Friday, May 4, 2012

Sneaky Pizza Boats (plus the baby-food version!)

This is green & beautiful healthfulness. Fresh zucchini. I LOVE veggies and thankfully, for the most part, my family - including the three year old - does too. But at times, it's still very difficult to make sure they get in enough of those vitamin and antioxidant-packed veggies thanks to their other loves - carbs and cheese. Who am I kidding? I love carbs and cheese too...

That's what I'm talking about :)
Alexis loves broccoli, and peas, and corn, and some times green beans but it is hard to get her to eat things like squash and zucchini.  Wouldn't you know, that sneaky zucchini hid itself nice and neatly in those pizza boats. In fact, it is so well hidden that even the child who likes to pick the SPICES out of her spaghetti and pizza sauce, did not notice the quantity of zucchini she was consuming.

So...if you have trouble getting your kids (or husband!) to eat all their veggies, why not try this recipe to sneak them in there into a good ol' comfort food.

You'll need (for four large pizza boats):
4 baguette-shaped bread loaves (I used whole wheat. Each loave was about 6 or 7 inches long by 3 or 4 inches wide)
1 small or 1/2 large zucchini
1 cup pizza sauce
Pepperoni (I used 32 regular pepperoni slices for 4 boats - 8 in each. You can use as much or little as you like.)
1 cup shredded Italian cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Run your zucchini through a cheese grater - easy - until completely shredded.
If I'm going to be completely honest, my cheese grater has gotten up and walked away mysteriously from my utensil drawer, so while my "MISSING GRATER" signs are posted all over the neighborhood, I actually used a vegetable peeler and made zucchini ribbons then chopped those into very small bits. The idea is to have small, thin pieces that get very soft when baked.

In a small bowl, mix your zucchini into your pizza sauce.

Hollow out your baguettes. To do this, I cut around the top of the bread at an angle, then used my hands to dig out a little more bread from the center. Lay baguettes on cookie or pizza sheet.

Starting with pepperoni, layer pepperoni then sauce mixture into your bread bowls. Putting the pepperoni on the bottom helps the sauce from soaking through the bottom of your bowl which will be very messy. In mine, I did two layers each - pepperoni, sauce, pepperoni, sauce.

Top with roughly 1/4 cup cheese each and bake for about 15 minutes, until hot all the way through and your cheese starts to brown.

Kid & Grown-up friendly.

5 minute prep, 20 minute total time.
PERFECT for busy nights with no time to cook without resorting to fast food and not-so-nutritious meals.

These were a hit at our house. Alexis ate every bite and I smiled knowing she was getting lots of good greens.

Sometimes, it's okay to lie to your kids ;)

BUT WAIT! What will the baby eat for dinner tonight??
V is just starting on table foods and when possible, I try to let her eat what we are eating. She's still new at this so we're somewhere in between purees and solids for her.

No I didn't put the pizzas in a blender.
I put some zucchini sauce in an oven-safe dish and let it cook along with the pizza boats. When it was done and the zucchini was soft, I used the tops of the bread I had cut off to make the boats and broke off baby-bite-size pieces. I threw the bread pieces right into the sauce and mixed it well. It made a semi-chunky, soft (veggie-filled) baby version of the pizza boats. She loved it :)



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