Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Roasted Twees (Broccoli)

Oh the cute names we moms conjure up to try to entice our kids to eat something new!
Kale Chips became Green Potato Chips or Dinosaur Chips, an assortment of veggies we call "Eating your Rainbow" etc... so when it came time to experiment with Broccoli, their moniker came directly from the kids themselves.

It was my daughter who lifted it up and said "Mommy, I'm eating a TWEE" and there you have it, Roasted TWEES was officially named!

Roasting is such a simple cooking technique but often hurried parents forget about it in crunch time. The all-too-often used steaming (or as I like to say, "murdering") of veggies gets the job done, but leaves us with a hardly edible, mushy veggie that gets passed over on the plate on the way to the potatoes.

Roasting elevates the flavor of the food by caramelizing the sugars so they are brought to the forefront, creating a sweeter, more bold flavor then you could ever get with a pot of boiling water.

This is a recipe we make often at Wholesome Tummies and it's one that kids actually request by name. I have given this recipe out to many parents after their kids asked for it- now that is a great feeling- kids actually requesting broccoli! I hope this one becomes a replacement for the steamed broccoli in your house like it has in ours so that you too can actually begin enjoying this delicious veggie again!

Roasted Twees (Broccoli)

  • 1 head of broccoli, thoroughly washed and separated.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of sugar (optional)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Put a rimmed baking sheet into the oven and preheat the oven to 475.

Peel the base (stem) of the broccoli and cut into long pieces (it's OK to eat the stems this way!). You should get about 8-10 pieces in 1 head of broccoli.

In a small bowl, combine all the other ingredients and whisk well. Add the broccoli to the bowl and toss well. Once the oven is preheated, place the broccoli and the remainder of the mixture onto the HOT baking sheet and cook for approximate 15-20 minutes, tossing once until the broccoli is cooked and lightly browned.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Nothing really beats a crispy, fresh french fry. It's a taste that is hard to imitate and harder to healthify and really, in moderation, we shouldn't have to. But because they are a sometimes food in our family I have had to create some other fun "french fry-like" variations that still appease my kids without all the fat and grease.

Growing up, sweet potatoes were never part of any family dinner that I recall. I would see them at friend's houses on Thanksgiving but that was it. My mom certainly never cooked one and my first exposure was likely covered in marshmallow fluff anyway so the sweet potato was somewhat indistinguishable.

That all changed when I had my twins. I made all their baby food from scratch and the sweet potato was one of the easiest to master. Simply poke with a fork, bake for 1 hour and voila! - healthy baby food! Not sure if more of it ended up on their faces or in their mouths but they loved it!

When tasked with making my kids french fry tasting sweet potato fries, I attempted many variations. Savory or Sweet but found that overall it was the combo that was the best. (Isn't that always the case!) These sweet potatoes, soft on the inside, crispy on the outside with a touch of spice and sweet that makes them addictive - yet healthy all at the same time!

Sweet Potato Fries

Preheat Oven to 425 Serves 4-6

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tbl kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp freshly, cracked pepper

Cut potatoes in half, lengthwise and place flat side down on the cutting board. Starting at one end make 1/2" vertical sliced cuts around the sweet potato so that the whole piece is now cut into 1/2" strips. Set aside and continue with the remaining potato.

Place the slices onto a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil (approx 3-4 tbl) until nicely coated. Sprinkle on the spices and seasonings and toss well.

Roast for approximately 15 minutes then toss around so they do not stick and roast for another 25 minutes until browned.

Panko Crusted Chicken Tenders

This is one that is a favorite with kids and adults alike. It is just reminiscent enough of nuggets to be devoured by the little ones and just enough sophistication to be enjoyed by their parents.

Prep couldn't be faster so save this for one of those - rushtosoccerpracticenowit's7pmandidonthavedinnerplanned - kinda nights!

Preheat Oven to 425. Serves 4
  • 1 LB of Chicken Tenders (or cut Boneless Chicken Breasts into large chunks)
  • 1.5 cups of Whole Wheat Panko
  • 1 cup of olive oil (or olive oil canola blend)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbl grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Place all the Panko and seasoning (and cheese if using) into a baking dish.

Pour the olive oil into a separate bowl.

Dredge the chicken tenders into the olive oil until fully coated and then into the panko mixture one at a time. Lay them out on a lightly greased cookie sheet and spray with a bit of oil spray on the tops. Bake for approx 15 minutes, then flip the tenders and bake for an additional 10-12 or until fully cooked thru and an instant read thermometer registers at 165.

Serve with plenty of honey mustard or ketchup for dipping.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

  • 2 cups avocado (about 2 medium avocados)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • raspberries or some chocolate chips for garnish


  1. Add all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and whirl until it is creamy and fully blended. Scrape well down the sides to get all the cocoa powder in the pudding.
  2. Chill for 30 minutes and then eat!