Sneaky Kid Spaghetti Sauce

captain adorable shirt

captain adorable

Captain Adorable shirt c/o: The Printed Palette

wes riding pony

me and boys

A couple weekends ago we took a morning trip to the farm.  It was sweaty and sticky and dusty and perfect.  Aside from Sea World, the farm just might be the boy’s favorite place in the whole world.









I remember being a super judgmental pre-mom when it came to food.

Before having children, I was certain that I would never be the kind of parent who made multiple meals for their kids at dinner. They would surely eat their vegetables, drink vitamin rich smoothies and at least “try” new meals I prepared for them.
How hard could it be, really?

Then I had my boys and very quickly began to eat my fair share of humble pie.
From the moment they began solids, both of them couldn’t be less interested in meal time.
Even today, when it comes to food, their general attitude: take it or leave it.

And it’s not for a lack of trying.
Because I try.
I try to feed them anything with any shred of nutritional value.
And they stubbornly purse their little lips together and shake their heads.
Or gag.
Yes, they gag.
As in literally choking up any piece of food that doesn’t live up to exactly what their pallet desires.

My boys don’t even like fruit smoothies.
What kid doesn’t like a smoothie?

It’s exhausting.
And I’ll even admit that I’ve been known to shed a tear any time they actually complete a well-balanced meal.
I lay in bed at night dreaming up ways to sneak healthy food into some of their favorites:
pizza, pasta, bagels, cereal, carbs, carbs, carbs–oh, and watermelon and strawberries.

My latest scheme involves sneaking vegetables into their spaghetti sauce.
I buy the Costco 2-pack of marinara sauce.  I toss a handful of spinach and some carrots in the Vitamix. Then I pour in a jar of the marinara and blend until completely smooth.  If I continue to blend for a while, the Vitamix will actually heat up the sauce as well.  But usually I just put the vege-sauce in a jar and stick it in the fridge until the next time I’m ready to make spaghetti later in the week.  If I combine this sauce in a saucepan with ground beef and seasoning, the vegetables become undetectable.  Yep, I’m sneaky like that (and desperate).

I would LOVE to see your quick, sneaky, nutrient packed recipes for kids.
I’m thinking some sort of vege/fruit popsicle could be a hit with my boys. Do you have a good recipe?






If you have any plans to purchase a Vitamix, use this coupon code to get FREE SHIPPING ($25US/$35CN)
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*I was given the Vitamix Creation II to review. As always, all opinions are my own and I am completely head over heels in love with my Vitamix.

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  • Reply
    October 31, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    hi! i love this post … amazing veggies and food here.
    hope to read more of your posts! =)

  • Reply
    Katie Schuchter
    October 31, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    When I make mac and cheese I use yellow squash baby food. Undetectable and easy.

  • Reply
    October 31, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    i saw these the other day on shark tank (my hubs and my favorite show):

    might be worth trying out?

  • Reply
    October 31, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I do this daily. At almost every meal! I can usually chop spinach finely and put it in almost anything and my son will eat it. He also doesn’t like fruit smoothies, or fruit of any kind, so I feel your pain. Oddly enough, he loves broccoli and asparagus so at least I have those going for me! If they love quesadillas try sneaking veggies in there!

  • Reply
    Nikki B
    November 1, 2013 at 1:07 am

    Same problem over here with my two little ones! In light of the season, I found a new favorite! Pumpkin Spice Pancakes! They are the best little pancakes ever! A little powdered sugar on top instead of syrup (less mess!) and they think it’s dessert. I’ve even put some mini chocolate chips on them to make them more fun. Since pumpkin is good for you…I thought maybe you could try this recipe;

    1 1/4 cup(s) all purpose flour
    1 1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp table salt
    1 1/4 cup(s) buttermilk
    1 cup(s) canned pumpkin, do not use pumpkin pie filling
    2 large egg(s)
    3 Tbsp packed brown sugar, dark variety
    1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
    3 spray(s) cooking spray
    2 tsp powdered sugar

    In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, beat together buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, sugar and melted butter. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients; fold in just to combine.
    Coat a nonstick griddle or pan with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Spoon batter into pan in batches using 1/4-cup batter for each pancake; cook until lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove pancakes to a tray in a warm oven; repeat with remaining ingredients (being careful not to spray cooking spray into an open flame). Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving. Yields 2 pancakes per serving.

    You can thin the batter out with a little water if desired.

    Enjoy! They are a current FAVORITE at my house!

  • Reply
    November 1, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Great idea! I also do this. I also put as many chopped carrots/onions/mushrooms into turkey meatloaf and turkey burgers. Spinach too if I can! You can also put chopped veggies on pizza, under the cheese, and it goes undetected!!! good luck, you seem like a wonderful mom!


  • Reply
    Amy K.
    November 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Wait – are you saying your kids eat SAUCE on their spaghetti??? You, & they, are doing just fine, I think. 😉

  • Reply
    November 1, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    a problem every mother has! You can also add zuchini and mushrooms to the pasta sauce.

  • Reply
    Katie Albury
    November 2, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Hi Ashley
    I’m a nanny to an 18 month old girl and although she is generally brilliant with foods, she can also have her fussy days! But there is one side dish that she absolutely loves which can given alongside any main dish- I serve it with Risotto, Stews, Chicken…anything really, its Annabel Karmel’s ‘Sweet Potato with Spinach and Peas’. The final product look like green mash potato but it tastes really good! You could make it out to be some sort of monsters green goo to make it fun for your boys! Here’s a link I found to the recipe…

    Good Luck!

    Katie x

  • Reply
    November 2, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I put spinach in my spaghetti sauce too, but I’ve never thought to throw in carrots also. My favorite thing to sneak spinach in though is pumpkin muffins. I even use whole wheat flour and honey instead of sugar and my kids can’t get enough of them. I do add some dark chocolate chips, but I figure it’s a good trade off for getting some veggies in them.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Great idea! I aswell do this. I aswell put as abounding chopped carrots/onions/mushrooms into turkey meatloaf and turkey burgers. Spinach too if I can! You can aswell put chopped veggies on pizza, beneath the cheese, and it goes undetected!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2013 at 12:30 am

    My almost two year old loves broccoli, but only if I saute it with olive oil and garlic. She loves garlic so I add it to almost anything she won’t eat and then she’ll eat it.

    • Reply
      November 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm

      A kid who loves garlic, that’s a plus for you

  • Reply
    November 7, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Just saw on a vlog a lady who mashes steamed cauliflower (or vitamix the steamed cauli up) and mixes it with cheese for homemade pizzas or homemade mac and cheese. You could try cauliflower crust pizza too and say it’s just pizza! Google cauliflower pizza for good recipes!

  • Reply
    Kassi @ Truly Lovely
    November 7, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Genius!!! I’ve heard of pureeing things like carrots and then adding them into a cake mix or cookie dough…

  • Reply
    December 27, 2013 at 9:00 am

    I cook chicken and noodles by boiling the chicken, carrots, onions, celery together. Remove the chicken and strain the vegetables (liquify the cooked veggies in vita mix) reserving the broth cook noodles until tender. Add back in the chicken and liquified veggies. The broth tastes great and is colorful. The kids just see the chicken and noodles. You even can use the colorful veggie noodles.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2015 at 3:27 am

    carrots are very useful for us , fibers from carrots really good for our bodies , always make it a habit to eat carrots.this article very good thanxs

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    June 1, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Gonna try it! My kids are also picky eaters. They rarely eat vegetables and fish, but they also like pasta and pizza. Thank you for sharing the idea!

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