Pureed Vegetables

By April 17, 2009 10 Comments

If you missed yesterdays big announcements, check them out here!

Today, my mom is sharing with you some ideas to get more veggies in you!  This post is especially great for those of you who have kids and need some tricks to sneak veggies into them!  Fortunately for me, there isn’t a vegetable I won’t eat, but pureed vegetables help me get in more servings since they can be used in many different forms.

So enjoy my moms post!

Well, I guess it is time to get back on track with some healthier eating, having done desserts the last 2 times!  And then Easter may have given some of us a little blurp on the radar with extra calories, so let’s hit the veggies in yet another form today.  If you’re like me, this wonderful warm, sunny weather has me jumping on my bike just for the thrill of feeling the sun on my face and being able to get the heart pumping all at the same time….yeah, I know Dustin, summer bootcamp does the same thing, right?!  Anyway, veggies just seem to go along with the whole spring wake-up and living outdoors again :).

The other week Cheri blogged about putting pureed veggies in their brownies, etc., which got me to checking out the web for recipes-Oprah’s site brought up some good info and recipe, taken from Jessica Seinfelds’s cookbook.  But first I’ll share some of the stuff I have been doing for quite awhile with veggies-no rocket science needed, but sometimes we need a little duh moment to get us thinking in another direction.  For example, sometimes I’ll come across a good buy on some organic produce and not get to using it right away; the quick fix is to steam it and puree it and have a ready ingredient for whatever.  There is no rhyme or reason to doing this; I usually take my big Dutch oven and put my mesh steamer basket in it and several inches of water and start piling it up; the other day I had a head of cauliflower that I chunked up, including the stem that I sliced thinly for easier cooking.  I might add here that when I don’t have organic veggies, I am trying to take the time to soak them a few seconds in some veggie wash…T.J.’s has a bottle of it that lasts forever and is a good investment.  If you have a lot to do, like when roasting veggies, just fill the sink with water and a few squirts and do a bunch really fast.  So then steam just ’til soft enough for pureeing.  I like using my magic bullet, dumping in the veggies and some of the steaming water, depending on what I want it for.  Or sometimes I’ll use some organic veg. broth or chicken broth for extra flavoring if I am making a quick hot soup, or just sprinkle on a little of your healthy salt.  Using all hot liquids will have you good to go, without heating in the microwave like the bullet advertizes (yeah, am trying to keep all plastic out of the microwave-and using it minimally).  I also added chopped up zucchini to the cauliflower, making a good tasting soup.  When you have this puree around, you can toss in some leftover chicken, some of your roasted veggies, some black beans…the sky’s the limit.  When I am cutting calories, the puree alone is filling and very low cal.  Do the same with broccoli.  Add some hummus to the puree for thickening and good flavor.

Make sure the blade is on tight!

Make sure the blade is on tight!

Okay, moving onto another use of purees, DO NOT do what I did last evening!  Coming home from church, I wanted to quick try the brownie recipe that has a whole cup of puree; so rather than checking the recipe online, I grabbed some broccoli puree I had in the fridge and used that, while wondering how thick the stuff should be~!  Well, after cooling the finished product completely, my willing taste testers here gave an “they’re okay review”; I personally was WAAAYY UNimpressed!  But, THEN I looked up how they pureed on Oprah’s site, and they call for only several teaspoons of liquid added to the vegetables, just enough to make it smooth!  I used my soup-like stuff!  Needless to say, I will be trying this one again with thicker puree.  (Greg just told me that he poured chocolate syrup on his second piece last night….what does that tell you?!).

So, just to be very thorough here, I will add a couple of recipes from Oprah’s site for steaming and pureeing…..but check her out for more ideas at:

Pureed Carrots:

Peel and cut carrots into 3 inch chunks and steam for around 12 minutes; puree with a few tsp. of water, just enough to make a smooth texture.  Can be added to Italian meatloaf and brownies.

Pureed Squash:

Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and roast at 400 degrees for around 45 min.; scoop out the pulp and puree til smooth.  Can be added to macaroni and cheese, and quesadillas.

They also tell how to puree cauliflower, broccoli, beets, sweet potatoes, and spinach, if you want some more detail.

Well, I know we are going healthier this week, but how can I not share this unique place in which to put vegetable puree?? ha

Brownies (with carrots and spinach):

3 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 c. carrot puree
1/2 c. spinach puree
1/2 c. firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa pwd.
2 Tbsp. trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread
2 tsp. vanilla
2 lrg. egg whites
3/4 c. oat flour or all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking pwd.
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8″x8″ pan with oil.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or over a very low flame.
Whisk the first 7 ingred. til smooth.
Whisk in the egg whites.  Stir in the dry ingred. with a wooden spoon.
Bake 35″-40″.  Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 bars.

They say to cool completely for the spinach flavor to disappear!
I again only experimented with half a batter, and only baked mine for 20 min.-it was very well done.

Cheri, what can you tell us about this recipe from all of your experience??!  Do you always make the two purees for this recipe or do you ever just use a cup of one of them-can’t see how it’d matter.

Another thing with those purees, with summer coming, serving them cold is another option. Also, I think it’d be fun to try out different combinations of steamed veg., with all kinds of spices, sauted garlic and onions, shredded cheddar or feta cheese sprinkled on top or whole wheat croutons, chopped avocado, vine ripened tomatoes…..the sky’s the limit!  I wonder how it’d work to grill some of those vegetables, brushed with olive oil and Italian herbs,  before pureeing, with the onions and garlic-that could get down right tasty.

Well, now it is your turn!  I’m sure lots of you are doing all of this stuff and have lots to share with us….it is way fun for me to check the blogging and get new recipes and ideas from all of you!!  I still think it’d be fun to hear where y’all are from….yeah, I mentioned it before :)…..maybe it is just me, but when that one gal said she was blogging from Brazil, I loved it!

So for starters, for any newcomers, I am from the Minneapolis area!

Keep eating~healthy! 🙂

Dustin’s Mom~Joy

Check out these link for more recipes!

30 Healthy Snacks, 21 Healthy SnacksChocolate Chip CookiesChocolate Tofu PiePureed Vegetables, Roasted VeggiesQuinoaChickenOmeletPizzaGuacamoleHummusCarrot Soup