Mark Coakley, executive chef at Ginger Monkey Tavern and father of three, is passionate about inventing delicious dishes for people of all ages. He also knows a few things about encouraging kids to eat their veggies and offers his family secrets to making it enjoyable.
“One thing that always helped us was allowing our children to participate in the food preparation process, making it fun and encouraging them along the way,” says Coakley. “The finished product is something they’re proud of and more willing to eat. It’s amazing when they find out some of their favorite meals have veggie ingredients they don’t see.”
Coakley suggests parents get creative, make food fun and interesting. He also recommends letting them help shop for groceries and teaching the importance of healthy eating.
But sometimes, parents need a trick to easily get nutritious food into their children’s tummies.
“Add puréed veggies to sauces that can’t be easily detected by these little detectives," he says. "Taste what you give them, know your child’s palate and what they look for when they're trying to avoid veggies.”
You can’t go wrong with pizza, especially if it’s a pizza roll.
“What better way than to mix, veggies into the pizza sauce? It’s great for kids who have a fight-or-flight relationship with veggies. They just see pizza.” says Coakley.
It works great as a snack or as part of a meal.
“The undercover veggies are the star of this pizza roll and the way it is presented is a perfect way to provide a variety of veggie flavors without overwhelming the kids.”
Check out Facebook.com/GingerMonkeyAZ for their full list of kid-friendly events.
Pizza Veggie Roll
1/4 cup blanched spinach
1/2 medium green pepper
1/4 cup sliced mushroom
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced blanched carrots
1/2 cup diced zucchini
1 cup marinara sauce
3 1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 lukewarm water
1. Chop veggies. Sauté until tender. Blend with marinara.
2. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add water. Stir until a ball forms. Knead for 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface.
3. Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with damp cloth. Rest on countertop for 2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 400℉.
5. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Use rolling pin to roll it out into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle.
6. Spread 1 cup of sauce over dough. Leave 1/2-inch border around edges. Add extra desired amount. Sprinkle mozzarella.
7. Roll dough into large log. Slice into 8-12 pieces. Place each piece in a greased muffin tin.
8. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.