There is no doubt that feeding picky eaters is one of those struggles parents do not look forward to at any meal time. It's too salty, spicy, round, square, white, green, weird, wet, dry… Seriously, the list could go on.
I work hard to make every meal one we can all enjoy, big folks and little folks. I'll slide part of one dish over to season a little spicier for the grown-ups, but I also won't create kid-specific meals, either, hoping somehow I can broaden the palate of everyone in the house.
However, sometime you just have to make some nuggets.
Veggie nuggets are a great way to incorporate some good green vegetables, vitamins, beta-carotene and what-have-you into an easy lunchtime meal, afternoon snack or even dinner. This recipe allows you to make and freeze, so it's as easy as preheating the oven, tossing a few of these nuggets on a sheet pan and baking for 15 minutes.
A mixture of fresh steamed veggies, garlic and lemon juice create a flavorful result, one even adults will flip over, too, I might add!
And for those pickier eaters, they might be so thrilled with the fun shapes and sizes, the opportunity to dip into ketchup, barbecue sauce or honey mustard, they'll never even realize they just ate broccoli, spinach and carrots.
Super Star Veggie Nuggets
- 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
- 6 medium carrots
- 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 2 cups spinach (fresh frozen)
- ½ cup whole kernel corn (fresh frozen)
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ medium onion
- 2 tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. sea salt
- 2tbs. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups finely crushed tortillas chips
- 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
Peel and dice potatoes and carrots into small chunks. Place into a steamer pot and steam for 15 minutes.
About 5 minutes before the time is up, add your broccoli. When the time is up, let vegetables cool and set aside.
While the potatoes, carrots and broccoli are steaming, thaw your spinach and corn.
Once all veggies are cool and thawed, place all of them into a food process or food mill along with the garlic and onion. Process until well mixed and veggies become a paste.
Scoop your veggie mix into a large bowl and stir in lemon juice, salt, pepper and shredded cheese.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper all the way to the edges. Scoop out the veggie paste and spread over the pan, making sure your paste is even.
Place into the freezer for about an 1-1 ½ hours.
Here's where the fun part comes in. Choose fun shapes to cut out your veggie nuggets. Stars, hearts, animals or whatever shapes your little guys like.
You'll need to refreeze these once the shapes are cut for about 20 minutes. When your hands touch the shapes, they will melt a little from the heat that comes out of your fingertips.
While these are refreezing, set up your breading station and preheat your oven to 350 F.
You'll need three bowls – one for the flour, one for the egg and one for the crushed tortilla chips.
Place a clean, parchment lined sheet pan on the end where the tortillas chips are. You'll dip in these last and this will keep you from creating such a mess.
Once the shapes have firmed up, dip each one in this order: flour, egg, chips. Then place then about ½ inch apart on your baking sheet.
Once you've got the amount you want to bake, place in the oven and set your timer for 15 minutes.
Share and serve as lunch, dinner or a snack with a variety of sauces.
*This recipe makes about 75-100 nuggets depending on size and shape you choose. Make and freeze for up to 6 months in a air-tight container.
Twinkle VanWinkle has over 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks. She baked apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and has appeared on Food Network's "The Best Of..." Along with producing dynamic lifestyle content for LIN Media, she is a mother, urban gardener, chef, musician and social media fanatic.
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