Making the Most of Leftovers

We all get so busy during the week it is hard to put a homemade meal on the table every night. When you put effort into making a nice dinner for your family, why not make that food last for more than one meal?

Roasted chicken is the perfect multi meal dish that is not only delicious, but can make several more meals for your family during the week.

Simple Organic Roasted Chicken

  • One 4 or 5 lb Organic Whole Chicken
  • 1 TBSP Organic Chopped Rosemary (** please feel free to use any combination of herbs that you like. You do not need to use all three).
  • 1 TBSP Organic Chopped Thyme
  • 1 TBSP Organic Chopped Sage
  • 5 Garlic Cloves (Crushed or Minced with garlic press)
  • 1/4 Cup Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions 

  • Pre-heat oven to 375
  • Chop Herbs (or put in a mini food processor)
  • Mince Garlic
  • Mix together herbs with garlic and olive oil
  • Rub salt and pepper under the chicken skin 
  • Rub the olive oil mixture under the skin of the chicken
  • Place chicken on a roasting stand (**I believe that this is the best way to get an evenly cooked and perfectly browned chicken. In the roasting stand below, the chicken actually stands up straight. It looks pretty funny!) 
  • Cook 20 minutes per lb or until meat thermometer registers 180
Lunch Leftover Suggestions: Make a simple chicken salad. Use extra chicken in a quesadilla.
Dinner Leftover Suggestions for the Babies/Toddlers: Cheesy Roasted Chicken with Peas and Spinach (see below)
Cheesy Roasted Chicken with Peas and Spinach
  • 1 Cup Chopped Roasted Chicken (by the way, feel free to cheat and buy an organic roasted chicken from the grocery store) 
  • 1 Cup Organic Frozen Peas
  •  1/2 Cup of finely chopped Organic Frozen Spinach 
  • 1/2 TSP Pepper 
  • 1 TSP Salt 
  • Simple Cheese Sauce (see below)
Directions
  • Mix chicken, peas and spinach together
  • Gently stir in the simple cheese sauce and salt and pepper.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with brown rice or quinoa.
Storage Suggestions: For those of you who are past the puree stage, you may have thought you are done with those freezer storage trays..wrong. I use them all the time to freeze non-pureed food for Sophia. Place the cheesy chicken in freezer trays or cubes and simply re-heat when you are ready to serve!
Simple Cheese Sauce (recipe from Annabel Karmel) 
  • 1 TBSP Organic Butter 
  •  TBSP Organic all-purpose flour 
  • 1 Cup Organic Whole Milk 
  • 1/3 Cup Organic Sharp Cheddar Cheese 
Directions
  • Melt the butter in the saucepan and stir flour in to make a smooth paste (cook for 1 minute)
  • Gradually stir in the milk, bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes over low heat until thickened and smooth.
  • Stir in the grated cheese until melted.
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A Sweet Snack I Feel Good About

As Sophia becomes more of a toddler and less of a baby, I find myself searching for more snack options for her.  As a rule of thumb, I am doing my best to stick to whole food snack options like fruit, string cheese and yogurt. However, I am starting to introduce some other carbohydrate options as a secondary snack or “treat.” I recently came across Barbara’s Vanilla Snackimals. These are your basic animal cookies, however, they are much tastier and a healthy alternative to other snack cookies. They are made with organic whole wheat and have no artificial flavors, trans fats or corn syrup. In addition, the great thing about this sweet treat is that there is only 5 grams of sugar in a serving!

Your toddler will enjoy this snack and you can feel good about it.

Organic Broccoli Cauliflower Coins

Inspired by some beautiful farmers market brocoli and cauliflower, I decided to come up with a fun recipe that might inspire Sophia to eat some veggies. As I have mentioned before, Sophia will not always eat plain veggies (I think many babies and kids are like this) so I keep trying to find ways to include veggies mixed with other food. Generally, this seems to work pretty well. She really liked these broccoli cauliflower coins, especially because she could feed them to herself.

Broccoli and Cauliflower are super veggies. They are high in vitamin C (which helps in iron absorption), contain folic acid, potassium, fiber and have large amounts of vitamin K and A.

Organic Broccoli Cauliflower Coins

Ingredients

  • 3/4 Cup of Mixed Organic Broccoli and Organic Cauliflower (you can use just broccoli if you prefer)
  • 1/3 Cup of Grated Organic Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Organic Eggs
  • 2 TBSP Organic Ground Flax (Optional)
  • 1/4 Cup of Organic Breadcrumbs (I like to use Italian for more flavor)
  • 1 TBSP of Organic Parsley
  • 1/2 TSP Pepper
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
Directions
  1. Cut Broccoli and Cauliflower stems off so only the florets remain
  2. Steam Broccoli and Cauliflower for approx 6 minutes or until tender
  3. Chop Broccoli and Cauliflower into very small pieces
  4. Chop parsley
  5. Lightly beat eggs and add cheddar cheese, parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper, and broccoli/cauliflower mixture.
  6. Add breadcrumbs a TBSP at a time until the mixture is moist but sticky (so you can form the coins and they do not fall apart.
  7. Grease a cookie sheet and form small coin shapes
  8. Bake at 350 for approximately 8 minutes per side (Or until golden brown).
Serving Suggestions: These coins are the perfect finger food. If your child has not mastered taking a bite from a larger piece of food, then you can cut these in half. You can also serve these with your child’s favorite dipping sauce.
**When reheating, wrap in a paper towel so they do not dry out.

What’s for Lunch?

Even before I had Sophia, deciding what to make for lunch has always been a challenge for me. I can only eat so many sandwiches a week and salads often leave me hungry and unsatisfied. Now that I have a one year old to feed at lunch too, I need to make sure I have some fast and healthy options available for both of us.

Most kids love quesadillas. They are a great finger food for babies. The cheese is a great source of calcium for little ones. However, a traditional quesadilla has little other nutritional value. Therefore, I decided to jazz up the quesadilla by using a spelt tortilla (you can find these at Trader Joes) and adding a black bean puree.

Black beans are a great source of fiber and protein. They are also filled with phytonutrients (both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory).

Spelt is an ancient whole grain. It is similar to wheat, but it does not seem to cause sensitivities in most people who are intolerant of wheat. Spelt is also a great source of fiber and contains many phytonutrients.

Organic Black Bean Spelt Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • Spelt Tortillas (you can substitute whole wheat or flour tortillas)
  • 15 0z can of Organic Black Beans
  • Organic Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Directions

  1. Drain the can of black beans. Make sure to reserve the liquid in the can. 
  2. Place black beans in a blender or food processor. Add 2 TBSP of water to beans and puree. Keep adding reserved bean water until you reach the desired consistency (should be the consistency of hummus or a paste).
  3. Grate the organic cheddar cheese
  4. Heat a skillet with some butter and place one tortilla in the pan. Sprinkle grated cheese on the tortilla. 
  5. Spread black bean puree on another tortilla and place that on the top of the tortilla with cheese.
  6. Cook approximately 4 minutes per side or until golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.

**Note: You could also make these quesadillas using the microwave if you are really short on time.

Serving Suggestions: Cut these in strips or bite size pieces for baby. Add smashed avocado. You can save the bean puree and feed it to your baby at another meal or use it as a dip with tortilla chips for older children or adults.

Food Frustrations

As much as I love cooking food for Sophia, it can also be a very frustrating experience. Sophia is pretty inconsistent with the foods she likes to eat, which makes meal planning especially difficult. There are some days she will happily eat pears or strawberries, and other days she spits them out, or throws them off the table. By the way, when she throws it off the table, she really puts her heart into it, and displays an element of dramatic flair that makes me proud of her spunky personality, and also a bit frightened by the tantrums I may see during the terrible twos. I have been given the advice that as a parent, my job is to decide WHEN Sophia eats and WHAT she will eat, but Sophia will ultimately decide how much she will eat. I have also heard that for toddlers you need to focus on what they have eaten that week vs. what they eat at a given meal or even a given day. I think this is good advice, but as a foodie Mamma who wants her little girl to eat as healthy as possible and ENJOY eating, it is hard for me to take this advice to heart and just relax about it.

Experienced Moms, any good advice or tips??

Personal Veggie Fritattas


Sophia likes plain veggies about half of the time I offer them to her. Grilled Zucchini, Broccoli etc. Sometimes she gobbles them up, and others she spits them out of her mouth and gives me a look like I have tricked her into eating something horrible. However, she will always eat veggies when they are mixed into a main dish such as quiche, pasta or frittata. I love to make frittatas in the summer, so I decided to make some individual veggie frittatas for Sophia. She did not spit these out, she loved them.

Personal Organic Veggie Fritatta

Ingredients

  • 8 Large Organic Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Organic  Whole Milk (you can leave this out and add an extra egg)
  • 1/2 Cup of Chopped Onion
  • 2 Cups of Chopped Organic Zucchini
  • 4 Cups of Organic Baby Spinach
  • 1/3 Cup of Organic Gruyere or Organic Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 TBSP Organic Parmeasn
  • 1 TSP Organic Dried Basil or 2 TBSP of Chopped Fresh Organic Basil
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1-2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 TSP Salt
  • 1 TSP Pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat Oven to 375
  2. Add olive oil to pan on medium heat. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes, add garlic and saute for 1 minute. (If you are using dried basil, add it to the onions while they cook.) Add chopped zucchini to the pan with the onions and garlic.  Remove onion, zucchini, garlic mixture when the veggies are soft. (approx 10 minutes of cooking). 

  3. Add baby spinach to the pan with 2 TBSP of water. Cook spinach until wilted (2 minutes). Remove spinach and wring out excess water with paper towel. Chop up spinach.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, add the milk, grated cheese, chopped fresh basil (if you are using fresh basil), salt and pepper.
  5. Add the spinach and zucchini to the egg mixture.
  6. Grease Muffin Pans (I would highly recommend using an olive oil cooking spray (Trader Joes sells this) or Canola Oil spray to the muffin pan. I tried this with butter only and the frittatas stuck to the pan.)
  7. Pour Mixture into the muffin pans.
  8. Cook at 375 for 12 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly on the top.

Serving Suggestions: This is a great summer dish for the entire family. Serve with a large green salad for the adults. For babies ready for finger food you can cut these up into pieces. For younger babies you dice up and feed with a spoon.

 

Storage: I like to freeze these so I have a healthy dinner or lunch option ready to go.

Crazy about Quinoa

Interested in adding some more protein to your little one’s diet? Ever try Quinoa? Quinoa, pronounced “Keen-wah” is  12 to 18% protein. Just a half of cup of Quinoa will meet your child’s protein needs for the day.  Quinoa is considered a “perfect protein” because it contains all 8 essential amino acids. In particular, quinoa is high in lysine, an amino acid important for tissue growth and repair. It’s also a good source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, and it has a high iron content.  This grain like seed is similar in texture to couscous and a great substitue for rice or other grains. The soft texture of Quinoa is perfect for little ones who are just starting to eat foods with a more lumpy texture.

There is a great new cafe in our neighborhood called Jane. They have the most amazing muffins. Sophia always wants to try what we are eating so I gave her a few bites of my blueberry muffin. She loved it! Big surprise, it was probably the closest thing to dessert she has ever tried. Well, I decided an occasional few bites of a cafe muffin is fine, but I wanted to give her a healthy muffin option with less sugar. After searching on-line for inspiration, I found a recipe for  Pecan Quinoa Muffins by Martha Rose Shulman in the NY Times and I decided to modify that recipe.

Lets start with a great basic method for cooking quinoa.

Basic Steamed Quinoa by Martha Rose Shulman

  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 3 Cups Water, Vegetable or Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt

Instructions

  1. Place Quinoa in a strainer and rinse until the water runs clear. (this is a very important step, otherwise the quinoa will taste bitter)
  2. Bring the water or stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the Quinoa and salt. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is translucent and tender and each grain displays a little thread. Drain quinoa and return to the pan. Cover the pan with a clean dish towel, replace the lid and allow to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. Fluff and serve.

Yield: 4 Cups Cooked Quinoa

Storage: Cooked quinoa will keep for 3-4 days in your fridge. I usually freeze quinoa in baby food freezer tray. I use Kidco Baby  Steps Freezer Trays because they are BPA/Phthalate free and have a lid.

Serving Suggestions: For younger babies starting to eat textured food, add a 1 ounce serving of Quinoa to a 1 ounce serving of any puree in your freezer (butternut squash, carrot or peas). The result is a risotto like dish. For older babies, mix with a puree and then add diced chicken, mushrooms, peas and parmesan cheese. (if you are finished making purees, just leave it out and mix with chopped veggies and some parmesan cheese).

Mini Blueberry Banana Quinoa Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (it really does make a difference in the texture of the muffins if you use pastry flour, the result is a much lighter and fluffier muffin)
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa (see directions above)
  • 1/2 cup organic quinoa flour (you can purchase organic quinoa flour, Bob’s Red Mill) or grind 1/4 cup of quinoa in a mini food prep or coffee grinder and sift). **I highly recommend purchasing the quinoa flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 1/4 cup organic maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 3/4 cup organic buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup organic canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of organic frozen blueberries thawed (I love Trader Joe’s Wild Organic Blueberries)
  • 1 ripe banana mashed until it is smooth (this is optional, but I think it adds a nice flavor and little more sweetness to the muffins)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the middle. Oil mini muffin pan. Sift together whole-wheat flour, quinoa flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, maple syrup or agave nectar, buttermilk, canola oil and vanilla. Quickly whisk in the flour mixture, then fold in the cooked quinoa, blueberries and banana. Combine well.
  3. Spoon into muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then remove from the mold and cool on a rack.


Serving Suggestions: These are slightly sweet and moist muffins (don’t expect your typical cake like coffee shop muffin). The mini muffins are a great finger food for babies. You can give them the entire muffin…watch out it gets very messy with little ones who are just learning to self-feed, OR break the muffin into pieces and allow your child to feed herself. These muffins are great for breakfast or a snack. They freeze well.

Other Quinoa Recipe Suggestion: Baked Quinoa with Spinach and Cheese, another recipe from Martha Rose Shulman. I followed this recipe exactly and Sophia really liked it. It was also a great healthy side for our family meal and a yummy leftover lunch for Mom. When I make this again, I will freeze small portions of it in the baby freezer trays to heat up for Sophia’s lunch or dinner.