Posts Tagged ‘ baby veggies ’

1 Protein + 2 Veggies + 1 Fruit = 4 Meals

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Best for Babies 6+ Months Old

As a food editor I spend hours studying current food trends — which foods are the new superstars, how people are eating today vs. yesterday, and so on. Of course, not every trend is surprising. We all know that people are cutting back on what they spend these days so everyone is looking for creative, fun ways to cook inventive, delicious meals for less. Tonight I applied that same principle to what I was cooking for Mason. How could I take just a few organic ingredients and come up with several different yummy purees that were simple and nutritious?

For starters, I surveyed what we had on hand. The three organic sweet potatoes on the counter looked good. We had four organic Gala apples fresh from the, um, grocery store. Chicken was already thawed in the fridge so that was in. A solid, six-month-old-friendly protein. A hearty winter veggie. And a versatile fruit. I was set.

The first puree that I made was a no-brainer –  I’ve made it before, and it’s super easy:  Chicken and Sweet Potatoes.

Chicken-Sweet Potato-Apple Puree

Next I thought about the combination of food my hubby and I like to eat.  We like texture, contrasting flavors, fresh seasonal fruits and veggies. So I decided to add a little apple to the mix to create Chicken-Sweet Potato-Apple Puree. When combined, the apple added sweetness to the mix, while the sweet potato was smooth and mellow. And the chicken fit right in. Mason hasn’t tried this little number yet, but I assume he’ll like it. After all, he likes the three ingredients alone.
Sweet Potatoes and Apple Puree

From there I moved on to classic Sweet Potatoes and Apple. I wanted a blend that would be a  lovely balance of fruit and veggie. It would end my daily debate about whether Mason was getting an equal balance of the two, and there’s something so scrumptious about sweet potatoes topped with warmly spiced fall fruit. Mason’s variation wasn’t spiced, but it was equally good. I loved that it blended into a rich orange color– I used a bit more sweet potato than apple simply because that’s what I had on hand. Normally I’d do an equal balance of the two. I loved that the mixture was smooth and easy, with just a hint of sweetness. I loved that it was packed with beta carotene, vitamin C, and lots of other good stuff.

Chicken and Carrots

Three purees down but with some chicken left, I pulled out a couple of jars of carrot from the cupboard (remember, carrots have a high nitrate content so you shouldn’t make them on your own) and mixed up a Chicken and Carrot blend. Plain, straightforward,  nutritious. Mason won’t complain. He enjoys this combo, although it certainly doesn’t have the pizazz that the Chicken-Sweet Potato-Apple Puree does.

Not a bad night of cooking — and I ended up with 25 servings of baby food for about $12, including the carrots. How do you make the most of your kitchen staples when making your babe his/her food?

The recipes:

Chicken-Sweet Potato-Apple Puree

1/3 cup boiled, shredded chicken
1/2 cup cooked, diced apple
1/2 cup cooked, diced sweet potato
Water

1. Poach chicken for about 35 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Shred a cup’s worth, and set aside.
2. Steam 1-2 diced apples, depending on size, for about 15 minutes or until soft. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside 1/2 cup.
3. Steam a sweet potato for about 15 minutes or until soft. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside 1/2 cup.
4. Combine all three ingredients in a food processor or blender. Add cooking liquid or water until you reach your desired consistency. (Think smooth but without being watery.) Freeze extras for up to three months.

Sweet-Potato Apple Puree

1 sweet potato
1 apple

1. Dice apple, steam for about 15 minutes
2. Dice sweet potato, steam for about 15 minutes
3. Combine the two in a food processor or blender. Add cooking liquid or water. Blend until smooth. Freeze extras for up to three months.

Chicken and Carrots

2 chicken breasts
6 oz jarred baby carrots

1. Poach chicken for about 35 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Shred.
2. Combine chicken and 6 oz of carrots in a food processor or blender. Add cooking liquid or water and blend until your desired consistency. (Think pretty smooth without being watery.) Freeze extras for up to three months.

*Appropriate for 6 months and older

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Minty Peas

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011


Best for Babies 6+ Months Old

I admit it — I just couldn’t wait. I cooked for my babe tonight. I had originally planned to wait until Thursday since I just arrived back in town from a business trip, but it was impossible to lounge around after I saw a recipe on Parents.com that I wanted to try: Minty Peas.

Besides,  Bethenny Ever After reruns could wait.

At this point, you might be weirded out. I mean, what kind of person can’t wait to make pea puree? I never thought I’d be her but if you think about it peas are sort of exciting. They’re a superfood. They’re wholesome. They’re loaded with fiber. Mint, on the other hand, is excellent for digestion. In my mind, it’s a blissful match. Combining the two to make a yummy side dish is so easy…and it could actually work. After all, Mason is  a great eater but green veggies aren’t an easy sell.

I whipped up a batch, tasted a spoonful, and it was delish! I can’t wait to see what Mason thinks tomorrow during lunch. If he’s not a fan, perhaps I’ll just have to eat the batch myself.

The recipe, from Parents.com:

Ingredients

1 16-ounce package  frozen peas
1 teaspoon  chopped fresh mint
Water (optional)

Directions

1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

2. Place frozen peas in a steamer basket set over gently boiling water. Steam peas until tender, about 6 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of steaming water.

3. Remove cooked peas from steamer and plunge into ice water for 30 seconds to stop the cooking. Drain peas from ice water and place in a food processor or blender. Add mint and process until completely smooth. You may add in some of the reserved steaming water to adjust consistency, if desired.

4. Distribute mixture evenly among your favorite food storage container. This mixture will keep up to 48 hours in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in your freezer.

How do you make veggies an easier sell for your baby?

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Chicken ‘n’ Sweet Potatoes

Saturday, March 5th, 2011


Chicken and Sweet Potato Puree

Best for Babies 6+ Months Old

At Mason’s six-month check-up on Tuesday, our pediatrician said to start experimenting with new textures and flavors. I was thrilled. No more boring one-veggie/fruit purees — this would be the beginning of savory veggie-meat blends, sweet fruity mixes, and so much more!

That night after work, I whipped up a batch of sweet potatoes combined with chicken. I decided to give Mason his first taste of the stuff for lunch today — hoping it would be better than our recent avocado-banana fiasco.

As it turned out, I was in luck. Mason loved this classic combo.

On the advice of my mommy friend Karyn, I poached the organic chicken to retain moisture then pureed it. Poached chicken that’s been pureed looks, well, disgusting. And it’s bland, which is why I mixed it with one of Mason’s faves, sweet potatoes, keeping the texture pretty smooth (like you would see from Level 2 commercial baby food), and it actually looked yummy. I tasted it — I’ve vowed never to make Mason eat something that I wouldn’t — and it was surprisingly tasty. Good enough that if I ever found myself home alone with no desire to eat takeout and nothing in the fridge, I would microwave some for dinner. Seriously.

I buckled Mason into his Joovy high chair (I mention the brand because we love it — the whole thing can go in the dishwasher!!), fastened his plastic bib (the Best Invention Ever for babies eating solids), and fed Mason his first bite. The portrait of him smiling above is what I got. My heart melted. He made my day, and maybe I even made his with this deliciousness.
Ingredients:

Organic chicken
Organic sweet potato

Directions:

1. Trim fat from 1 package organic chicken breast.*
2. Poach chicken for about 30 minutes.
3. Rinse chicken in cool water, slice, and puree.
4. Peel, dice, and cook three sweet potatoes under tender.* Rinse with cold water.
5. Puree sweet potatoes with chicken. Blend until smooth.
6. Divide into 2-ounce portions. Cool. Refrigerate two portions, freeze the rest.

Appropriate for 6 months and up

*I’m a working mama, so I always make extras and freeze.

C’mon mamas and daddies, what’s your latest baby food victory?

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