When: Whenever you have pre-cooked grains or leftover pasta, and you can spare 10 minutes to brown the ground meat of your choice. *Note: if you choose rice as your grain, it’s a good idea to know were it is sourced from and review the latest information on arsenic. Overall, I try to limit my child’s rice intake as well as my own.
Why: Lentils – an ancient legume popular in many cultures and on several continents- are a childhood staple for good reason. Packed with B vitamins, along with lots of dietary fiber and protein, they are great fuel for people big and small. We add pre-cooked quinoa, also a nutritional powerhouse, to this stick-to-your-ribs meal. Shortcut Lentil Stew keeps well in the fridge or freezer too.
How: I’m going to let you in on one of my favorite hacks when cooking for kids – use your child’s favorite baby food to create an instant “sauce” to tie together your dish. This technique makes our lentil stew even quicker and adds additional nutrients to an already power-packed meal. And just in time for the chilly weather.
Shortcut Lentil Stew
Yields 6 to 8 – 4 Ounce Servings
1/2 Lb Organic Ground Beef
Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Can Organic Lentils (15 Ounce Can)
1 Cup Cooked Quinoa or other leftover grain (Barley or Farro would be great choices)
Pinch of Organic Garlic Granules or Minced Garlic (optional)
4 Ounce Pouch Broccoli & Carrot Baby Food Blend (or similar, to your child’s liking) – we use Earth’s Best
1 Cup Baby Spinach Leaves, minced
Brown the Ground Meat in Olive Oil until fully cooked. Drain on a plate with paper towels. Wipe out the skillet.
Return meat to the skillet and add the Lentils and Fresh Minced Spinach, optional minced Garlic or Garlic Granules.Turn heat to medium low and allow to warm, stirring occasionally for two minutes.
Now add Baby Food Pouch and about 3 Tablespoons of Water – or more if you’d like a wetter consistency.
Heat another minute or two and stir in Quinoa or other grain. Taste for seasoning and add a *tiny* sprinkle of Salt if you like.
Allow to cool a bit and serve warm!