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5 Easy-To-Make Recipes The Whole Family Will Love

(L-R) Photos of the Sweet Potato Skins, Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry and Cauliflower Crust Pizza recipes by Cast Iron Culinary.

One of the best ways to encourage your kids to try new veggies and healthy foods is to spend time in the kitchen with them. Spark their curiosity in making healthy choices by teaching them easy recipes and inspiring them to customize those meals. These five tasty and easy recipes are a great way to get started.

Turkey Meatballs

This recipe is fun to make, packed with flavor and will become a family favorite. Whole-grain oats are a nutrient-dense substitute for classic breadcrumbs, and when paired with a salad or veggies, the meatballs are a complete and healthy family meal.

Preparation

Heat oven to high broil. In a bowl gently combine 1 16-oz. package 93 percent lean ground turkey, 1 small grated yellow onion, 1 egg, 1/3 cup quickoats, 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley (finely chopped) and 3 tablespoons ketchup. Roll meat into about 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet lined with foil and prepared with nonstick spray. Place meatballs under broiler for about 2 minutes per side, until browned. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove meatballs from baking sheet to a small baking pan. Cover in 1 jar marinara sauce and bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

The secret is out! There is a pizza that is packed with nutrients. Cauliflower crust provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, replacing the typical refined wheat crust options. Topping ideas are endless and can be customized with your kids as you encourage them to add their favorite veggies and teach them this healthy recipe.

Preparation

In a large skillet, over medium heat, sauté 1½ pounds riced cauliflower with olive oil for about 10 minutes until softened, not brown. Remove to a bowl and let cool completely. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix 1 beaten egg and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese into the cauliflower and spread into a 10-inch round crust on a baking sheet prepared with nonstick spray. Drizzle with olive oil and bake 10 to 12 minutes until browned. Turn heat to 400 degrees. Top the crust with 1½ cups pizza sauce, 1 6-oz. package turkey pepperoni, veggies of choice and 2/cup mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and crust is crispy on the outside.

Sweet Potato Skins

This recipe is fun and easy to make with your kids. Sweet potatoes are a great twist on white potatoes because they add fiber and vitamins A, B and C to this comforting finger food.

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap 4 small sweet potatoes in foil and bake for 1 hour (alternatively cook in microwave), until soft. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh (reserving it for mashed sweet potatoes, breakfast dishes, etc.), leaving a small border. Place the halves skin side up on a baking sheet (prepared with foil and nonstick spray), brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake 25 to 30 minutes, until crisp and brown. Meanwhile on a separate foil-lined baking sheet, bake 4 pieces turkey bacon for 20 minutes, until crispy. Let cool and then crumble into bits. Cut each skin in half widthwise and place back on baking sheet, skin side down. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup (or 1 tablespoon per skin) cheddar or jack cheese and return to the oven. Bake 8–10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Top the skins with guacamole and turkey bacon bits.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

The ultimate veggie-hiding trick—blending them into a cheese sauce—will have your kids begging for a second helping. Butternut squash is robust and creamy with doses of vitamin C for immune function, fiber, antioxidants for inflammation and minerals such as iron and folate for bone health.

Preparation

Cook 1 12-oz. pasta package according to instructions (try a more nutrient-dense pasta option such as brown rice, whole grain or chickpea). Drain and have ready for immediate use when sauce is done. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter until melted over medium-high heat. Sauté ½ diced small yellow onion for 8 minutes, until golden. Turn heat to medium, add 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth and 6 cups finely diced butternut squash and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender. Add 1 cup whole milk and heat until warm. Beat 1 egg in a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of warm milk to heat up the egg. Pour the mixture back into the pan, along with 1 cup shredded cheese of choice and let bubble until slightly thick. Blend mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth. Mix into the pasta, adding extra chicken broth or milk to reach desired consistency.

Chicken And Veggie Stir Fry

Deliver a lower-sodium and lower-sugar version of stir fry, one that emphasizes extra veggies, to your plate and your family’s. Serve with brown rice, quinoa or sweet potatoes.

Preparation

In a large dish, whisk together ¼ cup low-sodium Tamari, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons minced garlic. Place 16 to 20 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into ½-inch pieces) in this mixture, toss to cover completely and let marinate at least 20 minutes (up to overnight). Strain the sauce from chicken and reserve. In a wok or large pan, cook the chicken over medium heat, about 5 minutes, until browned, and reserve on a plate. Turn heat to medium-high. Cook 6 to 8 cups veggies of choice (recommend carrots, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, bok choy, snap peas) in the same pan or wok with a small amount of canola oil, in separate batches, removing when just tender. Whisk 1 tablespoon corn starch into the reserved sauce. Lower wok or pan heat to medium, add the sauce and chicken back to the wok and let bubble for 5 minutes, until sauce thickens. Toss the veggies with the chicken and sauce and serve over desired starch.

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