Sneaky Pasta Sauce

Do you have picky eaters? I know I do! I’ve been trying to find ways to not only stretch our budget, but increase the nutrition in our meals. One inexpensive meal that I can always fall back on is pasta & sauce. Prior to having the baby I made huge batches of homemade marinara sauce (following the recipe of Giada DiLaurentis) and then froze it in pre-portioned containers. I can grab it out of the freezer in the afternoon, run it under hot water to loosen it from the sides, and then pop it out into the crock pot. Which I have to admit, makes the whole house smell yummy leading up to dinner!

My first attempt to make a sneaky sauce I added finely diced peppers (my daughter dislikes peppers) and finely diced zucchini (I’m the only one who likes them). Not one family member mentioned the veggies and everyone enjoyed it (well almost everyone, I do have 1 kiddo that dislikes all things tomato except ketchup).

The second attempt I took 1/4 cup of red lentils (rinsed and picked through) and soaked in in 1/2 cup of water*. Once the lentils completely absorbed the water I added it to the pasta sauce and simmered for 2 hours in the crock pot. Then just before serving I used my stick blender to puree it (my hubby can’t stand the texture of legumes). Again, other than the anti- tomato kiddo, everyone loved it! I like the lentils as it adds great nutrients and protein to the dish. I also found that it was much more filling by adding the lentils in as well.

So next time I will combine the two attempts, and possibly add more veggies! Do you have picky eaters? How do you handle it? Have you ever tried to be sneaky in your cooking?

*If you or any of your loved ones have a hard time digesting legumes add a TB of apple cider vinegar when soaking to help neutralize the phytic acid.