Deceptively Delicious, or, Chicken and Rice Balls

There are lots of books that will tell you how to feed your kid(s) healthy meals. The one we use most often, and most successfully, is Jessica Seinfeld’s (yes, that Jessica Seinfeld) Deceptively Delicious.

Basically, the idea is to sneak veggies into tasty foods so the little ones don’t know what hit ’em. There is a good deal of pureeing involved.

And here’s the thing: it works. Getting Sean to eat straight veg is a hit or miss proposition, but if you steam and puree frozen cauliflower, carrot, and broccoli and mix it with tomato sauce and give it to him with pasta, or hidden inside a grilled cheese sandwich, it’s a hit.

We’ve had good luck with her recipes for French toast (dredged in squash or sweet potato puree), applesauce muffins (with carrot), mac and cheese (with cauliflower), sloppy joes (with squash and carrots), and, of course, chicken and rice balls (with sweet potato and spinach).

Now, the trick is to get creative. She calls for margarine in her recipes, but we use butter. Her mac and cheese recipe is really small, so we make a Betty Crocker batch and add the cauliflower puree to it.

The great thing about the book is that it arms you with the tools to play with other recipes. For example, Danielle has turned banana bread into banana-carrot-apple bread (BCAB, in our house). On top of that, she substitutes half the flower with whole wheat flower. It’s a quick bread you can have for breakfast and not feel bad about. There’s another version called SQUIB: squash bread.

So check out the book and get creative