Colorful Fusilli With Squash & Beans

Pasta is our go-to because our little guy loves it all the time. At 15 months, I think he prefers things he can grab with his little hands, and the fun shapes (remember how you used to love wagon wheels?) and colors don’t hurt either.

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Spinach Avocado Toast

Kids love bread, kids love avocados. Do the math! There’s no reason that little ones can’t take part in the latest overexposed food trend.

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Pizza, Baby

What: Mini pizza slices for the 1-year-old and up set

When: When the spoons fail them, and your little rebels pause long enough from their meltdown to eat something nutritious and handheld

Why: Much of the angst we parents experience around toddler feeding comes from the ever-popular toddler food strike. When faced with such indomitable opposition, there’s only one place to turn – everyone’s favorite and unexpectedly healthy food, pizza.

How: Using pre-packaged (ideally organic) flatbreads, we have a durable base (perfect for little hands to grab) from which to build our easy toaster oven pizza. Remember english muffin pizzas from your college dorm? Same idea. I like to mince in fresh greens like baby spinach or arugula for sprinkling to pack an extra nutritional punch.  While I don’t love the idea of “hiding” extra veggies in food (why must they lurk in the shadows when kids should be learning to love them?), adding them on top of a food kids (and adults) naturally love, is a great way to let your little one get better acquainted. So let your spinach fly free and watch as your tantrum thrower tastes this.


Four Ingredient Flatbread Pizzas

Ingredients:

Organic Flatbread Round or similar pre-made Pizza Crust (whole grain, if you prefer). We like Rustic Crust Brand, cut into small triangles (carefully slice them in half width-wise if your feel the bread is to thick for your child to bite – but it should still be stiff, ideally)

Strained Organic Tomatoes, Jarred (Canned tomatoes are one of the most notorious sources of BPA). If you cannot be sure that your tomatoes are packed in BPA-free cans, buy them in glass jars or cardboard packages. We love Bionaturae Brand Bottles, and their cans are also BPA-free.

Provolone Cheese, sliced into thin strips, we like Organic Valley (we use Provolone over Fresh Mozzarella because it melts at a lower, more toddler-friendly heat and it is very flavorful too!)

Minced Fresh Baby Spinach or Arugula, we like Earthbound Farms

Method:

Easy! Prep your flatbread as above. Spread with about a teaspoon or two of Strained Tomatoes. Add a few thin slices of Provolone (or Mozzarella) and pop in the toaster oven.

As soon as the cheese has melted, remove and allow to cool to a reasonable temperature for you baby. Always check first!

Serve and watch as they enjoy. Hands off that pizza, mom!

Shortcut Lentil Stew 1-2-3!

What: A quickie version of Lentil Stew using cooked, BPA-free canned lentils

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

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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!

Guppy’s Easy Baked Fish Bites

What: Your kid’s frozen fish sticks without all the crap.

IMG_5366

When: Whenever you’ve got about 25 minutes to create an almost effortless fish dinner, without the heavy oils and frying. These fish “bites” can also be frozen up to three months. Freeze in layers on wax or parchment paper to prevent sticking.

Why: Who doesn’t love an excuse to crack a bag of potato chips? This incredibly easy recipe is adapted from a dinner recipe my husband and I absolutely love, so it’s actually perfect for the whole family – but when we’re making it for babies we don’t use cod. There are lower mercury options that are much more cost effective.

How: Follow the simple toddler adaptation below and watch as your guppy gobbles up their yummy fish bites.


This recipe yields 2 hearty toddler dinners (cut recipe in half for 1 serving)

Guppy’s Easy Baked Fish Bites 

Ingredients:

2 – 6 Ounce pieces Pollock, Haddock, or other firm fleshed white fish with low mercury (review the list HERE)
Salt & Pepper

2 Cups of Salt and Vinegar Flavored Kettle Chips (choose brands with the shortest ingredient list like these)

A few small pinches Paprika
2 heaping teaspoons Light or Fat Free Mayonnaise (we like Spectrum organic brand)
Parchment Paper

Method: 
Preheat oven to 400.
Crush potato chips into fine crumbs by placing them in a plastic bag and smacking them with a blunt object. Sprinkle paprika into the potato chip crumbs and combine.

Check fillets for bones and remove if necessary. (in the adult version with cod, most bones will be down to middle/spine)

Place fish fillets on a piece of parchment in a baking dish.

Season fish fillets lightly with a pinch of salt and some pepper. Evenly spread 1 teaspoon or so of mayonnaise evenly over each fillet.

Gently press Potato Chip Crumbs all over each fillet, covering the top of them completely.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until somewhat firm and opaque.

Turn on Broiler and finish the Fish for 1.5 minutes under the Broiler to brown the crust. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Fish is done when it is easily flaked off with a fork.

Allow to cool, and slice each fillet into bitesized portions.