Healthy treats: Hummus, veggie nuggets, tarts

You don't have to sneak veggies into your kids' food to get them to eat healthy. Here, Catherine McCord, founder of Weelicious.com, shares recipes for dishes that are nutritious and delicious for the whole family.

Red beet and white bean hummus
Servings:

Makes 3 cups

Ingredients

    • 1 medium red beet
    • 1 large garlic clove, unpeeled
    • one 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1/2 tablespoon)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • optional accompaniments

Preparation

Baking Directions:

When I first made this recipe for Kenya and Chloe, they were as fascinated by the taste as they were by the color. They kept cheering "pink food!" as they ate bowl after bowl. The ingredients are almost identical to a true hummus, minus the tahini, and the addition of the beets makes it an even more nutrient-rich dish that also provides a healthy amount of protein. The tangy flavor and smooth and creamy texture of this dish are so mouthwatering that I think you'll find it to be a hit with kids of any age in your house. Everything from vegetables to chicken gets the dipping treatment. I served it as the centerpiece snack at Chloe's second and third birthday parties, and all the kids and moms were transfixed by the color. Pink food-every little girl's dream! 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 2. Wash the beet well and place with the garlic clove on a sheet of foil. Pull up the sides of the foil and fold to make a packet, leaving room so that heat can circulate inside. 3. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the beet is tender when poked with a knife. Set aside until cool to the touch. 4. Put a plastic bag over your hand and gently remove the skin from the beet and garlic clove. (The bag will keep your hand clean.) 5. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and puree until smooth and cooled. 6. Serve. The hummus will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. Optional accompaniments: Cut-up vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, celery, cauliflower, cucumber, and sugar snap peas, or pita chips or tortilla chips

Veggie nuggets
Servings:

Makes 40 to 50 nuggets

Ingredients

    • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
    • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1 cup broccoli florets
    • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 large eggs, whisked
    • 1 cup bread crumbs
    • olive or canola oil
    • cooking spray
    • Ketchup or mustard, for serving (optional)

Preparation

Baking Directions:

I've received countless e-mails from moms asking if I have a recipe similar to the boxed veggie nuggets available at the grocery store. Finally, I broke down and bought some to see what all the fuss was about. Although labeled "all natural," the boxed nuggets contain tons of fillers that are totally unnatural in my eyes, so I decided to come up with my own version. Not only are these nuggets out-of-this-world delicious, they're super easy to make, and this recipe makes five times the number you get in a $5 box from the store. That's a $20 savings right there! Just pop what you don't use into labeled freezer bags and you're all set. 1. Place the potatoes and carrots in a steamer pot over boiling water and steam for 15 minutes.2. Add the broccoli and steam for 5 minutes.3. Place the potatoes in a bowl and mash them. Place the corn, broccoli, and carrots in a food processor and pulse to finely chop.4. Add the chopped vegetables, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder to the mashed potatoes and stir to incorporate.5. Spread the mixture ½ inch thick on a baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour (no more than 1½ hours).6. When you're ready to make the nuggets, place the flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in three separate bowls, forming an assembly line.7. Preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Coat the foil with cooking spray.8. Remove the pan from the freezer. Use a 1- to 2-inch-wide cookie cutter to cut out shapes from the potato mixture, or use a knife to cut into small squares. Gently coat the nuggets with the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs, and place on the baking sheet.9. Lightly coat the nuggets with cooking spray. Broil for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden, keeping an eye on them so that they don't burn. (You can also bake the nuggets at 450°F for 10 minutes.)10. Serve with ketchup or mustard if desired.To Freeze: After step 8, place the breaded nuggets on a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer, place in a zip-top bag, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.

Raspberry cream cheese heart tarts
Servings:

Makes 10 tarts

Ingredients

  • For tarts

    • 1/2 cup fresh or defrosted frozen raspberries
    • 1/4 cup whipped cream cheese
    • 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
    • 1 double Pie Crust (recipe follows) or one
    • 14-ounce premade pie crust
  • For icing

    • 10 fresh or defrosted frozen raspberries
    • 1 tablespoon milk or water
    • 11/2 cups powdered sugar

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Place the raspberries, cream cheese, and honey in a bowl. Using the back of a fork, mash the raspberries with the cream cheese, leaving some pieces of raspberry intact.2. Roll out the pie crust to ¼ inch thick and, using a heart-shaped cookie cutter about the size of your fist, cut out about 20 heart shapes.3. Place 1 heart on a lightly floured work surface and place 2 teaspoons of the cream cheese mixture in the center, leaving a ¼-inch border.4. Lightly dip your index finger into a cup of water and "brush" the border with water. This will allow the 2 sides of the heart to adhere to each other.5. Top with another cutout heart. With the tines of a fork, gently press down along the edges to adhere the 2 sides, making sure not to press so hard that the cream cheese mixture goes beyond the boundary of the pastry heart. With a toothpick, poke some holes in the top of the heart to remove any air pockets.6. Repeat to make the rest of the heart tarts.7. Preheat the oven to 400°F.8. Place the tarts on a parchment- or Silpat lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Set the tarts aside to cool.9. While the hearts are baking, make the icing. Place the raspberries in a strainer and press down with the back of a spoon to release the raspberry juice into a bowl. You should have about 2 tablespoons of juice.10. Whisk in the milk and slowly whisk in the powdered sugar.11. When the tarts are cool, use a spoon to spread the raspberry icing over the hearts and serve.to Freeze: After step 6, place the hearts on a baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Place the hearts in a zip-top bag, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, start at step 7, adding an extra 3 minutes to the baking time.

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