Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Best Way to Get My Hubby to Eat Vegetables

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Looking for a way to make 5-a-day part of your diet but hate vegetables?

My hubby belongs to the Vegetable Haters Club, which is unfortunate because vegetables could really help him fill up and help him manage his Syndrome X (pre-diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol). So imagine my surprise when I sneak all sorts of vegetables into my crock pot
meals and he eats them without even noticing them. Besides being quick, easy and convenient, my crockpot is becoming an amazing vegetable machine.

As for me, my Grandma Ann instilled in me a love of vegetables. She even got me to try things like parsnips, turnips and rutabagas which I remember tasting bitter when I was a child. Well imagine my surprise when I tried parsnips again as an adult in a crockpot meal and found them to be very tasty.

Thankfully NOVA Science Now helped me understand this disparity with their feature The Science of Picky Eaters this past summer. I learned that our DNA determines whether we are strong, medium or low bitter tasters. Biology also programs our sense of taste to make us to desire sweet and avoid bitter. Strong bitter tasters will probably never like broccoli, greens and parsnips, however they are perfect for a career as a professional taste tester. Medium bitter tasters may learn to like these vegetables as they get older because the sense of taste diminishes with age. A low bitter taster will eat everything as a child.

I guess I am a medium bitter taster.

So here is my twist on beef stew that incorporates loads of veggies. I call it my Very Veggie Beef Stew. My hubby loved it and ate every bite in his bowl.

Very Veggie Beef Stew
Serves 4

  • 1 lb. beef stew meat
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 lb. baby carrots
  • 1 small parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 2 small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 small turnip or rutabaga, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 to 6 sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. each thyme and majoram
  • 4 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup frozen petit peas, thawed

1. Coat a 4 quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, add the beef and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add the onion, baby carrots, parsnip, potatoes, celery and turnip. Stir to combine and pour ingredients into the crock.

2. In a small bowl combine the beef broth, wine, tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme and marjoram and mix well. Pour over the beef and vegetables in the crock. Top with the sliced mushrooms. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours or LOW for 7 to 8 hours.

3. When 30 minutes of cooking time remains, combine the butter and flour in a small bowl with a fork until it forms a ball. Add the ball to the crock and stir until melted. Stir in the thawed peas and cover and cook another 30 minutes.

I need to say thanks to Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Two: For the Small Slow Cooker and the recipe Baby Beef Stew Classico which was my jumping off point for creating my Very Veggie Beef Stew.

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