Double-duty Baby Food Recipes
Roasted Veggie Soup
3 carrots chopped into cubes
1 bunch green garlic, washed and chopped in chunks
1 small sweet potato peeled and cut into cubes
1 small butternut squash peeled and cut into cubes (discard the seeds)
1.5 quarts vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 bunch thyme
4 ounces cream
Salt, pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. (If your oven has a convection option, use it. This will ensure the vegetables are uniformly cooked.)
- In a big bowl, mix the veggies with the herbs and the olive oil.
- If you’re in the early stages of introducing your baby to solids, choose one of the vegetables and mix separately with herbs and oil, then place in a separate pan for roasting.
- Add the veggies to a baking pan. Cover with parchment paper and foil to prevent the veggies from drying out.
- Cook for approximately one hour, until the veggies are browned and tender.
- Blend the veggies (either all together, or baby’s first and then yours) in a food processor or a blender, adding broth when needed to smooth the mixture. Separate out baby’s portion and set aside.
- Strain the remaining mix into a pot over medium heat, let it boil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Turn the heat off and add the cream before serving.
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Berry Compote
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for coating the frying pan and serving
1 cup whole milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp. fine salt
3 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. packed finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 to 3 medium lemons)
3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 cups berries (your choice of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, or a combination)
1/2 cup water
This simple recipe can be used to liven up everything from yogurt and oatmeal to vanilla ice cream. Babies love it as-is, it takes 10 minutes to make and keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Place butter and milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until butter has melted; remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; set aside.
- Place egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk in a quarter of the milk-butter mixture, wait 30 seconds (this will temper the eggs and prevent them from curdling), then whisk in the remaining milk-butter mixture until smooth.
- Add the reserved flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined (do not over mix); set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites to soft peaks. (They should bend like soft-serve ice cream; make sure the bowl and whisk are perfectly clean with no traces of grease, or the whites will not whip properly.) Halfway through whisking the eggs, sprinkle in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using the rubber spatula, fold the whites into the batter until just combined.
- Gently fold the ricotta into the batter, being careful not to break down the texture of the cheese (the batter will be lumpy and streaked with ricotta); set aside.
- Heat a large nonstick frying pan, griddle, or seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat until hot, about 4 minutes. Test to see if the pan is hot enough by sprinkling a couple of drops of cold water in it. If the water bounces and sputters, the pan is ready to use.
- Lightly coat the pan’s surface with butter, then use a 1/4-cup measure to scoop the batter into the pan. Cook until bubbles form on top of the pancakes, about 4 to 5 minutes. 9. Flip and cook the other side until the bottoms are golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve immediately with compote.
- Add berries and water to a small pot.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes.
- Puree with handheld mixer, blender, or food processor. If you prefer chunkier compote, simply use a fork to further break down the fruit.
Garlicky Kale (+ Kale Caesar for adults)
2 bunches of kale
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup water or chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, peeled; one minced, one whole
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup croutons (optional)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
For Caesar dressing:
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. anchovy paste (optional)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Wash kale and chop into 1-inch thick strips.
- Heat olive oil over high heat in a medium sauté pan.
- Add minced garlic and sauté for about one minute, until lightly browned
- Add greens and sauté for one minute.
- Add water or stock, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until cooked through.
- Rub the whole, peeled garlic clove over the inside of a large bowl. Transfer kale to the bowl and set in the fridge to cool while you make the dressing.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, egg yolk, anchovy paste (if using), and cheese until the dressing is fully emulsified. Add additional salt, pepper, oil, or lemon juice to taste.
- Pull the kale out of the fridge and separate half out for the baby. Puree, using food processor or blender, if necessary.
- Add carrots, croutons, cheese and dressing to the rest of the kale, toss, and serve.
Cinnamon-Vanilla Faro Rice Pudding (+almond milk)
2 cups almond milk (any brand of unsweetened original flavor almond milk or see recipe for homemade)
1/2 cup faro
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tbsp. vanilla
1 cup raisins (optional)
- Add faro and almond milk to a pot and bring to a low boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
- Add cinnamon and vanilla, stir, and simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring often.
- Add more almond milk as needed to achieve desired consistency.
- For babies 8 months old or older, stir raisins in at the end.
1 cup raw almonds
5 cups filtered water
1 pinch of salt
- Cover the almonds with 2 cups of water in a clean container with a lid (glass jars work particularly well) for at least 6 hours or leave them to soak overnight.
- Drain the almonds and discard the water.
- Blend the almonds with the remaining 3 cups of water until you get a smooth texture.
- Strain the mix through cheesecloth or a very fine strainer, and voila! You’ve made almond milk. The milk can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Sweet Potato Puffs
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled**
3 tbsp. flour
Try different kinds. You can also substitute regular potatoes, carrots, or butternut squash, depending on your preferences and what you’ve got on hand.
- Parboil sweet potatoes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes.**
- Set potatoes on a plate to cool.
- When potatoes are cool enough to handle, wrap a paper towel around them to squeeze out the water. Grate the potatoes into a large bowl. Combine potatoes with flour and eggs.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Form small balls of the mixture and set onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning them over halfway through to brown on both sides.
- Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with salt, and serve.
**Sweet potato puffs also work well flash-fried. If you’d like to go this route, boil the potatoes entirely first, then follow the recipe and, instead of baking, fry with 3 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet.
1 bunch each of chard, spinach, kale**
1 bunch basil (about 15 leaves)
1/4 cup stock (veg or chicken)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. pistachios (pistachios are a delicious twist, but you can also use pine nuts, walnuts, or even pumpkin seeds if you’re concerned about nuts)
8 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Coarsely chop chard, spinach, half the basil, and broccoli.
- Mince garlic. (A garlic press is fine.)
- Warm 2 tbsp. of olive oil and the lemon juice in a large sauté pan.
- Add garlic to pan. When it begins to brown slightly, add vegetables and basil. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. After 5 minutes, add stock. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is softened (but not mushy).
- Transfer everything from the pan to a food processor or blender.
- In the same pan, add the pine nuts and toast until browned (about 2 minutes).
- Add the pine nuts, the rest of the olive oil, Parmesan, salt and pepper to the food processor or blender and blend, adding olive oil, stock and/or water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
Mix with any type of cooked pasta, top with a pinch of grated Parmesan, and serve.
You can play around with this blend. I even use a head of broccoli instead of one of the bunches of greens from time to time. Also remember that babies younger than 10 months might have a hard time digesting spinach. (In other words, it could give them gas and we all know what a nightmare baby gas can be.)
1 bunch chard
1 bunch spinach
1/4 cup stock
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups flour (can do 1 cup wheat, 1 cup regular if desired)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
1/4 cup additional flour for rolling out the pasta
- Chop chard and spinach, and sauté with stock in a large pan.
- Transfer to food processor or blender and puree.
- In a bowl or mixer, combine chard/spinach mix with olive oil, flour, salt, eggs and egg yolks. Mix with a dough paddle in a mixer, or with a wooden spoon and then your hands in a bowl. If the dough seems sticky, add flour. It should be damp, but not sticky, to the touch.
- Cover with a cloth and let rest for 1/2 hour in a cool, dark place.
- Separate the dough into 8 even balls and knead them into rectangles. Run each rectangle through a pasta machine or the pasta attachment on a mixer, starting at 1 and working your way up to 6. You should end up with very long, thin pieces about 5 inches wide and 40 inches long. Spread each piece onto wax paper and sprinkle with flour before moving on to the next piece.
- When all your dough balls have been rolled out, use a pizza cutter or knife to cut each long rectangle into three even pieces, and then cut noodles of the desired width. You can also use a pasta machine or attachment to evenly cut the noodles, but ragged pasta edges are great for catching sauce.
- Toss the noodles in a bowl with a little flour and either cook right away: boil water, add a pinch of salt, add pasta, cook for just four minutes, drain. Or cover with a towel and store in a dark, cool, dry spot for up to a day.
- To serve, mix pasta with your favorite sauce, or simply toss with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and Parmesan.
Silky-Smooth Chicken Liver Pate
1/2 pound chicken livers
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2 tsp. Cognac
Freshly ground pepper
- Place the chicken livers, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and salt in a medium saucepan.
Add water, bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 5 minutes.
Blend chicken livers on their own in food processor or blender, then separate out baby’s portion and set it aside.
- Discard the bay leaf; use a slotted spoon to scoop out the onion, garlic, and thyme. Add it to the adult portion of the chicken liver mix and blend.
- Add the butter 2 tbsp. at a time.
- Add the Cognac and blend until very smooth.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Scrape the pate into a loaf pan or ramekins, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until set.
Salmon with Faro and Veggies
1 cup of dry faro
3 cups of water
24 ounces of clean salmon fillets (leaving the skin on)
16 pitted castelvetrano olives (sliced)
2 zucchini cut in cubes
20 cherry tomatoes cut in half
8-10 baby peppers, diced
Handful of baby greens
For the vinaigrette:
12 sprigs of parsley, cleaned and finely chopped
6 sprigs of fresh lemon thyme, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper
8 ounces olive oil
2 ounces balsamic vinegar
Lemon juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. brown sugar
- First, make the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, add the balsamic, the lemon juice and zest, the garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Let the salt dissolve completely before adding more. Add 1/2 the parsley and the thyme, add the olive oil and mix it until the consistency is smooth.
- Marinate the veggies with half of the vinaigrette for at least 1 hour.
- Add the faro and water to a pot, bring to a boil and cook for about 20 min. (Tip: If you let the faro soak overnight, it will cook a little bit faster.)
- While the faro is cooking, clean the fish, looking for spines or scales. Rinse it well with cold water and then dry it with paper towels. Season it with salt and pepper and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- In a hot pan, sauté the veggies, incorporating them one by one in the following order: the peppers, the tomatoes, the olives, and then the zucchini. Add the cooked faro and mix it all together. You can add more vinaigrette if needed. Once all the veggies are cooked al dente, turn the stove off and add the rest of the parsley. Let the pot sit on the stovetop while you cook the salmon.
- In another pan, sear the salmon in high heat, then reduce to medium-low heat and cover with a lid for 3 minutes if you like it medium or a little more if you like it well done.
- Plate the salmon with faro salad for adults and older kids. For babies, set aside a portion of salmon on its own.
Easy Beef Stock
Beef stew bones
1 ox tail
1 large glass jar
5 cups water
- Place the bones in the jar.
- Place the water in a large pot.
- Place the jar in the pot.
- Bring the water to a boil, and cover the pot. Let simmer for about an hour, or until the jar is filled with light brown liquid. If the water has evaporated and there’s still very little liquid in the jar, add more water to the pot and continue simmering.
- Pour the stock out of the jar into a separate container and discard the bones. Babies can eat the stock like a soup, or it can be used to thin purees. It also makes a great addition to sauces for grilled meats, or a foundation for a hearty beef-vegetable soup.
(Makes about 10 sliders)
3 large red beets
1/2 cup brown rice
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 (15.5-ounce) cans black beans
1/4 cup dates
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons brown mustard
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 large egg (optional)
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Place dates in hot water and set aside to soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (this will soften them up and make them less sweet).
- Wrap the beets in foil and roast in a pan for an hour. Set aside to cool.
- Cook the rice until very soft, about 45 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a sauté pan and add the onions. Cook until the onions are browned (but not burnt), about 12 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook one minute more.
- Add the vinegar and scrape the pan. Simmer until the vinegar is nearly evaporated. Set aside to cool.
- Blend the oats in a food processor or blender until you have fine flour. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Drain one can of beans and add it to the food processor. Chop the dates and add those as well. Pulse until you’ve got a chunky bean-date paste.
- Add the paste, plus the other can of beans (whole) to a large mixing bowl.
- Peel the beets and grate them into a strainer. Holding the strainer over your sink, press the beet mixture with a paper towel to squeeze out any excess water or juice.
- Add the beats, onions, and rice to the bean bowl and stir.
- Add the remaining olive oil, plus the brown mustard, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and thyme, and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the oatmeal flour and egg and mix together well.
- Refrigerate the mix for at least 2 hours (it will keep for up to 3 days).
- Shape any size patties you like.
- To cook, heat the vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet and brown the patties for about 2 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and cook for 4 more minutes until cooked through.
Since these take a bit of time, consider making extra and freezing the patties for a quick and easy dinner on a busy night.
Mini Turkey Meatballs
(makes about 40 meatballs)
1 pound ground turkey (mix of white and dark)
1 small onion, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
Zest from one lemon
2 tbsp. oregano
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 tbsp. olive oil
- In a clean, dry bowl, combine turkey, onion, garlic, lemon zest, and oregano. Add breadcrumbs and mix well.
- Add egg and mix thoroughly.
- Add Parmesan, tomato paste, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and mix again.
- Let chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes to make it easier to mold the meatballs.
- Take 1 tsp. of meat at a time and roll it into a ball.
- To cook, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Work in batches and cook the meatballs until browned on both sides.
- Place a paper towel on a plate to set the meatballs on as they’re cooked and drain off any excess oil.
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