Gail Simmons is a culinary expert, food writer, and judge on Top Chef! You've seen her in a number of television shows and now she's teaming up with McCormick to show us how YOU can flavor veggies with spices and herbs to make them fun for kids! These family-friendly dishes get your kids to be healthier by sneaking veggies into the meal. Your kids won't even know the difference! Find the recipes below and get more information on Gail right here.
This healthier alternative to traditional meatballs with a spinach twist serves 4
For meatballs:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
5 ounces fresh baby spinach (1 bag)
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 large egg
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon McCormick Dried Oregano
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper
For tomato sauce:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 28-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
2 teaspoons McCormick Dried Oregano
1 McCormick Dried Bay Leaf
2 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped for garnish (optional)
Set a large sauté pan to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. When oil is hot, add spinach, tossing gently until wilted. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Allow to cool slightly and remove to a cutting board lined with paper towel. Squeeze out liquid, discard paper towel and finely chop spinach. Wipe out sauté pan.
In a large bowl, combine the turkey, egg, onion, garlic powder, cheese and spinach. Stir in oregano and lemon zest, season with remaining teaspoon salt and a few turns of black pepper. Mix well then form into approximately 16 small round meatballs. Set on a tray in the fridge while you prepare tomato sauce.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.  Add onion. Cook until tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Season lightly with salt and pepper and pour in tomatoes. Add dried oregano, garlic powder and bay leaf and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
Set the sauté pan back over high heat and add remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil.  When pan is hot, add meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan, and brown them all over, about 2 minutes per side.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer meatballs to Dutch oven and nestle them in sauce. Partially cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes until tender and cooked through. Serve meatballs sprinkled with basil and extra cheese, over pasta or in a shallow bowl with rustic bread for sopping up the sauce.
Meet Asparagus Cauliflower Veggie Tots. A lighter version of the classic potato tot. Coated with panko and baked until golden, they’re delicious on their own, and even better dunked into a creamy, yogurt ranch dip. Better make a double batch of these beauties … the kids are going to love ‘em!
Prep Time:   15 minutes
Cook Time:  30 minutes
Yogurt Ranch Dip:
   1/2 cup Greek nonfat yogurt
      3 tablespoons milk
   1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic Powder
   1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Thyme Leaves
   1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Dill Weed
Veggie Tots:
    12 stalks asparagus, ends trimmed
      4 small carrots, peeled
      2 cups cauliflower florets
1 1/4 cups panko bread crumbs, divided
   1/2 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Paprika
      1 teaspoon McCormick® Thyme leaves
   1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic Powder
   1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Black Pepper
1. For the Dip, mix all ingredients in small bowl until well blended. Cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. For the Tots, preheat oven to 425?F. Place asparagus and carrots in food processor; cover. Process until coarsely chopped. Add cauliflower; cover. Process again until coarsely chopped. Add 1/4 cup of the panko and remaining ingredients; cover and pulse until well blended. Squeeze veggie mixture dry in a large piece of cheesecloth.
3. Shape the veggie mixture, a tablespoonful at a time, into balls then form into a “tot” shape. If the veggie tots do not hold their shape, refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes. Roll tots in remaining 1 cup panko to coat. Place on baking sheet sprayed with no stick cooking spray.
4. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp, turning once. Serve veggie tots with Yogurt Ranch Dip.
Makes 5 servings.
Nutrition Information Per Serving: 140 Calories, Total Fat 4g, Saturated Fat 3g, Cholesterol 11mg, Sodium 139mg, Carbohydrates 18g, Fiber 3g, Protein 8g
A sweet drink for kids that won’t get them all hyped up on sugar!
Makes 2 drinks
1 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced, plus more for garnish (or any combo of fresh berries)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger
Club soda
In a small bowl, muddle berries, lemon juice, honey and ground ginger with a mortar, muddler or wooden spoon. Press mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Discard any pulp (and seeds if using raspberries or blackberries).
Divide berry mixture between two ice-filled glasses. Top each glass with club soda (approximately 3/4 cup per glass). Stir gently to combine. Garnish with a few extra berry slices and serve with a straw.