Want to get your toddler started on healthy finger foods that actually taste good? Catherine McCord shares her top 10 recipes from her book, Weelicious. You both are going to love these!
Whole Wheat Pancake and Waffle Mix
- 6 cups white whole wheat flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 Tbl. baking powder
- 1 Tbl. baking soda
- 2 tsp. salt
- whole wheat pancakes or waffles
- 1 large egg, whisked
- 1 cup buttermilk**
- 1 Tbl. vegetable or canola oil
- 1 cup pancake mix
- Whisk the egg, buttermilk and oil in a large bowl.
- Whisk in the pancake mix until just combined.
- Heat a large pan or griddle over medium heat and grease with butter or oil.
- Pour about 1 Tbl. of the pancake mixture onto the griddle, making as many pancakes as will fit and cook for 2 minutes.
- Flip the pancakes and cook for 1 minute longer and serve.
*Mixture can also be used in a waffle iron following manufacturer’s directions.
*If you do not have buttermilk you can make it by adding 1 Tbl. vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. This mix also works beautifully with any type of milk you prefer!
- 10 oz. block frozen chopped spinach
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- ⅔ cup parmesan cheese, plus 2 Tbl. for sprinkling before serving.
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 Tbl. flour, plus more for dusting your hands while rolling
- Defrost the brick of frozen spinach (you can also do this in the microwave).
- Squeeze ALL (and I mean ALL) of the water out of the spinach in small handfuls (I use my hands and do it over a bowl to make sure I don’t lose any spinach).
- Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse. You want to make sure the spinach is in tiny pieces and the mixture is thoroughly combined.
- Dust your hands with a little flour so the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands.
- Take 1 tsp. of the spinach mixture and roll into tiny balls. Place on a plate covered with waxed paper or parchment.*
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for cooking the gnocchi.
- Add the gnocchi to the water in batches and cook for 3 minutes or until they rise to the surface.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi to a plate or bowl.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, cool and serve.
*After step 5, place on sheet tray and freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to a ziploc bag, label and freeze up to 4 months. When ready, thaw to room temperature and follow steps 6 to 9.
Mashed Potato Cakes
- 2 cups mashed potatoes
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, whisked
- 7 Tbl. all-purpose flour, divided
- butter or oil, for pan-searing
- Place mashed potatoes, cheese, egg, and 3 Tbl. flour in a bowl and stir to combine.
- Take a scoop of the potato mixture and form into patties.*
- Place the remaining 4 Tbl. of flour on a plate.
- Lightly coat the potato patties in the flour.
- Heat a thin layer of the oil or butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.
- Cook the potato cakes for 3 minutes on each side for a total of 6 minutes.
- Serve as is or with accompaniments.
*After step 2, place patties on a baking sheet and place in freezer for 30 minutes then place par-frozen patties in a Ziploc bag and freeze up to 4 months. When ready, defrost in fridge for 24 hours and follow steps 3 to 7.
Spiced Carrot Cauliflower Soup
- 1 Tbl. olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 5 cups warm water
- 2 Tbl. vegetable bouillon*
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped (about 4 cups)
- 3 cups peeled and chopped carrots (about 8 medium carrots)
- 1½ tsp. curry
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- 1 tsp. salt
*I like to use organic better than bouillon instead of the cubes.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the onions for 3 minutes, or until soft.
- Dissolve the vegetable bouillon in the water and add to the pot.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork tender.
- Using an immersion blender or standing blender, puree all of the ingredients until smooth.
French Toast Sticks
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup whole milk , rice or almond
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. honey
- pinch of salt
- 5 slices of bread, trim edges and cut into 1-in. sticks
- 1 Tbl. butter
- In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, honey and salt until combined.
- Dip each bread stick in the egg mixture until each side is coated with the mixture.
- Heat a saute pan or griddle over medium heat with 1 Tbl. of butter and cook for 3 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through.
- Serve with honey or maple syrup.
Carrot Snack Sticks
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbl. parmesan cheese, grated
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ cup carrot, finely shredded and thin
- 2 Tbl. canola or vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Combine the first four ingredients and stir to combine.
- Using your hands, add the carrots to the flour mixture coating the carrot pieces with flour.
- Add the oil and work with your hands to bring the dough together. (You really have to be patient with working this dough together so that the flour absorbs the oil. If you are concerned that it is not coming together, just add 1 extra tsp. of oil to the dough and work it with your hands forming a ball until it comes together.)
- Form the carrot parmesan dough into a flat rectangular disk and allow to rest for 1 to 2 minutes then roll out ½ inch thick on parchment paper or a dry clean surface.
- Using a knife, cut the dough into sticks, 2 inches long by ¼ inch wide.
- Bake on a Silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet for 15 to 17 minutes.
- Cool and serve.
To Freeze: After step 6, place onto a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes. Remove and place in a ziploc bag, label and freeze. When ready, follow steps 7 to 8, adding an additional 2 to 3 minutes baking time.
Roast Carrot Coins
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into coins, about 2 cups
- ¼ tsp. paprika
- 1 Tbl. olive oil
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place all of the ingredients on a baking sheet and toss to combine.
- Roast for 30 minutes.
For most people, cookie cutters sit in a drawer collecting dust for over 11 months of the year. I've been collecting cutters for years in all different kinds of shapes and sizes, but, admittedly, mine don’t get as much use as they should.
- 7 cups water
- 1 13 oz box instant polenta
- 2 tsp. salt
- ¾ cup parmesan
- 3 Tbl. butter, plus more for sauteing
- Line a sheet tray with foil and coat with cooking spray.
- Bring 7 cups of water and salt to a boil.
- Add polenta in a slow stream while whisking continuously to avoid lumps.
- Turn heat to low and continue to stir with a wooden spoon until polenta thickens, 5 to 8 minutes (you may add more boiling water as needed to keep the polenta a smooth consistency).
- Turn the heat off and add parmesan and butter. Stir to combine.
- Pour onto a sheet tray and spread with the back of a spoon to cover the tray evenly. Cool.
- Refrigerate the polenta for 30 minutes or covered up to 2 days.
- Remove the sheet tray from the refrigerator and use cookie cutters to stamp out shapes.
- Heat 1 Tbl. of butter in a saute pan over medium heat and cook the polenta shapes for 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden (you can also serve these cold).
- Eat polenta shapes on their own or serve with a red sauce.
Spinach Cake Muffins
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh spinach, packed
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 Tbl. vegetable or canola oilv
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place the first 6 ingredients in a food processor and puree.
- Place the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and combine.
- Pour the spinach puree in a large mixing bowl.
- Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet until combined.
- Scoop batter into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup ⅔ of the way.
- Bake for 12 minutes.
- 2 bananas
- 1 cup of any pancake batter
- Cut the bananas into ½ inch slices (I like to make slices on a diagonal bias so they’re a little bit longer than circles).
- One at a time, dip the banana slices into the batter, coating all over, shaking off the excess batter into the bowl and place on a buttered griddle or skillet over medium heat.
- Cook for 1 minute on each side or until golden.
- Serve with desired accompaniments.
*Do not serve with honey for children under 12 months for allergy reasons.
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