by Hyacynth Worth
When we want to avoid dinnertime battles with the kids and still serve up the most nutritious vegetables readily and affordably available during these winter months in Chicago, we turn to the following tried and true recipes. Read on with an open mind and you might be surprised by what the little ones (and you!) will love!
We find these veggies for decent prices, readily available during the winter months at:
Sweet Potato Fries
Once the little ones bit into their first sweet potato fries we never heard cries for regular white potato French fries again. Packed with vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes or yams are a wonderful root vegetable that offer plenty of nutrition and flavor. Best of all, they are easily found at the store during the cold months.
Two large sweet potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut two large sweet potatoes into fries about the size of a pinky finger. Lightly grease a rimmed cookie sheet. Toss the cut fries into a bowl and add
- 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of chilli powder (not spicy at all! Promise!)
- 1.5 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Mix the fries up, coating them with the EVOO and spices.
- Place on the greased cookie sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping them half way through.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Don’t shudder at brussels sprouts until you’ve tried them roasted! This vegetable is nearing the end of its peak season, but they are still readily found fresh in stores. And this time of year, during the peak, they have a natural sweetness that comes out during the roasting.
1 bag of fresh brussell sprouts
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed cookie sheet.
- Rinse the brussell sprouts in water and discard any yellow leaves. Cut the hard ends off.
- Toss sprouts in a bowl with:
- 1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/8 teaspoon of Sea Salt
- 1/8 teaspoon of Ground Pepper
- (Some leaves will come off during the end cutting! Try to place the whole sprouts atop of these leaves on the baking sheet after tossing them in the olive oil mixture.)
- Bake for 30 minutes, turning them on the pan about 10 minutes. The outside should be crisp and browned and the inside should be tender.
Kale is packed with nutrients like vitamin c and beta carotene (both great for immune system support during cold and flu season), and it is readily available in the winter months here in Windy City grocery stores. And while it might look like a fancy version of spinach (and it can taste like one, too), it also mimics potato chips very well when baked in the oven.
Here’s a wonderful recipe from Kath Eats Real Food.
Cinnamon Baked Butternut Squash
Squash, when cooked just right, is one of our boys’ favorite dishes during the fall and winter months. And we love it because during the winter months, squash is priced well and is an affordable side dish for a growing family. Importantly, don’t be put out by the coconut oil; it actually doesn’t taste coconutty, but it sure does help bring out the natural sweetness of many of these winter veggies.
Coconut Oil (or butter, but you’ll miss out on some really great flavor without the coconut oil)
One – Two Butternut Squash (for a family of four)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Find a casserole dish that is deep enough to fit the halved squash with the lid on. Fill the casserole dish with about ¼ inch of water.
- Halve the squash so that the stem is the bottom of one half and the bottom of the other is the natural bottom of the squash. Put one teaspoon of coconut oil in each half. Place both halves in the pan, so that the green part of the squash is in the water. Sprinkle cinnamon in each half.
- Cook the squash with the lid on the casserole dish for 50 minutes to one hour. You should be able to easily push a fork into the squash when it’s finished cooking.