Thursday, February 28, 2013

Home Made Baby Food

This is another post that contains more of a method, rather than a recipe.  I've seen stuff like this floating around pinterest, so there is obviously a need for it somewhere.

Though I am out of the baby food stage, I have been through 3 kids and have used this method for making my own baby food each time around, and I have loved it.  Healthier and cheaper than purchasing those expensive little jars, and with a few seconds in the microwave it is easy to mix up your own concoctions.  
I've also included a list of my favorite foods to use.

Home Made Baby Food

For vegetables, remove skins and rough chop.
Steam and boil until cooked and tender.

For fruit, remove stems, if applicable, and rough chop.

Puree individual foods until smooth.
Pour into ice cube trays.
Relocate to freezer bags/containers.

I love those little ice cube trays I found at Target for $1.  I bought them specifically for making baby food.  They are about 1 Tbsp. each, the perfect size to mix and match different meals.

Here is a list of my favorite baby foods:

sweet potato
acorn squash
butternut squash
spaghetti squash

I've found that these vegetables don't puree as well, but are good to use when trying to add in different textures:
green beans

These vegetables don't have to be cooked first, just add water if needed to puree:
summer squash

cherries (diarrea alert)
mango (can be stringy)
plum (cook first)

I also used home made grape juice or apple juice to thin out other foods and to add sweetness.  This also works well with pureed melons.

I love using canned meats, they are very tender and puree the best.
roast beef

Fully cook grains according to package directions before pureeing.  Add water/broth as needed.
rice (adds some texture)
barley (texture)
pasta (Acine de Peppe is perfect for texture - no pureeing required)
millet (perfect texture - no pureeing needed)

Beans (black/pinto, etc.)

I will also puree full meals and freeze for when the baby gets older and more advanced with food.  Soups, stews, and casseroles always work pretty well.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Skor Cookies

My mom got this recipe from a neighbor who handed out a collection of her favorite recipes for a Christmas gift one year.  I can't remember her name... something Dastrup, so I regrettably cant attribute the recipe to anyone.  Either way, they are chalk full of a variety of sugars, and they are wonderful, just like a great cookie should be :)
And this particular recipe makes a TON, perfect for the youth conference they were made for.

Skor Cookies
1 lb. butter
2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
6 c. flour
1 12oz. pkg. chocolate chips
2 12oz. pkgs. white chocolate chips (I used butterscotch)
1 12oz. pkg. skor chips

Cream butter and sugars.
Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until well blended.
Slowly add flour, baking soda, and salt while mixing.
Add chocolate chips and Skor chips.

Roll into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Makes ~60 cookies.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta with Veggies

This dish seems to be making its way back to my dinner table month after month.  Quick to throw together will great taste, and will feed a crowd.

Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta with Veggies
Recipe modified from Picky Palate

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2-3 c. cooked cubed chicken or turkey
1 lb. mini bowtie pasta
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
4 c. broccoli florets
15oz. can Great Northern beans
15oz. can chicken broth
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. basil pesto
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. cooked, crumbled bacon pieces

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, saute onion, bell pepper and garlic in oil until tender.
Stir in chicken, broccoli, beans, broth, cream, pesto and cheese.
Stir until well combined and reduce heat to low.

Drain pasta and add to pot.
Stir in bacon and serve.

Monday, February 18, 2013

5 cup Fruit Salad

This salad has been around forever.  It takes about 10 minutes to throw together and is always a big hit.

5 cup Fruit Salad
11-15oz. can mandarin oranges, well drained
8oz. can pineapple, drained
1 c. mini marshmallows
1 c. coconut
1 c. sour cream (or yogurt, whipped topping, etc)

Drain mandarin oranges and pineapple; lay out on paper towels.
Add all ingredients and stir to combine.
Refrigerate before serving.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cob Salad / Wraps

This quick weeknight meal doesn't really require a "recipe".  Just grab some fresh veg, cheese, leftover meat and throw it all on some lettuce or in a wrap.  Serve with your favorite dressing and you are good to go!

Cobb Salad Wraps

Any combination of the following:
Bell Pepper
Hard Boiled Eggs
Green Onions
Shredded or Cubed Cheese

Serve over lettuce or in a wrap with your favorite dressing.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Roasted Butternut and Bacon Pasta

I love me some butternut squash.
And bacon.
And pasta.  With cheese.
This recipe satisfies all of those loves.

Roasted Butternut and Bacon Pasta
Recipe modified from myRecipes

3-4 c. cubed peeled butternut squash
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
6-8 slices turkey bacon
8 oz. bowtie pasta
2 Tbsp. flour
2 c. milk
3/4 c. (3 oz.) provolone cheese
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

On a large foil lined baking sheet, combine butternut squash and onions.
Drizzle with oil and mix together to evenly coat.
Arrange squash on top of onions to keep them from burning.
Drizzle with salt and pepper.
Roast at 425 degrees for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
In liquid measuring cup, combine flour and milk, whisking to incorporate.

In an large ovenproof skillet, cook bacon until crisp.
Drain on paper towels and chop into pieces.
While skillet is still hot, add the flour/milk mixture to the pan, scraping up all of the small bits at the bottom.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until slightly thick, 1-2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add provolone, stirring until cheese melts.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add pasta, bacon and roasted veggies to the skillet and toss to combine.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Place under broiler until cheese is lightly browned.
Serve immediately.