I thought we would talk about baby food on the weekends. I make most of Camille’s food on the weekends, and stash it in the freezer for the rest of the week. I took a few weeks off from talking about baby food because Camille had her first illness (not bad for 10 1/2 months of breastfeeding!), and during that time, her appetite reverted back to her 6-month days. All she wanted was soft fruits (bananas and spoonfuls of ultra-ripe pear), chunks of cheese (Beemster is her favorite), and veggie purees (carrot + nutmeg and beet + sweet potato). I’m glad I got to re-live that phase again, because it gave me even more baby food ideas for you!
This homemade baby food recipe has grass-fed ground beef, half an onion, no-salt canned tomatoes, rosemary, basil, oregano, bay leaf and garlic. Does it sound weird to give a baby onion? One of Camille’s first purees was potatoes and leeks. She loved it!
You guys are requesting baby meat purees, and I couldn’t be happier to oblige. Honestly, we all know how to puree fruits and veggies, don’t we? Meat is hard. It’s been hard on Camille actually, too. I don’t eat a ton of meat, and I certainly didn’t when I was pregnant. I honestly believe she never got a taste for it in the womb. And while my appetite soared during the first few months of breastfeeding, it still was meat-limited.
So, full confession: the first 4 times I gave Camille the chicken in carrot-cumin sauce, she spit it out. I knew that since she loves carrots and smoky cumin, it was a texture thing for her. No matter, I just kept trying. I mixed it with mashed avocado, even more mashed carrots, and I also sprinkled cheese on top. She ate it ‘doctored up’ 2-3 times, but still would only eat it if I ‘hid’ it from her. Then, one day I gave up and rolled it up in a tortilla with salsa and ate it myself. All of a sudden, she was interested in it! Monkey see, monkey do. It makes perfect sense. Now? I’ve made that recipe for the third time, and she happily laps up her shredded chicken, plain. It just took some getting used to.
I fully expected to have to teach Camille to eat this Baby Bolognese, but I didn’t. She was on my hip as I was stirring it on the stove, and when it cooled, I gave her a little taste. She absolutely loves any ‘treat’ she gets in the kitchen while I’m cooking. So, after a little taste in the afternoon, she gobbled it up at dinner that night.
I serve this baby Bolognese with spaghetti squash just to sneak it another veggie. Whole wheat orzo is a good alternative, or you could just puree the squash. In that case, instead of serving the dollop of full-fat ricotta cheese on top, I would puree it with the meat. We are all about the full-fat grass-fed dairy for baby in this house! And I would be lying if I didn’t say I’m really enjoying it, too. It’s like you think you know yogurt, and then you eat full-fat yogurt. And life is never the same.
As you can see from the photo below, this is everything roughly pureed. I used a stick-blender and gave it a few pulses. Camille will eat it like this, but some kiddos will like it really smooth from a blender. Experiment with it!
I’m not exactly sure if I’m following the rules here, but I don’t think all babies jive with tomatoes. I think there is an age minimum..maybe 8 months? Anyway, I think there’s so much flavor going on here that you’ll be fine. I remember when Camille was 7 months old, she was reaching for a blood orange I was eating. The internet told me it was too acidic and it would hurt her stomach, but she was begging. I gave her some; she was fine. The next day, she ate an entire mandarin orange and was also fine. It all depends on the kid, and you know your babe best.
As for serving size, this recipe uses a 1/2-pound of ground beef and it made 18 tablespoon-size cubes for the freezer. For us, that’s 18 servings. Camille will hardly eat more than 1 tablespoon of meat at a time, which is age-appropriate for her. The amount of spaghetti squash you get depends on how big of a squash you buy.
Keep the baby food requests coming! I’m working on a baby breakfast series in the meantime! I did a little sneak peek on instagram of our matching ricotta breakfast bowls.
If you haven’t already, you should really check out my friend Michele’s site BabyFoodE. She’s all about adventurous food for babies and toddlers. I also own her book, and it’s fantastic. I feel like I’ve found my soul mate when it comes to how I want to teach my kids how to eat. And yes, you really do have to teach them. If not, they teach you what they want to eat (and it won’t be pretty).
Yields 18 tablespoons
10 minPrep Time
60 minCook Time
1 hr, 10 Total Time
- 1/2 pound grass-fed ground beef
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 14-ounce can no-salt tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup full-fat ricotta
- 1 spaghetti squash
- splash of water for the pan
- To make the sauce, place the beef in a medium sauce pan, and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook, while breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon.
- When the meat is fully cooked, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon.
- I leave about 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan, so eyeball the amount of fat in the pan and adjust accordingly.
- Add the diced onion to the pan, and saute until soft, about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic, and saute until fragrant.
- Stir in the tomatoes and herbs.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes.
- To serve, add the ricotta cheese, puree according to your baby's age and needs.
- Meanwhile, crank the oven to 375.
- Slice the spaghetti squash in half.
- Fit the squash cut-side-down in a baking dish with sides, and add enough water to come up 1/4" on the sides of the squash.
- Bake the squash until easily flakes with a fork, about 45-60 minutes.
- Let the squash cool, and serve it to baby as noodles, or puree as needed for your baby's age.