Fail safe is a BIG claim when it comes to feeding kids. Especially small children who are busy experimenting with the boundaries of their worlds. It’s a fact of life, babies and toddlers can be very fickle, loving one thing this week and refusing to even try it the following. No rhyme nor reason, just them exerting their independence.
So, given this unpredictability, how can I give you a fail-safe recipe? Whilst I can’t guarantee 100% success every time, I can guarantee you all these are totally delicious and comforting to eat. They’re wholesome and nutritious so you know you are doing good by bub and worst-case, if they are having an off week, you will enjoy eating what they don’t!
1. Leek and Potato Soup
Love Love Love this soup. Rich and comforting, its velvety texture will delight young and old. Served with fresh sourdough or hot buttered toast soliders, it’s a Sunday night dinner at its best.
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 20g butter
- 1 small onion slice
- 1 big leek, green ends discarded, white end sliced and washed
- 1 garlic clove sliced
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped into chunks
- 1 small zucchini, chopped into 2.5 cm rounds
- 1.5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 100ml thickened cream
- Chopped parsley to serve
Method: Heat saucepan with oil and butter over medium heat. Add onion and leek and cook stirring for 5-7 minutes until translucent and soft, but not browned. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add potatoes and zucchini stirring to coat. Add stock and bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer 10 – 15 minutes until potatoes are soft. Remove from heat.
Blend with stick blender until smooth – add a little more water if it is too thick. Add cream and chopped parsley. Stir well. Serve with toasted cheese sandwiches cut into soldiers for dipping. Remaining soup can be frozen in portions.
There aren’t many kids out there that don’t like tacos and whilst we don’t typically think of them for babies and toddlers, there is no reason you can’t adapt them to suit. First is to clean them up – make your own seasoning mix and avoid sodium and preservative loaded commercial sachets. Opt for a natural greek-style yoghurt instead of sour cream and find organic corn chips instead of taco shells. Small children don’t cope so well with the degree of difficulty in eating a taco shell so a great serving suggestion is to serve a selection of meat, shredded lettuce, diced tomato, grated carrot, sliced cucumber, mashed avocado and yogurt with a few organic corn chips on the side and let them dip and play to their heart’s content. Taco Tuesday here we come!
Ingredients for seasoning mix:
- 4 tbsp dried onion
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 3 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- Freshly-ground pepper
Method: Simply combine all your seasoning ingredients in a jar and keep in the pantry for future use.
To make meat sauce: I always start with sautéing onion and garlic. Brown 500g beef mince and add a load of minced vegies (carrot, celery, zucchini, mushroom – extra goodness for the kids), add 3-4 tablespoons seasoning mix and a bottle of passata or two tins tomatoes and a beef stock cube. Simmer for an hour or two. Taste for seasoning. Note as there are no thickeners in the seasoning, you will need to reduce the sauce down so it holds in taco shells.
3. Cheesy Pasta
Just like Mac and Cheese. Only Better. And oh so easy!
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 1 x egg
- 1 TBS olive oil
- ¼ cup grated tasty Cheese (can use a blend of ricotta, parmasen, tasty or cheddar)
- 2 cubes of vegetable puree – cauliflower and broccoli (or florets roughly chopped and cooked with the pasta for the last minute)
- 1 cup cooked pasta – penne, shells or rigatoni work well for kids who love to feed themseleves and little stars are great for kids who like to be spoon fed
- Thaw and heat vegetable cubes
- Make sure pasta cooked – heat if using left overs
- Whisk egg and oil together very well
- Add all into a bowl including cheese(s) and mix well
- Serve and enjoy!
4. Homemade Fish n’Chips
- 1 small to medium potato per person, cut into thin chips. I leave the peel on.
- 1 firm white fish fillet per person. I like Basa or Rockling
- Fresh lemon wedges
- Herbamare to season
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Toss cut potatoes lightly in olive oil and bake for 20 minutes turning once.
- Lay fish fillets flat on oven tray (can use same one as potatoes if there is enough room) and sprinkle fish and chips lightly with Herbamare.
- Oven bake for 5 – 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish.
- Serve with a wedge of lemon and optional steamed broccoli florets.
5. Multigrain Chicken Bites
It’s hard not to love fried chicken….heck fast food chains have been churning it out for decades and we just can’t get enough of the stuff. This version is not actually fried and uses a multigrain crumb but it tastes delicious and I’m yet to meet a kid that doesn’t love it. It’s a great finger food option and a crowd pleaser for all ages – serve with any side you like from rice and vegies to delicious dipping sauces or wrapped up with salad!
- 1 chicken thigh or breast
- 1 slice quality multigrain bread, crust on is fine
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon linseeds
- 1 dollop natural greek yogurt in a separate bowl
- Whiz bread in a food processor to make fresh bread crumbs
- Mix through seeds and place crumb mixture on a plate
- Lay chicken between 2 sheets of baking paper and bash it with a rolling pin (or a big heavy tin of something) to flatten and break up fibres a little.. this makes it easier for small kids to chew.
- Cut chicken into thin strips
- Dip chicken in natural yogurt and wipe of excess on side of bowl (you just want a thin layer for the crumbs to stick to – too much and it will go soggy)
- Cover base of frying pan with a thin film of oil and when shimmering add chicken.
- Fry on both sides for about 3 mins or until golden.. Do not overcook or they will dry out.
Written by Emily Dupuche, founder of Food Babies Love. Emily Dupuche is a mother and the author of Food Babies Love, a guide to introducing solids.