Today, I’m kicking off a series of kid-friendly recipes – ones they’ll be able to help make and like to eat. I generally get a lot of questions about how I incorporate Jake into the cooking process. There’s nothing really earth-shattering about my approach: I just let him jump in wherever he can. Yes, it’s sometimes a mess. Yes, we have plenty of over-mixed muffins. But, he’s learning – and that’s important.
These mini muffins are a great place to start if you want to get your kids involved in the kitchen. They’re super simple and come together quickly. These definitely ebb on the healthier side of muffins – if your little one has a big sweet tooth, try mixing in 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips.
Jake gets such a kick out of being my sous chef that I let him pick my last project for #RecipeMakeover week. He picked brownies. Challenge accepted.
These, admittedly, still aren’t the healthiest brownies ever – but they’re a solid step in the right direction. This recipe uses less sweeteners than most and sneaks in some sweet potato to boot. And while I didn’t plan it this way, they’re vegan, too.
I mashed my sweet potatoes with a fork so they were still a little lumpy going into the batter. Jake isn’t picky (and is thrilled with anything chocolate), so he didn’t mind at all, but if you’re catering to a finicky crowd, pureeing the sweet potatoes would be a better way to hide them!
Sweet Potato Brownies (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens) Makes 1 9×9 ban
1/2 cup unrefined organic cane sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup almond butter
3/4 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
In a larger bowl, whisk together the almond butter, sweet potato, syrup and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until everything is moistened. Fold in chocolate.
Transfer to the prepared baking pan and smooth out evenly in the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top looks dry and puffed. Cool completely before removing from the pan.
Another great company I was introduced to via #CookoutWeek was Swine Dining. They specialize in small batch, made-by-hand spice mixes – and they’re awesome. They sent us three spice mixes to try and we loved them all.
Their signature blend is “Wimpy’s BBQ Rub” – called Wimpy’s because there’s no heat. We used it last night to make up a batch of our favorite pulled pork. We didn’t miss the heat – and it made it much more toddler-friendly. It was an awesome dinner for the whole family. Wimpy’s is currently available via their Etsy shop. They have plans to launch the other two spice mixes we tried – Jamaican Me Hungry (which I used in these burgers) and Dilly Dust – via Kitckstarter.
As soon I as I saw they sent us a jerk seasoning, I knew I wanted to make some sort of sweet potato burgers. The patties were too soft to place directly on the grill so I opted to bake them and they came out fabulous. If you wanted to get the grilled flavor, you could make them ahead of time and reheat on the grill.
Jerk Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers (a Kate’s Recipe Box original} Serves 8
2 large sweet potatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp. Swine Dining’s Jamaican Me Hungry jerk seasoning
Fresh sliced pineapple
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash the sweet potatoes and poke all over with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until very tender. Let cool until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork.
Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.
Mash half of the black beans and mix into the sweet potatoes. Mix in the remaining black beans, quinoa, breadcrumbs, egg and jerk seasoning until thoroughly combined. Divide into 8 patties and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 45 minutes, flipping halfway.
Serve on a bun, topped with pineapple and lettuce.