Let’s honor Dad this Father’s Day and show him the love with these super tasty ideas that “sneak” veggies into every delectable bite! Try my twist on zesty enchiladas using farm-fresh zucchini in place of tortillas.
For years now, I’ve written about ways to sneak veggies into your child’s diet.
You’ve written back with tons of great ideas that have made their way into recipes that we are all familiar with today.
You know what? It turns out that kids are not the only ones that need those veggies.
As we grow older, our healthy diets become just as important for us as they are for our children.
If your household is anything like mine, it’s Daddy dearest who often shoves away that cauliflower while he adds a serving or two of French fries. I’ll make you a bet that nary a pickled beet has been spooned onto his salad plate.
Even with Popeye as a role model, our father shuns any green leafy veg unless it is swimming in cream sauce.
This Father’s Day let’s honor Dad and show him the love by sneaking a couple of veggies into his everyday meals. Won’t that be FUN!
Here are some ideas…
A SALAD is a terrific way to hide fresh veggies. In addition to good old lettuce and tomatoes, try sneaking in these:
🌿Microgreens – full of nutrients and a big punch of taste in a little bitty leaf. 🥬Squash – Shave thin slices of zucchini and yellow squash into thin strips that resemble lettuce leaves. 🥕 Carrots – I know, you’re saying anybody can add carrots to a salad. BUT what if Daddy hates carrots? Here’s a secret. Put the carrot in the dressing! Use your trusty food processor to emulsify the veg into your vinaigrette. You can do this with any veggie. 🥦 Cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach will work too.
Sneak those veggies into your MAIN meals so that Dad won’t know what hit him!
For pasta sauce make your favorite red, white, or green sauce and add some new veggies into the mix. For spaghetti and meatballs, add sauteed veggies to the meatball like eggplant, peppers, or kale.
When sautéing onions and garlic to make your red sauce, add shaved Brussels, diced cabbage, or riced cauliflower. Add roasted butternut squash to your fettuccini sauce. Make pesto with spinach and pea sprouts instead of basil.
You can add every veggie to stews and soups. Bell and spicy peppers are a terrific addition to chili. Add turmeric root, turnips, or sweet potatoes to your chicken noodle soup.
VEGGIE VESSELS are a terrific way to merge more veggies into your main meal. Stuff roasted peppers with chicken and rice. Add Cajun-spiced shrimp to spaghetti squash boats. Hollow out zucchini for veggie enchiladas. (This recipe comes from “Canvas and Cuisine”, my most veggie-filled cookbook!)
Let’s give Dad a real present this year. One that will keep him around for lots of future Fathers Days!!
Zucchini Enchilada Boats With Chorizo and Black Bean Filling
This dish has all the flavors of enchiladas but stars farm-fresh zucchini in place of tortillas. Spicy chorizo sausage and meaty black beans are the heart of its fiery filling. The yummy enchilada sauce brings the whole thing together. It’s pretty darn delicious!
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Preheat the oven to 400°. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onion in the skillet until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the sirloin and chorizo and stir, breaking up large clumps, until the meat is browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the black beans. Season with salt and pepper. Use a potato masher to break up the beans into the meat filling. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Whisk together the vegetable oil, flour, and chili powder in a pot over medium heat to form a paste. Stir in the tomato paste and ½ cup of water. Stir in onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and oregano. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes to thicken and allow the seasonings to merge. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick you can pour in a bit more water. Remove the pan from the heat.
Spoon some of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and hollow out the zucchini leaving about a ¾-inch boat. Place these into the dish. Season zucchini with salt and pepper. Spoon the filling into the boats. It’s ok if the filling spills over. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the boats. Layer cheese over the top. Cover the dish with a sheet of aluminum foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown, and the zucchini is fork-tender, about 20 minutes more.
Garnish the boats with fresh cilantro, jalapeno slices, guacamole, and sour cream.
As any visitor to Jorj.com might surmise, summer and its farmer’s markets are a big deal to me. I try to visit one every Saturday – not just for ingredients to use in weekend dinners, but for recipe ideas to take me and my family through the season with full bellies and empty plates. This month, inspiration struck when I passed a vendor making Mexican street corn.
I play with corn in Canvas & Cuisine – fresh, roasted ears get slathered in a savory pesto sauce. I was reminded of those flavors when I tasted corn on a stick at the farmer’s market this weekend. I could isolate all kinds of yummy flavors – from peppers to lime juice. There was the tang of tomato and cojita cheese, and bright notes of cilantro – and like all good things, the undeniable presence of sour cream.
Determined to go home and duplicate that taste, I hit the various veggie stands and came back with everything I needed to make Mexican Street Corn – only thing is, it rains a lot in the summer, and backyard BBQs aren’t always possible. I transformed the dish into a skillet version that went over really well as a side this Father’s Day.
A popular item, there were requests for more. I’d run out of fresh corn on the cob at that point and discovered that frozen kernels work just as well. The results were super savory and the juiciness at the bottom of the bowl so good, it got my mind on corn chowder recipes for fall – just gotta get through this beastly summer first!
So, here’s my lighting fast recipe for a bright summer side dish – you can make it in the time it takes a thunderstorm to roll past your house, and the sun to start shining again!
Mexican Street Corn Skillet Style
15 minute cuisine
4 cups corn kernels (shucked from fresh ears of corn or frozen)
1 large red tomato, diced
1 bunch chives, washed and chopped, about ½ cup
1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped, about ½ cup
Juice of 1 lime
1/3 cup cojita or feta cheese
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon sour cream
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for sautéing
In a skillet set on high heat, sauté the corn, herbs, lime juice, cheese, and cayenne in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the sour cream and mix with a spatula, lowering heat. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
It’s that time…. Father’s Day! To all you Dads out there, enjoy your day. To all you moms and kids old enough to know your way around a kitchen, here’s a fresh farmer’s market salad, WITH an amazing easy to put together dressing. Trust me, it’ll be the only side dish you need to go with perfectly grilled steak, pork or chicken. I’ve included a few extra photos in the cooking instructions to show you what a scrumptious possibility this salad actually is – but before I get to it…
DADS, here’s a foolproof way to create a flavorful grilled dish.
It’s a simple technique of using a board sauce! On your cutting board, chop several cloves of garlic and use the flat side of the knife to smush (a grown up cooking term) the pieces into the board. Choose your favorite herbs like thyme and rosemary, and finely chop these on your board. Drizzle the herbs and garlic with olive oil and dot the board with pieces of butter. Sprinkle kosher salt and coarse black pepper over everything. Now, your board is ready.
Remove your cooked steak (or pork or chicken) from the grill and place it onto your board. Use tongs to flip the steak several times, coating both sides with melty, buttery, garlicky goodness. Cover the steak with aluminum foil, and let it rest in the “sauce” for several minutes. The steak will absorb the flavors of the board sauce, as well as all its juicy goodness. After 4 to 5 minutes, remove the foil and cut the steak into slices right on the board.
You can serve the steak with your favorite side dish, but for all of you Moms out there, here’s an adaptable farmer’s market salad. It’s the perfect way to utilize all the fresh ingredients you’ve piled into your basket at the market. This recipe (like most) is only an inspiration and a guideline. Use whatever veggies you have on hand, and flavor them with your favorite herbs and spices. It’s all good!
1 red bell pepper, seeded and deveined, cut into strips
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and deveined, cut into strips
2 beets, roasted, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 bunch radishes, tops trimmed and cut into rounds
½ cup white balsamic vinegar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, plus a smidge
1 lemon, cut in half
1 bunch haricot vert
1 pint baby tomatoes, cut in half
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh chives
I head red leaf lettuce, torn into large pieces
Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the baby potatoes onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until the potatoes are golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Drizzle the warm potatoes with pesto and toss to coat. Cool to room temperature.
Cut the top ⅓ from the garlic bulbs. Drizzle with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with oregano and drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Place the bulbs onto a piece of aluminum foil. Wrap the foil around the garlic leaving an opening at the top of the pouch. Bake until the garlic is soft, and the cloves begin to crawl out of their skins, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Place the carrots, onions and peppers onto a baking dish. Drizzle with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until the veggies are just crisp tender and beginning to soften, about 5 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Whisk ½ cup vinegar and 1 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl. Place the beets and radishes into the bowl and toss to coat. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the veggies from any excess liquid.
Bring a pot of water to boil over medium high heat. Squeeze the lemon and place into the pot. Add the haricot vert and blanch until just crisp tender and dark green, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the beans to a bowl with ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove the green beans from the ice water bath and transfer to a dish lined with paper towels.
Place the tomatoes into a bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar. Season with salt, pepper and a bit of granulated sugar. Toss.
Place the buttermilk and sour cream into the bowl of a food processor or into a blender. Squeeze the garlic cloves into the cream. Add in the chives and season with salt and pepper. Puree the dressing.
Line a large platter with lettuce leaves. Lay the veggies onto the lettuce in bunches. Serve the dressing on the side. You can arrange the salad several hours in advance. Cover with plastic wrap. Bring the salad to room temperature before serving.
It’s no secret men like to grill or watch other people grill. That’s why, for the upcoming Father’s Day weekend, I’m recommending a chicken dish that takes the blah, blah out of chicken and makes it rah-rah instead! What’s my secret weapon, you ask? Feel free to file this away for a later date because the answer isn’t grilling. To brighten up even the most boring cut of poultry, I typically turn to bone-in, skin-on, dark meat to braise, fry or roast.
For me, this cut has the most flavor. I avoid boneless, skinless breast meat, because it is easy to overcook, and needs a lot of attention in order to compete with the more flavor-filled cut. But since I think Father’s Day should be a day of special attention, in the name of loving Dads everywhere, I am going to impart my most special grilling methods – which are, as any ardent griller will tell you – all about the marinades and platter sauce.
Oh, and by the way…when I previewed this recipe with my own Fam, it scored a 10 on the health-o-meter. The less weight conscious liked the meal as well… but were looking for my peanut butter chunk cookies for dessert! Hmm…I am amused because this means that perhaps you can please everyone….
Chicken & Mushrooms for Dad
40 minute cuisine
For the marinade
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Juice of 2 large limes, about 2 to 3 tablespoons
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
For the platter sauce
2 tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, about 2 teaspoons
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
For the chicken
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
For the mushrooms
16 Portobello mushroom caps, stems and gills removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound fresh spinach leaves chopped, about 4 cups
1 large white onion, peeled and diced, about 1 ½ cups
1 (8.5-ounce) sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and diced
Prepare a platter sauce to bathe the chicken in by dotting the platter with small butter pieces, minced garlic, chopped fresh thyme and rosemary, and a generous dousing of kosher salt and coarse black pepper.
Grill the chicken, turning once, about five to six minutes per side, until it is just cooked though with just a little bit of resistance when you push your finger into the flesh. Take the chicken right from the grill and onto the platter, turning each piece a couple of times to melt the butter and heat the garlic. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil and let it rest for several minutes.
For the mushrooms, sauté spinach leaves with chopped onion and sun-dried tomatoes in the olive oil. Roast in a 375°oven for about 15 minutes. Optional: roasted baby sweet potatoes complete the meal.