Fact: there’s few of us that couldn’t stand to eat more fruits and vegetables…even in the summer time when they taste the best, cost the least, and are easiest to find at grocery stores, farm stands, and farmer’s markets. While this is a common topic of conversation with my patients, it’s a constant reminder to myself: eat more fruits and vegetables! Especially now that I’m feeding not only Mr. P and myself, but a little one, too. It’s (almost) never too early to start the fruit and vegetable introductions!
Including more fruits and vegetables can be as simple as eating them as a snack or a side with meals, but it’s fun to get a bit more creative. Or, in parent speak, sneaking them into recipes to up the nutrition of meals. 😉
One great way to sneak in fruits and vegetables is through pureeing – think everything from smoothies to soups to sauces. Really, the possibilities are endless. Take a fruit puree and mix into pancakes, or make little smiley faces! Puree vegetables into smoothies. Kale or spinach, anyone? Try starchy vegetables for a velvety soup – sweet potatoes, winter squash, or just your good’ol russet spud.
Take all this fruit and vegetable puree business a step further with spices for added flavor and the possibilities expand even further. Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg are perfect in a little something sweet, cayenne, crushed red pepper, or chili powder for a little heat, and garlic, onion, and various herbs for something savory. You get the idea.
But sometimes, you want something quick and easy and spice blends can truly become the hero. Without measuring various spices in varying amounts, you can keep a blend on hand that can create a depth of flavor with no thought or effort at all.
Before asparagus goes woody and dry, I created this rich, but sinless creamy asparagus sauce…with lots of garlic and herb kick. Roast the asparagus with the garlic and herb blend for a savory touch and puree with milk, half and half, a bit of fresh garlic, and McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb Salt-Free Seasoning. Mr. Prevention went back for second and thirds and even my little one devoured this dish.
- 2 lbs asparagus, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb Salt-Free Seasoning*
- ¾ tsp salt
- 14 oz whole wheat penne
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup half and half
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place asparagus pieces on a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle asparagus with seasoning and salt; toss well. Roast the asparagus for 22-25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, being a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook 10-12 minutes or until al dente. Drain and keep pasta hot.
- In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, milk, half and half, and ¼th of the roasted asparagus; blend until smooth. Transfer the milk mixture to a medium pan and bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until thickened.
- Pour sauce over pasta and toss in remaining asparagus. Serve hot.
Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post as a contribution to the 2015 McCormick Health & Wellness Blogger Insider Program. All opinions are my own.
Weekly Menu: August 23th – 27th
- Sunday: Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwiches
- Monday: Cheesy Chicken and Corn Stuffed Chiles
- Tuesday: Sizzling Steak Fajitas with Mexican Rice
- Wednesday: leftovers
- Thursday: Sweet and Tangy Glazed Pork Tenderloin with mashed potatoes salad