What's for Dinner? Easy kid friendly meals the entire family will enjoy!
Some caretakers find meal time a breeze and others can find it challenging. Full bellies = happy babes! Toddlers between one and two years old should be eating three meals a day plus one or two snacks. It can be a struggle to add variety and new meal options especially if you have a picky eater. Teething can throw off eating patterns too and you may find yourself making pasta six out of seven nights or adding popsicles to the mix. Every child is different and will like different flavors and textures. Here are some of our favorite HH meals!
Amanda's Go-To Meals
It is no secret I do NOT enjoy grocery shopping, meal prepping and/or cooking. Food staples in our household include Kidfresh frozen meals, Dr. Praegers veggie nuggets, and Annie's deluxe mac and cheese (always the DELUXE because it requires less ingredients). Cooking adds ones more task to my already long enough to-do list (i.e cleaning, real-estate and child care). This post is NOT Katie or I on our high horse showing off how we make delicious, homemade, fresh meals daily. In my case it is quite the opposite. My mom cooks most of the meals I am sharing and we gladly take the leftovers for Sonny. When I can't, ok more like don't, want to run to the grocery store or didn't do a delivery service my husband steps in to help. We also love to order in and go out to dinner so that is very helpful in relieving some cooking stress. As a pescatarian I try to focus on vegetarian and vegan friendly meals. Sonny may be the only toddler that doesn't enjoy chicken nuggets, but has always had an insane appetite and really good palate.
At 4 months we began solids. We started with the traditional singular vegetable and fruit purees and gradually built up to multiple mixed options. Per our pediatricians instructions we waited a few days before introducing a new food to monitor allergens. Although I was fearful of choking, allergens were a bigger concern in our household. We have no allergens in our families but have heard horror stories. Make sure to check out our blog post about allergy introduction and the use of SpoonfulONE if you are interested or concerned about allergic reactions! Around 7 months Sonny decided that he preferred solids over purees. He flat out refused any pureed food unless it was a Once Upon a Farm pouch (we have a subscription). He preferred the independence of feeding himself. So began our journey of unplanned baby led weaning. Feeding a little one can be messy, frustrating and also a ton of fun! Try to embrace the chaos and enjoy the experience.
The meals I am sharing are quick, easy, healthy and most importantly kid approved. The best part is everyone in the family will love them.
What You Need:
1 Small Yellow Onion (Chopped Large)
2-3 Cloves of Garlic (Chopped Large)
2 Cartons of Vegetable Broth
2 Cups of Ditalini (Dry/Uncooked)
1 Can of Peas
Sauté garlic & onions in olive oil until soft. Add vegetable broth, simmer then remove the onion & garlic pieces. Add tomato paste and simmer. Add cooked ditalini pasta and peas.
What You Need:
3 Cups Water
1/4 Cup Parsley (Minced)
2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes (Use vegetarian bouillon cubes for vegetarian/vegan friendly)
2 Cloves of Garlic (Crushed)
3/4 Cup Yellow Corn Meal
In a 3 quart pan heat 3 cups of water, bouillon cubes, garlic and parsley. Bring to a boil; cook 5-7 minutes until thick. Cool; spread in a pan. Refrigerate; when cool, cut in cubes and serve with your favorite spaghetti sauce. If you're looking for a great canned sauce we recommend Sundays with Joe.
Pairs well with a side of pasta and meatballs (there are great vegan options now like Beyond Meat) or topped with cooked sausage (a favorite in our house is the hot italian sausage from Beyond Meat), peppers and red sauce.
What You Need:
6 Large Peppers (Red, Green or Yellow)
5 Cups Boiling Salted Water
2 Tablespoons Chopped Onion
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
1 Cup Cooked Rice (White or Brown)
1 Can (15 Ounces) Tomato Sauce
Heat Oven to 350 degrees. Cut thin slice from stem end of each pepper. Remove all seeds and membranes. Wash inside and outside. Cook peppers in the boiling salted water for 5 minutes; drain.
Cook and stir ground "beef" and onion in medium skillet until onion is tender. Drain off fat. Stir in salt, garlic salt, rice and 1 cup of the tomato sauce; heat through.
Lightly stuff each pepper with 1/2 cup "meat" mixture. Stand peppers upright in ungreased baking dish, 8x8x2 inches. Pour remaining tomato sauce over peppers. Cover; bake 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 minutes longer.
Goes great with a side of mashed potatoes and corn!
Katie's Go-To Meals
Feeding your toddler can be fun and full of adventure. It can also make you anxious! I will say that meal time is NOT my favorite. I am terrified of Remi choking and have been since she we had an episode early on with solids. As a new mom who hadn't fed kids before, I was not aware there was a difference between gagging and choking. All looks and sounds the same to me!! Side note - After recently seeing a friend's social media post about a product called the DeChoker and how it saved her son, I decided to order to have on standby incase of emergency. I will report back once I receive it! Babies and toddlers can gag from too much food or a dislike of taste and texture. With that being said I am notorious for cutting up food into 1 million pieces. I even break apart yogurt melts and puffs, I know (crazy lady). It may give you a laugh to see me cut a blueberry into six equal parts but it calms my nerves!
I was amazed at Remi's ability to communicate (non-verbally) when she was hungry. Her interest in food was evident and made me feel ready to begin the process which was around 4 months. When she is hungry now she will walk over to the kitchen or highchair and point. I am constantly looking for new meals and foods to try. Most of the meals will consist of tiny bites or items that are easily swallowed. I have called Amanda on numerous occasions asking for a new recipe or meal idea.
SPINACH MUFFINS (Special THANK YOU to Dina!)
What You Need:
2 Bananas (peeled)
100g frozen spinach
1/2 cup milk (or milk alternative)
2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup (or Agave)
3 Tbsp. Oil or Melted Butter
1 Cup Oats
1 Cup Flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl (oats, flour, baking powder). In a blender, blend the remaining ingredients (banana, spinach, oil, syrup, egg and milk). The consistency should be a green smoothie. Pour the smoothie mix into the dry ingredients.
Pour mixture in a muffin tray, mix will make 9-10 large or 24 mini muffins. Bake at 320°F for 20-25 minutes (large) 15-20 minutes (mini). Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days or freeze.
SALMON WITH PESTO ORZO
I am always looking for new ways to incorporate proteins into our diets. One of my favorite bloggers @Whatlolalikes has made this meal for her daughters. It is simple and tastes delicious.
What You Need:
Chicken or vegetable broth
Peas or alternative vegetable
In a small pan, boil one cup chicken (or vegetable broth) and add the orzo pasta. Stir the pasta until fully cooked with a creamy consistency. While the pasta is cooking, heat a skillet on high with EVOO or butter. Place the salmon face down in the skillet and cook until pink in the middle (145 °F). This will take about 2-3 minutes on each side. When the salmon is done I shred it up and add it to the orzo. Trader Joes has a great pesto, I stir in a heaping spoonful and add a veggie (usually peas).
TWO-INGREDIENT MINI PANCAKES
What You Need:
Did you know that you can make a pancake with just two ingredients...bananas and eggs! This option is gluten-free and dairy-free for those with restricted diets. Personally I just like how easy and fast they are to make. This meal is working mom approved!! :) The consistency is more like a crepe and are pretty delicate. If you are looking to feed more than just your toddler, double the batch. Who doesn't like breakfast for dinner!?
Blend the bananas and eggs in a blender. Pour into tiny circles on a buttered, heated skillet. Pan fry the pancakes on low to medium heat. Flip the pancakes once the bottom is cooked. I serve the mini pancakes with sliced avocado and some scrabbled cheesy eggs.
Starting good eating habits early on is important! We listened to our pediatricians and took their advice when it came to introducing foods. If you have a dish that your kids can't live without please send us a message and share!
XO - Hiccups and Heels