Long story no punch line. Start with 1 widowed dad, 1 14 year old son who sees little use in vegies, 1 large can of beef ravioli in meat sauce. Goal some kind of make it quick casserole that gets ravioli and some kind of vegies (frozen is better) and ravioli inside of dad and son. Also open to other "lets make it quick I'm tired from work while at least pretending its nutritious" ideas. One pot only to wash, prefered.
Am laughing after reading this, but still could use some advice.
Frozen corn is usually a more than acceptable addition to the mix. Frozen peas work the same way. Also, I've often added cabbage and carrots to braised meats as they cook; the cabbage pretty much disappears into the gravy and diced carrots are too tiny to be worth fishing out.
I make a lot of salsa pork as my DH likes it: 1 big jar of salsa, one 3-lb pork butt/shoulder. Braise it together with 3/4 of the jar size of water and add veggies to cook with it. Or, I defrost frozen chopped spinach in the microwave and add it into the gravy after I de-fat it. They REALLY can't pick that veggie out and leave it behind, LOL!
My DH takes lunch to work to save money. When I make a sandwich, I use the Sarah Lee whole wheat bread - it's higher in fiber than white (2g per slice) yet has that spongy softness like Wonder Bread, that he grew up with and prefers. Then instead of lettuce and butter, I use Best Foods/Hellmans low-fat mayonnaise and fresh spinach leaves. Much more fiber than lettuce and again, it disappears with the sandwich bread so you hardly even notice. Tomatoes are too juicy so I pack them separately along with the pickles; DH adds them when he's ready to eat lunch and then brings the little Tupperware container back home.
Just don't make a big fuss about it, and try to keep the junk food snacks and sodas out of the house. Nagging never works and gets people's backs up. My husband doesn't eat a lot of fresh fruit, for instance, but if I make a fruit salad and serve it as dessert, or as an addition to the weekend breakfast, he'll eat it all.
It's really more important to be watching the sodium and saturated fat or transfat contents. Interestingly enough, it takes a very long time to get off the high salt/high sugar cravings. I don't believe in making people go cold turkey, just want them to be more conscious of their food choices. It's really hard, though, if you don't have time to cook from scratch. Prepared foods tend to be extremely high in sodium/sugar/fat. Good luck!
Get a crockpot. The recipe book has some great ideas, and better yet - start it when you get up, and it's ready when you two get home. The smells alone when walking in the door will cause the veggies to disappear. Stews, roasts, etc. - all good.
There are some good threads here and in Recipes for such cooking.
When I am trying to sneak in veggies (normally fresh ones), I saute them then puree them and add them to the sauce or meatloaf or stuffing. I've also finely grated raw veggies into recipes and that works too. I've notice that it's the big chunks of veggies that get pulled out but that's hard to do if you cannot see them:lol:
It does work and adds moisture and flavor without the bits and pieces for picky eaters. I make a pasta salad that calls for minced sweet onion and one of my coworkers requested it without onions. I asked if it was an allergy and she said she just didn't like biting into cooked or raw onion. I used a fine grater and ended up with pulp and juice and she never noticed it was in there.
The other day on Oprah, Jessica Seinfeld was on there talking about ways she hides veggies in foods that really taste good. She has a cookbook out called Deceptively Delicious and she tried out the following on a whole classroom: brownies, pizza, tacos, all kinds of things and puts broccoli, spinach, squash, peas, cauliflower and more in many things. Here's the link to Oprah's page on Jessica:
12 ounces red potatoes, quartered
1 cup frozen chopped onions
1 pound beef stew meat
10 3/4 ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup(or celery)
1 cup beef broth
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram or thyme, crushed
9 ounces frozen cut carrots, thawed
9 ounce package frozen cut green beans, thawed
In 3 1/2 to 4 quart crock-pot place potatoes, onions, meat, soup, broth and marjoram/thyme. Stir to combine.
Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 9 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 4 1/2 hours. If using low-heat, turn to high-heat setting last 1/2 hour of cooking. Stir in thawed carrots and green beans. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more. Serves four.
2 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup frozen chopped onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/4 cup tomato catsup
1 cup frozen chopped green sweet pepper
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
3 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
16 hamburger buns, split and toasted
In large skillet cook ground beef, onion, and garlic until meat is brown and onions are tender. Drain off fat.
In a 3 1/2 to 4 quart crock-pot combine catsup, sweet pepper, celery, water, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and chili powder. Stir in meat mixture.
Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Spoon into toasted buns.
Servings: 8 to16(depends on 1 or 2 buns each)
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup frozen sliced carrots
1 1/2 cups frozen chopped onions
1 cup frozen sweet green peppers
1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
12 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
14 1/2 ounces canned diced tomatoes
1/3 cup tomato paste
hot cooked pasta or rice
In 5 to 6 quart crock-pot combine celery, onions, sweet pepper, and garlic. Cover vegetables with chicken. Add broth, wine corn starch, bay leaves, oregano, sugar, salt and black pepper.
Cover and cook on low 6 to 7 hours or on high for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
Remove chicken and keep warm. Remove bay leaves and discard. If using low setting, turn to high. Stir in carrots, tomatoes and tomato paste. Cover and cook 15 minutes longer on high; add chicken back to sauce and rewarm 5 minutes. Serve over pasta or rice.