By Shannon Penrod
This is a reprint of a blog from 2011.
One of the greatest things we can do for our children is make healthy food fun and colorful. Let’s face it, we have to compete with electric blue candy! How’s a mom supposed to get their kids to eat vegetables when faced with neon sugar? I say fight fire with fire! Get your kids involved, make it fun, make it colorful.
Last week we visited our local pumpkin patch and for a mere five dollars I got a huge squash that resembled a pumpkin. I made my son help me pick it out and I told him my plan to make pumpkin stew and cook it in the pumpkin. He was really into it. Next we went to the farmer’s market and I told him we needed to pick out vegetables to go in the stew and we needed as many colors as we could find. He calls that eating the rainbow and he loves to go to search the market for interesting colors. This time he picked yellow and red peppers, some rainbow colored chard, yellow and green squash, japanese eggplant and carrots. Great ingredients for a stew! Other great ingredients, if your child can eat them are potatoes, corn, chicken, beef, rice, beans, etc… this is an anything goes proposition.
We thoroughly washed and then cut open the big “pumpkin” squash and cleaned out the seeds and pulp. It was a beautiful deep orange – full of beta carotene! We rubbed olive oil and salt all over the inside of the “pumpkin”. I would have used pepper, but my son won’t eat anything that has pepper in it.
We turned the pumpkin upside down is a large roasting pan with cup of water in the bottom and baked it for about an hour at 350 degrees. While it was baking we started on the stew. We sautéed onions, garlic and celery in large stock pot with a little bit of olive oil. To that we added freshly washed chard and then slowly added in the rest of the vegetables stirring frequently. We added a little water, an entire box of Imagine gluten free vegetable broth and a cup of carrot juice. We let everything simmer for about 20 minutes and then added cardamom and cinnamon to taste. Yummy!
When the “pumpkin” squash was just starting to be fork tender we flipped it and filled it with the stew and then continued baking it for another 45 minutes. We served the stew with a steaming heap of the “pumpkin” in each bowl. It was delish!
I do have to say that my little guy refuses to eat zucchini unless it is pureed – so in the end I was forced to throw his soup in the food processor! But he loved the flavor and ate it up.
If you want to use a pumpkin stew for a dinner center piece I would advise you to cook the “pumpkin” a little less, it gets gushy when well cooked and can even leak! But it sure is pretty and tasty too!
Shannon Penrod is the host of Autism Live, which can be viewed at www.Autism-Live.com as well as at www.youtube.com/autismlive. It is also a free download on iTunes and Stitcher and on its own Roku channel.