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Jul 14, 2007 10:37 PM

Toddlers, Small Children and Babies learning to eat!

There are a few of us with CH that have all of the above.
I was asked to post this recipe and to get a thread for those of us that would like to share our recipes and ideas for feeding this young group. The following meal is appropriate for a child that has been eating table food, and has no problems chewing.

I have found that I really don't want to feed my toddler (18 months) jar or packaged toddler meals. They are tasteless, unappealing and really expensive. Luckily we are at a point that he can eat what we are having. Unless its spicy than I have to rethink his meal. I also will make breakfast and lunch for him and trying to make different things that he'll like, keeps me on my toes.

OK so I finally wrote down what I think I remember doing when I made Alex his own
Lasagna with Turkey meatballs. All I know is he loved it, I had made a pretty big dish of it, and seems like my DH loved it too. It was good, the meatballs were so tender, and the carrots and zuchinni were just the right size for him to pick up.

He won't let me feed him (or anyone else) so we have to put his food on his tray. He tries to use his little fork and spoon but most of the time it's his hands that get the food into his mouth ( and hair and floor, etc.)

Pasta seems to be his favorite, and its the easiest way for me to get carrots and zucchini into a meal as well as fresh tomatoes. He doesn't have any allergies so far, and he is for the most part a very good eater. I'd like to begin this thread with a few of my own food ideas and the recipes are really quite simple. They may or may not work for you, as we all know every child is different and they will let us know soon enough whether or not they like what their served.
Bambino Lasagna with Turkey Meatballs

Tiny Turkey meatballs

¾ lb of ground white turkey meat
1 egg beaten
2 T grated or onion chopped very fine
1 garlic clove chopped fine
1 T grated Romano
1 T parsley cut fine
Bread crumbs
Chicken broth
Sea salt and fresh pepper

1 zucchini- cut small
1 carrot – cut small
1T onion-finely cut
1 clove garlic
Saute and then add to the sauce

Marinara – mine or make your own
3 fresh tomatoes – chopped seeded/ chopped fine/ save the tomato water
1 can Tomato sauce – unsalted
2 tsp Tomato paste
1 T basil
Salt pepper
Dash of sugar
Sprinkling of Herbs de Province – be careful the lavender doesn’t take over the sauce so a ¼ tsp would be fine. Or use dried basil.

The Pasta is your choice I am able to find these darling little baby lasagna noodles, but any interesting pasta shape will do.
1/3 Cup Ricotta cheese – low fat and some fresh romano for the top

I made this without measuring everything exactly so I hope you can get the gist without that!


Mix the turkey with beaten egg, add the onion and garlic, salt and pepper and then except the bread crumbs and broth.
Mix the bread crumbs in and then add a little broth. Alternate until your meatball sticks together and will form a nice tiny little meatball- wet you hands, it will make the rolling easier. Tiny and I mean about 1 ½ inch diameter. Bake them or fry until they are ALMOST cooked, this should not take to long so watch them.
Drain them on a clean towel. Reserve

For the Sauce
I use fresh tomatoes, blanch, peel and seed, save the tomato water for the sauce. Chop fairly small- I don’t want any choking so I do this fairly fine chop
Then into the sauté pan, garlic, onion, in a miniscule amount of butter or broth, the idea is to soften it quickly then add the zucchini and carrots, soften all well. To a larger sauté add all the tomato ingredients, and then add the veggies, and the seasonings. Let it reduce a bit, then once you have it to the desired thickness and the veggies are soft add the meat balls. Turn it off.

Boil the pasta –cook desired pasta, not too al dente, but not mushy.
Heat the sauce back up, and then slowly add your pasta – should be on the saucy side. Add them to the sauce, being careful not to break the meatballs.
You can serve it this way, or you can now put it into a baking dish. I used a about a 3 inch deep oval, and put the pasta in there, top it with small spoonfuls of ricotta cheese and baked it for about 20 minutes at 350.
Then cool, and serve when ready

Garlic toast is made from hamburger buns ( I always have them in the freezer and this is perfect!)
1 T olive oil with about ¼ tsp butter
1 half clove of garlic minced very fine - heat the garlic in the oil to cook the garlic, then add a bit of butter, spoon over the buns and broil - cut into 6 triagles.

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  1. Apples for Junior

    2 Granny Smith Apples peeled and cut into small cubes
    lemon juice - toss apples in a bowl with some lemon juice

    In a small saute pan add the apples and let them cook without oil or anything they will get a nice brown almost crisp look. Flip them to get the other side.
    When they are all browned add some unsweetened apple juice- how much?
    It depends on the size of the apples, you want to braise them, add some cinnamon
    to your taste, Add more liquid until the apples are soft enough for your toddler to pick up and eat.

    1. Another quick lunch is a tuna wrap - simple tuna salad with a little bit sweet pickle
      he loves this.
      I can't get him to hold a sandwich yet so this works....

      1. Just a note on the spice -

        Korean mothers will often start their young ones on the road to loving kimchi by washing a small piece of fresh kimchi in cold water, removing most of the spice and leaving the crisp/sour flavor. Just a little at a time over the course of a couple years, gradually leaving more and more spice on the kimchi.
        My children were introduced to spice in this way, and by the time they were about five years old were eating full flavored kimchi with everything.

        9 Replies
        1. re: hannaone

          That is wonderful to know hanaone, when I eat it in front of him and he stares at me as I
          put each bite (using chopsticks too) and I feel so bad not sharing it with him, because I think it's spicy. And this batch is, but then that's how I like it.
          (I have tiny chop sticks and a tiny soup spoon too for him when he can handle them)

          I did give him a bite of an quesadilla a couple of weeks ago, and of of course my hot sauce is really hot too. He didn't cry just kept drawing his lips in and licking them.
          He loves pickles, so thank you for the suggestion I am going to try it tomorrow.
          The kim chi from your recipe is absolutely Excellent, I'm happy as a clam to know that I can have it anytime now. And it is so fresh! Low fat, no calories, no carbs, and cabbage is so good for us! At first my DH ate a bite, and said "mmmm. yes that's good.." Now he wants to eat it every time I do!!!

          I just can't thank you enough. Delicious!
          I welcome any other foods (Korean or the like) that you think I can pint-size down. He loves just about all foods so far. I'm so with you, kids will eat what we eat, they need to be introduced to it. And they also must be sitting with us at the table, not running by and eating! But that's another subject!

          oh and my other sons whom are now grown, I introduced them to Hot and Sour soup, when they were tiny. They would ask me if what the white cubes were, "Are they Cheese Mommy?" ummmm "yes". They loved it. They are very adventurous eaters today, and will eat and try anything.

          1. re: chef chicklet

            When I owned my Korean Rest, this dish was usually a big hit with our younger guests. The fish cake is pretty soft, but the onion and carrot may be too hard for some, so in that case just keep the veggies for mom & dad.

            Odaeng (Korean FishCake)

            2 sheets flat Korean fish cake*
            1 small onion
            1 small carrot
            blended sesame/soy bean oil (vegetable cooking oil)

            * Note: There are many different types of fishcake. This recipe works well with any flat sheet style of fishcake, however the roughly 6 inch by 9 inch by ¼ inch with the medium to dark brown "skin" and off white center is best.

            Stir Fry sauce:

            1 tablespoon Soy sauce
            1 tablespoon light brown sugar**
            1 teaspoon Refined rice wine
            2 cloves fresh garlic
            ¼ inch knob of fresh ginger
            1 teaspoon Sesame oil

            ** (May substitute sugar, honey, or corn syrup)


            Mix Sauce

            Put garlic, ginger, and soy sauce in blender, and blend into a smooth liquid. Put all sauce ingredients into a smal mixing bowl and mix well.

            Prepare Fishcake

            Slice fishcake in half lengthwise, then slice each half into about 1/2 inch by 3 inch strips.

            Thin slice carrot and onion.

            Cooking Pre-heat wok or stir fry pan over high heat, add cooking oil, then add sliced fishcake and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes.
            Add carrot, onion, and sauce, and stir fry for three to four minutes. (If you like "crisper" stir fry until the sauce caramalizes)

            Serve warm as a snack, or chill and serve as part of a ban chan array.

            There is also a spicy version of this if any one is interested.

            1. re: hannaone

              This big kid sure would!

              I can see him eating this, he likes sauces and garlic and onion, I try to cook it little longer to soften and also keep small, and he could handle the cake.

              This is a kid that after each bite when he likes something goes "MMMMM" we crack up and that's how we know he thinks it's tasty.

              Oh and this morning, I made an omelete with sausage, bell pepper, onion, tad of garlic, and fontina cheese. Through in my tomatoes at the last minute, and served it. He picked out the tomatoes one by one and through them on the floor!
              He'll eat them in the sauces I make but I guess the texture of them in here was not to his liking. I just had to laugh...

              1. re: chef chicklet

                Spicy Odaeng

                2 sheets flat Korean fish cake*
                1 small onion
                1 small carrot
                1 fresh red chile pepper
                2 green or spring onion
                1 hot green pepper
                ½ teaspoon medium or coarse ground chili pepper
                blended sesame/soy bean oil (vegetable cooking oil)

                * Note: There are many different types of fishcake. This recipe works well with any flat sheet style of fishcake, however the very thin fishcake sold in rolls is best.

                Stir Fry sauce:

                1 tablespoon Soy sauce
                ½ tablespoon light brown sugar**
                1 teaspoon Refined rice wine
                3 cloves fresh garlic
                ¼ inch knob of fresh ginger
                1 teaspoon Sesame oil

                ** (May substitute sugar, honey, or corn syrup)


                Mix Sauce

                Put garlic, ginger, and soy sauce in blender, and blend into a smooth liquid. Put all sauce ingredients into a smal mixing bowl and mix well.

                Prepare Fishcake

                Slice fishcake in half lengthwise, then cut into triangles with a base of about 2 ½ inches.

                Wash carrot and onion in cold water, then thin slice.
                Remove stem and slice peppers in half from top to bottom, then thin slice each half also from top to bottom
                Trim top and bottom of green/spring onion, then slice in 1½ inch pieces.


                Pre-heat wok or stir fry pan over high heat, add cooking oil then quickly add carrot, onion, peppers, and sauce, and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
                Add sliced fishcake, sauce, and green onion, and stir fry for about 2 to 3 more minutes.
                Just before removing from heat sprinkle with the chili pepper and stir.

                Serve warm as a snack, or chill and serve as part of a ban chan array.


                1. re: hannaone

                  These sound so delicious and healthy. Nice, all the flavors this gal loves!
                  Thank you so much!
                  and by the way, not there's much left of my first batch of kim chi, do you know the shelf life? There's only a bout 2 inches left in the jar, and it still taste great but was just wondering....

                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    Just depends on how sour you can take it. When it gets to the bottom of the jar I usually make kimchi soup or kimchi pancakes.

                    1. re: hannaone

                      so obviously it doesn't spoil. We're making a pancake today, probably the same batter for a scallion pancake. Goodness, H1, thank you thank you for the tips, I love Asian food, so much flavor and textures it all just makes eating for me such a joy.

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        Kimchi can eventually go bad, but usually because of bad storage. In Korea there are some special "aged" kimchi dishes that have been sealed for years before opening for the first time.
                        I posted another thread with some suggestions for using up kimchi.

                        Edit: I have never personnaly had kimchi go bad. It never lasts that long.

                        1. re: hannaone

                          Good to know. I made more than a quart, so was wondering. It tastes great, good and sour just the way I like it. I would imagine I would be able to see it as well. Good stuff! I can't tell you and thank you enough, I have really searched for good (jarred) kimchi. This is it.

        2. great rercipes, and thank you for starting this! can I add that alex is adorable? I am typing with one hand, with 1 month old in other, so will just write a few of my 18 month old's staples and if anyone wants a recipe, just let me know. I feel compelled to add "extras" to boost nutrition and she isn't old enough to complain yet.

          - salmon cakes (corn super briefly processed b/c they pass thru her whole and I figure they are less nutritious that way!)
          - spinach parmesan rice casserole (with some beans for protein)
          - pizza muffins (olive oil)
          - "creamed: corn (rounded out w/ marscarpone or pureed cottage cheese for protein)
          - carrot cake muffins (actually mostly zucchini and carrot and prune)
          - meatloaf (lots of carrot & zucch)
          - teriyaki tofu cubes (add molasses to marinade for nutrients)
          - like chef chicklet's babe, mine wants to feed herself, and yogurt is just a disaster so I drain the plain stuff to thicken it, add fruit, ground flax seeds, etc. and it much more ends up in her mouth isntead of oozing down the sides of her highchair and into her diaper.
          - and I add ground flax seed to all her baked goods

          what are baby lasagne noodles? I ahve never seen them... just miniature?

          16 Replies
          1. re: alex8alot

            Why Thank You for the nice compliment, he is a real joy as well as beautiful.

            Oh wow you've give me some great ideas Alex8alot! I realize that probably most people will look at the recipes or suggestions that I make for Alex and think that they are so simple what's the big deal? But I can assure you that if I put one of those packaged toddler meals that are full of salt, and blah processed food in front of Alex and something I cook for him, he will eat what I've made. For me, and I underscore, me, I had no success at all getting him to eat those premade meals, and I became very worried. With bones, muscles and teeth being developed I want him healthy.

            I am a firm believer in "apple a day" he loved his applesauce, any kind at all. But then became stubborn and wouldn't let us feed him. Well I can't put that on the tray, it already looks like a trough! So that's when I started to cook the apples (no sugar) he loves them, in fact if I serve him those,they go last because he goes straight for them.

            Another snack, dessert that I made for him was a banana "bread" ball. So easy and a great way to use a left over banana. Waste not Want not!
            I also purchased some little dishes with a divider, I can make him a couple of meals in advance, it holds a fork and spoon so it easily goes along with us to friends houses or dinner. We try to hold off on the chicken nuggets. Once in awhile but not very often. Oh and then wants to dip them in BBQ sauce!

            1. re: alex8alot

              I never thought to add the flaxseed, got it and surely will start doing this A8!

              1. re: alex8alot

                I know your hands are literally full, but since Alex loves salmon I would love to have that recipe, and the rice with spinach too. At least he is patient and will pick up a little bit of rice for each bite. Noodles are great he can get more, and once in awhile he will try the fork. Most will end up on his chest, because he flips he spoon or fork to eat.
                Terriyaki tofu, how long do you marinate them for?
                And here is a picture of the pasta dish with the baby lasagne noodles, unfortunately the Turkey meatball dish disappeard

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  picture? Am I missing something? I have a MAc so sometimes things are funny. What is involved in this banana "bread" ball? sounds intriguing.

                  I will post the recipes later this evening once I have claimed my "me" time (when nobody ie. husband is permitted to speak to me or otherwise try to engage me in any interaction for one hour :)

                  1. re: alex8alot

                    oops sorry about that, got side - tracked. Here it is without the cheese and yet to be plated, still in the saute pan...
                    added the chicken last to warm through.

                    1. re: alex8alot

                      The banana bread balls, are made from a ripe banana and graham cracker crumbs. Great for anyone with an egg alergy.

                      I didn't measure but here goes:
                      1 very ripe banana - mashed
                      graham cracker crumbs
                      cinnamon & sugar
                      Mash the banana very well stir in some cinnammon and sugar 1/4 tsp of each to the graham cracker crumbs enough until you can form a ball about 2 inches in diameter, The dough should not be too sticky. On a seperate plate put some graham cracker crumbs, cinnammon and a little sugar, roll the balls into covering well. For one banana you should get 6 balls

                      Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes conventional oven, less time in a covection keep an eye on them, they might crack a little bit but don't let the bottoms get to brown. Remove and cool. The ball should be moist not gooey, or too not hard. Eat the same day.
                      Serve to a very happy child! or a a not so happy dieter! These are good!
                      You could freeze them and nuke them back when ready to use,

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        Chef Chicklet - this sounds great. I was just a little confused on the directions. Do I mash the banana and add some graham cracker crumbs and cinnammon and then after that roll in crushed graham cracker crumbs? Approximately how much graham crumbs should I be adding for each mashed banana? Thanks...

                      2. re: alex8alot

                        A8-I'm interested in the pizza muffins, could you share the recipe please? I don't even have kids, but I am crazy about muffins! thank you.

                        1. re: morebubbles

                          PIZZA MUFFINS (can't remember the source but I modified it)
                          1.5 c flour
                          1 c whole wheat flour
                          2 T sugar
                          2 t baking powder
                          1 t basil
                          1/2 t of baking soda and salt
                          2 c shredded cheddar or mozzarella
                          1/4 c chopped sundried tomatoes
                          1 egg
                          1.5 c buttermilk
                          1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use olive)

                          COmbine all the dry ingredients including the cheese
                          Whisk wet, stir into dry.
                          Bake at 375 in a 12 cup muffin tin for 25 min. Cool for 10 min in tin before transferring.

                          endless variations: chopped crips bits of pancetta, stir tomato paste into the wet for more flavor, garlic, etc.

                          very moist, light crumb.

                          1. re: alex8alot

                            Terrific! Thanks so much, will definitely try this- I had been looking for savory muffin recipes.

                            1. re: alex8alot

                              I'm going to be trying these too. Who knows if there will be any left for the baby!

                              1. re: nissenpa

                                There was bakery in town that would sell these and I would always drop in for one for breakfast, what a great idea!

                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  for any anchovy lovers out there, I sometimes "melt" an anchovy fillet or two in the olive oil before adding for flavor.

                                    1. re: alex8alot

                                      Yum, yum, yum. I'm not sharing these with Anyone!! Kidding! Sounds marvelous, you have some great ideas for additions A8, thanks for sharing!

                        2. One of my little ones favorite treats!

                          Toddler Treat: Blueberries N' Banana Cream

                          1/3 cup ricotta cheese
                          1 teaspoon lemon juice
                          1 banana, peeled and sliced
                          2 tablespoons milk
                          2 tablespoons honey
                          1 ½ cups blueberries, rinsed and drained

                          1. In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients except the blueberries. Puree until very smooth, about 2 minutes.

                          2. Pour into a medium size mixing bowl and fold in the blueberries gently. Serve in bowls with a big spoon!

                          This recipe does not keep well. Refrigerate leftovers and use for breakfast the following day.

                          Makes 4 servings.


                          4 Replies
                          1. re: rockgjmom

                            My 16 month old LOVES braised cabbage (Molly Stevens). She eats it warm or cold out of the fridge. She also likes salmon. It's easy to buy a bigger piece, cook it up, and then break off a piece or two for her over the next couple of days.

                            I'm going to try the Blueberries n Banana Cream---DD will LOVE it.

                            1. re: nissenpa

                              Cabbage is so good for us! Great ideas coming in here!

                            2. re: rockgjmom

                              rockgimom, oh this looks really good, he's not that great yet with his spoon but if he likes it he'll manage! Thanks for contributing!!