When it comes to getting kids to eat more veggies, I know it's not always easy to go green. In the first episode of my new show "Dylan Dishes: Cooking with Cal" on TODAY All Day, I'm sharing some of my favorites ways my son Cal and I are "Living on the Veg." From my super moist (and super easy) zucchini bread to a veggie-packed pasta, I promise kids of all ages will find something to love about these recipes.
Sometimes the best way to ensure that everyone around the table is getting nutritious and delicious meals is to be a little sneaky. One of my favorite dinner hacks? Stir fry some ground beef and add in diced veggies like carrots or colorful bell peppers. It not only looks pretty, but packing protein with more of the good stuff is an easy way to bump up the nutritional value of any meal.
After "Cooking with Cal" airs, I usually get a ton of questions from viewers, so I'll be tackling more of those in my new series, too. People often ask me about how I get my kids to try new things. Well, my food philosophy is pretty simple — since Cal started eating solid food, I usually feed him a version of whatever I'm eating. That means less prep work and fewer items to buy at the grocery store. Now my favorite taste tester has really become an amazing little sous chef.
In the first episode of "Dylan Dishes," I'm revisiting two veggie-packed recipes that I love for different reasons. My family has been making zucchini bread for years and this version makes a perfect breakfast, anytime snack or even dessert. And a few chocolate chips never hurt, right?
For the main dish, Cal and I whip up rigatoni with chickpeas and broccoli. It's a surprisingly simple recipe, but it's packed with flavor thanks to fresh garlic, lemon juice and a generous portion of salty Parmesan cheese.
I love this zucchini bread because it is so easy to make. Even though it has plenty of zucchini, this bread doesn't taste like squash. In fact, the water from the shredded zucchini just makes this loaf incredibly moist. The sweet applesauce, warm cinnamon spice and dark chocolate chips truly elevate the flavor profile of this anytime treat.
This recipe by Marc Meyer is from the cookbook, "Serving New York: For All The People Who Make NYC Dining Unforgettable," which was first released in 2020 to raise funds for restaurant workers in New York City during the start of the pandemic. It checks off all the things I look for in a healthy dinner: veggies, starch and protein. It's been a huge hit at our dinner table.
“Dylan Dishes: Cooking with Cal” airs Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 am EST on TODAY.com/AllDay.