Savoury Butternut Squash – Broccoli Muffins With Feta

These are just perfect to make on a rainy afternoon, and eat them all up whilst they are still lovely and warm. I have a very picky toddler and seems like my baby girl is following her big brother’s footsteps. Lucky me. Not. I was hoping that at least one child of mine will eat properly. Nope, I can keep envying other parents with their small children eating raw carrot stick and steamed broccoli, but non mines. Anyway, that is why I try to smuggle some extra healthy ingredients into their dishes and also hoping that they will venture beyond the usual tastes and textures.

Muffins, both sweet and savoury are usually big hits in our house. I normally need to avoid whole pieces of vegetables being visible and use lots of cheese, for the savoury muffins to get green light. This recipe meets both criteria. Also contains more of the “friendly” veggie (butternut squash) and less of the “unfriendly” one (broccoli). Great for snack or even as a lazy main meal with some more cheese or healthy spreads like hummus.

Tip: by adding lots of fresh rosemary instead of chives, these muffins can be turned into more of a grownup’s snack.

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

250g plain flour

100g butternut squash diced

80g broccoli (4-5 small florets)

1,5 tsp bicarbonate soda

1 tsp baking powder

200ml milk

50g butter melted

100g feta cheese crumbled roughly

1 egg

half a tsp salt

1 tbsp of chopped chives

some grated cheddar to sprinkle on the top (optional)

Method:

Steam the vegetables until they’re tender. With a hand mixer, blend the butternut squash into a smooth paste. I guess it could work with just mashing it with a fork. As a smooth paste, it adds some extra liquid to your batter (so does the broccoli). After this, I normally just add everything one by one in no particular order and just mix it quickly (with a wooden spoon, by hand).

Preheat oven to 160C. I found that because of vegetables, they bake a bit slower than without them, but they can burn just as easily. Therefore, it’s better to keep it around 160C instead of 180C. So the baking time is slightly longer than with normal muffins: 12-14 minutes.

They are lovely warm or cold, or even reheated in the oven.

One Messy Mama
Real Mum Reviews

Kid’s Risotto With Salmon, Courgette And Lots Of Cheese

One of the my little guy’s tolerated (i.e. cooked until it’s unrecognisable and well hidden under mountains of cheese) vegetables is courgette. Probably, because it’s a little tasteless. Therefore, I try to use it whenever I can. It can go into a lot of different dishes, including risotto. The other evening, when I was desperate to find a way to make him to eat some salmon (which is an absolute no-no) came up with this recipe. The creamy, cheesy rice is always a winner with children, so might as well try to add some extra, healthy stuff to it. It makes a great weaning meal for older babies, and as it’s not totally bland, grownups can enjoy it too. (But there’s no wine in it, sorry. Can’t blame the opening of a bottle of vino on the risotto.)

Tip: Of course, you cant prepare it with adding wine, like a regular risotto, it will be delicious. Try adding a little chilli flakes for an extra kick!

Yield: 4

Ingredients:

1 medium yellow onion chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

150g risotto rice

200g fresh or frozen salmon

100ml milk

1 courgette halved and sliced

2 plum tomatoes chopped

Basil and parsley (a handful of fresh and chopped or 2 tsp each if dried)

2 tbsp of olive oil

a knob of butter

100g cheddar cheese (or similar)  grated

1/2 litre of vegetable stock

salt and pepper to taste

Method: 

In a shallow pan, poach the salmon in the milk. You need to use very low heat, don’t let the milk burn. When it’s cooked through, flake the salmon and set it aside.

Heat the oil and fry the onions until they become fragrant. Add the courgette and the tomatoes along with the spices and let them soften on low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Prepare the stock with hot water and wash the rice.

Add the rice and half of the stock. Stirring often, keep adding more broth as soon as it starts to evaporate. When your rice is al dente, mix in the butter first and then the cheese. Lastly, add the salmon flakes, and serve it immediately.

Quick Super Cheesy Zucchini Risotto For Kids

Well, obviously, it’s not only for kids and because it’s got no wine in it, it’s not exactly a risotto. But tasty and cheesy, Bobcat loved it. I cooked it last night when I was craving curry and Bobcat is not a huge fan of curry (at the moment. He used to like it, but he’s quite picky nowadays). So I had to prepare something healthy, quick but also tasty food for him. It takes no more than half an hour if you’re only cooking 2-3 portions like in the recipe. Ideal for weaning diet.

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Ingredients:

Half of a small onion chopped finely

1 garlic clove minced

1 small zucchini halved and sliced

1-2 tomatoes chopped into small pieces

1 sweet red pepper chopped into small pieces

100 g risotto rice rinsed

2 tbs of olive oil

4-5 fresh basil leaves chopped

50 g cheddar cheese

Generous knob of butter

250-300 ml vegetable stock

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

Heat the oil and saute the onions, the vegetables and the basil leaves in a pan for 10-15 minutes on medium heat. Add the rice and give another minute to soften. Then add the stock in 2-3 bits, stirring frequently and bring it down to low heat. Cover it with a lid. When the rice grains are soft enough, your dish is ready for the last steps: add the butter and the cheese and let them melt. Serve it immediately.

 

Pasta With Salmon And Broccoli In Cheese Sauce – Great Toddler Meal

I normally have this in the freezer all the time, for Bobcat and for the days when he’s extra picky and won’t eat anything substantial. Pasta can always come. So it’s a good idea to add as much healthy and nutritious ingredients to a pasta dish as you can. Very simple to prepare, a real comfort food for him. If you cook everything really soft, it’s a great weaning meal too. The recipe below will give you 3-4 toddler portions.

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Ingredients:

50g salmon

half a head of broccoli, broken into florets

150g pasta (any kind of, really)

2 small garlic cloves, minced

150ml whole milk

30g butter

50g medium cheddar cheese grated

half a tbsp of flour

1 tsp of fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Start to boil some water in a medium pan and steam the broccoli above it. It takes around 15 minutes to soften, but depends on how tender you want it. In a small pan poach the salmon for 10 minutes in 100ml milk on low/medium heat, add the garlic and the parsley. When it’s cooked, set it aside. We keep the milk too, don’t throw it away. Start to cook the pasta and simultaneously, in a small pan melt the butter, add the flour and simmer for a minute. Add the milk from the salmon pan and keep stirring on low heat when it starts to thicken, add some more milk and the grated cheese. Add some salt and pepper if you wish. When everything cooked, flake the salmon. In a bowl mix everything well. The broccoli should just break into small pieces. Serve it with a some grated cheese on the top.

 

Easy Creamy Carrot Soup With Ginger

Winter time is soup time for me, I love all kinds of veggie loaded clear or creamy soups. They are also a great way to put more vegetables on the dinner table. Carrot is one of the vegetables we can still benefit from after the cooking process, because it’s easier for our bodies to take advantage of some of its protective antioxidants like beta-carotene and convert it to vitamin A. Ginger, cooked in food and using a small amount is a good way to introduce spices to your baby (from 8 months old and later if the baby has any digestion problem). Bobcat loved mild aromatic spices from early age, like garlic, ginger and basil. It’s also good to swap sugar and salt to mild spices.

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This soup is an absolute hit for grown-ups, kids and babies as well. You can puree it completely if you prefer it smooth, but I think it’s the best with a bit of a texture. To reach this, I use a hand blender and leave some soft and chunky carrot bits in. For babies, this will encourage chewing, but make sure the pieces are not too big and that they are very soft. I serve it with toasted french stick slices and some creme fraiche. It only takes about 45 minutes to prepare it and the recipe below serves 4 grown-ups.

Ingredients:

800g carrots peeled and sliced

1 medium onion chopped

1 heaped tsp of fresh ginger minced

700ml vegetable stock

70ml double cream

knob of butter and a tbsp of olive oil

black pepper to taste

Optional: a tbsp of orange zest and creme fraiche

Method:

Peel and chop the vegetables and the ginger (you may add some optional orange zest and hint of nutmeg here). Place them all into a large pan with the butter and the oil and fry them on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and cover. Cook for another 15-20 minutes until the veggies are soft. Then add the cream and simmer for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. With your hand blender puree it until it reaches the desired smoothness. Put is back on the hob and warm it up again. Serve with some freshly cracked black pepper and a little creme frache on the top.

 

 

 

Mummy in a Tutu

Creamy sweet potato with salmon and petit pois

It’s always challenging to get small children to eat more fish. Luckily, apart from fish and chips and fish fingers there are plenty of other yummy options to get them to eat fish AND veggies. Sounds too good? This recipe is always a hit for my 19 months old, he loves sweet potato and tolerates salmon and petit pois. The cream cheese makes it mushy and really tasty. Also, it’s super easy to prepare.

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The recipe below will allow you to prepare 3-4 toddler size portions. Freezes very well. Make sure the cream cheese doesn’t contain any nasties such as different stabilizers.

Ingredients:

100g boneless salmon piece fresh or frozen

1 large sweet potato peeled and diced into small cubes

1 cup frozen petit pois

2 tbsp cream cheese

100ml milk

1/2 baby organic stock cubes (I used Boots Baby Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes ) or a very little normal stock cubes

Small handful of fresh parsley finely chopped

Little olive oil

Directions:

Put the cubed sweet potato into a roasting dish, sprinkle it with some olive oil, cover it with aluminium foil and roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until they are soft enough for your little one.

In the meantime put the cold milk into a pan with the salmon, the petit pois, parsley and the stock cube and on very low heat and start to cook them. Stir it frequently, the milk can overboil very easily. Once the salmon is cooked, add the cream cheese and simmer it for a further 5 minutes on low heat, stirring it frequently. Start breaking the salmon into small pieces with a wooden spoon, no need to remove it from the sauce.

Once the sweet potato is cooked, combine them well, and it’s ready to serve.

 

Cauliflower Mac’n’Cheese – great way to get them to eat more veggies

This recipe is a great version of the much-loved, original Mac’n’Cheese, one of our favourite childhood meal. It’s creamy and crunchy at the same time: the whole family will love it. It also takes no time and very little effort to prepare it.

The good thing about cauliflower is, that it’s packed with Vitamin C, K and B6, fiber, protein and Omega-3 fats. So it’s basically just like fish 🙂 Therefore, if you can see any chance to smuggle it into any dish, give it a try.

Both toddler and weaning diet compatible: depending on how soft the pasta is. You can even mash it even further down if you wanted to. You can play around with how much cauliflower you want to use: not everyone (i.e most of the kids) can’t stand the smell of cauliflower, but you can outsmart them by hiding it well. Add less of it and add more cheese, cream cheese or herbs. Either way it will be a delightful vegetarian dish.

I used fussili as pasta, because it’s easier for little hands to grab them. But penne will do it too. The recipe below will give you 2 grown-up portions and 3-4 toddler portions, so you can put some into the freezer.

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Ingredients:

1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets (8-9 larger florets)

300g fussili pasta

250g medium Cheddar cheese, grated

50g unsalted butter + a knob of room temperature butter with the breadcrumb

200ml full fat milk

1 tbsp flour

100g soft breadcrumb

Handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped finely.

hint of nutmeg (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Steam the cauliflower florets above boiling water for about 15-20 minutes. (You can also choose to cook them of course.) Mash them with a fork roughly.

Cook the pasta until it’s al dente or soft, depending on how soft you want it.

Whilst the pasta is cooking, prepare your bechamel sauce. Melt the 50g butter in a pan. Add the tbsp of flour, shimmer it until golden brown. Add half of the milk and keep stirring occasionally. Once it’s beginning to thicken, add the nutmeg, little salt and pepper. half of the grated cheese and finally the other half of the milk. Keep stirring. This will give you a nice, creamy, but somewhat watery texture. This is what we want, because it will cook further in the oven, plus, the pasta will absorb some liquid from it.

Now, combine all: pasta, cauliflower, bechamel, the other half of the cheese, parsley in a casserole or baking dish.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the soft butter in a cup with your fingers until you can’t see the butter bits and sprinkle it evenly on the top of the dish.

Into the oven for about 30 minutes on 200C. I hardly ever preheat oven, if you do, it will take less than 30 min. Bake it until the breadcrumb on the top turns nice golden brown.