s a wacky recipe that goes really well with a breakfast reading of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. It’s also a fun way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or Earth Day. It’s hard to believe, but the spinach juice leaves no discernable taste, only a terrific green color. This dish will either be a big hit with the kids or get you laughed out of the kitchen. You can also use the tortilla and cheese to hide the green eggs inside a breakfast wrap. The ham is strictly optional.
 
Makes 2 small servings
Butter for pan
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Spinach Juice (see Make Ahead Recipe #5 below)
2 soft flour tortillas (preferably whole wheat)
2 slices American cheese (optional)
Salt
 
Melt butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk in the Spinach Juice until well incorporated. Add the beaten egg mixture to the skillet, allow to set briefly, and then, using a rubber spatula, lift edges of eggs as they cook, letting uncooked part run underneath until omelet is completely set.
Place half of the omelet in each tortilla, season with salt, and top each with a slice of cheese and roll up. The cheese will melt under the hot eggs.
If you prefer to serve these as scrambled eggs, simply pour the egg mixture into the hot skillet and stir frequently until they are cooked through.
 
Sneaky tip: Smell eggs after cracking to be sure there is no off odor.

Make-Ahead Recipe #5: Green Juice
3 cups raw baby spinach leaves (or 2 cups frozen chopped spinach, or frozen chopped collard greens)
1 cup water 
 
If using raw spinach, thoroughly wash it, even if package says “ prewashed.” Bring spinach or collards and water to boil in a medium pot. Turn heat to low and allow to 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. 
Store in refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers. This makes about 1 cup of Green juice. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of juice. 
Green Juice is used in the following recipes:
Quick Fixes for Store-Bought Chocolate Pudding
Earth Day Milk Shake
Chocolate Shake
Popeye’s Eggs
Green Icing
 
Nutritional Information for Green Juice:
Green Juice is an extremely nutrient dense food. One tablespoon of it is comparable to eating about 1/4 cup of spinach leaves. It has been boiled for safety, and it possesses the motherlode of nutrients like iron, calcium and enzymes for digestion, as well as chlorophyll and carotenes for disease-fighting power. 
 
 

Crunchy Chicken Tenders

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Hi Missy,

I'm stuck!  My 10 year old will not eat any meat.  We've tried all kinds made all ways.  She will eat disgusting store bought frozen chicken nuggets, but not homemade chicken cutlets or nuggets.  Do you have any tips for getting her to get protein & iron in?

Dear Georgina,

I would first recommend trying my Crunchy Chicken Tenders and see if they work. They get rave reviews from most kids the age of your daughter. I'll paste the recipe below (from my first book).

Regarding your questions about protein and iron: spinach, and other dark greens, are a great source of both. You'll find spinach in my purple puree and in my recipe for green juice. Tofu, beans and nuts are significant sources of protein. And some grains, like millet, are very high in iron.

Enjoy in good health!

Missy


CRUNCHY CHICKEN TENDERS

You can gradually increase the amount of the Orange Puree used in this batter. Your kids may not be able to see the veggies under the crunchy breading, but their little bodies know the nutrients are there because overall, they just feel more energized. You can pan fry these in a little heart-healthy olive oil or oven bake them if you are short on time in the kitchen.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders (or boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour, ideally whole wheat
2 large eggs
1/4 to 1/2 cup Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #_)
2 cups Better Breading (see Make-Ahead Recipe #_)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Olive oil for pan frying

Season chicken tenders with salt. Place flour in a shallow dish or on a plate. Beat eggs with Orange Puree in shallow bowl and place next to the flour. In a third shallow dish or on a paper plate, combine the Better Breading with the Parmesan cheese.

Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, shaking off excess, then the egg mixture, and then the Better Breading mixture. Press the breading evenly onto both sides of the chicken. Put on wax or parchment paper and store in the refrigerator for cooking tomorrow or proceed to cook immediately.

Pan-fry method:

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add a few strips 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. Reduce the heat to low and continue heating chicken until cooked through, about another 10 minutes. Blot cooked tenders on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Oven-bake method (not as brown and crisp, but quicker):

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place breaded tenders on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Turn chicken tenders over once with tongs, then return to oven for another 10 to 12 minutes until cooked through.

 

Vegetarian Lentil Puree

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Dear Missy,

My toddler does not like meat (or fish) and will not touch anything with meat in it.  I use your first cookbook and love making the meatless dishes for my little one.  I use quite a bit of the orange puree dishes.  I hide it in your french toast, mac and cheese, grilled cheese, and Frank n' Beans (with meatless hotdogs of course) recipes.  We also use the white puree in your twiced baked potatoes.  He LOVES the green puree and eats it without me hiding it in anything!  We don't have issues getting him to eat fruit either.  In addition to you meatless recipes we go through a lot of hummus & natural peanut butter. I would like to prepare more dishes that use lentils and quinoa but don't have any kid-friendly recipes. Do you have any plans to publish a vegetarian cookbook? 

Dear Valerie,

It sounds like Sneaky cooking is working quite well for your family : )  
I happen to have a lentil puree in my third book, Sneaky Chef to the Rescue. I've pasted the recipe below. 

One day I hope to do a vegetarian book. Keep your eyes peeled ; )

Enjoy in good health, and keep up the great work!

Missy

Make-Ahead Recipe #5: Lentil Puree

2/3 cup lentils* (about 4 ounces), rinsed 
2 cups water plus 2 tablespoons water

*Green Lentils have the most fiber, but you can use any color lentil for this recipe - green, brown, orange, black; also feel free to substitute canned lentils and skip the cooking step – go right to pureeing.

Combine the lentils and the water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Drain any excess liquid and fill the bowl of your food processor with the lentils and 1 tablespoon of water. Puree on high until as smooth as possible, adding the other tablespoon of water if needed. Stop occasionally to push the contents to the bottom. If necessary, use another tablespoon of water to smooth-out the puree.

This recipe makes about 1 ½ cups of puree; double it if you want to store more. It 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.

Lentil Puree is used in the following recipes:
Mexican Cheeseburger
Sneaky Sliders
Sneaky Gravy

 

PRETTY PINK POPCORN BALLS FOR VALENTINES

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If food is love, then your family will adore this Sneaky Chef Valentine’s Day recipe that’ll keep their precious hearts healthy! 

These treats are so cute that my daughter, Sammy, is bringing them to school for the other kids on Valentine’s Day. They are a nice change from the heart-shaped lollipops and chocolates that the other kids share. 

Enjoy in good health!

Missy

Make 6 balls

6 cups popped popcorn 
4 ounces regular marshmallows (a little less than half of a 10-ounce package)
1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Cherry Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe below)
3 tablespoons oat bran
6 craft sticks

Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside. In a saucepan, melt marshmallows and canola or vegetable oil over low heat. Stir in Cherry Puree and oat bran. Pour over popcorn and toss to coat. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then spray your hands with oil and shape mixture into 6 baseball-sized balls. Re-spray hands with oil as needed.

Insert a craft stick into the end of each ball and place on wax or parchment paper to harden. 

Make-Ahead Recipe #7: Cherry Puree

2 ½ cups fresh or frozen cherries,* no syrup or sugar added
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1 to 2 tablespoons water

Makes about 1 cup of puree

Fill the bowl of your food processor with the cherries, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon 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 smooth-out the puree.

This recipe makes about 1 cup of puree; double it if you want to store another cup. It 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.

*Try to use organic cherries, since they rank high on the “dirty dozen” list of produce most contaminated with pesticide residues.

For more Valentine’s Day recipes, check out The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue: 101 All-New Recipes and “Sneaky” Tricks for Creating Healthy Meals Kids Will Love

Blastin' Bean Dip

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Refried beans can be a Sneaky Chef’s best friend if they are low-fat and made without lard. Pinto beans top the antioxidant and fiber charts, so they’re already healthy in their own right—but they also provide a brilliant disguise for our White Puree. And don’t discount the health factor of salsa, which is one of the healthiest of America’s favorite toppings.

 
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced 
1 cup White Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #4)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin
1 (15-ounce) can refried pinto beans, ideally low-fat
1 cup store-bought salsa
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Optional toppings: Handful of chopped jalapeños, plain yogurt, chopped fresh cilantro leaves, shredded low-fat cheddar cheese, or a dollop of One-and-Only Guacamole. 
 
Heat the oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes, and then add the garlic, White Puree, chili powder, cumin, refried beans, and salsa. Stir well to combine, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes.
 
Serve with optional toppings and Spice Boys Corn Chips, whole grain tortilla chips, or carrot and celery sticks.

Chili Macho Nachos

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Makes 4 servings

Large bowl low-fat tortilla chips, ideally Sneaky Chef Spice Boys Corn Chips (Chili Spice Variation)
2 cups Sneaky Chef Doctor’s Choice Chili (or other chili)
1⁄2 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt, for garnish
Chopped jalapeños, to taste, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line an ovenproof serving bowl or casserole dish with tortilla chips. Spoon the chili over the chips. Top with cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until the chili is warmed through and the cheese melts. Garnish with sour cream or yogurt and jalapeños. Serve warm.

From The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on Your Man in the Kitchen!
 

Spiced Rattle Snacks

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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.
 
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.

Dear Missy,

I want to thank you for helping improve the health of my son.  He was diagnosed with reflux at age 1 and allergies and asthma at age 2.  His weight was under the 1st percentile and his height was only the 5th percentile.  He vomited multiple times a day, sometimes just looking at a new food.  Last Christmas, my mother-in-law got me your book, and 1 year later my son is at the 50th percentile for both weight and height!  He is also off his reflux medication.  It's been amazing.  I thought I would share his favorite recipe (that he likes to make wearing his chef hat).

Blueberry Muffins, Sneaky Chef Style:

1 cup Purple Puree
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 cups Flour Blend
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
dash of salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

Combine Flour Blend, sugar, salt, baking powder and set aside.  Whisk together Purple Puree, oil, vanilla, and egg.  Stir in dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed.  Stir in blueberries.  Coat muffin tin with cooking spray and divide batter equally among holes.  Bake at preheated 400 degree oven for about 16 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.

Thank you for your wonderful books!

Lori B., Colorado

Dear Lori,

What a wonderful and deeply moving testimonial you've sent. I can't tell you how much it means to me to get a letter like this. Really. I am completely awe struck. It motivates me to work ever harder, every day, to help children like yours.

I am so happy your son has improved! And there is the possibility that your story could be included in some future book that I'll write, similar to Sneaky Chef to the Rescue, so if you're interested, please keep me informed of your contact information if it changes so that I'll be able to reach you at that time.

I love how much Purple Puree you're using in the recipe! What color does it turn out??

Keep up the great work!

Missy

Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe

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Dear Missy,

Hello! I love your book. It helps my autistic child to eat more healthy food without resisting. I'm just wondering if there are any recipe ideas for crock pot meals? Thanks! Alaris

Dear Alaris,

I'm so glad my recipes are helping your child : )

Here's a great recipe for crock pot chicken, plus a letter I received from a reader that I thought you might like.

Enjoy in good health!

Missy
 
SLOW COOKER PULLED BBQ CHICKEN
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.
 
Makes 6 servings 
1 ¼ cups store-bought BBQ sauce* (or 2 cups Down Under BBQ Sauce, pg. __)
¾ cup White or Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #_ or #_)
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 "Down Under 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.
Note: For best results, do not remove cover during cooking.
 
”I LOVE YOU MUMMY”
“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)

Recipe for Manli-Cotti

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Hi Missy,

My kids love Manicotti, so I was wondering how to make it
more healthy.  Thanks so much!

Dear Cindy,

This is one of my favorites, too! I have a great recipe for "manli-cotti" in my second book, for men. Here's the recipe below. (You can find the recipe for White Puree on the Free Recipe pages of my website).


Enjoy in good health!

 

Missy

 
Stuffed Manli-Cotti
 
This recipe really passes the Sneaky Chef Challenge, thanks to the convenient blandness of high-fiber, low-fat tofu. In this case, the tofu mimics the taste and texture of higher fat cheese. The cheesy mixture also camouflages hidden vegetables, and the tomato sauce affords yet another opportunity to slip in additional undetectable veggies.
 
Makes 6 servings
1 (8-ounce) package manicotti (12 tubes)
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup firm tofu, mashed well or pureed in a food processor (1⁄2 of a 14-ounce block)
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 cups White Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #4)
1⁄2 teaspoon salt 
Freshly ground pepper, to taste 
11⁄2 cups store-bought tomato sauce, or 2 cups Mega Marinara Sauce,* page 228
 
*If you are using Mega Marinara Sauce, omit the White Puree called for in this recipe.
 
Cook the manicotti according to the package directions. Drain and rinse. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with oil.
In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, tofu, garlic, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of the White Puree. In another bowl, mix the remaining cup of the White Puree into the tomato sauce.
Fill each manicotti with the ricotta mixture, about 3 tablespoons of filling per tube. Spread 3⁄4 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Place the filled manicotti in a single layer on top of the sauce. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the manicotti, cover the pan with foil sprayed with oil, and bake for 30 minutes.
 
Extra Cheesy Variation
Follow the instructions for Manli-Cotti, but just before baking, sprinkle the top of the casserole with 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 3 ounces). Cover with foil and bake as directed. Remove foil for the final 5 to 10 minutes of baking to lightly brown the cheese.

 

Sneak into any recipe?

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Missy: I picked up your book from the library and am really
interested both my daughter and husband do not eat veggies, my
question is...can I use my meatloaf receipe and add sneaky
ingredients...could I do this with all my receipes?
 
–Teresa D.
 

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