Episode 148 4 Ways to Fix Veggies

I don’t know many families who say “we’re good on veggies.” Most of us would like to add more veggies and today I have 4 ways to fix vegetables. I hope it gives you a little inspiration. I will like all the recipes at the bottom of the post.  

Please remember that small changes make a big difference. Weeknight dinners don’t have to be perfect. These are just some ways to help you get dinner on the table a little easier. 

1- Eat them raw.

In our house we eat 5-10 pounds of carrots a week (not an exaggeration.) We eat carrots plain, with hummus, dipped in peanut butter and on top of salads. My family prefers whole carrots that have been peeled and cut over baby carrots.  But baby carrots have their time and place and I buy them when I need the shortcut.

Buy a pre-made veggie tray. Bring it out every day after school or at dinner. Everything is cut and cleaned and it comes with dip. It doesn’t get easier than this friends!

Make a salad. We eat a lot of salad in our house. My kids prefer raw veggies and we eat salad every day. 

What veggies will your kids eat raw? Add them to your weekly grocery list.

2- Cook on the stove. 

My favorite way to cook veggies on the stove is to Steam-Fry them. It works especially well with frozen veggies. Frozen veggies are the best! They are cleaned, cut, and ready to cook. I buy lots of frozen veggies when I do my deep dive grocery shopping. They keep for months in the freezer and make weeknight dinner easy.

Steam them in a steamer basket on the stove.  

Sauté them. I love Sautéed Mushrooms or onions, but you can sauté any veggie. 

3- Cook in the microwave.

Put them in a bowl with a little salt and water and put a plate on the bowl to keep the steam in. Be careful taking them out of the microwave as the bowl will be very hot. I use hot pads or a towel. 

It’s even easier to buy steam in bag veggies. All you do is put them in the microwave! So simple. Some even come with sauces. Find one your family likes and stock up!

You can microwave potatoes and sweet potatoes, but be careful. It is very important to prick the skin with a fork or knife several times to avoid exploded potatoes.

4- Roast 

I love roasted veggies! They are simple and delicious.  The outsides get brown and crispy. You can just toss with salt and a fat and roast, but the best way is to blanch them first. It transforms the veggies into something almost magical. People make blanched and roasted veggies and text me that they eat them all straight off the pan. They are that good!

Bonus

Eat blanched veggies cold. Veggies cooked in salted water for a minute and chilled are salty and slightly crunchy but also slightly softened. I love broccoli and asparagus that is blanched and chilled and your kids may too!

Links from this episode:

Ginger Glazed Carrots

Asian Carrot Soup

Steam Fried Veggies

Episode 99 Deep Dive Grocery Shopping

Steamer Basket

Episode 143  Let’s Talk About Salt

Blanched and Roasted Veggies

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Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

For a transcript click here.

Simple Baked Fish

How to serve Simple Baked Fish

What kind of fish can you use in this recipe?

I like to use white fish like, cod, tilapia, halibut, or flounder.

Can you use frozen fish?

In Kansas, most fish is previously frozen. I find frozen fish works really well in this recipe.

How do you thaw frozen fish?

I find it is best to place the frozen fish in a container in the refrigerator. The container will catch any drips or liquid as the fish thaws. This usually takes 24-48 hours. You can quickly thaw the fish by placing it in a bowl of cool water. You want to change the water every 30 minutes. It will take 1-2 hours to thaw one pound of individually wrapped pieces of fish.

How do you serve Simple Baked Fish?

I like to serve it with a simple vegetable like this recipe for frozen veggies you want to eat. It goes really well with Romesco Sauce.

What temperature do you bake fish?

I find that 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit works well. You may need to bake a little more or less depending on the size and thickness of the fish. Be careful not to overbake the fish or it will get dry. 

Why do you top baked fish with lemon slices?

I find that the lemon adds a little flavor and a little acid that helps brighten up the simple baked fish. 

Shows Texture and Serving of Simple Baked Fish

Simple Baked Fish

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes

This simple dinner takes minutes to make. In Kansas, I use frozen fish and top it with salt, pepper, and lemon slices.

The lemon slices add some flavor and acid to complement the fish.

It is really great topped with Cheater Romesco Sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound white fish (cod, tilapia, halibut, and flounder all work well.) Cut into individual portions.
  • 1 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1-2 Lemons sliced thinly
  • Cooking Spray
  • Parchment Paper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  3. Place the fish on the sprayed parchment paper and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place lemon slices over the pieces of fish.
  5. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes. If your fish is thin it will take closer to 10 minutes. If you have a thick piece of fish, it will take closer to 12 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and serve.
  7. I like to serve it with Cheater Romesco Sacue.
  8. This shows how to serve romesco sauce with baked fish.

Notes

To thaw frozen fish, place the fish in a container in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. You can also thaw it in a bowl of cool water, changing the water every 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 13Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 530mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

 

 

 

Cheater Romesco Sauce

Shows the texture of the romesco sauce

What is Romesco Sauce?

Romesco sauce is originally from Spain. It originally was made with roasted tomatoes and red peppers and thickened with bread. It often has almonds, hazelnuts, or pine nuts to thicken and give it texture. It was originally served with fish, but can be served with poultry, vegetables, or used as a dip or spread.

Why is this “Cheater” Romesco Sauce?

This recipe skips roasting tomatoes and peppers and uses the shortcuts of canned tomato paste and jarred roasted red peppers. It also skips the bread and uses almonds to thicken and add texture to the sauce.

How do you use Romesco Sauce?

My favorite way is to serve it over Simple Baked Fish. It is really good over Grilled Chicken, or as a spread on a sandwich. I have also been know to use it as a dip for fresh veggies or pita chips.

What equipment do I need to make Romesco Sauce?

Romesco Sauce is blended. I have made it in a food processor or a blender. I get the creamiest sauce with a high-speed blender, but having a little more texture is not a problem with this versatile sauce?

How do I store Romesco Sauce?

It will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week in an air-tight container or jar. I like to put it into single-serving portions in the freezer. (Souper Cubes are great for this.)  You can pull out one or two servings to jazz up a simple piece of fish or chicken. It will last several months in the freezer. 

How do you make Romesco Sauce?

Drained roasted red peppers are mixed in a blender or food processor with tomato paste, almonds, olive oil, garlic, red wine vinegar, smoked paprika, and salt.

Can I make Romesco Sauce Spicy?

Yes! Swap the smoked paprika for spicy hot smoked paprika, or add a teaspoon or two of cayenne pepper to make spicy romesco sauce. 

shows the texture of the romesco sauce

Cheater Romesco Sauce

Yield: 2 Cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Romesco sauce is originally from Spain. It originally was made with roasted tomatoes and red peppers and thickened with bread. It often has almonds, hazelnuts, or pine nuts to thicken and give it texture. It was originally served with fish, but can be served with poultry, vegetables, or used as a dip or spread.

Why is this "Cheater" Romesco Sauce?

This recipe skips roasting tomatoes and peppers and uses the shortcuts of canned tomato paste and jarred roasted red peppers. It also skips the bread and uses almonds to thicken and add texture to the sauce.

How do you use Romesco Sauce?

My favorite way is to serve it over Simple Baked Fish. It is really good over Grilled Chicken, or as a spread on a sandwich. I have also been know to use it as a dip for fresh veggies or pita chips.

Ingredients

  • 1 12 ounce jar Roasted Red Peppers, drained.
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Almonds
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions

Place all ingredients except olive oil in a blender or food processor. Mix well for 30 seconds to one minute until well combined. While blender or food processor is running, add the olive oil and blend another 30 seconds.

Serve with fish, chicken, or a dip or spread.

This shows how to serve romesco sauce with baked fish.

Notes

You can substitute hazelnuts for the almonds, but remove the papery skins.

This will keep in the refrigerator for one week.

I like to freeze it in individual portions to jazz up simple fish and meats. Souper Cubes are great for freezing small portions of romesco sauce. It will keep in the freezer for a couple of months.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 64Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 68mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

 

Blanched and Roasted Veggies

We all want to eat more veggies, but they can be boring and bland. This technique can be used for almost any vegetable and will take your roasted veggies from boring to delicious.

What is blanching?

Blanching is a technique where you cook vegetables in boiling water for a few minutes. Then you take them out of the boiling water and place them in ice water (or ice bath.) If you are making veggie trays it helps the produce have a bright color. 

I streamlined this and we skip the ice water, but quickly blanching the vegetables in salted boiling water before roasting improves the flavor and texture so much it is worth the extra step.

Will the vegetables bee too salty?

You can adjust the salt to your individual taste. Know that like cooking pasta, most of the salt will not go into the food, but if you skimp on the salt, you will notice it in the finished product. Pasta cooked without enough salt tastes bland and veggies cooked with the right amount of salt will sing!

The salted water penetrates the veggies as they quickly pre-cook in the boiling water and seasons them much deeper than simply sprinkling salt on top of them as they roast.

What about the oil?

I find you can use much less oil when you roast the veggies because you do not need it for flavor. The veggies are well-seasoned because of their trip in the salt water.

You can use any oil you prefer. I like avocado oil or bacon grease the best, but you can use olive oil, vegetable oil, or even ghee.

How do you finish the vegetables?

The veggies are great roasted on their own, but there are a few things you could add after cooking to take them to the next level. Some of the things I sprinkle on after they have roasted include:

Hot Pepper Flakes

Lemon Zest

Lemon Juice

Parmesan Cheese

Balsamic Vinegar

Blanched and Roasted Veggies

Blanched and Roasted Veggies

Yield: 1 Pound Veggies
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes

These are roasted veggies taken to the next level. The vegetables are briefly cooked in boiling salted water before roasting in the oven.

The brief cooking in salted water seasons the vegetables thoroughly and helps them stay bright and vibrant.

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound of Broccoli or other favorite vegetable cut into serving-size pieces (see note for best veggies)
  • 1 Tablespoon Avocado Oil (See note for substitutions.)
  • 1 Quart boiling water
  • 3 Tablespoons Coarse Sea Salt

Garnishes and Finishing Ingredients

  • Zest of One Lemon
  • Juice of One Lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hot Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

Instructions

Preheat Oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bring water to boil in a large saucepan.

Spread oil over a rimmed baking sheet.

Add Coarse Sea Salt to boiling water.

Place cut vegetables in boiling salted water and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove vegetables from boiling water and place them on the oiled baking sheet. It is okay to have a few drops of water, but try to get as little water as possible on the baking sheet.

Roast veggies in the 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until they are starting to brown around the edges.

Remove roasted veggies from the oven and sprinkle with one or more of the finishes.

Notes

You can do this with almost any vegetable. You can use fresh or frozen. Veggies that work great include:

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Asparagus

Brussels Sprouts

Green Beans

Cabbage

You want the veggies cut into serving-size pieces. Whole asparagus spears, 3-4 inch pieces of broccoli or cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts that are cut in half all work well.

You can use any oil you like. I have used Avocado oil, olive oil, bacon grease and ghee. They all work well.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 73Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 3252mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate. Most of the salt will not end up on the vegetables so the sodium is much lower.

 

 

Episode 94 Portable Snacks

Episode 94 Portable Snacks

School may look weird this year for many of us, but many of our kids still have activities. I know that our family still needs to get out of the house and that often means packing snacks.

Our family has a rule that when you get in the car you take a water bottle. Our favorite are the simple modern tumblers and water bottles. My sister had younger kids and really likes the kid’s Yeti water bottles because they have a handle, are dishwasher safe, and are super rugged.

When it comes to portable snacks, you can go with pre-packaged snacks. There is a time and place for just buying individual packages, but today we are going to focus on thinks you package yourself. I often wish I was the parent who has the cute reusable snack bags, but I’m not. I use a combination of plastic baggies. I prefer the fold top for most items, but do use zip top baggies too. My favorite reusable snack containers are the ½ cup round containers by GLAD. I haven’t been able to find them in my local stores, but have found them on Amazon. Check your local store. If they have them the containers are usually by the baggies and plastic wrap.

There are five basic snack categories:

Fruit

Veggies

Meaty/Higher Protein

Salty

Sweet

 

Fruit:

Cut up Apples -If you worry about them turning brown, dip them in a cup of water with a splash of lemon juice. The acid from the lemon juice will keep them from browning.)

Grapes -I like to wash and cut them into small serving size clusters.

Oranges/Cuties – My kids are big enough to peel them, but if your kids are little, you may want to peel the oranges and put them in a container.

Berries- Fresh or frozen berries are a favorite around our house. They tend to get squashed in biggies so I like to put them in a container.

Dried Fruit – I have found dried fruit does not make a very satisfying snack without adding something to it. I like to make my own “Trail Mix” with dried fruit, nuts, seeds, cereals, and sometimes chocolate. (Avoid chocolate in the summer if you worry about melting.)

GORP- Good Old Raisins and Peanuts – My mom would mix white and dark raisins, dry roasted peanuts, and sunflower seeds for a salty-sweet snack that fills you up.

 

Veggies

Baby Carrots – The easiest veggie ever. They are pre-washed and cut and all you do is open a bag.

Carrot Sticks – My kids prefer the taste and texture of carrot sticks that I cut from organic carrots. I like to keep cut up carrots in the refrigerator at all times.

Celery Sticks

Cucumber slices

Mini sweet peppers

Cut up Bell Peppers – My family prefers red, yellow, or orange over green. They seem to be less bitter.

Frozen Veggies – When my kids were little, they would eat defrosted peas and carrots. You can buy them in a blend in the frozen veggie section of the grocery store. Just put the bag in the refrigerator and let them defrost. Serve cold. This works really well for kids who do not prefer cooked veggies.

Smoothie Pops – My kids are not big smoothie fans, but if yours like smoothies, you can put them in silicone molds and they can eat them as popsicles.

 

Meaty/Protein

Hummus – You can buy single serving hummus cups or make your own and put them in single serving containers and use veggie sticks for dipping.

Peanut Butter- Great with crackers or my kids like to dip carrot or celery sticks in peanut butter.

Cheese – Cheese sticks, sliced cheese, cream cheese mixed with herbs or ranch dressing mix.

Summer Sausage

Deli Meat – cut up or rolled up

 

Salty

Popcorn – We like to pop plain kernels in brown paper lunch sacks in the microwave.

Party Mix – This is a special treat in our house.

Homemade Cheese Crackers – These are a special treat too.

Salty Snack Mix – I like to make mini mixes with all sorts of different things. Veggie straws, pirate’s booty, pretzels, goldfish, cereal etc.  You can mix anything you have on hand. It gives different flavors and textures.

Sweet

Brownie Batter Hummus – Chocolate hummus that I like to serve with graham crackers or apple slices.

Granola – I have two recipes. Chocolate Almond Granola and Chai Spiced Granola

Breakfast Cookies – These are super filling. I like to make a big batch and keep them in the freezer for quick snacks. Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Cookies and Breakfast Cookies (made with banana)

Nutty Energy Bars – These are like a homemade larabar, but they have more nuts.

Graham Crackers

 

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Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

Ginger Glazed Carrots

Every March my mother makes a huge St. Patrick’s Day Dinner. We have Corned Beef and Cabbage with boiled potatoes and biscuits with green food coloring cut into the shape of shamrocks. It is always the same menu and I love it. I’ve talked about food traditions on the podcast. They they bring predictability and stability to the family. In addition to the the corned beef, she always makes Ginger Glazed Carrots. They are super simple to make and taste so good that even my kids who do not prefer cooked veggies will eat them! I call that a win! It is important to cut the carrots to similar size pieces. This can be tricky because of the shape of a carrot. The portions from the narrower end of the carrot need to be longer than than the pieces from the wider end of the carrot. Or, you could just use a bag a baby carrots, then you don’t have to cut them at all.

Ginger Glazed Carrots

1 Pound Carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

1/3 Cup Water

2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1/2 teaspoon Salt (I like Celtic Sea Salt)

Directions

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Boil on high for 8-10 minutes until the carrots are tender and the sauce has reduced. Serve immediately.

 

Frozen Veggies You Want To Eat

Frozen veggies are a lifesaver for quick family dinners. You can buy them ahead and keep them in the freezer. They cook quickly and make easy side dishes. But they can be bland and boring. My favorite way to cook frozen veggies is to “steam fry” them. It is a technique I learned years ago from Cook’s Illustrated magazine. You cook the veggies in a covered skillet with oil, butter, water, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Once they are cooked through, you remove the lid and let the water evaporate. Once the water has evaporated you let the veggies brown in the skillet, stir and brown one more minute and serve.

It is so simple. In recent years there has been a trend to barely cook your vegetables. I have found that fully cooking them and then letting them brown greatly improves the flavor and texture of the veggies. I have done this with green beans and broccoli and different kinds of mixed frozen vegetables. Try it the next time you need a quick side dish.

If you want to make these vegan and paleo, simply omit the butter and use 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.

 

Steam-Fried Veggies

1 16oz bag Frozen Vegetables, (Green beans, broccoli, or mixed veggies all work well.)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Butter (Replace with olive oil for vegan or paleo.)

1 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt

1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Zest of 1 Lemon

1/2 Cup Water

Directions

Place all the ingredients in a 10-12 inch skillet with a lid. The veggies do not need to be thawed. Heat the skillet on high heat and cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables are heated through.

Remove lid and continue to cook on high until the water evaporates. (About 3-5 minutes.)

Do not stir the vegetables and let them brown for another 1-2 minutes. Stir, and brown again 1-2 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve.