Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sneaky Cha Cha. . .

As I continue to fill the freezer with my son's meals for his youth retreat next week my concern is balancing his meals with nourishing foods as well as making them enjoyable.  He's not a huge salad/veggie guy and I know if there's a serving of broccoli on the side of his plate it will very likely be ignored at camp.  My solution?  I'm sneaking veggies everything I can. Extra protein doesn't hurt either, since they'll be going non stop all week.

Sneaking veggies and other nutritious goodies into my family is a time honored past time around here.  Some attempts fall flat and others have become family favorites.

One favorite that I haven't made in a while is the Whole Food's Flourless Brownie Recipe. They're made with a can of black bean which you gets pureed into invisibility with all the other ingredients. I know that sounds strange but they are so good.  Really. They are fudgy and chocolaty and no one could tell the secret ingredient here. Sure you're still having sugar but you're also getting protein, fiber and minerals from the beans.  They are on my list to bake next. I'll be packing several for Joe's trip.

I decided to make a couple of servings of a layered enfrijolada stuffed with ground beef and black beans for two of his dinners.  The black bean sauce, cheese and corn tortillas are really a great protein on their own. Adding beef AND more black beans might be protein overkill at home but with the activity level he'll have each day it should work well.  A one pound bag of black beans simmered with onion, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper and was pureed for the sauce.

One large zucchini was grated into a pound on ground beef and one can of black beans.  It becomes less and less obvious as spices are added and it simmers.  It really doesn't disappear but it is almost flavorless with all the stronger flavors - neither Joe or I could taste it at all as we sampled some.

To get the right serving size for him I just layered everything into the containers.  Bean sauce, tortillas, filling, cheese, and repeated until full.   I normally use only glass for storing and cooking meals like this but that isn't practical to send to a camp kitchen.  I also don't use a microwave at home but that's what he'll be using at camp.

There's one more addition to the freezer we've packed.  Remember the Calzone experiment?  I've been playing around with different fillings. I used this cheese bread recipe for this version that has thinly sliced ham inside - it was perfect with the jalapeƱo jack cheese in the bread.  There are a combination of both pizza style calzones and ham and cheese pocket sandwiches in the freezer for his lunches so far.

The entree size containers will be put in a freezer ziplock and labeled by day, meal and heating instructions to make things easy on the staff.  The calzones and pocket sandwiches are in individual quart sized freezer bags which will be marked and they will each be put into a larger bag with the rest of his lunch items.

There are just a couple more items to make and some purchased items to pack.  So far everything is coming also smoothly.  I'll show you his choice for his other dinners and breakfasts soon.


Anonymous said...

Wow, these recipes look delicious! I sent leftover calzones (the gluten kind) with my kids on their Niagara trip after making them for the first time. They loved them (and so far seem to be dealing fine with gluten). I never thought of trying ham and cheese.

I look forward to seeing what else you're sending with him! Church camp is in only a couple more weeks. I love your emphasis on nutrition. Right now I'm just trying to find food, any food to send!

chacha said...

I hope the kids are having a great time with their grandparents. Joe wasn't sure he'd like the ham and cheese but he's devoured several already.

I just found out that he's leaving a day early - they've asked that he go down to help set up. Soooo one less day to get my act together!

I completely get it - it's a process and you're well on your way. =D

gab said...

cheeeeeeeese bread.
and i need to start sneaking some veggies in for ev. not so much for o who went for carrots and brown rice over birthday cake last night. but definitely for ev. hee!
i can't believe he's leaving sunday. ACK.

chacha said...

Colby/jack with a dash of garlic powder is a new favorite cheese bread. I think you'd like that one.

We can brainstorm some ideas for Ev after O's party and your special company. I love that she wanted carrots over cake - and hey - more cake for you!

Yep - more to bake and pack but it's coming along. =D