Guest post by Stephani of Cheapskate Cook
This summer has been super creative for my kitchen. Not only did we stretch our money-saving skills during a 30-Day Challenge to Eat Local on a Budget, but I learned there are basically two options for serving the bounty in our region. Either let the produce be the star of the meal…or smother it in cheese and eggs and serve it to your unsuspecting children. Whatever works for you.
Last time I shared five meals for the first approach. Today, I’ll share five that are a little more picky-eater friendly.
Let’s be clear that when I say words like hidden and sneaky in this post, I don’t mean deceiving your family into eating things they don’t want. I’m simply acknowledging that sometimes it’s nice to eat vegetables without them being so obvious.
1. Frugal Greek Pitas
If you’re a sucker for anything greek or sandwich-y, this is a meal for you. We frequently serve it in the summer because tomatoes and cucumbers are in abundance. Serve with cucumber yogurt sauce and hummus.
Gluten-free: Use GF tortillas instead of pita.
Leftover/Make-Ahead Tips: Make sauce, hummus, and filling several days ahead of time; the beef freezes well.
2. Macaroni & Cheese
Macaroni and cheese lends itself well to hidden vegetables. Follow this recipe, but shred summer squash into the whole mess while it’s cooking on the stove top.
Gluten-free: Substitute your favorite GF pasta.
Leftover/Make-Ahead Tips: Double the recipe and freeze leftovers in a foil baking pan. When ready to serve, add some milk and sprinkle with bread crumbs or crushed crackers; bake until thoroughly warmed.
Side Dish Suggestions: Depending on how many vegetables went into the pasta, you might feel good about serving it by itself. Nevertheless, some fresh peas or green beans complement this meal nicely.
3. Sweet & Spicy Breakfast Eggs
Good to serve as a hearty breakfast or a unique dinner, add shredded or chopped zucchini and summer squash to this recipe. Serve with toast and fried or poached eggs.
Make-Ahead tips: Vegetable mixture keeps well in the fridge 4-5 days so you can serve it for multiple meals during the week.
4. Scrambled Eggs, Frittata or Quiche
One of the easiest ways to use summer vegetables, this is a non-recipe. Simply shred or chop your choice of summer produce into scrambled eggs or your favorite Quiche or Frittata. Zucchini, summer squash, bell peppers, and tomatoes all work well here.
If you’re looking for a reliable, easy recipe, I really like the frittata in The Veggie Book.
5. Easy Slow Cooker Tomato Soup
You can make this soup with canned, fresh, or even frozen tomatoes. It’s wonderfully flexible that way. Feel free to spice it up with a pinch of crushed chilies, a sprinkle of oregano, or roasted red peppers. If I have them around I like to throw in carrots, summer squash or sweet potatoes to increase the variety of vegetables.
Leftover/Make-Ahead Tips: Freeze leftovers in glass jars (leaving a good 2 inches at the top for the liquid to expand) and save for an easy meal in the future. Simply thaw and reheat on the stove.
Side Dish Suggestions: If grilled cheese isn’t your thing, try serving steamed vegetables, crackers, or toast.
When all else fails, if I have more summer produce than I can handle, I freeze it for another day… or month.
What about you? How do you use summer vegetables for your picky eaters?
When Stephani and her husband got married, they lived in a renovated shed and had a grocery budget that matched. As a passionate whole-foodie, Stephani was determined to continue eating healthy, minimally-processed foods on their shoestring budget.
Between cooking and baking Stephani enjoys playing with her two boys, going on dates with her husband, and living passionately with her Lord. She blogs at Cheapskate Cook.