How to get super foods into little super heroes
We are very much into super heroes around here. Buzz Lightyear and Action Chugger in particular. At any given moment, the latter will come zooming across my line of sight to rescue some poor toy in distress (we have had to ban Master N from tying them upside down from the blind cords) with theme song and catch cry, "I'm number one and I get the job done." Action Chugger is, in truth, a bit of a tool but I don't have the heart to tell my toddler.
Aspiring super heroes need super foods but do you think I can get anything green into my child on that pretext? He is wise to most of my ploys, including bribes, so I have taken to disguising vegetables until he works out that they're actually not that bad. Like maybe when he's 35. My husband still balks at salad. Food that food eats, he calls it.
Cooking for this pair has resulted in a couple of dinner favourites packed with invisible goodness. That sounds like a super power right there, doesn't it. I still have to talk them up to the nearly three year old Mr Suspicious, so they have exaggerated names that bear only a distant resemblance to what they actually are but he doesn't seem to notice.
Being me and chronically time challenged whether I have a lot on or not, these recipes can be prepped in minutes and then it's just a matter of the cooking. Master N likes to help with stirring and they're all good for that too.
I also had to include something sweet. These jewelled chocolate crackles with a secret ingredient of Turkish Delight are not at all healthy but they do raise the boring average crackle to super new heights. Seriously, they're an easy kids in the kitchen treat to whip up together and in the following days they're a morning tea snack worth fighting your toddler for. I'm not a fan of the copha traditionally used in the back-of-pack recipe so I replace most of it with straight chocolate. Much tastier.
Cheesy bacon and corn "pancakes"
Makes about 10
One zucchini (courgette), grated
One small can of creamed corn
Two rashers bacon, diced
Optional: two shallots (scallions), chopped
Optional: handful of coriander leaves, chopped
Three tablespoons flour
One egg, lightly whisked
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
Heat a large fry pan over medium heat and spray with oil.
Dollop pikelet sized fritters around the pan and cook for four or five minutes each side until golden.
Serve as is for kids. For adults, serve on top of dressed rocket leaves with a teaspoon of sour cream and tomato relish.
Spinach and ricotta "pizza" (actually a quickie quesadilla)
One packet of wholemeal tortillas
100g fresh ricotta
100g frozen spinach, cooked and drained (I microwave mine for 2 mins)
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
Optional: roasted diced sweet potato (I make a habit of having these in my fridge)
Optional: sweet chilli sauce
Mix the ricotta, spinach and tasty cheese in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Smear the mixture on one tortilla and if using, scatter around the sweet potato and drizzle with a small amount of sweet chilli sauce. Top with another tortilla.
Place in a hot sandwich press for one or two minutes until crispy and the cheese is melted.
Cut into wedges and serve.
My kid calls this pizza. I like to call it bar snacks. Pass the Coronas.
Super easy mac and cheese (with hidden cauliflower)
2 cups cooked small pasta shapes like macaroni/shells/elbows/spirals
2 cans creamed corn
1/2 head of cauliflower, broken into small florets and cooked (I steam mine in the microwave for 5 mins)
150ml sour cream
1 cup grated tasty cheese
Preheat oven to 200C.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, season with salt and black pepper, and pour into a greased gratin dish.
Bake for 30-35 mins until golden brown.
This works well as a side or an easy weekend main. Kids will like this as is but adults may like it even better with a scattering of fresh basil leaves to serve.
Jewelled chocolate crackles
4 cups Rice Bubbles or puffed rice cereal
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup icing sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
200g milk chocolate
4 bars of Frys Chocolate covered Turkish Delight, chopped into small squares
Melt the copha and chocolate together slowly in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
Line a tray with paper cupcake wrappers. Silver foil ones look especially pretty when finished.
Stir together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the melted chocolate and copha and mix until all combined.
Stir in half the chopped Turkish Delight.
Spoon the mixture into the cupcake wrappers and scatter with remaining pieces of Turkish Delight.
Place in the fridge to cool for at least two hours until set.