Okay, I admit it. I LOVE to “sneak” healthy food into the meals I make for my family. I rejoice in the triumph of getting them to eat right when they don’t know it. I absolutely do cartwheels when what I have disguised can throw off its cloak and becomes a favorite food. 

One such triumph was spinach. I used to secretly add it to my homemade marinara and chopped it up beyond recognition for salad. Now everyone eats it without a fight... except for stewed tomatoes and spinach, but I think that’s more about the stewed tomatoes than the spinach! (Yeah, I don’t get it either.. they have such love for everything tomato as long as there are no chunks.)

Occasionally I get creative simply out of the mantra “Waste not, want not.” I found myself with a few items that we rarely have in the house: veggie dogs, low-fat cream cheese and whole cream. They were left over from Squeaks’ birthday party barbecue. (Check out this recipe for sturdy whipped cream frosting. It goes great with Red Velvet Cupcakes.)
While I alone could down the cream cheese, I knew that wasn’t the best choice for my hips. My DH dislikes cheese (GASP!) except in a few dishes and pizza. So, to use the cream cheese in anything I would have to sneak it. I decided to do something similar to blue cheese burgers. 

Sliders with cream cheese

1lb lean hamburger
1 egg
garlic powder to taste
minced onion to taste
3TB worcestershire sauce
Half brick of reduced fat cream cheese

Mix all ingredients. Form 12 small hamburgers about the size of your palm. Grill. Enjoy.

The veggie dogs were going to be harder for me to disguise. It came to me when I looked in the freezer and saw a package of boneless/skinless chicken breasts. BAM! Disguise the veggie dogs in shredded chicken!

I slow cooked the dogs and chicken for 4 hours in the crock pot with two cups of water, half an onion, stalks of celery, whole carrots, sage and basil leaves. While the dogs and chicken cooled on the cutting board I added more chunks of random vegetables I found in the fridge to the broth left over in the crock pot. I continued to slow cook it all for a couple more hours to make a broth to keep on hand.

I shredded the chicken and dogs and mixed it all together. Now I had to make dishes that would truly blend the dogs and chicken together. I looked around the kitchen and settled on shredded BBQ chicken and chicken enchilada casserole.

Shredded BBQ chicken

2 cans tomato sauce
1/2 C worcestershire sauce
1/2 C dijon mustard
12oz agave nectar
1/4 C Splenda
1/2 C white vinegar
To Taste:
Sea salt
Ground cloves
Cumin powder
Chili powder
Black pepper
Garlic powder
Minced Onion

Add all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat. I go by taste on almost everything. Adjust all ingredients to your taste. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.

Add half the BBQ sauce to half of the shredded dogs and chicken. Simmer through till warm. Serve on toasted buns. Enjoy!

Chicken enchilada casserole

1 box Chicken Enchilada Hamburger Helper, which calls for water and milk
Substitute the whole cream for the milk (yes, this makes for a rich, but yummy dish)
Half the shredded dogs and chicken mixture
1 pkg frozen corn
corn tortillas

Put out the corn to thaw. Follow the instructions on the Hamburger Helper box, using whole cream instead of milk. Once the Hamburger Helper is done spread a portion of the mixture on the bottom of a casserole pan. Add a layer of thawed corn. Add a layer of corn tortillas. Repeat, ending with a layer of corn tortillas. Drizzle the enchilada sauce from the Hamburger Helper on top of the top. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the top layer of corn tortillas has browned slightly and is crispy.

Voila! All three of the items left lingering in my fridge were used and every member of my family loved each dish. After each bite was thoroughly enjoyed with no leftovers I delighted in telling my DH what he secretly ate! It’s my version of food therapy - bluntly proving that scary foods are really quite delicious.