By July 30, 2016 Read More →

ChefView – Eat Your Veggies

Chef View

By Dana Johnson

Eat Your Veggies!!!

With lightning speed, August is already here! From hot August nights to back to school, we can all benefit from healthy eating to give us that extra boost. We are so fortunate to live here where the 2nd largest leafy produce growers, Ratto Bros. of Modesto grows 45+ varieties of vegetables that we can purchase in local supermarkets throughout our communities and find it paired on our plates in so many local restaurants.

Being a mother of three adult kiddos, I can still relate to the popular degree of difficulty to get kids to eat their veggies. With the assistance of two twelve-year-old boys, Robert Perry & Matthew Smith, both from Modesto and about to start school at La Loma Junior High, I created some recipes that they actually liked fully loaded with fresh produce! The three of us met up in the state-of-the-art kitchens in Direct Appliances’ showroom. From the moment I entered the place I’m instantly inspired to model my next home around the kitchen showroom; yep, four phenomenal kitchens are better than one! Do not judge me, this is my daydream! Also great about Direct Appliance, one-stop-shop via Direct Flooring & Home which does not contract out the work, they do it all!

For years I’d sneak extra veggies in my kid’s meals & sometimes I’d get caught! But with Robert & Matthew, I enlisted them to help prepare a Dana~licious, all original- full menu, and to not dislike like it before they at least tried it. They agreed.

*SALAD: In a large bowl; shredded Napa cabbage, fine chopped kale, diced red beet stems, small ribbons of beet top leaves all tossed with Mediterranean salad dressing. Garnish with snap peas and kohlrabi. Say what? This odd looking mystery vegetable was a wonderful surprise in the box of fresh produce given to me by Ratto Bros. Its light green in color, looked similar to a beet in shape, but it has several thick long shoots & a wax like exterior. Kohlrabi is actually a cabbage! After removing the outside I had Robert slice it into tasty bite-size matchsticks for added flavor & color.

*SOUP: In a large pot: Prepared spaghetti sauce, beef broth, water, chopped Napa cabbage, red & green Swiss chard, beet tops, fine chopped basil, and orzo pasta. Simmer until tender.

*SIDE DISH: In a medium serving dish: Prepared quinoa & wild rice tossed with olive oil & white balsamic vinegar. Top with honey dew, watermelon, & cantaloupe balls.

*Main skillet dish: Diced turkey kielbasa browned, prepared quinoa & wild rice, chopped red & green chard, & kale. Robert & Matthew’s fave of the day!

*Entrée: Italian Enchilada, translation: Piatta formaggio Italiano that’s so Dana~licious: On the Jennair amazing griddle; Whole grain corn tortilla, grilled sliced zucchini, mozzarella stick, fine chopped chard & basil melted together with 1 tbsp. prepared marinara goes inside & 1 tbsp. to top the outside. This was the boys 2nd fave!

Robert & Matthew blew my mind as they seemed to like everything on the menu! Granted, the boys have been raised proper with good manners & positive attitudes; but the empty bowls, clean plates, & smiling faces were the true tell! I was grateful they volunteered to help in the food prep & taste test, with the only reward being that other kids would be inspired to also eat their veggies!

I offer classes like these at Direct Appliance, minimum of twelve participants, maximum of twenty. Classes are available to teens, adults, bridal showers, birthday/anniversary celebrations, & corporate team building events. Email for available calendar dates & pricing;<>.

Thank you to Ratto Bros. for providing the abundance of produce; Direct Appliance for use of their premium kitchens; and to the super cool Robert & Matthew, for making it worthwhile to create these Dana~licious recipes!

ModestoView Signature Question: Robert & Matthew, Beatles or Stones?

“ Both! No hesitation… STONES!”

I asked Robert what your parents would have answered. He said his Dad would be STONES for sure, but his Mom, probably BEATLES. Matthew same question? He said both of his parents, STONES!

Wow Chris Murphy that would be a solid 5 out of 6 to add to my tally!!!

Direct Appliance

Direct Flooring & Home

2424 McHenry Modesto


Direct Appliance Outlet

701 K St. Modesto



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