Tomato Sauce…it’s all in there

If your kids love pizza or spaghetti, I have a tomato sauce for you!

It’s difficult to get kids to eat the vegetables they need for a well-balanced diet, but they are more likely to eat their vegetables, if they help gather them from the garden or they help prep the family meals. 

There are a few ways to get kids involved, depending on their age. For the infant, bring the high chair into the kitchen and place them in a safe area where they cannot knock anything over or touch anything hot. We had a large area in the middle of the kitchen where I placed the high chair. My son watched as I whirled around the kitchen from counter to sink to stove prepping our meals. Every so often I would place something on his tray for him to sample. To my delight he tried everything. He didn’t necessarily like it all, but he did try it.

When he became a mobile preschooler, I had him sit on the counter while I made meals. He helped stir, smell and taste each ingredient as it was put into the dish. It taught him to be adventurous when eating and to understand the complexity of ingredients, not to mention a few math skills from measuring.  cooking3                                                                         One of our favorite things to eat is pizza. Everyone gets to select their own toppings (pineapple, ham, olives, onions, parmesan and mozzarella), place it on their own dough, and I pop it into the oven. Taste of Italy, has a simple pizza dough recipe that we use for our homemade pizzas. If you want to make it a little healthier,  you can use whole wheat flour as a substitute, just keep in mind it will be a heavier dough requiring a rolling-pin to roll it out to your desired thickness. 

  IMG_1182    My Homemade Tomato Sauce for Pizzas                                                       

2 – 70z (200g) jars of tomato paste

1 – 24oz jars of strained tomatoes

4 minced gloves of garlic

1/2 cup of diced white onions

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped portabella mushrooms

1 cup chopped spinach (fresh not frozen)

1/2 cup of chopped parsley and basil

3 tablespoons of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Saute in a large pot over medium heat, the garlic and onions with the olive oil until the onions are slightly translucent. Add the strained tomatoes and paste. Stir. Drop in the rest of the ingredients, except the herbs, and let cook over low heat, partially covered, until the carrots are soft. If you are using fresh tomatoes, be sure they are nice and soft and fall apart easily.

Remove from the heat and add the herbs to the sauce. Stir in and let sit until the sauce is cooled slightly. Add the sauce to a blender and puree until the kids cannot see once speck of green. If they can’t see it, it ain’t in it. Of course, if your kids don’t mind green things, then by all means let them see the green. If it isn’t thick enough, let it cook a bit longer on the stove top without a lid.

Substitutions: Use 3lbs of fresh tomatoes, seeded and skinned, to replace the strained tomatoes; 1/4 cup of wine added to onions and garlic mixture and reduced, adds a nice body of flavor for when the kids get older. You can substitute kale for the spinach.