Monday, August 5, 2013
Baby Food | Roasted Zucchini with Smoked Paprika
Roasted zucchini with smoked paprika? Sounds fancy for a baby, right? Since my husband is picking up zucchini three for $1 on his way home from work, I figured I'd add it to the baby food rotation. Max likes it, it's easy to make, and it smells so good that I'm even willing to take a bite.
I've been making Max's baby food since he started solids (well, since he was born if you count breast milk) and I like letting him enjoy all of the seasonable flavors that we like, just adapted so he can consume them easily. I keep all of Max's food, including frozen breast milk, in the top drawer of of our freezer for quick and easy from-scratch meals. The only foods that I don't make from scratch are puffs (those dissolvable, cereal-like baby snacks), Mum Mums (these awesome rice biscuits that Max loves), and the occasional jar of baby food if we're traveling. In all honesty, Max hates jarred baby food, so I bought it for emergency purposes only. At this point I'd rather just give him food off my plate than give him jarred food.
My goal is for Max to have an adventurous palate. I was a relatively picky eater as a child (and teenager), but I started trying new foods in college. While there are still a few foods I'll never touch (hello, mayonnaise!), I love trying new foods. My hope for Max is that he develops an appreciation for real (not-processed, from-scratch) foods now and that it helps him make healthy choices for the rest of his life.
Even if you're not ready to make ALL of your baby's food, you can at least experiment with a few options. Here's how I do roasted zucchini with smoked paprika.
I use about 3 zucchini for this recipe, but you can use whatever you have. First, I preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with foil, sprayed with non-stick spray. I slice and dice the zucchini. I also like to add a little onion or green onion for extra flavor. I sprinkle the entire mixture with smoked paprika (which can be hard to find for some reason, so regular paprika is just fine) and I drizzle the whole thing with a little olive oil. I toss it together to coat all of the vegetables.
I roast everything in the oven at 400 for 30-45 minutes or until it's softened and starting to brown.
Then I transfer it to my Vitamix. A food processor, blender, or immersion blender can also do the trick. But I love my Vitamix... that's a different story.
Once it's blended to your liking (I puree Max's foods pretty smooth, but I leave a little texture), it's ready to eat. I usually freeze it in ice cube trays and then transfer it to quart-size freezer bags for future meals.
When Max is hungry, I mix up my cubes of food to make him a meal. One of my favorite combos is 1 carrot, 1 chicken and 1 zucchini. For "dessert" Max has unsweetened applesauce. He's one happy baby and his food smells good enough for me to eat! As a matter of fact, we have an entire drawer in our new freezer dedicated to Max's meals... it's convenient for everyone.
I'm looking forward to trying out even more food combinations as Max starts feeding himself more and enjoying foods with more texture. Anyone else out there a fan of homemade baby food?