Honest Thoughts Blog, recipes

Crockpot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Sliders +thoughts on hiding vegetables in your family’s meals

A simple sweet and savory summertime dish made in the crockpot with hidden veggies for an extra punch of nutrition. 

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Oklahoma summers get really hot. There’s just no way around it. The idea of heating up the house by turning on the oven for dinner just does not sound appealing. Crockpots can really come in handy here. Often I think about my crockpot in the winter because of all the warm and cozy soup type recipes you can make in them, but I’m also using it to my advantage in the summer to keep from heating up the house. This meal is a Sunday favorite at my house. I love that I can throw it together in the crockpot before church and that it’s basically ready when we get home.

The entire recipe requires 5 ingredients. That’s it! So if we review, this recipe is 5 ingredients, made in the crockpot, easy, tastes great, and has hidden veggies. I don’t think it gets much better than that when it comes to finding family meals that are keepers.

I want to start showing more recipes that detail not only how I fix it, but also how I serve it to my 2 year old. One of my goals is to have more information about feeding the family and Baby Led Weaning all mixed with Intuitive Eating. So one thing I want to touch on briefly is hidden fruits and vegetables in meals for the family, especially kids.

What is a hidden fruit or vegetable? It is where you add a fruit or vegetable to a meal in a way that it cannot be seen, tasted, and/or felt.

What is the purpose of hiding a fruit or vegetable in a dish?  Hiding a fruit or a vegetable in a dish is often done to sneak foods into a child’s diet when they do not like that particular food. This is to ensure they are getting the nutrition benefits of the food they don’t like without the food fights.

What are the benefits of hiding foods in a dish? When you are worried about the quality of your child’s diet, especially if you have a child with a very limited palette, this helps you pack in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber to their diet in foods that are willing to eat. Reduces food fights and parental stress around their child’s diet. It can also be used to just boost the nutritional quality of a meal that may otherwise be lacking.

What are the cons of hiding foods in a dish? While you may be able to hide greens in a smoothie that you child enjoys, it never teaches them how to enjoy the greens. It doesn’t encourage your child to expand their taste buds and try new things.

Should I use this technique for feeding my family? This is my opinion as a mom and a dietitian. This is what I would suggest to all families, but please apply it how you feel works best for your family. Hiding fruits and/or vegetables in a dish has a time and a place for sure. Use it to your advantage to boost the nutrition of meals, but at the same time work to teach your family how to try and eat a large variety of foods. Another consideration is to allow your family to know the ingredients of the meal if it gets a good response. Sometimes knowing that they can enjoy a food they thought they didn’t like just served in a different way will encourage them to continue trying foods in various forms. So all in all, this technique is a great tool, just make sure it is not the only tool you use to get your family to eat the nutritious foods you know they need.

I’d love to hear your responses on this in the comments below. But now let’s get back to the recipe.

Crockpot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Sliders

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast

1 small can of pineapple rings, or 4-5 rings

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1/2 cup BBQ sauce of choice ( I have used Sweet Baby Ray’s and Head Country)

King’s Hawaiian Dinner rolls

Combine the chicken, pineapple rings, bell pepper strips, and BBQ sauce in a crockpot. Cook on high for 2-3 hours.

Remove the pineapples and bell peppers from the crockpot and puree with an immersion blender or in a regular blender. **Caution with a regular blender. The hot contents in the blender will cause a lot of pressure. Open the lid very slowly after blending.** Blend until smooth.

Use two forks to shred the chicken in the crockpot. Add the pureed pineapple and bell pepper back to the crockpot and stir to combine with the chicken and BBQ sauce.

Slice the rolls in half and add the shredded chicken in between to make the sliders.

Enjoy!

*my chicken breast were put in the crockpot frozen and came out very tender after 2 and a half hours.

 

Here is the before and after of how I served this to my 2 year old. She will be 3 in September. As you can see, broccoli was her favorite part of the meal. A little Ranch was added because she loves to dip foods. The chicken was untouched. We are going through a bit of a phase where often meat does not appeal to her. That’s okay and is actually pretty common.

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