Quick, healthy dinners, ready in a hurry. Seems like as parents we are constantly seeking the epitome of dinners. Easy to prepare, not overly complicated, and nutritious to boot. Over the coming weeks I will post On the Run dinners for just such occasions. School is in, and as after-school activities pile on, the need to maintain health is critical.
Unfortunately, it is very easy to slip into “fast food” mode. Not only the drive thru (don’t do it!), but pre-packaged prepared goods from the grocery. Once you start reading labels, you’ll see most of it is not real food, but rather some semblance of what used to be food laced with preservatives, chemicals, etc and void of healthy vegetables.
Vegetables are the number one food in the war against disease. Period. So why do Americans shun them? And why aren’t more parents pushing them on their children? Children’s tastes depend solely on what they are used to. What they are conditioned to like. The more sweets you eat, the more sweets you crave.
That being said, my boys claim they “don’t like” peppers. Or onions. Or kale. Ha. They sure did like these burritos, full of peppers onions and kale! Masking new or “yucky” vegetables in with familiar tastes helps gently condition their palates to new tastes. And their bellies to more nutrition. Depending on your tastes, start slowly with the pepper mix, increasing the amount each time. You don’t want to risk turning them off by adding too much, too quickly.
I diced my peppers from scratch – it saves us money and I can control the size of the cut. Smaller is better when sneaking in veggies. It takes me about 5 minutes to dice the peppers. If you’re not into that, or running short on time, most supermarkets sell pre-diced peppers and onions in the fresh produce aisle.
Saute vegetables before adding to the burrito mellows and sweetens the flavor of the peppers and kale.
Hint: Always have an acceptable answer for questionable items like the “green” specks. At our house, minced kale is “just a spice” and that makes it ok to eat. (Whoever figures out the kiddie guidelines to eating is a genius!)
This dish can be made gluten free or dairy free to suit your dietary needs or personal stance on milk and wheat. We personally avoid milk products mainly for health reasons – however the processed soy cheese is not any “healthier”. It is the teaser in this case, the agent that draws the kids into eating the burrito. I use leftover homemade mango bean dip – feel free to use your favorite assuming it meets the real food guidelines. I puree our bean dip smooth, so there are no discernible icky things.
Start to finish this took me 30 minutes, including the time to dice the peppers onions and kale in the food processor. Definitely doable on a hectic night. Easy to digest, easy to eat – perfect for the crunch time between school and sports. We ate one each before basketball, and one after.
Weight-watcher mamas – skip the burrito and chop the extra kale into a large bowl, toss it with bean dip as dressing, and generously scoop warm pepper mixture on top. Same meal, different portions = smart cooking.
Leave a comment! What dinner would you like to see featured in “On the Run”?
- 2 cups orange, yellow, red sweet bell peppers
- 1/2 cup sweet onion
- 2-4 leaves kale, trimmed from stalk
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp garlic
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- bean dip
- cheese (organic, or non-dairy)
- whole grain tortilla (whole wheat, or gluten free)
Dice peppers, onion and kale to desired size.
Add oil to a large saute pan over medium heat, and add pepper mixture. Cook about 8-10 minutes, until mixture is soft. Season with garlic and cumin.
On a flat surface lay out tortilla. Spread with bean dip. Add pepper mixture in a line to one side of the tortilla (shown above). Cover with cheese of choice.
Roll up and serve. Toast if desired for a crispier texture.