Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Sloppy Joe-Jacks and other Places to Hide Veggies

Sloppy Joe has been around for a long time, saving dinners across the country, by providing a quick and wholesome meal, meaty and saucy, tangy and filling.  Now, more than ever, we need to make every meal count and also make sure we are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals our bodies need, especially our kiddoes. I found that I can fortify certain meals with non traditional, nutritious ingredients that can pack a mean punch of antioxidants and fiber, plus slews of good for us nutrition.  One such ingredient is pumpkin. 
Pumpkins, which are a member of the Squash family, is full of substantial, nutritious benefits like vitamins A, C and E, B2, protein, beta carotene, manganese, fiber, folate, antioxidants that help thwart free radicals, plus it's inexpensive! Most households probably have a can or two left over from the holidays past and if it is just PLAIN pumpkin, it can be added to many of our everyday or tried and true recipes we already serve our families.  I found that I could add it to sloppy joes and not rob the dish of its integrity and go virtually undetected by the picky eaters, adults included.  I call them 'Sloppy Joe-Jacks', as in jack o lantern, as I came up with this fusion around Halloween of last year.  You can add anywhere from 1/4 to 2/3 cup to 2 lbs. of prepared sloppy joes, making a exponential increase in its nutritional density.
Other places pumpkin goes well and may be added is chili, taco meat blends, beef stew and even mac and cheese.  Butternut squash puree goes well blended in with Broccoli w/Cheese Sauce and chunks of butternut squash also blend well in casseroles containing cheddar cheese.  Various types of beans are also awesome mashed and blended with many other proteins to stretch and keep you fuller, longer.  White beans will blend well with ground poultry and pork, while brown to black beans will be suitable for beef and other red meats. 
Be creative, if the color can blend, blend it in, TASTE it of course and adjust seasonings as needed.  Fresh herbs really bring brightness and freshness and added health benefits to any dish, so definitely consider some when planting for your family this spring! 

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