Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Zucchini Fries?

My son used to absolutely love zucchini. We started giving him soft cooked zucchini after he started eating solid foods and he just couldn't get enough! Well, I was one happy camper because I just couldn't believe that I actually had a kid who loved vegetables. And zucchini, my personal favorite, at that!  What's not to love about the mild flavored squash. It tastes great and there's so much you can do with it. Cook it by itself, mix it with some pasta, deep fry it....you can even make bread with it!  It was the go-to veggie in my house because I knew it would always be a hit with everyone.

Well, shortly after my son turned two, everything changed. He wants nothing to do with most vegetables these days.  I can usually get him to eat a few carrots, but if you put anything green on his plate, it will just sit there all lonely getting cold. And I'm not sure where he picked up the lovely 'no like it' phrase but you can be sure to hear at that most dinners. After some frustrating conversations and bribes, I was at a loss. I want him to always have nutritious meals and, unfortunately for him, that involves eating a variety of veggies. 

I needed a solution. 

Think, think, think. What do kids love. Fries! Every kid loves fries, right? Of course they do. I swear it has to be in their DNA. Well, what if I made zucchini that looked like fries? I tried out my idea at the next zucchini-enhanced dinner.  I took a zucchini and cut it in half length-wise. I then took each half, placed it cut side down and sliced it again horizontally. Then I cut each slice into about four pieces. This leaves strips that are about 1/4" in diameter.  To soften them up and remove some of the liquid, I sprinkled them with a little salt and had them sit in a strainer for about a half hour or so. I then gave them a good rinse, patted them dry, sprinkled them with a little pepper and sauteed them in a little butter and garlic until they started to brown slightly.  I served them up and told my son that he should try the zucchini fries that I made special for him. They were a success!  I now cook zucchini like that all the time and he just muches away happily.  Hey, sometimes all it takes is a little creativity in the kitchen to get kids to eat their vegetables.  Do you have any food dishes that you've transformed so your kids will eat them without a fight?

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