Home » food

Category: food

Homemade Baby Food Part 1

Our little dude is growing like a weed and nearly a month ago, at his four month appointment with the pediatrician, she advised getting started with solids.

There are mixed opinions among professionals about the ‘right’ time to start solids. Ours is in the “The Sooner, The Better” camp, explaining that studies are suggesting food allergies may be preventable if we start introducing our little ones to solids sooner.

I was given 3 rules with introducing foods:
1. no honey until age 1
2. don’t let him choke
3. introduce eggs before peanut butter (but don’t wait until age 1)

We didn’t waste any time and introduced rice cereal that night.

He LOVED it!

Now that we are through a handful of foods, ruling out any reactions, I’ve started making my own.

Now, hear me, making homemade baby food or choosing to purchase at the store are both equally great options. Not everyone has the time, resources, or desire to tackle this task at home. I will have a small supply of store bought in our cupboard in addition to what I make in my own kitchen. And really, I’m more an advocate for “Feed The Baby” than specialized rules for how and what you should feed the baby.

I’ve chosen the homemade route simply because I always imagined that I would, because it’s more cost effective (my cost for this first round was 17 cents per oz for organic baby food compared to about 32 cents per oz when purchased at the store), and because I then know exactly what’s in those little colorful jars of baby food.

This first round of baby food making I chose organic spinach, apples, blueberries, and bananas. I also picked up avocados but they weren’t quite ripe enough so I’ll be blending those up later this weekend.

Spinach isn’t a store-bought baby food option (unless it’s mixed with something else, and getting started that’s not the best idea) but it’s super high in iron which is super important for little ones brain development. After we give it an initial test drive for reactions I will combine it with homemade cereals/grains (which won’t be fortified with iron like store bought varieties are) and probably a sweet fruit to make it a bit more yummy.

Homemade baby food is actually quite simple, if you have the right supplies on hand.

Here’s what I used:

-3 oz baby food cups with lids that are BPA free, freezer and dishwasher safe
-Food Steamer (for this project I used my wok and steaming baskets simply because of the size)
-Food Processor
-Spatula, Cutting Board, Knife

My efforts resulted in 77 oz of baby food in the freezer in less than 2 hours (start to finish, including all clean-up)

Print Recipe
Homemade Baby Food Part 1
Bananas, Apples, Blueberries and Spinach
Instructions
  1. Bananas: Peel bananas and process in food processor. Add liquid of choice (breast milk, formula or water) to reach desired consistency.
  2. Apples: Wash, peel and cut apples into like-size pieces (the smaller the pieces, the more quickly they will cook). Add to steamer and cook for 5-10 minutes, until soft. Allow to cool slightly, then add to food processer and process, adding liquid to reach desired consistency.
  3. Spinach: Rise and drain spinach. Add to steamer and cook for 5'ish minutes, until leaves wilt. Allow to cool slightly, then add to food processer and process, adding liquid to reach desired consistency.
  4. Blueberries: Rinse and drain berries ensuring all leaves from the plant are removed and all berries are in good condition (i.e. no beginnings of mold forming where the berry once connected to the plant). Add to steamer and cook for 5'ish minutes (this softens the skins allowing the berries to process into a smooth texture). Allow to cool slightly, then add to food processer and process, adding liquid to reach desired consistency.
Recipe Notes
  • The final step for each of these foods is:
    • fill freezer safe containers
    • snap lids on tightly, pushing out any air
    • freeze
    • thaw in fridge prior to serving. 
  • There is no firm/hard rule about how much of each fruit/veggie to buy and make. Since you are making a "simply ____" food the amounts will only determine your final yield.
  • Making/freezing individual fruits/veggies will allow you to mix different flavor combinations down the road by simply thawing a couple options and mixing them at the time of serving. For example, once I'm sure we are reaction free with spinach I intend to mix with apples, which I already know he likes and tolerates. 

Italian Chicken Skillet

Packing a whole lotta veggies into our dinners makes my heart happy.

As does the fact that my toddlers would, hands down, rather eat veggies than any meat they’ve ever met (aside from hotdogs; those kids LIVE for hotdogs…which I’m not even sure count as ‘meat’….yuck!).

So when I stumbled upon this recipe from Clean Food Crush I knew it was just what we needed in our weekly grind.

I did things just a touch differently but the inspiration came entirely from Clean Food Crush…so all the credit that direction (and check it out – LOTS of clean eating recipes, encouragement and motivation going on over there).


This is another recipe where veggies can easily be swapped out for whatever you have on hand, is on sale at the store, or tickles your taste buds.

It’s recipes like this that make me eager for my garden (which is not even yet planted) to start cranking out goodies. A yummy recipe as is goes to a whole new level when home-grown gets involved.

-H

Print Recipe
Italian Chicken Skillet
A quick veggie and protein packed meal that will leave you with few dishes to wash, time on your hands and peace of mind that you've fed your family well.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Warm 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat, add chicken and cook through. Remove from pan.
  2. Warm 1 Tbsp olive oil and melt 1 Tbsp butter in pan. Add onions. Drop the heat down a couple notches and allow onions to caramelize (stir them around to coat with oil/butter then let cook for 5'ish min undisturbed. Stir and let go another 5'ish min).
  3. Add last (1) Tbsp olive oil and remainder of veggies. Cook to desired doneness (I prefer a little crunch on my peppers and asparagus, personally).
  4. Return chicken to the pan and add dry Italian Seasoning and balsamic vinegar. Stir to mix it all together.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste and serve alongside some fresh French bread (If your diet tolerates gluten, of course).

The Simplest Green Chili (With Grilled Italian Sausage)

I have a pork green chili that I love.

I rarely make it because it’s somewhat ‘involved’ – which is opposite of what I’m striving for these days.

But I love it.

It’s generally made to smother or tuck inside burritos of all varieties, or to top eggs, or…or…or…

Isn’t it wonderfully wonderful when you make something that’s super versatile? When it feels as though you’ve hit two (or three, or four) birds with one stone?

A friend of mine raved about a green chili her husband recently made. And he slapped a grilled Italian sausage on top which made this one soar.

You read that right! Mexican meets Italian for an out of ordinary dinner.

When I spoke with him about this green chili he informed of the simplicity (YES!) and the versatility (YES! YES!).

So I whipped up a <double> batch, which literally took maybe 15 minutes, while some Italian sausages sizzled on the grill. It was a perfect make ahead (and I think has freezer potential) meal that took almost no time out of my morning while the baby snoozed, warmed wonderfully for dinner later that night, and blew my mind the next morning with a fried egg on top.

That’s right – from dinner to breakfast with addition of an egg.

Another yummy idea? Drain off the liquid and tuck inside warmed tortillas for a jazzed up taco option.

Go ahead and make this one (you won’t be sorry) and check back in with me on other creative and versatile ways that you made this meal into many.

Print Recipe
The Simplest Green Chili (With Grilled Italian Sausage)
The lack of prep work and simple ingredients make this a green chili option that can stretch across many meals in new and different ways....if you can resist eating the whole pot the first sitting.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Brown beef and chopped onion in pot over medium-high heat and begin grilling Italian sausages
  2. Drain and rinse beef and onions
  3. Add water to pot along with chicken and beef bullion cubes
  4. Once bullion cubes have dissolved, return beef and onions to pot along with chopped green chiles
  5. Add 1/2 jar green chile sauce
  6. Stir to combine and bring to a boil
  7. Portion green chile into individual servings, top with Italian sausage and serve piping hot!
Recipe Notes

I used a medium green chili sauce and added a little at a time to ensure the heat wasn't too much. 1/2 a jar was perfect and added so much wonderful flavor and heat to the dish. Experiment based on your taste preferences....but keep it simple...because that's the name of the game with this one!