Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sole with rice and veggies

It might seem like an odd combination, but this one is very delicate and has very little fishy taste kids might not like. In fact this is how I got my son to like to eat fish, well some time ago now. So if a child doesn't like to eat fish, this might be the one to try. At the beginning I was mixing it with rice so it was almost undetectable (assuming that child likes rice :-).

- Sole filets (I like sole, but any white, more delicate fish would do, I use fresh fish filets)
- frozen peas and carrots, a handful or 2 (If he/she won't eat it use frozen corn instead)
- milk to cover fish 
- 1 cup rice, 2 cups water
- 1 cup total of grated sweet potato and yellow zucchini, can be green, but yellow blends in and won't "scare" the picky eater 
- salt to season

Start with rice so everything is ready at the same time. Just mix in the pan: rice, water, shredded zucchini and sweet potato, season with salt, bring to boil. After it starts boiling reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Lest stand few minutes and fluff with fork. Might want to add a tsp of butter (optional) and other seasoning besides salt if your child likes.
Place fish filets and peas and carrots in a pan, cover with milk and cook on medium low heat. The fish has to cook on low heat, otherwise the milk starts to foam a lot and bubble too much. Cook covered for about 10 minutes from the moment it starts simmering. I don't add salt to fish. I don't add any seasoning here. Milk and pas make it a little on a sweet side.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pasta with spinach and ricotta

Another quick and simple family dish. Pasta with spinach and ricotta can be served just as pasta dish itself or with fish. Salmon (steamed or simmered in butter) is best match here.

For the sauce:

- bag of fresh baby spinach, I always make it using fresh, but I guess you can try with frozen too
- 1 tsp butter
- 2/3 cup of ricotta
- 1/3 cup of milk
- pinch of grated nutmeg
- salt 
- pepper

Start with boiling water for pasta so everything is ready at the same time.

Melt butter, add a bag of spinach and saute on medium-low heat about 5 minutes, or just until it wilts, when spinach is cooking mix ricotta and milk with a pinch of nutmeg. It should be smooth, no lumps. 
Add ricotta mixture to spinach and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes, just so it heats but it doesn't boil, to prevent clumping. Season with salt and pepper, mix with cooked pasta and serve.

Sandwich cutter

I have a set of sandwich cutters and sometimes we like to play with them. Here is just a basic sandwich with  egg and cheddar, in one of the earliest posts I cut the same sandwich into geometric shapes. Here I saved a piece of yolk and white before chopping egg for a salad to have "sun and cloud", added some radishes, green peppers and cucumbers.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Egg and toast

I learned last weekend that poaching eggs is very easy, no need for an egg poacher. Just big shallow pan and breakfast ready in 5 minutes. 

Poached egg
Half of  whole wheat English muffin, toasted and lightly buttered (or any bread, toasted as it will be easier to hold an dip into egg)
Some fruit or veggies, I used cucumber and pepper - my easiest way to to get my son eat those is: "wanna see what a funny crunchy noise they make when you bite fast?" :-)

I poached several eggs at the same time and me and my husband had them on an English  muffin with a slice of ham. 

 How to poach eggs:

Take big, shallow pan, fill with water, about 2-3 inch, boil. After it boils reduce back to "no boiling". Take one egg at a time crack it to a shallow cup and while submerging a cup into water quickly slide an egg into water. Add all the eggs you need (or as many as fit in the pan). Turn off the heat and leave eggs in water for about 4 minutes. Take out using slotted spoon. No need for anything. Some methods call for using vinegar in water to help set the egg, but vinegar can change the taste of eggs, I didn't use any and they turned out great.


I personally prefer to buy plain yogurt and fruit separately, instead of fruit yogurt. Every now and then there is some resistance... until I present the white police car, "exactly like the one from Grandma" ;-) Always worked. 

Pictured is plain Greek yogurt with a little bit of honey.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mini pancakes with fruit and yogurt

Kids usually like pancakes and of course they will like it even more with maple syrup. I like to serve it with NO maple syrup at all, just some fruit and yogurt to dip in. Whenever making pancakes for the family, just make a few smaller size (bite size, great finger food). Serve with favorite fruit and yogurt, we like vanilla in this combo best :-)

Have the fruit and yogurt ready on a plate first, if your child loves pancakes, you might not have time to add it later!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Quick mom and son sandwich

One day we came back home tired and hungry, neither me nor my little one had the energy to cook! Here is what we prepared in 5 minutes for a quick snack.

Found in the kitchen:
- pumpernickel (any bread that doesn't crumble will do)
- butter
- mild cheddar, sliced (can be replaced with any cheese or even better, anything spreadable or mashed avocado)
- cucumbers (or tomato, peppers etc)
- blueberries (or any other fruit if you have) 
- sandwich cutter (or cookie cutter of any shape) 

Guess which plate was mommie's ...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Beef meatballs in creamy tomato sauce

Here is another version of our favorite meatballs, this one I make with beef and we all like it. Anything that freezes well, like this one, I always make more and store for later. 

- about 1lb ground beef (or any ground meat)
- a handful of finely grated carrots (I grate about 5 baby carrots)
- about 2/3 cups of cooked rice (optional, I use it when I have leftover from last night dinner)
- if there is no rice add 1 white roll soaked in few tablespoons of milk, milk squeezed out
- 1 small yellow onion, grated
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper

Mix it all together, form small meatballs, and put one by one into boiling water. I like to use quite a lot of water, this way we have more sauce. I also add some more grated carrots to the water as well as few peppercorns and 2 bay leaves.
Cook for about half an hour. After it's cooked, leave in the pan just the amount for today, add a small can of tomato sauce (not the paste, sauce is more delicate) boil for about a minute or two. Turn off and add about a tablespoon of sour cream or plain cream cheese, adjust seasoning and serve with whatever you like, it's good with rice, pasta, mashed potatoes or couscous. Sometimes I divide it and make adults portion more spicy adding cayenne pepper or just a little bit more of black pepper. I also like to add frozen petite peas or corn to rice and often add it to mashed potatoes too, just to smuggle some more vegetables.
For our child I usually serve it with high sauce to rice ratio, almost like a thick soup, just like in a picture above. 

Whatever was taken out before adding tomato sauce, I cool and freeze in small portions for the child or big portion for the family for later use. Then when needed, thaw, bring to boil, add tomato sauce and sour cream or cream cheese and serve.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Hands off" old school oatmeal

Here is our best and easiest way of making old school oatmeal - use rice cooker! It doesn't get easier than that.

For our family of three I use

1 cup of oats (I buy bulk in my grocery store)
2 cups water

I put it all in my rice cooker, in the main bowl, turn the steam cooking function for 12 minutes and go take shower, get dressed, get my kid ready etc.
Oatmeal cooks in the meantime. No need for steering, checking etc. After 12 minutes it turns to keep warm and is just waiting for us :-)

I know "steam cooking"  sound strange here, but it's just the function in my rice cooker that works best for this, we don't steam oats of course, they just cook in the main bowl in the liquid. I don't know how it would work in rice cookers that doesn't allow to set a specific time.

It takes 12 minutes in our rice cooker for the consistency we like, but depending on taste preferences or rice cooker, you might want to cook longer or shorter time.

I divide hot oatmeal in individual bowls and mix with some cold milk from the fridge, this gives it immediately "ready to eat" temperature. And my husband just adds maple syrup to his portion but don't add anything to my and my son's, no sugar, until my child figures it out :-)

Friday, August 17, 2012

One pot steamed salmon and veggies

I have to admit, this one is pretty plain, but I like it and my child likes it even more, great finger food too, so it's a keeper. Only for lunch though as it is too plain for my husband.

It's all done in about 15 minutes in one pot. 

I use pot with steamer insert for this one to keep it to one pot. Place in steamer insert : some frozen broccoli florets, few sliced baby carrots, salmon fillet. Boil whatever pasta shapes are your child's favorite. As soon as pasta starts boiling, place the steamer insert with fish and veggies over boiling pasta and cover. It should all be cooked within the time your pasta is cooked - usually about 10-15 minutes. Sometimes I overcook my pasta  little bit as it is easier to eat for the child than al dente.
After it's cooked I divide it to plates, lightly butter pasta and veggies and drizzle just a little honey or maple syrup on fish and veggies, then on my plate I add some squeezed lemon juice and pepper on fish and veggies. Only use salt in water for pasta.

This is very light summer dish. I would also really recommend to try to play with how it is arranged on a plate, here we were playing with all sorts of circles again and that really did the trick to have fun healthy meal.