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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...http://www.flickr.com/photos/7220939@...
                    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!!

                              1. This is a great thread. My 15 month old is a very daring eater flavorwise (spicy curries, tuna tartar, smoked salmon, stinky cheeses), but big bits still really bother her; if I accidently have a bigger than expected piece of chicken in something I'm feeding her, there goes the meal. Her two favorite meals right now are scrambled eggs with minced onion and cheese and raita. For the raita I just shred a cucumber, put it in some plain yogurt and add cumin and cayenne. She loves it.

                                I'm definitely going to try some turkey meatloaf on her. I love it myself and this will give me an excuse to cook more of it.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  Another Favorite in my house is Oatmeal Pancakes. DD is NOT a wheat allergy baby but for those of you who do have wheat sensitive ones this is a nice alternative. DH preferst these to regular pancakes because he says they are more filling. I usually half the recipe.

                                  Oatmeal Pancakes

                                  Combine in a large bowl:

                                  4 cups rolled oats (long cooking)
                                  1 cup quick cooking oats
                                  ¼ cup sugar (optional---I don’t use it)
                                  3 teaspoons baking powder
                                  2 teaspoons baking soda
                                  Pinch salt

                                  Combine in smaller bowl:

                                  4 cups (1 quart) buttermilk
                                  4 eggs, beaten
                                  1 T. melted butter
                                  2 teaspoons vanilla

                                  Add liquid all at once to dry ingredients. Stir with a fork to blend. Do not over beat. Let stand 30-45 minutes. Batter will thicken (if too thick, add a little more milk). Cook on hot griddle.

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    There are a lot of working moms (been there and done that) that don't have time to do these things nor the energy after a day at work. The recipes that I make are for about 2 to 3 meals, and can be frozen. The toddler and baby foods that are out there are so expensive and not all that great. No wonder kids are picky. I hope we can get a good sampling of all your creative child meals, these are really helpful and I'm all for saving money and using fresh ingredients.

                                    I'm not trying to create a baby chowhound, I just don't want a child that wants fast food or chemically laden food. It frustrating when your child won't eat don't you think?

                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                      Chef Chicklet made me realize that I forgot to mention in my previous post that the oatmeal pancakes freeze well. Just take out of the freezer and nuke for about 1 minute on high.

                                      1. re: nissenpa

                                        nissenpa, what a great breakfast for a little one and being able to sneak in some grains, terrific! How many pancakes does this make? Looks like it makes quite a few, but if I were just to make them for the baby, I could cut the ingredients in half? The oatmeal would give such great texture! Does he ever love his pancakes!
                                        And freezing them to use later is perfect for busy Moms and Dads!

                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                          I use 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake and get about 24-25 for the whole batch. I usually only make a half batch--12 pancakes. I make it up one night and let the batter sit in the fridge overnight. Cook up 6 in the morning and then cook the other 6 the next.

                                          Last week I finally got smart and made a full batch, cooked them all (on a Sunday!), and then froze them. Why did it take me months to do this? Boy did it make the weekday mornings a lot nicer.

                                      2. re: chef chicklet

                                        Absolutely! If you are able, I think it is much better not to feed your little one junk food or that mass produced stuff (that said, i realize some people just don't have the time to do otherwise). I'm trying to raise a child who is interested in everything (not just food) and willing to give new things a go. My mother-in-law told me early on "don't cook them a separate meal" (once a bit older, of course), and I do plan to stick with that (but making sure there is always something a kid will find doable). Right now I always cut up at least a little of what we're having for her to try, and she's been very excited about that. Of course yesterday after posting that my daughter would eat anything, she turned her nose up at some simple pasta, and even the raita wasn't as huge a hit as usual. I think some new teeth might be to blame.

                                        I've found that hummus is an easy, healthy thing that goes over well.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          but how do you feed that to her, tear a piece of flat bread and give it to her?
                                          We did that with the stuffed bread we got at the farmer market, (spinach) spread it with a sour carrot, and hummus spread. He loved it. I think he likes garlic, allot.

                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                            Yeah, I tear up pita bread and give her bite size pieces while we're hanging out in the kitchen. She has a little "shelf" where I can put bite size bits that she can snack on.

                                            Stuff bread sounds like *such* a good idea for tearing up and giving to kids. But thats beyond my current culinary skills.

                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                              oh gosh I didn't make it! I bought it at the Farmers Market. Its called Bolani bread? Warmed up on the grill, and serve, delicious!

                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                It does sound soooo good. I do give her bites of my pizza, which is a less fancy but still yummy treat in a similar vein.

                                    2. oh yes, those pancakes sound great.
                                      I also just grind up oats to use as oat flour in a lot of baked goods that use all purpose
                                      Those banana balls are brilliant!
                                      Does anyone else find that their kids' tastes suffer from the same attention deficit as their playtime? If I make huge batches of anything I regret it because she hates it by the thrid serving.

                                      I marinate the tofy cubes overnight. She likes intense flavors though so I often reduce the marinade as a sauce.

                                      The spinach rice casserole: super simple
                                      1. A white sauce, to which I add mushrooms sauteed in butter (in a pinch I have used Amy's organic cream of mushroom soup which isn't concentrated so not too salty)
                                      2. 2 cups of previously cooked rice (sweet brown rice isn't too hard and she likes it)
                                      3. frozen spinach: thawed, drained, sauteed with diced onions
                                      4. drained and rinsed canned beans
                                      5. parmigiano mixed in
                                      6. throw it all together and let it bubble in a casserole dish

                                      So this comes out pretty mushy, which I find to be good so that she can scoop it up in her spork thing and get most of it in her mouth.

                                      She also likes chicken tenders and fish breaded in a mix I make of oatmeal, ground flax, bread crumbs, honey and seasoning.

                                      what is with kids and breading?
                                      and she won't dip anything into ketchup or mayo, but loves both of those ingredients in food.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: alex8alot

                                        They are funny aren't they. We went to dinner tonight, and even though I brought along his meal, he wanted everything on our plates. I find it that some kids just like flavors early on, like your little one. But I have fed all of my kids from our meals and abandoned the tasteless and scarey jar stuff early on.

                                        He will love the spinach casserole, anything with vegetables and parm or romano cheese. He will even eat blue cheese. Crazy.
                                        I appreciate the recipes and ideas, I get stagnant and run out of ideas at times.

                                        Yes he can get bored also, except for spaghetti, loves it and will chase those noodles all over the place. For this he eats the one I make for us.

                                        Does she eat red meat?

                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                          Oh yeah, whatever is on mom and dad's plate is wayyyy more interesting! I think this is a good thing, to be used to our advantage!

                                          Not sure which mom you were talking to, but my daughter doesn't eat red meat yet; I don't, but her dad does, so its ok with me if she does once I'm finished being the main diaper changer ...

                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                            My son is turning 10 months next week. He basically eats off my plate. No puree, no jar. He had puree until he was about 9 months. He pretty much got tired of that. I just have to make sure that he only gets the soft food, and everything is cut up to the right size. He only has 2 teeth but he manages really well.

                                            1. re: cecilia

                                              Same here. My son will be 10 months on Wednesday. Went on strike against baby food or anything pureed sometime around 8-9 months. Also has 2 teeth, but as my pediatrician told me when my daughter (now almost 3) was a baby, it's not like they even use those 2 front teeth to chew. They use their gums. And man are those gums strong!

                                              Although my son is a bit more finicky than my daughter ever was, they both eat moderately spicy food, as well as many vegetables and fruits. I give them whatever I make for my husband and myself and it works out fine.

                                        2. re: alex8alot

                                          A8, the spinach rice casserole sounds great. I am definitely going to make it for my 14 month old. Though she hates anything given to her the third time in a week, I make big batches and freeze it for later, just to pull out 3 different things for a day. This recipe looks perfect for a big batch.

                                        3. OHHHH this is the BEST thread!!! My 18 mo is a foodie and i am determined to make it last and make her into a CH. I was one of those freaky working moms that made all of her own baby food and froze it in ice cubes. Now she eats whatever we make.
                                          My motto is "this outside the box"... no boxed mac 'n cheese for me. I think making your own is just as fast. Last night I made penne, added a bit of butter, some cream and tossed in shredded mozarella, extra sharp cheddar, parmesan and some gorgonzola. I let the cheese melt and then mixed the noodles with some steamed broccoli. Very tasty and easy.

                                          1. wow, gorgonzola! I just realised that I am unjustly and irresponsibly depriving my daughter of the things I cannot stomach, that cheese being one of them. Thanks for the reminder.

                                            Does anyone else's child NOT chew? My daughter just swallows everything WHOLE: chunks of meat, vegetables, rotini, fruit.... so I tend to process things a little bit in the food processor. Am I being ridiculous? Is this normal? Yes, stuff comes out the other end fine, but isn't she not getting as much nutrition from the food?

                                            CC, you make your own kimchi? good god. Even my mother has never done that in her own life. WHen I tell my family about the CHs on here and their creativity with korean food they are both amazed and amused.

                                            I added raisins to my daughter's smoothie this morning for sweetness and fiber, it was a hit. As it was a brainstorm for myself (any cerebral activity for this post-partum basketcase is momentous), just thought I would pass it along.

                                            I forgot about the salmon cake recipe: embarassingly easy
                                            1 can sockeye salmon (I remove the bones but not the skin)
                                            1/2 cup corn kernels (briefly blitzed in the food proc)
                                            1/4 cup mayo or yogurt cheese
                                            1/4 cup crushed whole grain or rye crackers (has anyone seen organic or all natural panko?)
                                            lemon jus, seasoning, minced scallion

                                            mash together, form into balls, dip into egg wash, more cracker crumbs, let set in fridge 1 hour
                                            fry up! She likes these with tzatziki

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: alex8alot

                                              Yes! That tuna roll, he first stuffed the whole thing in his mouth. I panicked, and had him remove it to my hand.. and then I took a fresh one and showed him to take "tiny bites!" and chanted "chew chew chew"! Of course my windows are open, my neighbors must think I am off my rocker. But he has gotten better. With the tuna wraps, I can't use a flour tortilla I don't trust him to be able to chew it properly, so I rolled some buttermilk bread out with a rolling pin. He has no problem biting into that. I was so happy! The possibilities are endless!

                                              Also that vegetable beef and barley soup was another good one, we dunk the bread into the broth, he loves that too.

                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                oh brilliant, rolling out the bread, I was wondering about the tortilla as well. genius! I do the "chew chew chew" chant as well, but she thinks I am playing trains

                                              2. re: alex8alot

                                                Really canned? I have never tried it. My mother made a salmon loaf for our family we love loved it. Another great food for a toddler, they love hand foods!

                                                um... another breakfast favorite is Raisin Bran, let it soften up and then I place it on the spork with the raisins..... Later on, watch out though!

                                                1. re: alex8alot

                                                  Alas, I have a non-chewer too. She loves some really interesting stuff, but just WILL NOT deal with anything she has to chew. I cut stuff up really really small, and usually that works, but when it doesn't, it means she's not about to take another bite of whatever she's working on. I've tried "chew chew" but like your child she misunderstands what i'm saying - "two? two?"

                                                  the rolling out the bread thing IS brilliant. Really a great idea.

                                                2. ANother easy thing is mini muffins. I grind some walnuts and mix them with my standard banana bread recipe. I bake in the mini muffin pan and they are the perfect size for my daughter to munch on.

                                                  Here are some other winners:

                                                  1. chicken tenders, coat with flour, dip in egg, coat with a mixture of bread crumbs and oatmeal (50:50). bake or pan fry.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Ela0427

                                                    oatmeal? not too hard for her too work through do you grind it down a bit. It does sound nice, he loves chicken.

                                                  2. another food I wish I had thought of sooner: polenta!
                                                    it's perfect for kids, great way to add vegetables and use up milk that is approaching expiry date.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: alex8alot

                                                      agree about the polenta. i have a 4 1/2 year old and a 12 month old and both eat pretty much anything. our store has organic panko that i believe is ian's by the way.

                                                      just a tip for those days when you do have to resort to some help - my favorite (no guilt) pre packaged are ian's organic supertots - alphabet shaped tater tots made with other veggies. and dr. praeger's spinach pancakes. mine love them both as an easy dinner extra on a busy night or to leave for a babysitter to make.

                                                      as for "snack" food - my daughter (they're still too hard for my son) LOVES to eat edamame. the thaw and eat pods are another easy but healthy treat.

                                                      this is a great thread guys. thanks!

                                                      1. re: AMFM

                                                        oh I am so envious of the organic selection in the US. Here in Canada, the pickings are slim. I will look out for Ian's panko, but I don't think I have seen that brand here. thanks for the tip!

                                                        1. re: AMFM

                                                          yup we do tater tots at times, a few... but the edaname, I gave him some yesterday I saw him chewing chewing and then all of a sudden here it comes and he claws at his tongue. Must of reminded him of when he we were at a restaurant and he mistakenly took a bite out of the yellow crayon thinking it was a french fry....

                                                        2. re: alex8alot

                                                          We do grits (same difference) and yes, it is a perfect food!

                                                          1. re: alex8alot

                                                            You could make it soft, and then add spinach and other veggies, then let it harden an cut into sticks. Let them dip into marinara sauce....

                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                              Definitely! i hadn't really thought about adding vegetables - I could grate stuff like zucchini (aside from the spinach idea), and of course cheese is always welcome in grits.

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                and softened broccoli florets work really well too

                                                          2. Food&Wine's got an article with advise and recipes from Emeril Legasse on cooking for kids, here's a page with further links:

                                                            14 Replies
                                                            1. re: morebubbles

                                                              i saw that too...i like the granita idea!

                                                              1. re: morebubbles

                                                                Oh I had no idea! Thanks for that mb, I can always count on you for contributing great and useful information! Sidebar, Since you are such a good baker, do you have an answer about using ice water in a cake batter?

                                                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                  No problem, cc! glad to help! BTW, love this thread, thanks for sharing your experience and recipes with us (I find that even without kids I can benefit from most of the recipes!)
                                                                  Re baking, I likely missed something - can you fill me in on the ice water in cake batter thing or point me in the direction of the thread, if there's one? thanks, sorry, I'm usually on top of the various discussions going on...

                                                                  1. re: morebubbles

                                                                    Sure for that one here is the link to where I asked that question. Not a baker, but I found a recipe that reminded me of one from years ago.
                                                                    Here ya go, http://www.chowhound.com/topics/421162

                                                                    You'll probably know this right off..

                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                      cc, you're a doll to give me such a compliment about my baking! I do love to bake & have been baking cakes for, well, a long time ;)... But, I have to say that I've never heard of the ice water. Turned out light and delicious, eh? (would you share the recipe on that other board please?).
                                                                      When buttermilk, milk, yogurt etc is added, it does go in cold from the fridge (not sure what kind of effect the temperature has on the batter...prob.someone like Alton Brown might know.) Interesting. I adore buttermilk in cake batter, in chocolate batter especially. It makes it light and has a lovely taste that goes well with chocolate. But I'm interested in seeing your recipe since you had such good success! Super! thanks.

                                                                      1. re: morebubbles

                                                                        be happy to, this does not have buttermilk, I had to switch to a different recipe mid steam, same name and idea, just ice water instead of the buttermilk. At 9 in the evening, I didn't care I just crossed my fingers,what a surprise it was!

                                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                          very daring move, so glad it worked out!! (I've had some unpleasant surprises trying to doctor up cake recipes the first time around.) Good going cc!

                                                                          1. re: morebubbles

                                                                            I'll retrace my steps, since I had two recipes colliding
                                                                            and then send it to you. I would use a different frosting next time too.

                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                              Hi... I have 2 year twin boys (boy can they already eat a TON!) We've tried to avoid anything processed too... Takes a little extra work but I think it is worth it (I work full time). Anyway, I've found a couple great cookbooks based on the top 20 foods to eat (adults cookbook) and have used those to find some recipes that would go-over for my little guys. We found this great Sweet Potato (Yam)/Carrot/Apple soup - so healthy. Basically it is just sweet potatoes (w/their skin on and then peel after they are roasted), carrots and apples (peeled and cut up) roasted in an over at 400 or so until nicely roasted. Then you put in a pot and cover with chicken stock and simmer until the carrots are fully soft. Puree in a blender until fully smooth. Great color, great texture and actually pretty sweet because of the carrots and apples.

                                                                              On the apples, I peel and chop up my apples into little bit-sized chunks, put in a glass container, put in enough water so that the water is about 2/3rds way up the to the top of the apples, spinkle in some cinnamon (no sugar necessary) and mix with fingers, microwave for about 10-15 minutes (we do a large batch of about 6-8 apples). Cool completely. The apples are great and then my boys love the "juice" as well at the bottom of their bowls. These keep great in the fridge so that they are ready in the middle of the week.

                                                                              1. re: burbankfoodie

                                                                                Sorry, I forgot to add that the SP/Carrot/Apple soup is great for young toddlers learning to eat as the soup is very thick which works great for those learning to use the spoon themself.

                                                                                We also give our boys hummus (a home doctored hummus with little to no garlic as they aren't a big fan of garlic - yet!). But we don't stress too much about what to put with it - we just put some in a bowl and give it to them with a spoon. Again, a great texture for young eaters since it sticks to the spoon even if they turn their spoon upside down when they put it in their mouths. So healthy too...

                                                                                1. re: burbankfoodie

                                                                                  While my newborn was in the hospital this past month, I borrowed a lot of nutrition books from the library there. Apparently, microwaving fruits and vegetables retains much more nutrients than stove top steaming/boiling (obviously). (less water, less time) They recommend using as ltitle water as possible, down to a tablespoonful for things like carrots, to none for summer squash. For some reason, I never really used the microwave for my daughter's food. Maybe this is common knoweldge to everyone else, but as it is more energy efficient and nutritious, I mean to start. So the apples in the microwave is a great beginning!

                                                                                  1. re: burbankfoodie

                                                                                    Wow burbankfoodie, I do admire you. I have a friend with twins that are same age as mine. A challenge just adjusting to life with twins let alone cooking really great nutritious meals for them.
                                                                                    Alex loves sweet potatoes, or acorn squash (I actually have two out on the counter trying to come up with something for him) and they are loaded with so many good things and fiber. I like the idea of the thick soup, sometimes he will let me stick a spoonful in his pie hole.
                                                                                    Other times forget it and I just think he ever so darling when he hits the spoon and it lands on my top and face. What a cutie! Ha. And hummus with garlic he loves hummus with the stuffed bolani bread ( hope that's the name that's all that is on the label) And like yours, he loved his applesauce, and now I saute the cubes as I noted before, but hadn't thought about using the microwave that is a great shortcut!

                                                                                    I didn't have as big a problem when he was eating the pureed baby foods in a jar, it was once we started buying the toddler food that I noticed the lack of quality. For the most part they are just awful. The mac and cheese for toddlers, well it's like glue. The mashed potatoes, are glue. He hated them and wouldn't eat it, so that was that.

                                                                                    I have to hand it to you, I own my business, and work at my own pace which is solely around him, I have more time than most working Mothers, so I really want to thank you for your ideas, I will use them!

                                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                      Thanks for the kind words, Chef Chicklet... I definitely spend a LOT of time chopping, steaming, etc. but I know my boys are healthier from it and now it means my husband and I are healthier from it also since we are now eating as a family at the table (meaning we all eat pretty much the same things).

                                                                                      A couple other recipes that work for me... I found a great homemade recipe for mac n cheese (on Chowhound somewhere) where you don't have to cook the pasta noodles ahead of time. I modified it slightly by substituting out the regular pasta for whole wheat pasta and it turned out just great. A BIT high-fat for the adults but great for the young ones.

                                                                                      Another recipe I have that is a standby is a spinach pesto spinach pasta recipe. It uses the spinach fussili which is a great size and fun for little hands. The pesto is predominately spinach (raw) so it is super healthy and so easy. I then just add chopped tomatoes and cheddar cheese and make it more of a cold pasta salad since my boys prefer cold foods to hot/warm foods.

                                                                                      Another recipe (I also got this from Chowhound somewhere) is Arroz Verde (green rice with pureed Cilantro and Spinach) - so tasty (even for adults). I substitute out brown rice for the white rice and just needed to cook it a little longer. Takes a long time to cook but it is passive cooking (i.e., you just let it simmer, covered, without touching it).

                                                                                      Lastly, one veggie I learned about after having the boys is Spaghetti Squash... just chop it in half, scoop out all the seeds, rub a little butter and brown sugar inside the cavity, put cut side down in a pan and roast in the oven for good hour or so. Great finger food for young kids, but very messy!

                                                                                      If your child likes Sweet Potatoes - sweet potato fries are also great. Just chop up into fry shapes, toss in some olive oil or canola oil, sprinkle on some cinnamon and sugar (you don't have to do this part but it sure makes them yummy), and bake at 400/450 for about 10-20 minutes depending on how think/big your fries are (turn over half way through).

                                                                                      1. re: burbankfoodie

                                                                                        You can microwave spaghetti squash too -- takes about ten minutes.

                                                                2. One of the things I am obsessed about getting my daughter to eat is quinoa, so healthy and a source of protein.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: KeriT

                                                                    That is a great idea, how do you prepare it, do you incorporate it with another food?

                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                      sometimes I use it like cous cous (mix chicken and veggies in) but a really good recipe is one I discovered during passover:


                                                                      it's got carrots and zucchini in it and we all loved it.

                                                                  2. Have you checked out www.weelicious.com. Fast, easy and fresh baby/toddler recipes and more..

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: zoememel

                                                                      thanks for that link! I forgot about this, I need to refresh some kiddie recipes for the toddler soon to be little boy now.

                                                                    2. My granddaughter will be visiting and she is a very good eater. She is almost 2 1/2 years old. Do any of you have toddlers who eat sushi/sashimi? Is it safe to offer it to her? If so, what would be the best starter for her? I was thinking of a roll maybe.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: melly

                                                                        Hi there, I'm a little late to this thread but have found it very interesting. I have been blessed with a 2 year old who is a very adventurous eater (she even likes spicy food, just likes her milk with it!). I talked to our pediatrician at her 2 year appt about sushi, because I always felt bad about denying her the raw stuff when we ate it (she always just eats what we eat). He said he thought it was fine for her to have some raw fish if she wanted it. He thought the mercury was actually more of a risk, so maybe limit the tuna and mackerel. She would probably like a roll. Edamame is fun to eat too!

                                                                      2. Great thread....my standby is ground turkey patties with frozen spinach, feta cheese, & red onions....he loves them

                                                                        Starting next week I will have to pack lunches for my 18 mos old and I am at a loss. He has yet to show interest in my pasta salads with vinegar in them....So I was remembering a peanut butter based pasta salad with chicken, peas, & shredded carrots....anyone have a recipe....(could be a tahini or other base also)

                                                                        I will accept any lunch ideas as well....

                                                                        1. First employ a bit of media savvy. Start by reading to them picture books that revolve around food, Bread and Jam for Frances, Gregory the Terrible Eater, Spaghetti Manners etc. The first 2 are about picky eaters that come around to trying new things. The third is just a fun book. For the very young, The Hungry Caterpillar is a start. All your food suggestions are fine, but recipe works that work for one child won't tempt another. My own children now in college and medical school never did enjoy the same food. (even now). Just remember eventually they will eat what you eat. Minimize being a "short order cook", your kitchen is not the local diner where everyone gets to pick the meal.
                                                                          (Went down that road for a while myself) People who love to cook think nothing of it, but it eventually makes the cook feel grumpy doing it day after day.Offer new foods when they are most hungry and don't make an issue if it won't be eaten. Remember
                                                                          if they are following the percentiles on the growth chart at the doctor's office they are getting enough calories. Many toddlers seem to subsist on bits of food and are healthy.Offer the same food as the family (maybe with milder spicing). Eat as family if possible. Seeing everyone enjoying the food is good propoganda. Don't serve snacks all day long, "because they may be hungry" because they ate no lunch. (For sure they won't be hungry for dinner) Studies with toddlers have shown that when presented with protein, starch and vegetable/fruit choices on a plate they will actually pick out a sensible balanced diet over time. (Can you tell I'm a pediatrician?)
                                                                          The surprise is that they don't even overload on sweet items.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: meinNYC

                                                                            Great advice, you do sound like a pro, meinNYC! I have a lot of practical experience as the mother of 24-year-old twin sons, neither of whom I can honestly say ever was a problem eater. I think the reason is I was so busy with kids and work I often did what was most convenient for me, as long as I knew it would also be good for them. They ate exactly what we ate, with very few accommodations. You don't like what I made for dinner? Good, there's more for me! I never let them engage me in a power struggle over food, and we really never had any problems. We introduced them to grown-up foods at a young age, which I believe has contributed to them being open and accepting adults.

                                                                            Don't stress over food and just make mealtime relaxed and fun family time!