The holidays are stressful enough without having to worry about everyone’s special dietary needs (I am one of those picky eaters).
Then there is coming up with holiday food for babies. A friend called me a few days ago to help her prepare a baby-friendly food for the holidays.
Since her little one is ready to incorporate solids, we reviewed what her baby eats and what she would like to have on her holiday table. From there we came up with a list of delightful ideas for a complete baby friendly menu that won’t add extra cooking time or stress to an already stressful time.
Instead of creating two separate menus, one for the baby and one for the guests, we combined them. So, here are some great ideas for holiday food for babies.
FOODS KIND TO THE LITTLE ONES
If your baby eats solids already and likes white meat, turkey is an obvious item, yet make sure to chop it coarsely before giving it to him. Aside from that, here are some delicious ideas for all babies.
Carrot Soup: make it less watery and with a puree-like texture.
Think vegetables, anything soft and tender enough to chew, like these caramelized root vegetables. Add a touch of coconut oil and turn them into an exotic, sweet, delicious delicacy.
Oh, yes, everybody loves those mashed potatoes and they make a great dish for babies still waiting for their first teeth. You can do the classic mashed or try this more latino twist: lima bean puree which is high in protein and fiber.
ABUELITA KNOWS BEST
My grandmother used to make the most incredible mashed potatoes, and no one—so far—has been able to replicate both the texture and the flavors of that dish. And no, she never used a potato mill, just a regular hand potato masher.
Her secret? Mash the potatoes well, add a generous amount of good-quality unsalted butter, and whole milk. You can also use creme fraiche, mascarpone cheese or even sour cream, and a touch of chives.
Read Related: Kids Corner: Rise ‘n’ Shine Oatmeal
For a different twist, make these potato croquettes, also great for babies of all ages. Another alternative instead of potatoes is celery root. They create a simple, clean, sophisticated dish. For a richer taste add either butter and cream, or milk.
Kitchen note: After your puree is done, you can sprinkle some fresh grated Swiss, Gruyere or Parmesan cheese on top and broil it in the oven for a couple of minutes for a quick delicious gratin.
Regarding breads, think soft textures, like these super easy, creamy homemade corn (or pumpkin) biscuits.
QUICK LAST-MINUTE BISCUITS
1½ cups biscuit baking mix, organic and/or gluten free
1 can cream style corn or pumpkin puree, organic
1 egg, beaten, or 1 TBSP of sour cream for extra consistency, optional
1 TBSP coconut oil or ghee, softened, optional
¼ cup unsalted butter, to brush
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- In a large bowl, mix the biscuit mix and the corn (or pumpkin) until well combined.
- Grease a baking sheet with butter. Drop biscuit mixture by tablespoons onto the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm and with butter on the side.
Kitchen note: If you have any biscuits leftovers, toast them or reheat them in a low oven, and serve with your favorite spreads for breakfast.
And for dessert, (unless there is a crustless pumpkin pie) make this rich and creamy classic flan or this super easy panna cotta. Serve the flan with fresh whipped cream and/or a generous spoon of dulce de leche/manjar blanco. You can also make a quick poundcake to serve with fresh berries, cream, or ice cream. Or try one of the all-time favorite American desserts.
Like most cheesecakes, this one too needs to be prepared one day ahead of time or at least 8-10 hours before serving.
¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
2 TBSP granulated sugar
½ coconut butter, ghee or unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 TSP pumpkin pie spice
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
5 eggs, organic
- Preheat oven to 325ºF. Butter a 9-inch spring-form pan.
- In a small bowl, combine crumbs and butter. Press the mix in bottom of pan.
- Bake crust for 10 minutes or until set. Remove from oven, cool for 5 minutes and refrigerate until completely cooled.
- In another bowl, mix flour, pumpkin pie spice, and puree. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat beat cream cheese with electric mixer until creamy.
- Add brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth.
- Add one egg at a time until blended. Add pumpkin mixture. Mix well.
- Pour filling over prepared crust.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until set.
- Remove from oven, let cool and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or even better, overnight.
- Serve with fresh whipped cream.
Note: Most babies don’t like spicy flavors and seasoning so scale it back and be careful with the amount and salt and artificial seasonings you add to your dishes. Keep it fresh and simple, adding extra fresh herbs, balancing with dried herbs, and reducing the use of salt, especially iodized salt. As long as you have 2-3 baby friendly dishes, you will have plenty of food not only for the holiday, but also for baby-friendly leftovers the day after.