Baby Food | how to

OCt_Solids

This blog is about food, pictures of beautiful food, for food, and all things food- enter BABY FOOD.  Knox has been eating solids for 2 months now, and if you know us at all, I hope you know we have been making everything he eats at home.  Jason and I don’t eat every meal out of a jar, so why would we feed our baby out of a jar, am I right?  I was pretty excited to start making this little guy’s food, he was practically begging for each bite we put in our mouths when we were eating in front of him- poor guy!  I can’t wait till we can just serve him what we’re eating each night, for now we make him his own fruit and veggies purees and combos!  He’s actually inspired us to eat better again, I swear since pregnancy we’ve been spoiling our sweet tooth and ourselves with decadent meals, pizza and the like.  This week we made a great meal plan and have stuck to it.  We do a Sunday food prep as long as we’re home, where I baked sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, roasted acorn squash, washed and packed baggies of grapes, boiled chicken for southwest style wraps ( packaged beans/ shredded cheese/ avocado/ made brown rice with Salsa), baked bacon ( for loaded potatoes), boiled whole wheat pasta and threw together a backed ziti with zucchini slices, and of course made some fruits for Knox.

I do mega batches 1-2 times per month and so far he’s had: apples, pears, acorn squash, butternut squash, cantaloupe, peas, green beans, avocado, sweet potato, parsnips, prunes.  It’s been pretty easy, I’ll do 2 fruits and 2 veggies all at the same time by steaming the sliced fruits in a saucepan with a touch of water and a lid at the same time the squash or potatoes are cooking/ roasting in the oven.  As one item finishes cooking I toss it in the food processor.  For the apple and pears, I remove the skin after it’s steamed and cool- it’s just easier and you don’t lose as much fruit.   Once each item is blended, I pour/ plop it in to an ice cube tray, cover with plastic wrap and freeze.  Once frozen I transfer the cubes to a labelled bag and store in the freezer.  To serve, I place 1-2 cubes ( mix and match!) and microwave in a small bowl with 10-20 second intervals till just warm and smooth.  I’ll stir in some milk to thin it out if necessary, add in rice powder for extra calories.

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photo source

Knox’s favorite, as an example Acorn Squash!

2 acorn squash

Directions

To start, wash the acorns, cut in half then place face down in a rimmed pan lined with foil ( I drizzle with EVOO), bake for 35 minutes @400 degrees.  When cool, scoop out soft flesh in to your food processor and blend until smooth, adding liquid gradually (and adding more if needed to purée). Then pour into freezer cubes and store in freezer.

 

Suggested Combos:
Sweet Potato and Apple

Apple and Cinnamon

Pear and Parsnips

Acorn Squash and Rice

Peas and Sweet Potato

Cantaloupe and Yogurt

Peaches and Cream ( mommy’s milk)

 

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Loaded Baked Potato

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Easy, cheap, sorta healthy, and delicious- loaded baked potatoes have made the rounds through winter and are looking forward to spring.  It’s comfort food but loaded with veggies and protein, fills you up fast and on a budget for sure.

Recipe:

Scrub clean, wrap in foil and bake 1 potato per serving for 45 minutes inn a 375 degree oven.  Should be soft to touch before you remove to eat!  Serve with a pat of butter, 0% Greek Yogurt, sliced green onion, bacon, steamed broccoli florets and cheese.

Creamy Pecorino Orecchiette with Roast Tomatoes, Basil and Peas

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Nothing is better than an easy delicious pasta recipe on a lazy Sunday.  This recipe has so much flavor, yet was so simple to throw together!  I really enjoyed cooking like this, it amassed a few pots and pans but each item can easily cook in it’s own pot, no stress, and then at the end you mix it all together and it was really all just meant to be.  We tossed the tomatoes in the oven while water came to a boil for the peas and pasta on the stove.  That left time to dice up the bacon and brown it.  Cook the pasta, blanch the peas, thicken the sauce, remove tomatoes, and toss it all together.

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The original recipe was a little heavier on the cheese, heavy cream and bacon fat, so we altered it to be “lighter” although I wouldn’t say this is the healthiest dish to make.  We love the bright peas and basil along with the roasted tomatoes and creamy sauce over those cute Orecchiette noodles ( mini turtle shells!).  Easy, flavorful, veggieful, creamy perfection- enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from What Katie Ate
Serves 6-8

10 ounces cherry tomatoes
Olive oil, for cooking
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large handful of fresh basil leaves, half roughly torn, half rough chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
16 ounces frozen peas
1.25 pounds orecchiette pasta
5 slices bacon, cut into small chunks
2 cups heavy cream
4 ounces pecorino, grated
1 cup fat free milk

Directions 
Preheat your oven to 400.

On a jelly roll pan lined with parchment toss the tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, 1/2 the basil ( torn) and oregano. Roast for about 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are blistered.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Blanch the peas for 3-4 minutes. Drain.

Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil, cook your pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.

While your pasta is cooking, heat a drizzle of olive oil in dutch oven style pot over medium high heat. Cook the bacon until crispy.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and drain most of the bacon fat out of the pot.  Pour in the cream, milk and bacon and stir to coat. Add the Pecorino Cheese, a little bit of salt and a nice hit of freshly ground black pepper. (Be careful to not over salt) Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 10-12 minutes until the sauce is reduced and coated the spoon.

Add Orrechiette and Peas to the sauce.  Add your roasted tomatoes on top, and the remaining basil ( a little more Pecorino grated) Taste to adjust seasoning, add more pepper or salt to taste.

“Marinated” Kale and Green Bean Salad

Veggie side recipes are abundant, but often never tried out- we all have our favorite ways to eat veggies and usually seeing a recipe like this one seems too much work.  But we made this semi marinated, and served it hot because that’s what we wanted with our dinner.  It’s important to know that you can alter recipes to suit YOU.  So here we have not really marinated the Kale but rather sautéed it with the flavors from the recipe, tossed with steamed green beans and parmesan, wa- lah delicious, fresh with a spicy kick veggie side, that can easily be brought to your Thanksgiving table feast!

Marinated Kale and Green Bean Salad

Adadapted from Bon Appetit: If you want to do this the cold way, BA says “the longer the raw kale sits in its lemony vinaigrette, the more tender it will become. If you prefer a crisper salad, let it sit for an hour or two; for a softer texture, chill it for up to 1 day.”

Ingredients

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large bunch Tuscan kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves cut lengthwise into 1/2″ strips (about 8 cups)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • Ingredient Info

    Tuscan kale, also called black kale, dinosaur kale, Lacinato kale, or cavolo nero, has long, narrow, dark-green bumpy leaves; it’s available at farmers’ markets and some supermarkets.

Preparation

  • Heat a large dutch oven skillet over medium heat with Olive oil.  Add kale lemon juice, honey, and red pepper flakes and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Once the kale is bright green and slightly tender remove from heat and put in a large serving bowl.
  • Cook beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain beans.
  • Add beans to kale and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with grated cheese.

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette

 

 

First, this is another way to save: cook vegetarian meals!  We cook 80% vegetarian, and not on purpose, we just love our veggies and pastas and grains and bread and cheese and don’t miss meat every single night of the week.  We love our steak, don’t get us wrong, but at 9.99-15.99/ lb, it’s hard to buy often.  So if you are looking to save, save on meats, but mushrooms to substitute ground meat in chili ( you won’t miss it!!) and make recipes that are so so so amazing you won’t even notice it is meatless- like the gorgeous Galette.  What’s upsetting is that we’ve never made one of these before- we love making pizzas and tarts and this is BETTER then both of them.  It holds all this amazing filling on a flaky crust of perfection, mouth-watering just remembering it!  True to savings from, we use fall favorites in here- Butternut Squash at 1.19/ lb with caramelized onions, cheese and sage… please try this, you will want to keep making it for your family every week…

 

 

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into
pieces
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:
1 small butternut squash (about one pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons butter (if you have only non-stick, the smaller amount will do)
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
3/4 cup Fontinella ( or Fontina) cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces), grated or cut into small bits
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves, or 3/4 tsp Ground Sage

1. Make pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on foil lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.

4. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.

5. Assemble galette: On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.

6. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.

Pot Pies

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So as you can tell by now, we hope, we tend to pick recipes that are healthy and crave worthy and we HEART Ellie Krieger.  She always does just this, and these pot pies are SO amazing, they’ve been a staple in our kitchen for a couple of years now.  We finally got actual mini pie dishes, thank you Katie and Aaron, off our wedding registry so here they are to flaunt all their goodness in gorgeous little pie plates.  We used to use 2 cup pirex glass bowls and they can easily be stored with their lids as left over lunch too.  The photo is just from the iPhone and we will be working on getting our in home studio up and running again, ahem.  She uses all green veggies in this- leeks, green beans, peas and parsley- not only are they amazing together, it looks gorgeous too.

 

Pot Pies, Serves 4

Recipe provided courtesy of Ellie Krieger. © 2008-2009 In Balance, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1⁄4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1⁄2-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, bottom 4 inches only, trimmed, washed well, and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1⁄2 cup)
  • 2 medium white potatoes, left unpeeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 1⁄2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1⁄2-inch pieces ( you can also use frozen= faster)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1-1⁄2 cups nonfat milk
  • 1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup peas, thawed if frozen
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed ( 7 or 9 work well)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 4 individual-size baking dishes with cooking spray.
  2. Season the chicken with 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown, about 2-1⁄2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  3. Add 2 more teaspoons of oil, the leeks, and celery to the pan and cook, stirring a few times, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the potatoes, green beans, garlic, and the remaining 3⁄4 teaspoon salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring to combine everything. Add the milk. Stir the flour into the broth until dissolved and add to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the chicken, peas, parsley, and thyme. Spoon the mixture into the baking dishes.
  4. Put the remaining 1-2⁄3 tablespoons oil in a small bowl. Unroll the phyllo dough and cut it into quarters. Place a quarter-sheet on top of each baking dish and brush with the oil. Repeat layering with all three layers. Tuck the edges of the phyllo into the dish rim. Sprinkle the top of each pie with the Parmesan.
  5. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the filling is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.