weeknight gourmet

Posts Tagged ‘Baby Food’

Healthy Toddler Meals: Charlotte’s Stir Fry

As Charlotte grows, I’m trying to introduce different flavors to her in the hope that we’ll avoid the super picky eater stage that seems to hit most toddlers.  I was emailing with my friends Raina and Lara about baby / toddler food and Raina mentioned that she makes a tofu stir fry for her two kids.

Raina inspired me to make two different stir fries for Charlotte — one with tofu and one with chicken.  Both were a hit though I think she preferred the tofu over the chicken, adding further evidence to my hunch that Charlotte might be a vegetarian at heart.  The veggies are always the first thing she picks off her plate!

You can use whatever veggies your child enjoys.  I used broccoli because that is Charlotte’s absolute favorite.  I also added some sliced mushrooms.

I used a stir fry sauce from Trader Joe’s called Trader Joe San® Soyaki but you can use whatever you sauce you prefer.  I added a touch of corn starch — just a teaspoon — to the sauce to thicken it.

I served the stir fry with brown rice.  Charlotte and I both enjoyed it — though I did add some hot sauce to mine to spice it up a bit more.

Charlotte’s Stir Fry

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast (or a few tenderloins) sliced into bite sized pieces
    1 package of firm tofu cubed
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup stir fry sauce (mix in 1 teaspoon of corn starch if you wish to thicken the sauce)
  • brown rice for serving

Heat oil in sauté panAdd garlic.  Cook for 1 minute.

If using chicken, add in chicken and cook until nearly cooked through.  Add in vegetables.  Cook until starting to soften.  Add in stir fry sauce and cook until the veggies are cooked to desired doneness and the chicken is cooked through.


If using tofu, add in veggies.  Cook until starting to soften.  Add in cubed tofu and stir fry sauce.  Cook until tofu is warmed through and the veggies are cooked to desired doneness.

Serve over brown rice.

Finger Food Fun: Fish Sticks

We’re very lucky — our Charlotte is a great eater!  She loves broccoli, green beans, fruit, and cheese and is even willing to eat fish!

Charlotte loves these fish sticks!  They are so easy to make and you can make a big batch and freeze a portion.  I’ve made these using tilapia but you can make with any firm fish.

Baby’s First First Fish Sticks

  • 1 tilapia filet
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut tilapia filet lengthwise along the center.  The cut the smaller filets horizontally into fingers.

Dip the fingers into the egg and then the breadcrumbs.  Place on a very lightly oiled cookie sheet.

Baked for 12 to 15 minutes flipping the fingers

FInger Food Fun: Charlotte’s Healthy Chicken Nuggets

After our success with the Broccoli Cheese Nuggets, I thought I would give homemade chicken nuggets a try.  These nuggets are not pretty and almost look like a meatball, but, regardless of their appearance, Charlotte loved them!  I had a taste and thought they were quite good.  There is touch of sweetness from the sweet potato and the yogurt coating helps keep the nugget quite moist.

If you don’t have seasoned breadcrumbs, just use plain breadcrumbs and add some Italian seasoning (no salt added) or other dried herbs (e.g., basil, oregano).

Next time I might try making a meatball with ground turkey and some sweet potato or squash.  Finger food fun continues!

Charlotte’s Healthy Chicken Nuggets

  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cooked, mashed sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk organic plain yogurt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil with a baking sheet lined with foil.

Chop the chicken breast into small pieces.  Combine the chicken with the mashed sweet potato.  Form mixture into nuggets or balls.

Coat the nuggets in yogurt and toss with the breadcrumbs.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Carefully turn the nuggets over and bake for another 10 minutes.

Finger Food Fun: Broccoli Cheese Nuggets & Avocado Spread

Hard to believe Charlotte is 10 months old!  As you can tell by her cheeks, she’s a good eater.

We have moved beyond smooth purees and are fully into chunky mixtures and finger foods.  Charlotte loves fruit — pears and bananas are her favorites — and enjoys many veggies — especially roasted broccoli and string beans.   She has really taken to yogurt, hummus, and string cheese.  Turkey seems to be her favorite meat.   And, nothing can compare to her favorite snack food — Happy Baby Puffs!  Any flavor will do!

Angus is loving Charlotte’s growing eating repertoire as well.  He gobbles up anything that falls to the floor.  And, when her hands get messy, Charlotte offers them up to Angus for a lick.  Kind of gross, I know!  But it is heartwarming to see Charlotte and the pup forge a friendship.

Here are a couple of finger food recipes Charlotte has enjoyed.  I’ve adapted them from some similar recipes I’ve seen in cookbooks and on WholesomeBaby.com.

The first recipe is for baked veggie nuggets made with chopped broccoli, shredded cheese, and breadcrumbs.  Beaten eggs bind the mixture together.  If you haven’t introduced egg whites to your baby yet, just add some extra yolks (which is what I did).  I used a shredded cheese blend from Trader Joe’s that consists of mozzarella, cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheeses.

Charlotte loves the nuggets, and Tim and I thought they were super tasty as well!

Broccoli & Cheese Nuggets

  • 16 oz. frozen broccoli, cooked, drained, and chopped
  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheese
  • 3 eggs beaten (you can use 5 egg yolks if you have not introduced egg whites yet)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.  Combine all of the ingredients and mix well.  Roll the mixture into ball place on baking tray.  Bake for 25 minutes, turn nuggets over after 15 minutes.  Serve warm. Break up into appropriately sized pieces for your little one!


The other finger food is a spread I make with avocado, plain yogurt, and a hard-boiled egg yolk.  I spread the mixture on a piece of thinly sliced rye toast with the crusts cut off and then cut into tiny squares.  Typically I feed about half to Charlotte (so I can ensure she is actually getting some in her mouth) and then let her feed the rest to herself.  It is a little messy but Charlotte loves it and can gobble up a whole slice of bread with the avocado spread on it!

Avocado – Yogurt Spread

  • Half of a ripe avocado, mashed
  • 1 hard-boiled egg yolk, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon of whole-milk organic plain yogurt
  • 1 slice of bread, toasted

Combine the avocado, yogurt, and egg yolk.  Spread on toast.


I look forward to introducing Charlotte to other delicious flavors and dishes!

Cooking for Charlotte: First Baby Food

We’ve been blessed with a good eater (as evidenced by her cheeks and thighs)!  Charlotte transitioned to solids very easily a few months ago.  We started with the basic (and bland) rice cereal and then introduced a variety of fruit and veggie purees.  Other than the cereal, I’ve been preparing Charlotte’s food.  Some things like mashed banana and avocado, don’t really require much effort.  Some of the other purees take a little advanced thought, but it is easy to make a big batch and freeze in individual servings.  I like Baeba’s trays and Baby Cubes.  But you can also just use an ice cube tray.  I use a Baeba Babycook as well as my All-Clad Steamer and a Cuisinart Mini-prep to prepare the food.  The Babycook is a steamer and mini food processor in one but you really don’t need one if you have a steamer and mini-prep or food mill.

I’ve really enjoyed making Charlotte’s food and seeing her reaction to different tastes and textures.

She loves fruit!  I guess all babies prefer the sweetness of fruit to veggies.  But she does love butternut squash, sweet potato, and avocado (I know it is technically a fruit).  She will tolerate peas and green beans.

She hated my first attempt at carrots.  I am hoping the gagging and coughing when she doesn’t like something is not the sign of a drama queen in the making.

We just tried meat for the first time last week.  She enjoyed the turkey but hated the lamb.  More coughing and gagging.  She also now knows that Angus is eager to eat whatever she is eating so she’s been spotted lowering a hand covered with food for Angus to lick.  Angus will be a friend for life.

I love cooking for Charlotte.  As I begin to wean Charlotte, I love that I am continuing to nourish her with the baby food I am preparing.  Cooking for my loved ones is so important to me and I am happy that I have been able to do so for Charlotte so early in her life.  I look forward to many more years of cooking for my gorgeous girl!

Here are a few of Charlotte’s favorites:

Charlotte’s Pear Puree

1 ripe pear

1. Peel and cube a fully ripened pear
2. Mash or puree as desired

Pears do not need to be steamed but it is recommended for babies under 8 months. 

Charlotte’s Peach Puree

1 bag frozen peaches, defrosted

Steam for 3 to 5 minutes.  Puree to desired consistency.

Charlotte’s Sweet Potato

1 sweet potato

Prick potato several times with a fork.  Roast potato at 400 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes (depending on size of potato).  The potato skin will separate easily from the potato.  Mash with a potato masher.  Add liquid, depending on desired consistency.

Charlotte’s Turkey

1/2 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup water

Combine ground turkey and water in a frying pan.  Cook until turkey is browned.  Puree turkey and cooking liquid until desired consistency.