The Sneaky Chef Recipes
I just received this e-mail from “The Sneaky Chef”, and she encouraged me to pass it on, so I thought I would share it here. She has some great tips!
As the author of The Sneaky Chef, my work and home life is all about cooking healthy foods for children, yet I still find the lunch box one of the most challenging daily tasks. I have to admit I’ve enjoyed the summer break, but as we head into the new school year, I’m armed and ready with creative and simple strategies to give my kids their favorite foods invisibly upgraded with my signature sneaky purees and other super healthy ingredients. Below are two of the popular Sneaky Chef recipes (along with recipes for their sneaky purees): Brainy Brownies, and a Quick Fix for Tuna Sandwiches–both lunch box favorites! Brainy Brownies are great as an afternoon snack or lunchbox treat, and kids will hold their energy a lot longer with the hidden spinach and blueberry puree.
With Healthiest Regards,
Missy Chase Lapine, The Sneaky Chef
SNEAKY CHEF BRAINY BROWNIES:
Makes about 30 kid-sized brownies
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Purple Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe below)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Flour Blend (equal parts whole wheat, wheat germ, and white flour)
1/4 cup rolled oats, ground in a food processor
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Butter or non-stick cooking spray
Optional extra boost: 1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter or spray only the bottom, not the sides, of a 13-by- 9-inch or 9-inch square baking pan.
Melt the butter and chocolate chips together in a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water (or in a microwave, checking every 15 seconds). Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool a bit. Meanwhile, in another bowl, stir together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, and Purple Puree. Combine this purple egg mixture with the cooled chocolate mixture.
In a mixing bowl, stir together Flour Blend, cocoa powder, oats, and salt. Add this to the chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly. Mix in the chopped walnuts, if using, then pour the entire mixture into the baking pan.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in pan before cutting the brownies and use a plastic or butter knife. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Keeps for a week in the refrigerator, covered tightly.
Sneaky Chef Make-Ahead Recipe: Purple Puree
3 cups raw baby spinach leaves (1 cup frozen chopped spinach, or frozen chopped collard greens)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (no syrup or sugar added)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoons water
If using raw spinach, thoroughly wash it, even if the package says “prewashed.” Bring spinach or collards and water to boil in a medium pot. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. If using frozen blueberries, quickly rinse them under cold water to thaw a little, and then drain.
Fill the bowl of your food processor with the blueberries and cooked spinach, (or collards) along with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water, and puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally to push top contents to bottom. If necessary, use a second tablespoon of water to make a fairly smooth puree.
This amount of spinach and blueberries makes only about 1 cup of puree. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of the puree. It will store in the refrigerator up to 2 days, or you can freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.
SNEAKY CHEF QUICK FIXES TO TUNA FISH SANDWICHES:
Any or all of the ingredients listed below hide beautifully in a 6-ounce can of chunk light* or chunk white tuna, packed in water and drained. As with all Sneaky Chef recipes, you can gradually increase the amount of the nutritious sneaky ingredient over time. You can also combine any or all of the following Quick Fixes.
Canned skinless and boneless sardines in water:
Sardines have almost no mercury and lots of IQ-boosting omega-3 oils. Mixing them in with the tuna fish your kids already love gives them an instant nutritional boost. Start by mixing in 2 ounces of sardines per 6 ounces of tuna, and over time, gradually increase the amount of sardines until there are equal parts sardines and tuna (or even more sardines, eventually — this is possible!). Continue to stir in mayonnaise or whatever you normally add to your child’s tuna fish.
White Bean Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe below):
Combine 1 to 2 tablespoons of White Bean Puree with every 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise for tuna salad.
Start by mixing in 1 tablespoon of wheat germ per 6-ounce can of tuna, along with mayonnaise (and White Bean Puree if desired), and, over time, gradually increase to 2 tablespoons of wheat germ.
SNEAKY CHEF WHITE BEAN PUREE:
1 15-ounce can white beans (great northern, navy, butter or cannellini)
(If you are starting with dry beans, soak 1 cup for an hour, then cook according to instructions.)
1 to 2 tablespoons water
Rinse and drain the beans and put in the bowl of your food processor. Pulsing in on/off turns, puree the drained beans with just 1 tablespoon of water in processor until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. The goal is a smooth, but not wet, puree. (You are aiming for the consistency of peanut butter.) If necessary, thin with a little more water by one teaspoonful at a time until there are no flecks of whole beans visible.
Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers. Makes about 1 cup of puree. Double this recipe if you want to store another cup of puree.
The Sneaky Chef is available at www.TheSneakyChef.com and bookstores everywhere.
About The Sneaky Chef
The Sneaky Chef is the brainchild of Missy Chase Lapine, whose New York Times bestseller, The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals (Running Press, March 2007) inspired a whole new brand in the healthy eating/lifestyles category. Missy is the former publisher of Eating Well magazine and the founder of a natural baby product line Baby Spa®. She is currently on the Culinary Arts faculty of The New School, in New York City, and operates The Sneaky Chef workshops, which is a program of cooking classes and demonstrations that teach families how to eat healthier. She is also a collaborator with The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a partnership between the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, helping schools serve healthier lunches. Her highly-anticipated second book, The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on Your Husband in the Kitchen, debuts in 2008.