This is my favorite part – cooking up mouth-watering combinations for my little guy. If you are still not convinced that making your own baby food is worthwhile, just open a jar of pre-made baby food, preferably one of those meat/pasta or mixed vegetable combinations, and try some. After you’ve finished gagging, think about the fact that almost all pre-made baby food combinations contain fruit. That is because adding fruit puree is one of the only ways to make the food palatable. If you use fresh, wholesome, in season vegetables chances are Junior will be happy to eat them all on their own – no need to add sugary fruit (there’s nothing wrong with fruit, by the way…but it’s good to learn to love vegetables for their taste too).
Today I’ll add some of Søren’s favorite recipes. Please note: Only try these recipes if your are certain that your child doesn’t have any allergic reactions to the ingredients. I use spices in most of these recipes – please use common sense and add spices sparingly at first, and if you baby shows difficulty breathing or changes in skin or behavior, stop immediately and call the doctor.
Stage 2 Recipes
1 bunch of fresh spinach, very well washed
3 whole pears
Water or apple juice
Roast the pears in the oven until they are soft. Remove and allow to cool. Make sure the spinach is washed very well and place in a steamer. Cook until just wilted (5 minutes or less). When everything has cooled, remove the stems, peel* and seeds from the pears. Combine cooked pears and spinach in your blending apparatus of choice. Add 1/4 cup of water or juice. Blend, adding more liquid if necessary in order to get a good texture.
Roasted Red Pepper and Potato
1 whole red bell pepper
2 medium organic Yukon Gold potatoes (Note: Buy organic potatoes. If you’re not convinced that this is necessary then read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, and THEN go out and buy organic potatoes.)
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Wash the red pepper, pat dry, and place it whole (with stem and seeds intact) in the oven. Turn the pepper every 30 minutes until the skin begins to darken slightly and some of the juices bubble out (the pepper should feel flaccid and mushy). In the mean time, peel the potatoes, cut into large chunks, and boil them in unsalted water until soft. When they have finished, drain and set them aside to cool. When the pepper has cooled, remove the skin, stem and seeds, then cut into large pieces and place in your blending apparatus of choice. Add the potatoes. Blend, adding water until a smooth texture is achieved.
Sweet Potato Cinnamon
1 red garnet sweet potato
Pinch of cinnamon
Roast the sweet potato in the oven until it is soft and fragrant. When it has cooled**, scoop the flesh into your blending apparatus of choice (Note: you can also just mash it with a fork). Add the cinnamon a pinch at a time until you can smell the spice in the mixture, and just barely taste it. Don’t over spice the mixture! If you add too much cinnamon by accident you can set the mixture aside, roast another potato, and add it to dilute the cinnamon.
Stage 3 Recipes
Peas with Onion, Pepper, and Sage
2 cups of frozen, organic peas
1/4 cup of a medium-sized red onion, diced
Finely ground pepper
Toss the peas and the onion into a steamer. Steam until the onion is translucent and soft. In a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind the sage into a fine powder. Puree the peas and onions, adding water as needed. Add a small pinch of sage at a time until you taste only a slight hint of the spice. Add pepper in the same manner.
Yogurt with Sweet Beets
This one is pretty easy. Simply add some of your homemade beet puree to 1/4 cup of plain greek yogurt. Baby will enjoy the natural sweetness of the beets, and it will turn her lips, clothes, hair, and your floor a ravishing shade of fuchsia.
Sweet Potato with Apple, Ginger, and Cinnamon
1 large red garnet sweet potato
2 apples (not red delicious)
Roast the sweet potato in the oven until it is soft and fragrant. When it has cooled, scoop the flesh into your blending apparatus of choice (Note: you can also just mash it with a fork). Roast the apples whole in a pan with 1/4 of water. Cook until the apple is mushy and fragrant. Remove the core and skin and add to the sweet potato. Puree, adding water or juice as needed. Add ginger slowly, a pinch at a time, until you taste a light hint of the spice. Add cinnamon in the same manner.
Chicken, Garlic and Cauliflower
1/4 cup pieces of freshly cooked chicken breast
1 garlic clove, sliced into large pieces
2 cups chopped cauliflower
Place the cauliflower and the garlic pieces into a steamer and cook until everything is tender. After they have cooled, add them to your blending apparatus of choice. Add the chicken pieces and about 1/4 cup of broth. Puree, adding more broth as needed.
Vegetable-Barley Stew in Chicken Broth
3 cups chicken broth
1 celery stick
1/4 cup whole barley
1/2 medium red onion
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried sage
Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
Dice the onion, carrot, and celery. In a saucepan, heat the oil and saute the onion until soft. Add the carrot and celery and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Pour in about 2 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, thyme, sage, and pepper. Add the barley and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the barley and vegetables are soft, adding more chicken broth if the liquid reduces. Remove from the stove and allow to cool. Remove the bay leaf before blending. Puree in your blending apparatus of choice and puree until there are no vegetables chunks that baby can choke on.
Note: This also tastes nice with long grain wild rice, and if made in higher quantity is a hearty stew for the whole family (I remove a few cups for the baby and add more spices if my husband and I are eating the same thing).
Pasta with Beef Broth
Save this recipe for when you make a pot roast. Retain some of the leftover beefy broth from your roast and freeze for later use. Also works well with chicken broth or vegetable broth.
1 cup whole grain pasta (we use elbow pasta)
2 cups beef broth (or other broth)
In unsalted, boiling water cook the pasta until it is very soft. Drain and add the beef broth. Cook on low until the pasta absorbs the broth. Allow to cool. Puree, making sure that the pasta is small enough that baby won’t choke.
* With older babies you can keep pear skins in your puree to add more fiber.
** Notice I keep telling you to wait until everything cools down? Not only will this protect your fingers from being burned by steaming hot sweet potatoes, but it also reduces the risk of any BPA leeching from plastic parts in your blender/food processor/baby food maker.
For more awesome recipes and homemade baby food tips check out these sites: