*Monster Menu: Recipes for Toddlers*
These recipes are quick, easy, and toddler-friendly. This means that they are 80% less likely to be rejected and flung at the wall. Just kidding. Toddlers throw perfectly good food around all the time and these recipes will be no exception. That being said, before we get cooking, a few words of advice about mealtime with monsters:
*Try not to stress out about one individual meal. Toddlers will usually get the nutrients they need over the course of a day or a few days. If your child is not gobbling up their dinner, think back to their recent snacks. Did they have a hearty lunch? Did they eat a lot the day before?
*Don’t make the dinner table a battlefield. Putting pressure on a toddler to eat a new food is a sure way to turn them off when you try it again…and you should try it again…and again. Sometimes you have to offer the same food ten times before a child will really evaluate it.
*Variety may not be an option right now. Some people believe that finicky behavior at this age is biologically hard-wired. Just when your child is newly mobile and the most curious about their surroundings, they become a little less likely to eat weird things. A baby who seals their lips tight and refuses an asparagus spear is not likely to taste berries from the bushes outside. Convenient, no?
*Baby Bear’s Porridge (Pastina and Carrots)*
6 cups chicken broth
6oz. dry pastina (macaroni shaped liked teeny stars, 6oz. is half of a small box)
6 carrots, washed, peeled, and cut in half
Parmesan cheese to taste (optional)
Bring chicken broth to a rolling boil in a saucepan. Add pastina. Stir frequently until most of the broth has been absorbed by the macaroni. It should take about 7 or 8 minutes for this to happen.
While the pastina cools, steam or boil the carrots until slightly soft. When they are cool, slice them into very thin rounds and use them to decorate the top of a bowl of pastina. Think happy faces. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Makes about four toddler-sized lunches.
*Chicken Apple Meatballs*
1 lb. ground chicken
1 apple (any variety will work, as long as it’s not too tart)
1 small to medium onion
1 egg, beaten
1.5 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
1 Tbs. table mustard
1 Tbs. dried Italian seasoning
12 cups water or chicken broth (or a combination of the two)
Peel and grate the apple and the onion. Add the ground chicken and other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Form walnut-size balls and poach them in boiling water or chicken broth for 15 minutes. Strain. Serve as they are or with your favorite pasta and sauce.
Makes about 25 small meatballs.
*Mini Zucchini Muffini*
3 c. grated zucchini (about 3 small-medium zucchini, don’t peel them)
2/3 c. butter, melted
1-1/3 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking soda
3 c. all-purpose flour
3 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease mini muffin tins or use paper baking cups. Mix the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a big bowl with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add zucchini and melted butter and mix well. Sprinkle in baking soda and cinnamon and mix well. Add flour one cup at a time and mix well.
Fill muffin cups all the way to the top.
Bake muffins for 12-17 minutes, or until the tops are dry and springy and a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the muffins in the tin for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool the rest of the way.
Makes about 35 mini muffins. Feed to unsuspecting toddlers. Get someone else to clean the muffin pan.