...from baby food to toddler food to family food!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pasta with Cheese Sauce

(a.k.a. Macaroni and Cheese)
William has recently discovered they joys of macaroni and cheese: first with a quick and simple home made version, then with my favorite frozen natural brand.  And yes, he is a fan of both!

Cheese Sauce
This is adapted from a Joy of Cooking macaroni and cheese recipe, but I've simplified it. Just remember that all of the ingredients are "1" measurements:
1 Tbsp butter or oil
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup warm whole milk
1 cup shredded cheese (I like organic sharp cheddar)
cooked pasta (I made whole wheat fusilli)
Salt & pepper to taste

Start by measuring your milk and putting it in the microwave for a minute to warm.
Make a roux by melting the butter over medium heat in a saucepan, then whisking in the flour with a fork/whisk.  Continue to whisk over heat until roux begins to darken to a golden-tan color, then slowly pour in milk while continuing to whisk.  Keep on whisking  gently until white sauce begins to thicken, then slowly stir in the shredded cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste and pour over warm pasta.
Adventurous/Adult options: Instead of all cheddar, try 1/2 crumbled gorgonzola, bleu cheese or goat cheese! Try adding fresh garlic or garlic powder, and/or your favorite herbs/spices!  Add steamed veggies (peas, zucchini, yellow squash, spinach) and/or cooked meats (grilled checken, salmon, shrimp) to the pasta for a rounded meal! 

Backup Plan
Don't have the 10 minutes it takes to boil water for pasta and make this sauce? Try William's second favorite macaroni and cheese to date, Amy's Macaroni and Cheese, from the freezer section.  It is all natural, and even comes in a "Soy Cheese" or "Rice Pasta" version for people with food sensitivities/allergies.  I plan to keep some of these in the freezer at all times!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

William is one!

Just a few weeks ago, William had his first birthday. This first year of his life has flown by. I'm amazed at how much development is packed into this short amount of time, and the realm of eating is certainly no exception!

William now eats almost all table food.  He likes to feed himself with his hands, and practices with a spoon and fork.  He still *allows* me to feed him oatmeal and yogurt with a spoon.

I'd like to share with you some of his new favorite foods:
~Organic ravioli from the freezer section: traditional cheese, and beef/spinach. I usually cook them a minute longer than suggested, toss them with olive oil or butter, and season with pepper and/or romano cheese or sometimes a light coat of marinara. I cut them into quarters and make sure they are cool enough before serving.
~Rice cake or crackers or toast topped with cream cheese or almond butter or soynut butter (William especially loves Organic Cinnamon Sugar Soynut Butter (4-pack, 16 oz ea)
~ Beef or chicken stew.  It is easy to shred the soft meat, and William loves the flavorful, tender veggies.  I use the gravy to moisten brown rice or quinoa for lunch the next day (toss in some chopped spinach for extra veggies before microwaving)!
~Slices of apple or pear.  And now that William has three teeth, I feel comfortable leaving the skin on! I cut the fruit off of the core, then cut thin slices and score the skin (cut through it with the tip of the knife about every inch) to avoid the choking hazard of a long strip of skin.
~Plain whole milk Kefir, with fruit puree/juice added.  Flavored Kefirs (drinkable yogurts) have sugar added and are usually lowfat , but it is recommended that children consume only full-fat dairy until the age of 2.  Large amounts of fats are essential for healthy brain development!  I add a splash of pure blueberry juice to William's sippy cup of Kefir (Lifeway brand), and he loves it as much as the sugary pomegranate flavored one he tried while we were at Grandma's house for Thanksgiving!
~Fruit leather.  Whole Foods 365 brand fruit leather is all fruit (no added sugars or fillers), and has a soft consistency that is just chewy enough to satisfy a teething baby!

Of course there are also still the old standbys of Baby MumMums and Tiny Fruits (a.k.a. "Baby Crack").  But overall, as William enters his second year he continues to be a quite adventurous eater!