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Weaning: Cook ahead tricks and tips – Part 2

Weaning: Cook ahead tricks and tips – Part 2
Jodi Harris

Following on from Weaning: Cook ahead tricks, recipes and tips – Part 1, here are a few more tips and cooking hacks to get your freezer stocked with lots of super-easy and healthy meals for you little one!

Saturday breakfast: pancakes for baby and…the freezer too!

Weekends are the perfect time to make a batch of fluffy pancakes. Here is my favourite recipe:  Banana and buckwheat pancakes

I blend 2 eggs (for protein), 250ml of milk (non-dairy is fine) and a ripe banana for sweetness in my Babycook ® until smooth.

Then I transfer the mix to a large glass measuring jar and add enough of the following ingredients for the batter reaches a custard-like consistence

·       2 cups (give or take) wholemeal flour (for fibre and B vitamins)

·       2-3 tbps ground fax seeds (for omega3)

·       a touch of  buckwheat flour (depends on how much wheat flour you’ve already used) to reduce the gluten load.

·       ½ tsp bicarb and ½ tsp baking powder

·       I let the batter rest for 30min and then add 2 tbsp of fat, I prefer organic melted butter or coconut oil.

·       I fry my pancakes gently, in a little butter or coconut oil and serve them with blueberries or pomegranate for a perfectly balanced breakfast.

·       For 9-24 month old children it can be fun to make mini-pancakes so they can feed themselves.

These pancakes are totally delicious and a doddle to make but what I really love about them is that older kids can get involved in the making and cooking and that you get to freeze some in between sheets of parchment for a speedy week-day breakfast. Just remember to defrost them overnight in the fridge and reheat in a low oven (100C) for 15min until warm and super soft.

Home-made stock

Home-made stock or bone broth is dead easy to make and packed with nutrients including glutamine to support gut health and since having a mature and healthy gut can help prevent food sensitivities and allergies in babies [1], it is definitely worth the effort.

Just ensure you use organic bones and that you add a good squeeze of lemon juice to the pot to help release the nutrients. Simmer for as long as you can and once cooled, drain and freeze. Little portions are great to add a burst flavour to stews, soups, curries and tagines.

And veggie stock is a fab idea too, just blitz all sorts of veggies in your Béaba Babycook ®, including onions, leeks, garlic, carrots, courgettes and whatever odd ends you’ve got in the fridge, and transfer to a casserole, cover with water, add a bay leaf and some herbs and simmer for 45min. Strain and once cool, freeze in small, medium or even large containers to suit your cooking!

Finger foods for weaning and beyond

As your baby grows or if you are following the baby-led weaning method, he will start enjoying feeding himself pretty soon, so finger foods make a great lunch or addition to his dinner.

Prep your fresh finger foods too

Wash and chop broccoli, carrots, mini corn cobs, cucumber, quartered cherry tomatoes on the day of the week you have more time, then store them in an airtight container (important to prevent oxidation) and keep in the fridge to use during the rest of the week.

Burgers, patties and cakes

There is nothing easier than to whip up a batch (or two as the kids grow up and develop and appetite to match!) of fish, turkey or veggie patties for dinner. A few fresh ingredients, a few bits from the cupboard and 15mn later, dinner is ready!

When talking patties, here are a few tricks:

1)    Always add one veggie: sweet potato to your fish cakes, aubergine to your meat balls and spinach to your turkey bites. Not only adds to the nutrition kudos of the patties but counts as one portion of veg. Adding a veg also helps with texture by adding moisture.

2)    First of all, ditch the white breadcrumbs. Make your own wholemeal breadcrumbs with the Béaba BabyCook ® and reduce the gluten by adding oats, seeds and even ground almonds to the blender. I like adding ground flax and chia seeds for a good helping of fibre and omega 3.

3)    When making your fish cakes or burgers it always helps to put the fish already cut in cubes in the freezer for 30min, that way it doesn’t start cooking while blending. I use a mix of white and oily fish – for a good combination of omega 3s and flavour.

4)    And…bring on the veggie protein! It is a good idea to get your kids to try beans and pulses from an early age because they are a fantastic source of lean protein and are high in fibre. It is seriously easy to make bean patties and have them in the freezer for a quick falafel-style dinner. Just add hummus, chopped tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers and avocado and serve with wholemeal pitta bread.

5)    For freezing, I quickly harden the patties on a baking tray lined with parchment or a silicone mat. After 45min-1hr, or as soon as they are hard to the touch, I transfer them to a glass container with a tight-fitting lid. And I label the box, including the number of patties so I can keep track of how many I’ve got left.

Here are a few ideas for patties: lamb koftas, tofu and cashew burgers, butterbean burgers, sweetcorn and pea fritters

Written by Purple Carrot Nutrition:

[1] Watkins C Stanton C Ryan CA Ross RP (2017) Microbial Therapeutics Designed for Infant Health Frontiers in Nutrition 4 48