In an email to food allergy cookbook author, Linda Coss, I was lamenting about the horrible waste of an entire jug of juice, which I had purchased for one meal. The recipe called for a mere portion of the juice, a beverage we rarely consume. Just when I was about to swear off all juice-containing recipes, she simply suggested, “… buy children’s size juice boxes of apple juice and orange juice, the main juices that are used in recipes. When a recipe calls for juice you can just open up one of these.” The ‘duh’ light went on as my hand met my forehead.
Everyday Kitchen Tricks for Added Nutrition
At first, I felt a bit foolish that Linda’s basic solution had eluded me. Then I realized that perhaps a few other cooks had not yet thought of this little kitchen trick. While pondering the thought, a few other ideas from my collection of useful dairy-free tips came to mind…
Lighten-up with a super-easy vegan cake
When you purchase a cake mix, skip the eggs, water, and oil. Just add one can of pumpkin puree (15oz I believe), mix, and bake as directed. This suggestion is perfect for those who avoid dairy and eggs, and apparently is an old Weight Watcher’s secret. I was told that it makes a fantastic spice cake with vanilla mixes, but works equally well with chocolate.
Hide those veggies
A little known secret: blended up spinach has almost no flavor. I sneak handfuls of fresh spinach into my husband’s morning smoothie (blueberries also hide the green color nicely), and he is none the wiser. I also discovered that chili and sometimes spaghetti sauce is an excellent way to hide extra Vitamin A. I often add a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pureed carrots, pumpkin, or butternut squash. The added sweetness is often enjoyed, so long as I don’t mention what it is! These sneaky veggie tricks work on kids too.
A few more ideas that readers have recommended, but I haven’t tried myself, include the following:
- Blend peas into guacamole (about 1/4 cup of peas per large avocado)
- Add V8 juice and flaxseeds to chili
- Make sweet potato pancakes
- Finely process veggies for spaghetti sauce, for an almost meat-like consistency
Weaning off red meat
I kept trying to switch us to ground turkey, but my husband just didn’t find it “meaty” enough. That is until he trialed adding about 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to a pound of ground turkey. It added a bold enough flavor that he actually suggested we don’t purchase ground beef anymore. Thus far, turkey has successfully worked its way into spaghetti and burgers in our house. Be sure to check the turkey you are purchasing. Some brands actually have more fat than ground beef.
With luck, one of these tips just might prove useful in your kitchen.