I get comments all the time like “My kids would never eat that!” or “HOW do you get your kids to eat like that?” And my initial answer is always,”It’s a process.” I have always cooked a lot, and I love trying new recipes. Before we changed our diet so extensively, those experiments were usually with baking, so of course they were eager to try whatever I came up with. Now, most of my experiments are with vegetables. They are not necessarily so fond of this change, but it has made a HUGE difference in how they eat. So, this is how it works at our house. The kids eat what we eat. I am not a short-order cook, and I will not make something different for them just because they don’t like the looks of, or are not in the mood for, whatever I am making. However, I always make sure there are at least a couple of things at the meal that I know they will eat, and they are always included on the meal plan for the week. We also have a “no, thank you,” bite rule. They have to at least take one small bite of everything at each meal. It can take many, many exposures to a food before kids learn to like it, or at least tolerate it. Also, our tastes change over time, and I already notice that Mariah, at 11, is usually far more open to trying new things and is more eager to eat previously “yucky” foods. By taking small bites regularly, over time, my kids have learned to eat sweet potatoes (which the girls formerly swore they hated), asparagus (which they now pick up and eat like French fries), and various other veggies/foods that they previously wouldn’t have touched. I just keep trying, and Craig and I set a good example to them by joyfully trying new foods, or new ways to prepare foods, and eating OUR veggies!
However, please don’t walk away thinking they are perfect eaters and follow our example eagerly each and every time. Oh no. Not even close. Case in point….this BEAUTIFUL dish of yumminess I present to you. I had never cooked delicata squash before, so when I came across this recipe, I was excited to try it. You don’t have to peel delicata squash, because when cooked, the thin peel is edible, which makes this a super easy recipe to prepare. And everything is roasted. If I haven’t told you before, I LOVE to roast things. I am giddy that it is cooler so now I can shove just about everything in the oven to make dinner!
Craig and I LOVE this dish. It’s a big, beautiful serving of Fall on a plate. The first time I made it, he immediately asked me to make it again. The kids, not so much. It looked suspect to them, because it was something totally different to them. But the second time I made it, Caleb, our 4 year old, was the brave one, who after his one bite, said “Wow, Mom, this is pretty good.” The girls ate their pomegranate seeds. See, progress, in baby steps. But over time, they have learned to love things that many kids their ages scoff at.
When you are at the store, this is what you are looking for when looking for delicata squash…
Cut it lengthwise, remove the seeds.
Cut it crosswise in 1 inch slices, and slice some shallots lengthwise, too. Throw it in the oven for a while.
When it is done, top it with toasted pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, and a delicious, simple glaze. It’s delicious! And here’s a tip. The next day, toss any leftovers on a big bed of greens with some roasted chicken, and you have a really awesome lunch in no time flat!
Roasted Delicata Squash with Apple Honey Glaze
3.5 pounds delicata squash
3 shallots, sliced lengthwise
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus a pinch
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (I cheat and buy the cup of POM seeds)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut the squash crosswise into 1-inch thick slices, and then toss the squash, shallot, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Divide the squash between 2 large, rimmed baking sheets. Roast the squash for about 30 minutes, or until tender and caramelized in spots, turning the pieces over halfway through. Rotate the pans from top to bottom at the halfway point, also. Move the squash and shallots to a platter. You can stop here and let the finished squash sit at room temperature for up to a couple hours before continuing to the next step. It can be served reheated or room temperature.
- About 10 minutes before serving, combine the honey, vinegar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a strong simmer and continue to cook the mixture until it reduces by half, about 5-10 minutes. Drizzle this syrup over the squash. Top the squash with the pomegranate seed, pine nuts and parsley.
adapted from http://www.eatingwell.com