Norah O’Donnell’s meals for your baby and toddler

From their new book, “Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler,” Norah O’Donnell and her husband, chef Geoff Tracy, teach young parents how easy and important it is to create fresh, nutritious and delicious food for their children, and in doing so, to create a foundation for nutritious eating throughout their lives.

Cinnamon apple oatmeal raisin
Servings:

Yields 36 ounces for 8 months plus.

Ingredients

    • 4 apples
    • 1/2 cup golden raisins
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 12 ounces water or apple juice
    • 1/2 cup baby oatmeal cereal

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Wash and peel the apples (peeling is optional). Cut each apple in half. Remove the seeds and stem with a melon baller. Cut each half into 6 pieces. Put the apple pieces, raisins, cinnamon, and water into a 4- quart pot. Turn the burner on high and cover with a lid. Cook for approximately 7 minutes, stirring once.Add the oatmeal and cook for 1 more minute, stirring throughout the final minute. Pour everything into the blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into two ice cube trays and allow to cool.Wrap and freeze.

Tips:

Baby gets a little spice! Aromatics make food delightful. Just because your little one is eight months old doesn't mean life needs to be bland. Watch the dried fruits or be prepared to scrub . . . I use dried fruits in a number of recipes. When I do, I increase the amount of liquid in the recipe. This prevents the recipe from burning the bottom of your pot. Keep an extra eye on recipes that have dried fruit to make sure they don't cook down too quickly. It is a mess to clean if they do. But I only have regular raisins! It is just a recipe . . . modify it any way you want. That's cooking!

Very blueberry and apple
Servings:

Yields 32 ounces for 8 months plus.

Ingredients

    • 4 apples
    • 1 cup fresh blueberries
    • 8 ounces water or apple juice

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Wash and peel the apples (peeling is optional). Cut each apple in half. Remove the seeds and stem with a melon baller. Cut each half into 6 pieces. Look over blueberries for stems. Put the apple pieces, blueberries, and juice into a 4- quart pot. Turn the burner on high and cover with a lid. Cook for approximately 8 minutes, stirring once.Pour everything into the blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into two ice cube trays and allow to cool.Wrap and freeze.

Tips:

Knowing the antioxidant power of blueberries I tried to make a blueberry puree. Whoa. It was so strong. Henry, acting as the tester, gave it a big rejection by gagging. Blueberries are powerful and need something to balance them. Pears and peaches would work well.

Strawberry banana pineapple
Servings:

Yields 36 ounces for 10 months plus.

Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 pounds strawberries
    • 3 bananas
    • 1/4 pineapple
    • 8 ounces water

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Remove stems of strawberries and then wash the berries. Cut each banana into 4 to 5 pieces. Cut the pineapple- see demo below. Cut into pieces approximately the size of the strawberries. Put everything into a 4-quart pot. Turn the burner on high and cover with a lid. Cook for approximately 6 minutes, stirring once.Pour everything from the pot into a strainer with a bowl underneath to save the juice. Pour the cooked fruit into the blender. Puree until smooth using 2 to 4 ounces of the reserved juice if necessary to adjust consistency. Pour into two ice cube trays and allow to cool.Wrap and freeze.

Perfectly basic pea
Servings:

Yield 32 ounces for 6 months plus

Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 pounds frozen peas
    • 8 ounces water

Preparation

Baking Directions:

You will need a colander and a large bowl filled with ice and cold water. You want as much ice as possible. Fill a 4- quart pot halfway with water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. While water is coming to a boil, get your "green veggie shocking station" ready. Pour the frozen peas into the colander. Run cool water over them to get rid of any ice crystals (which will allow the boiling water to come back to a boil faster). Pour the peas into the boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes on highest heat.Pour peas into colander. Run cold water over them and pour them into the ice bath. Allow the peas to chill for 3 minutes. Pour the peas back into the colander and pick out any remaining ice. Pour peas in the blender and add 8 ounces of cold water. Puree until smooth.Pour into two ice cube trays.Wrap and freeze.

Carrot and ginger
Servings:

Yield 38 ounces for 8 months plus

Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 pounds carrots
    • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
    • 20 ounces water

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Put the water into a 4-quart pot and put on high heat. Wash and then peel the carrots. Cut off the stems and discard. Cut the carrots lengthwise and then cut each length into 8 or 10 pieces. Peel the ginger and mince (see notes below). Throw the carrot and ginger into the pot and cook 6 to 8 minutes. The carrots should be tender but not mushy.Pour the entire contents of the pot into the blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into two ice cube trays and allow to cool.Wrap and freeze.

Tips:

I cut the carrots lengthwise so there is a flat surface. That makes cutting them crosswise easier and safer. line 4 or 5 up in a row and move through this prep work even faster. The best way to peel ginger is with the edge of a spoon. Try it! One of the first things a new cook does in his or her first kitchen job is peel vegetables! As a newbie I did my fair share of fifty-pound bags of carrots, potatoes, and onions. The key to mundane and repetitive prep work is to have a system. Saving five seconds per carrot when you are dealing with five hundred carrots saves over forty minutes of work. Remove all the carrots from the bag at once (instead of going in and out of the bag each time). Peel all the carrots without removing the peeler from your hand. Once they are peeled cut the ends off two at a time. Then clear your cutting board of the mess because everything moving forward is a keeper. Finally make your cuts- make your lengthwise cuts and then make your crosswise cuts four at a time. As a new cook, doing this kind of stuff fast gets you promoted. As a new parent it gets you out of the kitchen faster! Ginger is my favorite flavor enhancer for little babies. It gives food a slightly Asian flavor and I find it very soothing on the palate. This recipe, with a little more seasoning and a garnish of crème fraîche, often makes it onto my menus.

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