Serving pureed soup is the simplest way for me to feed the whole family: I make a large batch, freeze some in individual portions for baby and have leftovers for lunch. This soup is a great late-summer recipe, when corn is still tasty but not quiet as tender as early summer corn. This recipe can easily be made vegan by substituting a “buttery” spread for the butter in equal proportions. Continue reading
I love a recipe that is simple, uses a lot of vegetables, and makes a meal for the entire family – including baby. This creamy, filling chilled soup is mild enough for the little ones to enjoy, yet flavorful and filling enough for an adult palate. The soup can be made on the weekend and eaten during the week. It also freezes well so you can double the recipe and freeze several small portions for your little one to enjoy later on. It’s a great way to use those late-summer zucchinis that tend to be a bit tougher.
Zucchini Basil Soup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
8 large cloves garlic, chopped
4 medium zucchini (about 1 ½ lbs.)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup baby spinach
½ cup fresh basil (or more)
½ tsp. salt
fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
basil springs, as garnish (optional)
1. Melt butter in heavy 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic after butter begins to foam. Sweat onions and garlic over medium-law heat until onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes (keep heat low enough to prevent garlic from browning).
2. Add zucchini and cook until soft. Add broth and bring to boil, then reduce to simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Remove from heat, add spinach and basil, and cool slightly. Using an immersion blender, puree until creamy, or use puree in blender in small batches. Serve soup chilled or reheat over medium heat until warm. Add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with basil, if using.
Serves 4 (about 1 ½ quarts total)
- If the soup is still hot when transferring it to the blender, open the center of the lid for the blender slightly, while holding it over the hole as the mixture is pureeing. This will allow the steam to escape.
- This soup can be made 1-2 days in advance, as the flavor actually improves after a day or two in the fridge.
The easiest way to get baby to eat (and love) healthy cruciferous veggies, like cauliflower and broccoli, is to roast them. The high temperature used to roast veggies makes the natural sugars caramelize and taste delicious.
Here’s how to roast cauliflower (pictured): Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with tin foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray, then set aside. Cut washed cauliflower or broccoli into small florets and place on prepared baking sheet. Toss with a little olive oil (about 2 Tbs. oil for a head of cauliflower) and toss to coat. Spread the florets out, leaving some room between the pieces so they roast rather than steam in the oven. Place in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, or until browed on the edges and slightly crispy. Cool and bread the florets into even smaller, bite-size pieces for baby. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
This is a great way to make a veggie that the whole family will love. Serve it with spice rubbed roasted chicken or marinated yogurt chicken breasts (I’ll post the recipes for these in the future) and you have a complete meal that yields great leftovers. My girls loves this cauliflower so much that we literally have to hide the large container from her if we want to have any left for another meal – otherwise she keeps asking for more. We’re not complaining; just happy to be serving something we don’t have to push.
Introducing baby to animal protein can be daunting, so here’s a basic recipe for making chicken for an infant. While many people steam chicken for baby food, steamed meat doesn’t appeal to me so I like to cook the chicken in a skillet. This recipe is simple, takes very little time and can be made in a large batch and frozen. Note: if you plan to freeze some of the chicken be sure to use fresh (not frozen) chicken.
For some added flavor, I like to add a little spice to the chicken. Cumin, coriander and cinnamon are all warm and flavorful spices, yet mild enough for baby. Oregano, dill, black pepper or thyme would also go well with chicken. Once cooked, mix the chicken into sweet potatoes or any other purée that your baby enjoys (carrots, potato and broccoli, parsnips, etc).
Baby’s First Chicken
1 chicken breast (use organic or hormone-free)
Pinch of each: cumin, coriander and cinnamon (optional)
Nonstick or cast iron skillet
Food processor (such as Cuisinart mini prep)
Cut 1 chicken breast into 1″ chunks. Heat skillet over medium- low heat. Place chicken in pan, flipping pieces after 5-7 minutes, or until the under side is white and slightly golden brown. Cook on other side until chicken is white in the center and the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a fork.
Cool slightly, then transfer to food processor. Purée until chicken looks like the pieces are about the size of a small grain, like quinoa.
This soup is the ultimate comfort food and a great way to make a meal for the whole family – including baby. This warm and creamy soup is completely dairy-free and healthy. I like to make it for lunch on the weekend with grilled cheese for the kids and crostini topped with goat cheese, thyme and honey for the adults. This recipe is also great for entertaining since it can be made in advance and reheated. This butternut squash soup is one of my all-time favorite recipes that I make over and over again.
Butternut Squash Soup
3 lbs. Butternut squash (about 1 large)
1 med. onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic (5 if they are large), minced
3.5 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
Salt & pepper to taste (remove baby’s portion before adding salt)
Optional: add Nutmeg (1/2 tsp.), cinnamon (1 tsp.) and cloves (1/4 tsp.)
Plain yogurt or low fat sour cream for garnish (optional garnish)
Chives or fresh thyme, minced (optional garnish)
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Cut squash in half lengthwise; remove seeds and bake, cut side down, on pan covered with tinfoil and nonstick spray for 40-50 minutes (until completely soft).
2. Meanwhile, in a large pot sauté onion and garlic in 1/2 cup broth (if you are using nutmeg, etc., add it here).
3. Scrape squash flesh from peel and add to onion mixture; add broth at same time. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer, with the lid on, for 20 minutes.
4. Put soup into blender (1/3 at a time) and puree. Serve in bowl with dollop of plain yogurt swirled in and minced chives or thyme sprinkled on top.
Baby food doesn’t need to be bland. In fact, your baby might prefer flavorful spices and herbs if you ate them while pregnant: Studies show that some flavors, like garlic, can be found in amniotic fluid so your baby’s palate started to experience flavor well before birth.
Try any of the following combinations – you may be surprised by the new flavors your baby likes. Even if she doesn’t like them on the first try, keep experimenting because her taste may change as she gets used to new foods.
Flavor combinations to try:
•cinnamon and oatmeal
•cumin and coriander with chicken
•black pepper and thyme with turkey
•balsamic vinegar and roasted shallots with butternut squash
•pumpkin pie spice (a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) with mashed pumpkin or squash
•roasted garlic with mashed white beans
•chives with mashed potatoes
•dill with eggs or salmon
As with any new food, introduce herbs and spices with caution – one at a time and wait 3 days to see if your baby has any adverse reaction. Also, go light on the spices – just a pinch will be sufficient.
*Don’t add any salt to baby’s food before a year – their kidneys aren’t mature enough to handle sodium.
Note: Please note that I am not a doctor. This information is meant purely for inspirational purposes and is not meant to replace the advice given to you by your pediatrician. You should check with your doctor before introducing any herbs and spices to your baby’s diet.
Finding finger foods that don’t make a gigantic mess for beginners is a challenge. So when I was making a weekend family pancake breakfast, I decided to make a short stack for my little lady. I used a gluten-free pancake mix and instead of adding the suggested mix-ins (egg, oil, etc.), I just mixed it with enough water to make a thick but pourable batter. I divided the batter in two and added frozen wild blueberries (which are smaller than their cultivated counterparts) to half of the batter and chopped banana to the other half. Then I cooked the pancakes in a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, making them the size of a silver dollar. I let them cool slightly before handing them over to the little miss for a taste test. The mini pancakes were the perfect size for her to hold and nibble small bites from. She especially loved that she was eating what looked like the same breakfast as the rest of the family The leftover pancakes will keep in the fridge for 3 days, and are great for a quick weekday breakfast or snack.