Saturday, August 6, 2011

Veggie Patties

I love cooking. I love being in the kitchen.  However, sometimes I just need a break and need something easy to put together for dinner.  Something that hasn't required much planning or prepping. Something that can travel well or that is easy for a sitter to feed the girls.  Easy.  Well this is one of my favorite "go to" meals for those days.

Now granted this recipe does require a bit of cooking and prepping one time, but then you can freeze them and have lots of easy meals stored away for those days when you need an easy meal for your kiddo.  We've chose to not buy boxed, processed food and instead focus on whole foods.  Well whole foods require some cooking, prepping, cutting, chopping, etc.  It's a little more work than just grabbing those easy boxed meals off the shelves at the stores, but it's so incredibly worth it.  You and your kiddos will be thankful for the work and time you've invested in your family's health!!  To start your kiddos off on a healthy path with whole foods right from the beginning is such an incredible gift for their long term health.  Not to mention that it keeps you as the parent healthy and well.  If as parents we feel well, we are more likely to have the energy to keep up with our kiddos and interact and play with them, which of course is priceless time.  I have found when I'm being intentional with caring for myself I am more present and patient with my girls.   I've also quickly realized the times when I'm not balanced because I tend to get frustrated quicker over smaller things, and I feel like I've lost all patience.  This is always a good reminder for me to check in and evaluate my self and what's happening.  So all that said please take time to check in today and ask yourself if your taking good care of you!

So now on to veggie patties...

I was inspired by our favorite local restaurant to create these. They have amazing black bean sweet potato burgers.  I figured I could experiment a bit and create something that would be wholesome and healthy for my kiddos and make a great meal with lots of hidden extras in it.  It works great for our family because I think my girls could live on raw veggies and fruits, which is fabulous but they need some other nutrients as well.  So I load these up and they make a great vegetarian dinner and/or finger food for a younger baby (just adapt recipe to foods baby has been introduced too).

I don't have a specific recipe for these, which is what makes them so great.  You can really use what you have on hand to make these.  They can also be adapted to be specific to what your kiddo enjoys.  Another great perk of these veggie patties is that you can add some extras into them that might be challenging to get into your kiddos food otherwise.  I'll share with you what I did for this batch but get creative and experiment. 

Veggie Patties

2 roasted sweet potatoes (so they are soft and easy to mix up)
1 cup cooked quinoa ( I started with 1/2 cup dry quinoa )
1 cup black beans
shredded zucchini
rolled oats or rice flour (basically just something to help bind them)
ground nuts or seeds ( I like to use ground sunflower seeds)
(dried spices, Mrs. Braggs Soy Sauce, tomato paste are good options to give flavor as well, especially for adults!)

I just toss everything in my food processor and let it do the work of mixing it all together.  Keep an eye on the consistency and add enough of the oats or flour to make sure the mixture will start to thicken slightly.  You'll want to have it thick enough that it won't just fall apart when you begin cooking. 

Now this is where things get messy! I use wet hands and make little patties on a lightly oiled baking sheet or skillet. 

If baking I usually bake at 350 and check every 5 minutes.  Typically with in 10-15 minutes they are browned enough on the bottom that I can flip them over and finish cooking on the opposite side.  When flipping it's important to gently press them down so that the middle will cook as well.  Another 10-15 minutes usually finishes it up.  Cooking time will depend on what all you have in them.

I prefer to cook them on our skillet.  It takes a little longer because there are a few rounds but I can keep a closer eye  on them and make sure they don't get burnt.  They also don't tend to be as crumbly when I cook them on the skillet.

Eat plain or top with avocado, goat cheese, tomato, organic ketchup, or sprouts.  Serve with another side of veggies and you can be assured your kiddo has had a heaping amount of veggies in that meal!

The last batch I did made 20 burgers.  I tossed the extra ones in a ziploc baggie between layers of wax paper and froze. 

There you have it.  A whole foods veggie patty that you can serve your kiddos for a wholesome, easy meal! 

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