For a toddler such as Tiny, who has two food-loving parents, the variety of foods he has been exposed to from a young age is vast. We started him on baby-led weaning at around seven months, and by 18 months, he was already showing a preference for smoked salmon, ciabatta, basil pesto and paté.
However, as an almost two-and-a-half year old, he has turned into a rather fussy eater, much to my chagrin.
He’ll eat fruit like there’s no tomorrow, and has been known to eat a mound of plain pasta on numerous occasions. He’ll eat roast pork, and risotto, and loves lasagne. He’s not big on vegetables but can be persuaded to eat broccoli, and will chow down on raw carrot if he can dip it in hummus or cream cheese. He’ll always ask for a “chocolate” (Nutella, or similar) or paté sandwich at lunchtime, and enjoys a good meal of fish and chips.
I’m forever trying to come up with meals we can share together, but the battles at dinner time make for an unenjoyable experience, and with a six-week-old thrown into the mix….let’s just say he’s been eating a lot of pasta-and-pesto lately!
Recently, however, I tried two new dishes which seemed to go down a treat. They were both easy and quick, used ingredients I usually have on hand, and could easily be eaten hot or cold – ideal when dinner can take a looooong time.
The first was inspired by Pinterest and Tiny’s love of macaroni cheese. I took my basic mac cheese recipe (bacon, cheese sauce, macaroni), and instead of baking it in a big dish like I normally would, I spooned it into medium-sized muffin pans. The cheese sauce held the macaroni together and the resulting bites were delicious and were easy for Tiny to eat with his hands (cutlery is soooo last week, didn’t you know? Yeah…me neither!), meaning less pasta on the floor, and more in his belly.
The second was inspired by a recipe in ‘River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook’ called Helen’s Egg Parcels.
Eggy Bites – makes 12
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2T milk or cream
1t butter, melted
salt & pepper
50g ham, chopped*
half a zucchini, grated*
50g cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 200degC.
Lightly beat the eggs, milk and butter to combine; season according to taste (or omit if you prefer).
Pour the mixture into lightly-greased muffin pans, filling each about two-thirds full.
Sprinkle ham and zucchini over top, and finish with a sprinkle of cheese.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until puffed and golden. Cool in the pan for five minutes (they will sink down again).
Serve warm or cold.
* Leave out the ham to make these meatless, and add other veges for more substance. Finely chopped, cooked and drained spinach or mushrooms would be nice.
Recipe inspired by: River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook