When Taylor first started to wean I set about making every baby food recipe in Annabel Karmel’s Complete Meal Planner. Not really (how much time do you think I have??), but given the effort that went into all that steaming, blending and mashing, it certainly felt that way! Now that she’s nine months though I’ve found that most of Taylor’s meals can be made up from what I’m cooking for me and the hubby, so I very rarely cook baby food solely for her – aside from a few carrot sticks here and there!
If you put a little bit of thought into what you’re cooking for the rest of the family, you can really save yourself a lot of time and energy. The options are endless really. Here’s 12 of my favourite family meals that I think double up as great baby food.
1. Creamy courgette lasagne
This is a great alternative to meat lasagne and is super quick and easy to make. I think most babies also seem to love cheese so the ricotta in this goes down a treat. Mash up the leftovers for a great baby meal.
2. Fish pie
I introduced Taylor to fish from six months and she’s loved it ever since. Fish pie makes perfect easy-to-eat baby food. It also blends really well to make a purée for younger babies. Make sure you remove all bones.
3. Minestrone soup
I love having some home-made soup in our freezer for those days when you need a quick lunch. Minestrone is packed full of flavour and yummy goodness. Miniature soup pasta is also perfect for babies – don’t waste your money on the ‘baby pasta’ – it’s the same thing and costs a third of the price.
4. Shepherd’s Pie
Tasty mince, chopped veggies and loads of buttery mash potato – what’s not for baby to love?
5. Tray bake chicken
On those days when I can’t be bothered to cook, I chop up some peppers, tomatoes and onions and cook it in the over with some chicken breasts. It makes a great healthy meal served with rice and is also really healthy for Taylor. I puree the chicken separately and mash it with the roasted veg and juices. If you want a recipe try Jamie Oliver’s Hit ‘n’ Run Tray baked Chicken.
6. Cheesy broccoli pasta bake
Ready in 30 minutes, this meal is great for when you’re short of time (like every day). Pour the cheese sauce over some of the pasta for baby before you put the bake in the oven for the rest of the family. Use wholemeal pasta for baby if possible.
7. Spaghetti bolognese
Everyone has their own way of making this but I find Jamie Oliver’s recipe for bolognese sauce fool-proof (yes, I am a bit of a Jamie fan!). I always cook some separate pasta for Taylor and just add the sauce to it before I add seasoning for our meal. Babies also love spaghetti if you don’t mind the mess!
8. Meat lasagne
As the bolognese above, this works just as well mashed with a fork. You can also substitute the mince for chicken if you want a healthier option.
9. Roasted vegetable and chick pea stew
If you’re looking for alternative sources of protein for your little one, chick peas and lentils are perfect. This recipe makes a super tasty veggie dish which is filling enough to eat on its own or, for the meat eaters in the family, also makes a great side dish. Mash or blend for younger babies.
I always have some risotto rice in for those end of the week meals when my fridge is looking bare and I need to make something from the last of the veg. If I’m honest I bung whatever ingredients I have into my risottos, but if you want a good recipe I love this pea and mint one (make sure you leave out the wine!). The creamy texture is perfect as baby food. Use home-made veg stock if you’re worried about the salt in stock cubes.
11. Chicken Chasseur – Great comfort food at its best. I love to make this in the winter in our slow-cooker. Puree the chicken for younger babies and serve with mashed potato.
I discovered this recipe before we had Taylor and I often make it as a side dish to a steak or lamb chops. Now I make a large batch of it and freeze the rest as baby food. It really is delicious!
I hope that some of these recipes have inspired you! What baby food recipes are popular with your little one?