Cooking for Kam: Spinach & Swiss Grilled Cheese

December 2, 2012 at 4:52 PM | Posted in Baby Food | Leave a comment
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My boy loves cheese and bread as much as every other toddler. Sometimes I feel guilty giving him straight old fashioned grilled cheese. I serve it with fruit and veggies but want his main dish to have extra nutrients too.

Today we opted for Swiss and spinach grilled cheese. I cooked it the same way you know and love and with plenty of butter. I’m not sure if this counts for “sneaking veggies” since he loves spinach and will eat it as a simple side dish but I found it wort sharing.

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Cooking for Kam: Lamb Meatballs in Gravy

June 26, 2012 at 2:09 AM | Posted in Baby Food | Leave a comment
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I could go all Bubba Gump here and list all of the ways one could possibly cook a meatball. The opportunities are endless really. Meatballs are a staple in this house. We always have at least turkey or beef meatballs handy–always. I typically purée a veggie or two, toss in wheat germ, an egg and bake in the oven. Tonight I decided to try something new. Lamb–covered in gravy. Swedish style almost.

Every time we go to the pediatrician he asks if Kamran has had lamb yet. I always tell him no. I don’t think I tried lamb until I was about 24 and just didn’t see it as necessary for a toddler. (Yes, I said that, the woman who makes her child quinoa burgers.) I found some lamb hanging out in the organic meat section the other day and said what the heck, it’s just like ground beef, I’ll give it a whirl.

Now, let me tell you, I personally DO NOT LIKE TO EAT LAMB. I don’t like the taste, texture, smell or anything else about it. So the entire time I spent cooking tonight I was also gagging. The things I don’t like about cooked lamb are even worse raw. Ick. I’m not selling this, I know.

Ingredients:
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 small diced onion
1 clove diced garlic
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 medium egg
1/2 cup water
A few tablespoons of sifted flower
Pinch of salt optional

Mix all ingredients and roll into meatballs. Spray pan with cooking spray, add meatballs and cook covered on medium low stirring to cook evenly until meatballs reach an internal temp of 160 degrees F. Remove meatballs and set aside on paper towel.

You will be left with stock in a pan. Reduce heat to low. Add water and stir well. Sift flour into pan (add optional salt) while stirring until thick. Take care not to clump. Continue to cook on low to thicken. Return meatballs to pan, stir to coat and enjoy!!

I have to say, Kayvan liked the meatballs though he said they were bland–duh because I made them for the baby. So I tried one and am so incredibly grossed out. I really don’t like lamb. Hope my kid does though or his dad is going to be eating bland lamb meatballs!! The gravy is pretty good though!!

Cooking for Kam: Solving for Slimy Finger Food

May 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM | Posted in Baby Food | 3 Comments
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Wheat Germ is my favorite secret mommy ingredient. It is packed full of nutrients and easy to hide in most food (like the veggie nuggets I’ll share later in the week). Another use I have found for wheat germ is that it can be used to make slimy food a little less slimy…and a lot easier for little fingers to grab.

Kamran loves butternut squash and it was no problem to feed to him as a purée. When we switched to finger food he got really frustrated chasing it around his tray. So I would cook, cube then coat in wheat germ–problem solved. I typically put the food into a bowl, sprinkle wheat germ on and shake it around until well coated. No cooking required.

Last night Kamran had avocado as part of his meal. Yet another slimy finger food made less slimy thanks to wheat germ.

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Cooking for Kam: Breaded Eggplant

May 2, 2012 at 12:00 PM | Posted in Baby Food | Leave a comment
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I’ll be the first to admit, I do not like eggplant. That won’t keep me from feeding it to my kid. It is so full of nutrients and healthy that I decided to at least try it on him. I know that once cooked, frozen then defrosted and reheated (what it takes to cook ahead) eggplant can get mushy. That is why I wanted to try the breaded route. The results were a smash hit.

The eggplant I bought was enormous so the recipe below is for a very large eggplant.

Ingredients
1 eggplant
3 medium (or 2 large eggs)
1 cup milk
1.5 cups bread crumbs
1.5 cups wheat germ
Pinch salt, pepper, parsley (optional)

You can peel the eggplant if you like. This is optional but I read that eggplant skin can be hard for little tummies to digest. That said, I peeled mine. Slice eggplant into approx 1/4 inch slices. Since the eggplant I got was so huge, I also cut the slices in half. Admittedly, I used my food processor to do the slicing.

You will need 3 separate bowls for dunking. Fill 1 bowl with beaten egg, another with milk and the last with the bread crumb and wheat germ and optional spices combined. I don’t typically cook with salt or pepper for Kamran so I did without the optional spice.

Take your slice of eggplant and first dunk into the beaten egg, then breadcrumb/wheat germ. Once you have applied this first coat, dunk into milk then bread crumb/wheat germ again. Repeat this for each slice.

There are a few ways to cook this. My preferred method for Kamran is to heat a skillet, spray with cooking spray and cook eggplant for 3 to 4 minutes each side until cooked through. Using the skillet means I can cook as I prep and it seems to take less time this way.

If you prefer, you can bake or deep fry. Of course, I can’t advocate deep fried food for a baby but I think it’s a fair method for an adult who doesn’t like eggplant much.

My son shocked me with how much he likes this recipe. He ate 6 slices in one sitting the first time I cooked it. Normally he eats about 3 slices with another food option combined.

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Cooking for Kam: Baby Food Storage

April 29, 2012 at 12:00 PM | Posted in Baby Food | Leave a comment
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I remember when I first started making baby food for Kamran. I was at a loss for how to store the stuff. I knew I was going to freeze it, but how–in what containers? There were a few different options and they all seemed good. At first I thought it would be best to buy a ton of containers with lids, make the food, portion into containers and both freeze and eat from them. That was just plain expensive in my book. I also had a hard time finding good reviews on those containers.

We ultimately decided to make the food, portion out into covered freezer trays and once frozen move to freezer bags complete with food label and date. This way, we just grabbed a few cubes of food we needed, put them into baby Tupperware, defrosted and off we went!

If you are trying to decide on which freezer tray to go with, I HIGHLY recommend the Mumi & Bubi Solids Starter Kit. Sure, in comparison to the other freezer tray options, this one is expensive. If you use the same food storage method we opted for, these are the only freezer trays you will need! They hold a ton of food. We could make 3, sometimes more different types of fruit or veggie purees at once and they would all fit within the 2 trays.

To be fair, we only tried one other type of freezer tray. A friend lent us the kidco trays and I didn’t like them quite as much. The food is a ton harder to get out of the kidco trays, in my opinion and though cheaper, it holds much less food. You will notice in the Amazon reviews that some people try to crack the Mumi & Bubi trays like you would an ice cube tray then say they are no good. Good luck, you’re right. It won’t work…because they are made for you to push down on one end of the food so it slides out the other end.

We don’t use freezer trays as much anymore because Kamran can eat typical, whole foods. Now we just cook and store directly in freezer bags.

Cooking for Kam: Quinoa Burgers

April 23, 2012 at 3:16 AM | Posted in Baby Food | 4 Comments
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Quinoa Burgers

I’m a working mom so all of my cooking for the boy is typically done on weekends.  I didn’t do a very good job of planning out meals for the week this week and tonight was at a bit of a loss for what to feed Kamran at daycare tomorrow.  I have a few meals still frozen from previous weeks and technically could have given him turkey meatballs a few extra times.  I don’t like to be as low on food options for Kamran as I currently am so I whipped something up.  Tonight’s recipe is brought to you by my “oh no, what do we have in the fridge” moment.

Quinoa burgers. Quinoa is one food I can’t get my husband to eat but Kamran and I both really like it.  I love that it is such a versatile food and is packed full of nutrients.  You can really mix it with anything.  So, what did I have in the fridge?  Quinoa, carrots, asparagus, egg and bread crumbs.

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup shredded asparagus
2 medium eggs (I buy medium because Kamran never eats all of a large egg)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup wheat germ (optional)
small diced onion (optional)
pinch turmeric
1 tbsp olive oil

Cook quinoa per instructions on the box.  Basically, just like you would rice.  Shred all veggies (carrot, asparagus, onion (optional)) then saute in olive oil with a pinch of turmeric.

Add quinoa, cooked veggies, bread crumbs, wheat germ (optional), 2 eggs to large bowl and mix well.  Flatten quinoa into small patties by first rolling into a ball then flattening as you would hamburger patties.  To cook you can either fry in a pan or bake on 350 for 20 minutes.  I had Kamran sample these before he went to bed and he LOVED them.

As I mentioned, one great thing about quinoa is that you can cook it so many ways.  It also tastes great with several different ingredients making it really easy to just throw something together using the stuff you have on hand in the fridge. Try these alternates:

Sweet –  Substitute veggies (carrot, asparagus, onion) for shredded apple and raisin.  Lose the turmeric.  You could add cinnamon.
Savory – Substitute veggies for butternut squash.  You could keep the carrot if you wanted.  Lose the turmeric and use cinnamon instead.
Zucchini is also great with these instead of asparagus.

Cooking for Kam: Chicken Broccoli Quesadillas

April 20, 2012 at 10:04 PM | Posted in Baby Food | 2 Comments
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Chicken Broccoli Quesadilla

Kamran has established that he is going to exercise his option of being a picky toddler.  He is a pretty inconsistent eater but has made one thing clear.  He does not like chicken unless it is mixed with something.  He will eat my homemade chicken nuggets, no problem but plain cubes of chicken are for throwing on the floor.  That left me with the question of what to do with all of the left over cubed chicken I froze but know Kamran won’t eat.  He seemed to like my solution.  Quesadillas.

Here is what you need.  I only made 1 serving.
1 tortilla
1.5 oz cooked chicken (shredded, cubed, however you prefer)
1.5 oz broccoli–I used frozen organic broccoli and just diced from frozen.
Shredded cheese, as much or little as you like

Heat your tortilla on a pan, flipping until it begins to puff a bit.  Add broccoli, chicken and cheese on top to one 1/2 of the open tortilla.  Fold the tortilla in half, allow cheese to melt and flip to cook the other side.  Cut into finger sized strips and serve. 

Kamran has decided that he is now a big boy and wants whole pieces to bite off.  You could also cut these down to bite sized pieces if your child prefers.

Cooking for Kam: Lasagna Roll Ups

April 14, 2012 at 6:50 PM | Posted in Baby Food | Leave a comment
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Now that he’s getting older and can “eat what we eat” as everyone keeps telling me I’ve been working on finding baby friendly recipes. If I come up with them myself I’ll share the recipe. If it’s from a book I’ll just share the photo. Some of these will just be inspired by something I saw, not measured out and loosely thrown together. Like this one.

Lasagna Roll Ups

I saw the recipe for spinach and cheese roll ups in a baby cook book, was inspired and threw these together.

1 carrot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion, minced
Pinch basil
Pinch oregano
4 tomatoes
Ground beef
Lasagna noodles
Shredded mozzarella

Boil water for lasagna noodles, place noodles in water and removed when fully cooked. Drain, lay flat and cut in half.

As noodles cook, brown ground beef. Drain.

In a separate saucepan sauté carrot, clove, onion, basil and oregano for 5-10 minutes. Add diced tomato and simmer until a chunky sauce. (short cut to this is to use the stuff you can buy in a jar–I wanted to go easy on the tomato and heavy carrot) Blend in food processor, return to pan and add fully cooked ground beef. Stir.

Now we assemble. Place a layer of shredded mozzarella into the middle of the noodle, add beef and sauce mixture and roll. Do this for all noodles and bake on 350 in the oven until cheese is melted. Let cool then refrigerate or freeze for later.

You could probably use shells to stuff instead if you wanted.

Now that I made them, Kamran might be too young at 13 months to eat these often. It’s just going to be a really messy meal.

For bigger kids I would probably serve them in extra sauce and more cheese on top.

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