Make Your Own Baby Food!
Making baby food is a snap with the proper prep and a dash of know-how. Try these dishes from Baby Love, a cookbook by MSNBC's chief Washington correspondent, Norah O'Donnell, and her husband, chef Geoff Tracy, parents of three little ones. Bon appétit!
Strawberry-Banana-Pineapple Soup (10+ Months)
1½ lbs. fresh or frozen strawberries
1 cup water
1. Remove strawberry stems and then wash the berries. Slice each banana into 4 to 6 pieces. Cut the pineapple into berry-size chunks.
2. Put everything into a 4-quart pot and cook, covered, on high for about 6 minutes, stirring once. Carefully pour the mixture from the pot into a strainer with a bowl underneath to save the juice.
3. Pour the cooked fruit into a blender. Puree until smooth using ¼ to ½ cup juice to adjust consistency.
4. Pour into two ice cube trays, and cool. Wrap, freeze, and defrost cubes as needed. Yield: 3½ cups
Chef Geoff's Notes: Bananas are the perfect food -- they're packed with potassium. If you have a few that are ripening too fast, simply peel and freeze them to cook with later.
Mini Shells 'n' Cheese (10+ Months)
4 Tbs. butter, cut into cubes
¼ cup finely chopped yellow onion
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, hot
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
8 oz. mild cheddar cheese, grated
1 splash hot sauce (baby won't even notice!)
6 cups cooked pasta such as mini shells or orzo
1. In a 4-quart pot, cook butter and onions over medium heat until onions become soft and translucent. Add flour and cook, continually stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add hot milk, whisking thoroughly to avoid any clumping.
2. Bring to a boil, whisking often to prevent burning. When milk has thickened, reduce heat, add nutmeg, and simmer about 5 minutes while continuing to whisk periodically.
3. Whisk in cheddar cheese. Simmer an additional 2 minutes and add hot sauce. Combine hot pasta and sauce. Keeps for up to a week in the fridge. Yield: 6 1/2 cups
Chef Geoff's Notes: This cheese sauce is a variation of a classic thickened cream sauce called béchamel. For more nutrients, toss in veggies such as broccoli, tomatoes, and peas.
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