Sneaky Mommy! Kids WILL eat kale.


This dish may not look all that sneaky, but I was able to accomplish several goals, completely under the radar.

1.       I got my kids (and husband) to eat KALE.

2.       I limited the portion of pasta that my family consumed.

3.       I eliminated the pasta from my meal and didn’t miss it a bit.


This recipe was adapted from Cavegirl Cuisine, a blog with lots of information and recipes related to the Paleo lifestyle. My version, however, is not Paleo.  Because who wants to live without cheese? I call this dish Sausage & Kale, Two Ways.

The trick to getting everyone, maybe even you, to eat kale, is to chop the kale very fine. It’s not a bitter green, so there is minimal noticeable flavor imparted on the sauce, but plenty of nutrients. That’s a win-win in my family!

While kale is an issue, getting my girls to eat pasta is not. My babies are carb loaders. They might take after their momma! I could cook a whole box of pasta, which should be 7-8 servings, and I might be lucky to have enough left over for my lunch the next day. Bummer for them, I only had half a box of pasta on hand, so I mixed it in with the sauce to see if I could stretch it. While I had pulled some of the sauce out to stuff my portabellas, we still had enough food for everyone and two portions left for lunches!

I was doing a 21-Day Sugar Detox, so I didn’t eat the pasta. I just put the “sauce” inside a couple of portabellas and roasted them. Delicious! And might I say, the ONLY time I didn’t miss the carbs during the detox. Ahem, maybe that’s why I only made it 9 days before I quit. It turns out chocolate is essential to my family’s safety, seeing as how it seems to keep the Mommy Monster at bay.

So, without further ado, here’s the flexible, stretchable, delectable recipe:

Sausage & Kale, Two Ways:

12 portabella mushrooms or 8 oz penne pasta

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 lb ground Italian sausage (mild, sweet or hot)

1 bell pepper, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 leaves of kale, vein removed and FINELY chopped

8 oz can tomato sauce

3 oz Boursin (or similar) cheese (I used Alouette Garlic & Herbs spreadable cheese.)

¼ cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese, optional, for garnish


If using mushrooms, preheat oven to 350. Wash mushrooms and remove stems. Chop the stems and set aside. Brush or spritz tops of mushrooms with olive oil and place in foiled baking dish or cookie sheet. Be sure to use something with sides…there will be liquid!

If using pasta, follow package instructions to cook it to al dente. Before draining, reserve about ¼ cup of cooking water and set aside.

Brown the sausage in a non-stick skillet over medium-med hi heat, breaking it up with a spatula or wooden spoon. Drain the sausage over paper towels but don’t wash the skillet. Add diced peppers (and  diced mushroom stems, if using) to the skillet and cook for about 3 min. Add garlic and sauté for 30 sec-1 min. Add sausage back to the pan, along with kale, tomato sauce and spreadable cheese. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for about 5 min.

For mushrooms: Spoon sauce into mushrooms caps. Put about 1T water in the pan/dish and cover with foil. Bake in oven for about 15 min. Remove from the oven and top with grated or shaved Parmesan cheese, if desired.

For pasta: Add reserved cooking liquid to the sauce and simmer, stirring gently for another 2-3 min or until sauce thickens. Fold in pasta and cook a minute or two longer until heated through. Remove and top with Parmesan, if desired.

What are your sneaky mommy (or daddy) tricks, food or otherwise?