I need to be clear this preamble does not mean that our family no longer 'eats clean'. We still follow the same rule that we do not eat foods that contain chemicals. We are loyal label readers. And I don't foresee that ever changing.
But our eating habits have changed and I think that is worth addressing.
Defining Clean Eating Then and Now
THEN: we were a lot stricter in our definition of clean eating. With the exception of hummus, salsa, condiments (ketchup, mayo, etc), and occasionally marinara sauce, we didn't buy anything pre-made. If we wanted crackers, I made crackers. If we wanted bread, I made bread. Not surprising that I wrote a book called Homemade Snacks and Staples, is it? Until Baby G was a year old, processed foods or even foods-made-by-someone-other-than-me never touched her lips.
Then our baby grew into a toddler.
And I got pregnant.
And I was writing another cookbook.
And I wrote that book with a toddler always at my side. My pregnant side. My first trimester pregnant side.
And we got a little looser in our eating habits.
NOW: We still don't eat chemicals, but we do buy pre-made foods that have all real food ingredients. My dad used to complain that there was nothing in our pantry that he could just take out and eat. That has changed. You will find crackers and even fruit snacks in our pantry. I am falling in love with a brand called Immaculate Baking Company. They make refrigerated crescent rolls and cinnamon rolls with no chemicals. They even have baking mix with (gasp) all real food ingredients. It's about damn time if you ask me.
Now that things are settling down, I foresee us having a balance between homemade and pre-made. I enjoy baking and making crackers, so I want to keep doing that, but I also forgive myself for buying shortcuts.
These pizza rolls are a short cut and I hope you love them as much as we do.
Veggie-Packed Pizza Rolls
If you are a mom and a fan of Pinterest, you have probably seen some sort of recipe for pizza crescent rolls. Most involved pepperoni, pizza sauce, and a hunk of string cheese. When I developed this recipe, I had these recipes in mind, but wanted something a little healthier. I developed this because G won't eat pizza and I happen to like pizza. A lot. And when I would order bread sticks for her, that meant I was also eating bread sticks with my pizza. Bread sticks that were loaded with cheese and had no redeeming nutritional value. So I wanted something bread-stick-y but with some added veggies so I could feel a little good about giving them to her (and eating them with my pizza).
1 container Immaculate brand crescent rolls (or another brand that does NOT contain any chemicals)
approx. 1/2 cup pizza sauce
[1/4] cup shredded carrots, chopped
[1/4] cup spinach, chopped fine
[1/4] cup shredded mozzarella cheese OR 3 pieces string cheese cut in 1-inch chunks*
Sprinkling of garlic powder and Parmesan cheese
*Older kids may like the string cheese better, but for G, it was too much cheese. She just pulled it out or spit it out. She did better with the shredded cheese.
1. Preheat oven to 350 dg(F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl, combine pizza sauce, carrots, and spinach.
3. Roll out crescent rolls. Put a thin layer of sauce on each roll. If using shredded cheese, sprinkle some on top. You don't need much! If using string cheese, roll dough around string cheese.
4. Sprinkle garlic powder and Parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with leftover sauce.
This was a huge hit with Baby G. She devoured two rolls in one sitting. It wasn't as popular with her buddy, Hudson. You can't win them all, I guess. I liked them better than my pizza.
I think the shredded cheese works a little better for the toddler crowd. Older kids would probably like the string cheese version.
I used shredded carrots that I just cut up more finely. You could also grate carrots and that would probably blend into the sauce a little better. Finely chopped cooked broccoli could also work well here. When I cut the spinach, I rolled the leaves together and then cut it into thin strips. That was enough for the spinach to blend into the sauce.
What are some of your favorite chemical-free packaged foods?