Annabel Karmel brings you original ideas to help you cook quick, healthy and tasty meals for your children and the whole family.
Below you will find some recipes from the cookbook Super Foods for Babies and Children by bestselling author Annabel Karmel.
Recipes from Super Foods for Babies and Children
Baked sweet potato and carrot puree
From 6 months
Baking sweet potatoes in the oven enhances their naturally sweet taste, so this is a good puree to make if you are making a roast for the rest of the family, as you can just pop the sweet potato into the oven to cook alongside. It is also very tasty without the added carrot.
1 medium sweet potato
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons your baby’s usual milk
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Wash and dry the sweet potato and prick all over with a fork. Bake in the oven until tender (about 45 minutes). Meanwhile, steam or boil the carrots until tender (about 20 minutes). When the sweet potato is soft, allow to cool down a little, then cut it in half and scoop out the flesh. Puree together with the cooked carrot and the milk.
Alternatively, you can cook the sweet potato in a microwave. Pierce several holes in the potato with a fork. Place on at least two layers of microwave-safe paper towels. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time. Let stand for 5 minutes. Peel and puree with the carrot and a little of your baby’s usual milk.
Sweet potato comes in two varieties: orange-fleshed and creamy-fleshed. Both have red skins and both are good sources of potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. However, I prefer to use the orange-fleshed variety, which is also an excellent source of beta-carotene. This helps to prevent certain types of cancer and mops up free radicals.
Often it is not the taste of red meat that babies dislike but the texture, so here I blend the Bolognese sauce so that the ground meat becomes very easy to chew, and then mix it with soft pasta.
¼ cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely grated carrot
5 ounces lean ground beef
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/4 cup unsalted chicken stock
2 ounces spaghetti
Sauté the onion and celery in the vegetable oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the grated carrot and cook for 2 minutes. Add the ground beef and stir until browned. Stir in the ketchup, tomatoes, and stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and cook until the meat is cooked through (10 to 15 minutes). Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to package instructions until quite soft. Drain and chop into short lengths. Transfer the Bolognese sauce to a food processor and puree to a fairly smooth texture before combining with the pasta.
Red meat provides most nutritional needs apart from fiber. It is an excellent source of iron. Iron deficiency is the commonest nutritional deficiency in early childhood and leads to a serious medical condition called anemia if left unchecked. A baby’s iron reserves inherited from his mother run out around the age of 6 months, so it is important to include in the diet foods rich in iron.
Bow-tie pasta with salmon and tomatoes
Combining pasta with less popular foods like fish is a good way to encourage children to eat them. This tasty recipe takes only a few minutes to prepare.
6 ounces bow-tie pasta
7 ounces salmon fillet, skinned
1 pat butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon snipped chives
3 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
Cook the pasta in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water according to the instructions on the package. Put the salmon into a suitable microwave dish, dot with the butter, and season with salt and pepper. Cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap, pierce a few times, and cook for 2 to 2½ minutes, according to the thickness of the fish. Strain and reserve the juices from the fish.
Heat the sour cream, ketchup, and fish juices in a large pan, stirring until blended. Add the chives and tomatoes, season to taste with salt and pepper, and simmer for 1 minute. Carefully flake the salmon, checking that there are no bones, and add to the sauce. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce.
Salmon is good for the heart. Eating oily fish like salmon can help protect against heart attacks and strokes by helping to keep blood flowing freely, thus reducing the risk of a blood clot forming within a blood vessel. The darker the fish, the higher the levels of fat, so make sure that you include some dark fish in your child’s diet at least once or twice a week.
Mini vegetable burgers
These tasty mini burgers in a crispy coating are bursting with fresh vegetables and flavored with Gruyère cheese.
2 medium potatoes (do not peel)
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup washed and finely chopped white part of a leek
1 cup chopped button mushrooms
1 cup frozen or canned corn
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Seasoned all-purpose flour (flour mixed with a little salt and pepper)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
15 mini buns
Cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for 25 to 30 minutes, then peel and grate. Meanwhile, melt the butter and sauté the onion for about 3 minutes. Add the broccoli, carrot, leek, and mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the grated potato, corn, soy sauce, cheese, parsley, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Form the mixture into 15 mini burgers, coat with flour, dip in the beaten egg, and then dip in the bread crumbs. Dip in the egg once again and then coat with another layer of bread crumbs to make a crispy coating for the burgers. Sauté in a small amount of oil in a skillet until crisp and golden on both sides. Serve on their own or in mini buns with a little lettuce and ketchup.
15 mini burgers
Onions and leeks have a protective action on the circulatory system that helps to prevent blood clots. With children eating more and more junk food, fatty deposits in the arteries can now be found in even the youngest of children, and in later life these deposits may lead to heart disease, as will arterial blood clots. When fat deposits and blood clots break loose and clog the arteries, the result is a heart attack or stroke.
Mixed berry and white chocolate cheesecake
8 ounces graham crackers (2½ cups crumbs)
1 stick butter, melted
Vegetable oil for greasing
5 ounces white chocolate
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
1 cup heavy cream
14 ounces mixed summer berries, such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and red currants
2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
2 ounces white chocolate
To make the crust, put the graham crackers in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin; then mix with the melted butter. Press them into the bottom of a lightly oiled 8-inch loose-bottomed tart pan or springform pan (this can be done with a potato masher). Place in the refrigerator to chill.
Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove the bowl from the pan and beat in the cream cheese. Add the vanilla to the cream or, if using a vanilla bean, split it lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds into the cream.
Whip the cream until it forms fairly stiff peaks and gently fold in the cream cheese and white chocolate mixture. Pour on top of the crust and put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to set.
Once the cake is set, carefully remove from the pan. Arrange the berries on top of the cake. Heat the jam with 2 teaspoons of water and strain through a sieve. Allow to cool for about 1 minute and gently brush over the fruits. Melt the white chocolate and drizzle over the top of the fruits with a teaspoon.
Summer berries are packed with vitamin C, which helps to strengthen the immune system and fight infection. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron.
Copyright © 2001, 2006 Annabel Karmel
About the Author
Annabel Karmel is the mother of three children, a bestselling author of books on nutrition and cooking for babies and toddlers, and a familiar face on British television. Annabel travels frequently to the United States, where her books on feeding babies and young children are very popular. She has appeared on many TV programs, including the Today show and The Early Show. Please visit www.annabelkarmel.com, her website.