Odds and Ends

So a couple of ideas to mix up some of the recipes posted here:

Homemade croutons are as easy as leftover bread from pasta night! I have been adding these to the Tomato Salad for the past couple of weeks and they are a little bit of heaven.

Cut leftover bread into cubes, about 2 cups worth
2 TBS of butter
Sprinkle of garlic salt

Melt the butter on low-med heat. Add bread cubes and toss until well covered. Let cook until golden brown on one side then turn. Continue until most sides are golden and bread is crunchy. Remove from heat and sprinkle with garlic salt.

Another idea that I have been using to mix it up (mix it up in this context means hiding healthy food in kid-friendly food) is adding puree to the homemade pasta sauce. I keep frozen spinach, carrot and butternut squash puree on hand at all times. It is amazing how many dishes you can slip one or more of these into without altering the taste, consistency or the likelihood that it will be eaten by kids under the age of 7. One of my favorites is to add one TBS of each to the pasta sauce about 5 minutes before it is done, enough so it is heated thoroughly and blended, but without cooking out all the healthy goodness. Having purees on hand is easy as this:

Pick your vegetable
Steam until tender (this varies wildly from 1-2 minutes for spinach to 20 minutes for butternut squash)
Use your measuring spoon to put TBS dollops on a sheet of wax paper. Place in freezer until frozen. Remove from wax paper and put into freezer safe bags and voila! You have pre-measured TBS of your favorite vegetable puree to thicken up soups and sauces or to add a little extra nutrition to an otherwise ho-hum dish.

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