Sorry, everyone, it's been a while since my last post! Things have been so busy, I wasn't putting much creative energy into cooking or writing :) But in the past couple of weeks my life has mellowed out a little (healthy baby, snow has melted, etc.), and I've come up with two new baby/toddler-friendly recipes to share with you.
A traditional bolognese sauce recipe uses beef, pancetta, onions, tomato paste, meat broth, white wine and cream. Celery, carrot and onion are sometimes added. I used what was on hand to make my vegetable-rich and baby-friendly version of a bolognese sauce:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 cup jarred marinara sauce
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 oz. soft goat cheese
salt and pepper
1/2 lb. of pasta, cooked (I used whole wheat shells, cooked 1 minute LESS than package instructions)
1/4 cup cooking liquid from the pasta
Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat, then add the garlic. Cook for a minute, until fragrant, and add the carrots. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring a few times, then add the zucchini, stir and cook a minute more. Move veggies to the edges of the pan and add the ground beef, stirring and breaking it up occasionally as it cooks. Season a bit with salt and pepper.
Once meat is browned, stir together with the veggies in pan and pour the marinara sauce over. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in the goat cheese, crumbled, until it melts. Then stir in the cooked pasta and cooking liquid, turn up the heat to medium high and allow to cook, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes more. Top with freshly grated parmesean. Serve and enjoy!
There are a lot of substitutions that would work well in this recipe: ground turkey or veggie crumbles instead of beef (or no protein at all!), canned diced or whole tomatoes instead of marinara, fresh tomatoes, and just about any veggie diced up instead of the carrots and zucchini.....use what you have!
I've been trying to use more coconut products in my cooking since I've been hearing so much about its health benefits, not to mention its uses as a beauty product (healed up my ridiculously dry hands overnight, and is a great treatment for dry hair!). I've been using unsweetened coconut milk on my breakfast cereal, and giving some to William, who isn't a huge fan. He loves his "moo" milk!!!
Coconut oil is an easy product to incorporate into cooking. It is very slightly sweet though, so it's best used in dishes that intentionally blend sweet and savory flavors together. I've used it to pan-fry panko-breaded chicken, and just came up with this recipe when trying to get creative with leftover plain brown rice.
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 a small onion, diced
1 Tbsp. shredded dried coconut (optional)
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes (optional!)
1 medium carrot, diced
1 small yellow squash, diced
2 cups cooked brown rice (I used short grain organic)
1 cup vegetable broth
Heat the coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions (and shredded coconut for an extra touch of sweetness and coconut flavor!) and cook about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the carrots and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the squash, season with a bit of salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes (careful!) and cook a minute more. Add the cooked rice and vegetable broth. Stir together, cover and simmer over medium-low 5-10 minutes (depending on how soft you'd like your veggies). Uncover and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Enjoy!
Substitutions: any oil or butter could be used in place of coconut oil, any veggies could be added or replace the carrots and squash; white rice, quinoa or any other grain could be used in place of the brown rice.