Saturday, March 9, 2013

CMarie's spin on Italian Classics

This yummy recipe is a kid classic revamped to provide your child with the nutrients their little bodies crave. Kid tested Nanny/Family Approved!

Mini Turkey/Veggie Meat Loaf Cups

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray cupcake tin. Recipe yields 20 mini meat loafs.

What you need:
-2 cups of grated zucchini
-1.5 cups of diced onion
-1 pound of lean ground turkey
-1/2 cup of uncooked couscous
-1 egg
-2 tablespoons of pesto
-1/2 to 1 cup of marinara sauce (depends on how much sauce you prefer)
-2 garlic cloves diced
                                                                                    -1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
                                                                                    -Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop garlic and place in a sauté pan with olive oil. Pour in all veggies and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly brown.  Transfer veggies into food processor and lightly pulse them until broken down. DON’T liquefy veggies. Place pulsed veggies into a bowl and mix in ground turkey, couscous, egg, pesto and a pinch of salt and pepper until combined. Fill each muffin cup 3/4ths of the way. Top each cup with sauce. Bake for about 25 minutes. Let cool before serving. 

Freeze the leftover mini loafs individually for later use!

Health 411: Using ground turkey or even ground chicken cuts down the fat of a typical meat loaf recipe. Additionally, adding the veggies and marinara sauce instead of ketchup, or barbeque sauce eliminates the high sugar content many other meat loaf recipes call for.

Basil Pesto

An Italian classic from my childhood…Mangia Mangia!

Yields about ½ cup of pesto sauce

What you need:
-2 cups of fresh basil washed and de-stemmed
-1/4 cup of fresh Parmesan cheese
-1/4 cup of olive oil
-1/4 cup of pine nuts
-1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper
-3 garlic clove

First place the garlic into the food processor and pulse until minced. Then add the basil leaves, pine nuts and salt and pepper into the food processor. While processor is running on low pour the olive oil slowly through the feed tube until ingredients are pureed. Scrape down sides with rubber spatula and stir in Parmesan cheese. Bottle and store pesto sauce in refrigerator until ready to use. Also you can freeze pesto sauce in ice tray to use for meal in a pinch.

Use pesto sauce over whole-wheat pasta or add it to a chicken or meat dish to give the meal a boost of flavor. Also be inventive with the recipe. You could substitute almonds for pine nuts or use 3/4ths basil 1/4th mint. I’ve also used half basil half spinach. If your child has nut allergies use sunflower seeds to substitute for pine nuts. Get creative and have fun! 

Health 411: Fresh Basil or basil oil is not only yummy and fragrant… it’s good for you too! Basil is known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidants and antibacterial properties. Additionally, it contains high levels of magnesium, which is good for blood circulation. Basil can be used to treat constipation, the flu, bronchitis, sinus infections, stomach indigestion and asthma.  

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