I was a nutritionally unhealthy kid. My taste buds were constantly dancing, but my arteries and my waistline were taking a beating. After my first year in college, I had about 80 pounds to lose to be “average” for my age, gender and height.
My parents raised me with all of the love and compassion that great parents do. They are amazing, but in the 80’s in North Carolina and Georgia, eating a balanced and nutrient-rich diet was not something people thought about. People had just learned that cigarettes had a negative impact on your health and artificial sweeteners, in the likes of Tab Soda, were the talk of the town.
I became a mom in December of 2008. I knew that I wanted my child to be exposed to a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins. In fact, it drives my friend, Melissa, crazy that I have still never fed Lottie Mac ‘n Cheese from a box.
When Lottie started on solid foods, it was simple. We made our own purees and she loved whatever we gave her. The concept of something besides breast milk was a novelty to her. Then Lottie turned one, and she got several fun gifts, and I got a toddler with an attitude. This is when Lottie started throwing her avocado at me and dissecting her egg white omelets to remove the spinach. I never thought I would be there, but I was.
In the winter, I love to make butternut squash soup. It is simple. One day, I decided to take the method of my butternut squash soup but use broccoli. It was delicious and creamy. Then it hit me, Lottie loves whole-wheat pasta topped with butternut squash soup. I could make a veggie pasta sauce. I went to Super H Mart and bought all of the nutritious veggies that were on sale. I used the healthy method from the butternut squash soup with the veggies that were CHEAP and before I knew it I had healthy, nutrient-rich pasta sauce that Lottie (and my husband) absolutely LOVE!
Creamless, Creamy Veggie Pasta Sauce
Serves – 1 toddler for 6 weeks
Total Price with Sales- $5.28/batch
Total Average Retail Price- $16.19/batch
Total Savings- $10.91/batch
– 1 medium sweet onion, chopped (Super H 3lb bag $0.98 Average retail 3 lb bag $2.99)
– 3 stalks of celery, chopped (Super H $0.69/package Average Retail $1.49/package
– 2 unpeeled, chopped carrots (Super H $0.18/lb Average Retail $1.49/lb)
– 3 cans of chicken broth (Costco 12 cans for $6.99 Average Retail $1.19/can)
– 1 cup or more water depending on amount of veggies
(Use the veggies that you want your child to have, but I used the following)
– 1 bunch of spinach, cleaned (Super H $0.99/bunch Average Retail $3.99/container)
– 1 head of broccoli, chunked (Super H $0.69/lb Average Retail $1.99/lb)
– 1 lb asparagus, chopped (Super H $0.98/lb Average Retail $3.99/lb)
– 1 head of cauliflower, chunked (Super H $0.78/each Average Retail $2.29/each)
- Get the largest pot you have so you can make/freeze more sauce at one time. We use our lobster pot.
- Add enough olive oil to the bottom of the pot to keep the veggies from sticking.
- Add carrots, celery and onion and cook on medium heat until onions are translucent (about 5-7 minutes).
- Add all other veggies except leafy greens that cook fast .
- Pour three cans of low-sodium chicken stock over veggies and add water until the veggies and covered in liquid.
- Do NOT add more liquid once veggies are submerged.
- Boil veggies until they are all soft.
- Add leafy greens and boil 1 minute.
- Allow boiled veggies and liquid to completely cool (about 1-1.5 hours).
- Blend in batches and freeze in weekly portions.
- Surprisingly, the sauce is extra creamy and your kids will love it! It looks pretty gross, but serves in under Parmesan cheese and they won’t know!
* I freeze these in one-week portions, so I only have to make it once ever 6 weeks.
* Use what is on sale, the specific veggies don’t matter.
* Top with Parmesan cheese
* Use in your toddler’s other favorite dishes- omelets, quesadillas, rice, etc
* Veggies I would NOT use, cucumbers, potatoes, peppers or eggplant simply based on texture for the soup.
HAVE a BABY that doesn’t love to sleep?
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She can help!