For Oven's Sake!

Let's get cookin' …with kids!

Grilled Pineapple a la Mode

Tastes like Summer.

Tastes like Summer.

It’s hard to believe the weather is nice enough to make this the week before Easter.  I first made it late last Summer and it’s been crossing my mind ever since.

It’s only three ingredients…

Ingredients:

  • Pineapple
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Grill the pineapple.
  2. Put it in a bowl with ice cream.
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon on top!

Ideas to get your kid cook involved:

  • Let the ice cream thaw a tad and he can scoop it!
  • Allow him to sprinkle on the cinnamon.

Ozzy didn’t help tonight… he was busy coloring eggs…

We made monster eggs!

We made monster eggs!

This one is Ozzy's favorite.  Haha.

This one is Ozzy’s favorite. Haha! Boys! <3

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Mexican Turkey Burgers

Click Here to Print: Mexican Turkey Burgers

Best without a bun!  No, seriously.

Best without a bun! No, seriously.

I was surprised by how much I love these.  Ozzy usually eats a whole burger when I make them!  My hubs likes them, too.

I wasn’t really surprised that Ozzy likes them cause he likes pretty much everything.  However, Josh’s liking them caught me off guard… it’s typical for him to unenthusiastically ask, “What kind of meat is this?” when I make something like a burger with something other than ground beef.

Anyway, they’re tried and true here at our house.  They’ve been a staple in our dinner rotation now for a couple of years.

I like mine best without a bun and piled high with coleslaw!  (If that’s weird, I don’t want to be normal.)  Josh likes his on a bun with coleslaw and BBQ sauce. (In my opinion, that’s weirder.  Is that a word?)  Ozzy likes them the same way his daddy does. (Buncha weirdos I live with!)

Mashing the beans is a perfect "kid cook" job.  Save the rest in a container with a little piece of paper towel.

Mashing the beans is a perfect “kid cook” job.

You do only use half a can of beans though, so store the rest in the fridge with a little piece of paper towel.  Believe it or not, beans make for a great kid snack!  I fed Ozzy plain ol’ beans once he had enough practice chewing to handle them.  I’m looking forward to doing the same with Baby D!

Flavored tortilla chips really add to this.  It's no secret these are my favorite!

Flavored tortilla chips really add to this. It’s no secret that these are my favorite!

It's important to make sure they're totally cooked through and that's not always the case on the stovetop.

It’s important to make sure they’re totally cooked through and that’s not always easy on the stovetop.

If in doubt, check them with a kitchen thermometer.

I recommend checking them with a kitchen thermometer.  It should reach 165° F.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • ½ can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 c crushed fire roasted veggie tortilla chips
  • 2 ½ t chili powder
  • 2 ½ t cumin
  • cooking spray
  • Serving options: buns, coleslaw, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, tomato, avocado, BBQ sauce…

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  2. Place the beans in a bowl and mash them up a bit.
  3. Add ground turkey, chili powder, cumin, and crushed tortilla chips.
  4. Mix ingredients and form into patties – hands work best!
  5. Spray a non-stick skillet or griddle pan and cook the patties until golden brown on each side.
  6. Cover and place in the oven to keep warm and/or finish cooking through (internal temp should be 165° or higher).
  7. Serve on a bun (or not) with your choice of toppings.

 Ideas to get your kid cook involved:

  • Have him rinse, drain, and mash the beans.
  • He can crush the tortilla chips in a baggie.
  • Have him add the spices to the bowl.
  • Talk about holiday traditions and what kinds of food your family eats on different holidays. (Turkey reminded Ozzy of Thanksgiving!)
My kid cook did his own cooking while I made these this time.  He cooked up this delicious dish for his daddy.

My kid cook did his own cooking while I made these this time. He cooked up this delicious dish for his daddy.

 Notes:

  • Make black bean hummus with the left over ½ can of black beans!
  • If you don’t like black beans, substitute refried beans instead.

Modified From: Paula’s Best Dishes

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Ham & Cheese on Cinnamon Raisin

Click Here to Print: Ham & Cheese on Cinnamon Raisin

So simple, I shoulda thought of this!

So simple, I shoulda thought of this!

This is hardly a recipe.  It’s pretty much a grilled cheese.  However, I can’t take credit for putting these together – I found the “recipe” on the Land-o-Lakes website via Pinterest.

Anyway, I thought I’d share cause it’s DE-licious!

It’s great for a quick and easy dinner, but could work for breakfast, too. Oddly enough, I think it’s best reheated.

Ingredients:

  • softened butter
  • cinnamon raisin bread
  • sliced ham – I like honey ham.
  • sliced cheese – I like American or cheddar.

Instructions:

  1. Heat a griddle pan. TIP: Careful it’s not too hot or the bread will brown before the insides are warmed through!
  2. Butter a slice of the bread and put it on the pan, butter side down.
  3. Add ham on top, then cheese on top of that.
  4. Top with another buttered slice of bread, butter side up.
  5. Flip when toasted to your liking and toast the other side to your liking as well.

Ideas to get your kid cook involved:

  • Have him butter the bread.
  • Ask him what else he thinks would taste good with cinnamon and raisin.  Of course there are the obvious answers (cookies and oatmeal) but you might be surprised by what your kid cook comes up with!
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Strawberry Banana Swirl

Hi, it’s Ozzy.  Mommy said I could do this one.

You take strawberries and frozen bananas...

Get some strawberries and frozen bananas.

(that's it!)

(That’s it!)

...put them in a blender...

Put them in a blender, and turn it on.

If it doesn’t blend up right away, let the bananas thaw some more.  You can play in the meantime.

I suggest hiding under the baby bouncer.

I suggest hiding under the baby bouncer.

Don't let your little brother get you!

Don’t let your little brother get you!

After a few minutes, try the blender again.

Ta Da!

Ta Da!

Yum!

Yum!

Ideas to get your mom involved in this recipe:

  • Have her freeze bananas ahead of time.
  • She can trim the strawberries.
  • She can cut up the strawberries, but this part isn’t really necessary.
  • Talk to her about your favorite color (red) and ask her what else is red.

P.S. If you have some left over, store it in the fridge (not the freezer).  It will be like delicious berry pudding!!

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The Mother of All Baby Food Posts

In addition to reading this post, please also read WebMD’s article about introducing solid foods to your baby.  Take the advice of your pediatrician over mine. (Duh! I’m just another mom without a medical degree.)  This is simply a documentation of the yummy food I’ve made for my second born so far.  I hope it inspires you to cook up some fresh baby food of your own!

Experts say most babies are ready to start solid food between 4 and 6 months.  I started big brother Oz around 5 months and was much more selective and took things much slower than with little brother Danny.

As it says in the WebMD article… it is important to follow certain guidelines, but take your baby’s cues into account as well.

Danny’s been pretty clear with his cues from the beginning.

"I'm hungry, Ma!"

“I’m hungry, Ma!”

Now, you don’t need all the fancy baby food making gadgets they have out there.  Some are helpful, sure, but you can do the same thing with items you likely already have in your kitchen.  For example, a saucepan with lid works for steaming and a food processor and/or immersion blender work for texture… you could probably even use a potato masher for some foods.

This is great for freezing portions.  However, a regular old ice cube tray works, too.

This is great for freezing portions. However, a regular old ice cube tray works, too.

Glass storage containers with lids, some tape, and a pen are helpful for storing in the freezer, too.

Glass storage containers with lids, some tape, and a pen are helpful for storing in the freezer, too.

This is great for on-the-go, but again, not necessary.

This is great for on-the-go, but again, not necessary.

Shoot, even a fork can be used for things like ripe bananas!

Shoot, even a fork can be used for things like ripe bananas!

Bake up an acorn squash (or any kind) until nice and soft.

Bake up an acorn squash (or any kind) until nice and soft.

A fork works for that, too.

And use a fork for that, too.

Shoot, even my big kid wanted in on that.

Even my big kid wanted in on that.

(Don’t mind his baby spoon… just a little toddler regression.  Whatev… he’s eating squash, not asking to wear a diaper… pick your battles and all that…)

Spinach is something I couldn’t do with my fancy schmancy baby food gadgets.  There is just too much to start with.

Isn't it pretty?  I love pretty food.

Isn’t it pretty? I love pretty food.

By the way, the HUGE pound container cooks down to about 2 1/2 cups.

By the way, the HUGE 1 pound container cooks down to about 2 1/2 cups…

...but what a beautiful, beneficial 2 1/2 cups it is!

…but what a beautiful, beneficial 2 1/2 cups it is!

Variety is something else the article mentions.

How about fresh green beans?

How about fresh green beans?

Or fresh "rainbow" carrots?!  How pretty!!

Or fresh “rainbow” carrots?! How pretty!!

Even a turnip with a peeled broccoli stem.

Even a turnip with a peeled broccoli stem.

Seriously, I just threw some stuff I had left over together on a whim and he gobbles it up!  Here are some other “leftover” combos:

Fresh curly parsley with carrots.

Leftover curly parsley with carrots.

Leftover mushrooms and onions?  Sure, thrown them in with some carrots!

Leftover mushrooms and onions? Sure, thrown them in with some more carrots!

I’ve heard you should introduce veggies before fruits so they won’t reject the veggies due to lack of sweetness.  I didn’t really follow this with Oz.  Josh swears he had a banana every day at first.

I didn’t follow it with Danny either.  I went back and forth with fruits and veggies from the beginning.  Now, at 8 months he has fruit, veggies, and usually some kind of grain every day.

Oh Baby!  Berries!

Oh Baby! Berries!

Looks good enough to eat!

Looks good enough to eat!

And I did.  On ice cream.

And I did. On ice cream.

Hey! I worked hard.  Look at all that baby food I had just made!

Hey! I worked hard. Look at all that baby food I had just made!

Oh hush!  I didn't eat it all.  Danny had some the next day!

Oh hush! I didn’t eat it all. Danny had some the next day!

Come to think of it, there are still a couple cubes in the freezer now… and some leftover vanilla ice cream.  Hmm… brb.

Back to the fruit.  How about some apples?

Leave the skin on.  It's nutritious!

Leave the skin on. It’s nutritious!

Just steam it long enough that the skins are soft.

Just steam it long enough that the skins are soft.

And blend it up.  Add some cinnamon, too!

And blend it up. Add some cinnamon, too!

I'm a big fan on leaving the skin on.  These are plums!

I’m a big fan on leaving the skin on. These are plums!

Sooo… once I cook and puree the food, I freeze it in portions using my fancy schmancy baby food portion freezer tray… or just a regular old ice cube tray.  In the morning, I thaw a couple out and his solid food is set for the day!

Here’s what I’ve made for sweet Baby Danny so far…

Carrots, mango, turnips with peeled broccoli stems.

Carrots, mango, turnips with peeled broccoli stems…

Spinach and green beans...

…spinach, green beans…

...pineapple, blueberries with strawberries...

…pineapple, blueberries with strawberries…

...carrots with parsley, zucchini, pears...

…carrots with parsley, zucchini, pears…

...more zucchini, apples without skin...

…more zucchini, apples without skin…

...apples with skin and cinnamon, and plums with skin.

…apples with skin and cinnamon, and plums with skin.

He’s also had a few foods that don’t take as much prep work:

  • avocado – just mashed right up.
  • sweet potato – again, just mashed.
  • broccoli cheese soup – carefully inspected to avoid larger pieces.
  • pancakes – the extra soft stuff taken from the middle of the cake.
  • biscuits – again, taken from the middle.
  • vanilla ice cream – only a teeny tiny bite to see his reaction.  Of all the crazy combinations I’ve fed him (namely, turnip and broccoli stems), THIS surprisingly produced the most sourpuss face.  Apparently he’s more perplexed by temperature rather than taste at this point.

Something I’ve learned is that consistency can help keep the mess down.  If it’s too runny, add some baby cereal.  On the other hand, if it’s too thick, add some milk or formula.

Did I say keeps the mess down?  Well, kinda.

Did I say keeps the mess down? Well, kinda.

Now that he’s getting pretty good at this eating thing (not to mention, he just popped his 6th tooth), we’re moving on to soft, small pieces.

Banana chunks, for example.

Banana chunks, for example.

"Mmm, nana!"

“Mmm, nana!”

I even shared my egg with him.

I’ve even shared my egg with him.

"I like eggs!  Ok, I like everything you feed me!"

“I like eggs! Ok, I like everything you feed me!”

Now don’t freak out on me!  As of 2008, The American Academy of Pediatrics says there isn’t a need to delay the introduction of commonly allergenic foods.  Read more about The Baby Food Revolution on Baby Center.

Our pediatrician is really laid back about what we can and should feed our baby.  He actually said, “Other than honey, you can feed him anything as long as he can handle the texture.  You can feed him jalapenos if you want.  Now, it might make him uncomfortable, but you won’t damage him.”

We haven’t fed him jalapenos, but we have given him eggs (as seen above) and peanut butter…

Just a tiny bit mixed with banana.  Have you ever eaten a pb banana?  If not, you should!

…just a tiny bit mixed with banana. Have you ever eaten a pb banana? If not, you should!

I have a friend who ground her own brown rice using a coffee grinder for baby rice cereal.  However, I buy ours.  I also buy baby puffs for their convenience.

Brothers sharing baby puffs.

Brothers sharing baby puffs.

I buy baby MumMums, too.  They’re pretty much baby rice cakes.

MumMumMumMum

MumMumMumMum

Just this past weekend, he worked on his pincer grasp with his first taste of banana bread.

Eat up, little love.  You'll be getting a lot of this in the future!

Eat up, little love. You’ll be getting a lot of this in the future!

There you have it.  The documentation of the yummy food I’ve made (sometimes with him attached to me in the baby front pack) for my second born so far.

Don't let his expression of indifference fool you.  He looooooves his baybuh fooood!

“Now stop taking pictures, Ma and FEEEEEED MEEEEE!”

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Pear Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

I'm borderline obsessed with this stuff.

I’m borderline obsessed with this stuff.

Last week I thought I had made the best baked oatmeal ever.  It turns out I may’ve been mistaken.

Maybe this is the best one I’ve ever made. Sooo Yummy!

It’s the same recipe as Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal.  Just sub pears for apples and blueberries for raisins.

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Click Here to Print: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus is delicious enough for a party.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus is delicious enough to make for a party…

...and healthy enough to eat the whole batch all by yourself!

…but healthy enough to eat the whole batch all by yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 1 15oz can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 2 fire roasted red peppers from a jar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice from ½ a lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • olive oil – for desired consistency

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients (except olive oil) in a food processor.
  2. Process until smooth, adding olive oil for desired consistency.
  3. Serve with pita bread, veggies, &/or pita chips – Click here for a recipe to make your own!

Here are some ideas to get your “kid cook” involved with this recipe:

  • Have him add the ingredients to the food processor.
  • He can squeeze the lemon in.  TIP: Cutting the lemon into smaller wedges makes it easier for little hands to handle.
  • He can push the processor buttons!

This recipe is modified from: Call Me Fudge

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Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Click Here to Print: Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Baked oatmeal is good enough to make week after week!

Baked oatmeal is good enough to make week after week!

I feel like I’ve made this a thousand times!  I’ve made a version of it every week since I went back to work after having Baby Danny.

I bake it on Sunday and then pack it up to take to work for breakfast each day…

Unless Ozzy or my mom (aka GranMart) have eaten it all… Oz frequently eats it as an afterschool snack and my mom eats it for breakfast on the days she watches Baby D.

Anyway, this is the best version so far! (Get excited for breakfast tomorrow, GranMart!)

You could use applesauce from a jar, but why when it's this simple?!

You could use applesauce from a jar, but why when it’s this simple?!

Plus when you make it yourself, you can leave the skin on which adds texture and flavor not to mention fiber.

Plus when you make it yourself, you can leave the skin on which adds texture and flavor, not to mention fiber.

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples
  • 1 c milk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 ½ t cinnamon
  • ¼ – ½ c raisins
  • 3 c oats
  • ¼ – ½ c almonds

Instructions:

  1. Core and chop apples with the skin on.
  2. Toss the apples in a saucepan with about 1 inch of water.
  3. Simmer until they are tender enough to mash.
  4. Preheat oven to 350° and spray a 9×13 baking dish.
  5. Whisk egg and milk together.
  6. Add a small amount of the mashed apples and whisk.  Then, add the rest of the apples and mix. (Adding a small amount first keeps the eggs from scrambling!)
  7. Mix in salt, cinnamon, oats, and raisins.
  8. Pour into prepared baking dish.
  9. Top with almonds.
  10. Bake 20-25 minutes until it begins to brown slightly.

Here are some ideas to get your “kid cook” involved with this recipe:

  • Allow him to add the apples and water to the saucepan before putting it on the stovetop.
  • Have him do the whiskin’ and mixin’!
  • He can help place the almonds on top before baking.
  • Talk to him about the ingredients and where they come from.  Talk about how food that is good for you can be oh so yummy, too!
Just look at the sunlight on these tootsies on the kitchen counter!  Who cares if it's still freezing outside.

Just look at the sunlight shine on these tootsies on the kitchen counter! Who cares if there’s snow in the forecast…AGAIN!?!

Notes:

  • You can substitute a number of the ingredients (and I have to keep from getting bored week after week).  Here are some ideas:
    • Sub pears for apples
    • Sub craisins for raisins
    • Sub pecans or walnuts for almonds
    • Not into nuts or raisins? Leave ‘em out!
Last week was pears and pecans without raisins... also very, very delicious!

Last week was pears and craisins with pecans.. also very, very delicious!

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Lexi’s Spanish Dish

Click Here to Print: Lexi’s Spanish Dish

Simple ingredients and so very delicious!

Simple ingredients and so very delicious!

The first time I had this, I wasn’t the cook.  Lexi was!

Who’s Lexi?  Well, she’s a girl I used to spend almost every week day with for about two years.

My third and fourth years teaching, I was part-time.  Right before that third year started, I answered an ad in the paper for a babysitting job.  It was for a family who had a 9 year old boy and 14 year old girl.

It turned out to be a perfect fit!  They needed me after school and during summers for things like…

Preparing easy kid meals...

Preparing easy kid meals…

Making transformer costumes out of cardboard...

…making transformer costumes out of cardboard…

Trips to the zoo...

…summer trips to places like the water park and the zoo…

...even cuddling with their doggy in the back yard.

…even cuddling with their doggy in the back yard.

It really was the perfect job!

Anyway, Lexi made this dish for a Spanish class assignment and it was delicious!  I’ve been making it ever since!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice (about 3 cups cooked)
  • 1 pound fresh (not cured) chorizo
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 mango
  • 1 can black beans
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Cook the rice according to directions on the package.
  3. Chop the peppers and onion into even size pieces.
  4. Toss the peppers and onions with olive oil, salt & pepper on a baking sheet.  Be pretty liberal with the oil.
  5. Roast the veggies approximately 20 minutes, turning half way through.
  6. Cook the chorizo, breaking it up as you do.
  7. Peel and dice the mango.
  8. Rinse and drain the beans.
  9. Toss it all together – rice, veggies, chorizo, mango, and beans. Yum!

Here are some ideas to get your “kid cook” involved with this recipe:

  • Allow him to help toss the veggies with oil, salt & pepper.
  • He can help rinse the beans.
  • Let him mix it all together in a big ol’ bowl!
Tossing the veggies with oil, salt, and pepper is as fun as it looks!

Tossing the veggies with oil, salt, and pepper is as fun as it looks!

Something as simple as rinsing beans can keep a kid cook busy while you do the cooking he can't yet!

Something as simple as rinsing beans can keep a kid cook busy while you do the cooking he can’t yet!

Of course, eating ingredients as you cook works, too!

Of course, eating ingredients as you cook works, too!

A constant favorite is to mix - whether it's a muffin batter or dinner that's almost done!

A constant favorite is to mix – whether it’s a muffin batter or dinner that’s almost done!

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Buttermilk Biscuits

Click Here to Print: Buttermilk Biscuits

Homemade buttermilk biscuit right out of the oven with homemade blueberry jam. OH. MY. GOODNESS.

A buttermilk biscuit right out of the oven with homemade blueberry jam. OH. MY. GOODNESS.

A friend at work and I have been sharing homemade goodies a lot lately!

I think it started with her Christmas chocolates.  Then there was one of Ozzy’s leftover birthday cupcakes, a piece of her husband’s birthday carrot cake, a chocolate chip scone… and maybe another thing or two…

Today she gave me homemade blueberry jam.

OH. MY. GOODNESS.

I planned on waiting until the weekend to make biscuits to pair with it, but when Ozzy said he wanted to cook after school today, I was all about making biscuits at 4:30 on a Thursday!

I shared this recipe before when I posted Buttermilk Biscuit Breakfast Sammies with Home Fries.

However, I thought this occasion called for it to be shared again!

P.S. If you don’t have a friend who makes homemade blueberry jam, I suggest you find one! ;)

Ingredients:

  • 2 c flour, plus more for working with the dough
  • 2 t baking powder
  • ¼ t baking soda
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • ½ c cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • ½ c buttermilk, plus more for brushing tops
  • ½ cup half and half

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or fork or your fingertips until a course meal forms.
  4. Add buttermilk and half and half.
  5. Stir to combine.
  6. Dust a work surface with flour and get some on your hands. (The dough is still pretty gooey at this point, so don’t be afraid to use a descent amount of flour.)
  7. Dump the dough on the work surface and pat it down to be about 1 inch high.
  8. Turn a drinking glass upside down and rub the rim in flour (like you are salting a margarita glass).
  9. Use the glass to cut biscuits out of the dough and place them on the baking sheet.
  10. Reshape the scraps and repeat to make more.  For the last one, just shape it by hand.
  11. Brush the tops with buttermilk.
  12. Bake 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden.  Be careful not to burn the bottoms as they brown faster than the tops!

Here are some ideas to get your “kid cook” involved with this recipe:

  • He can whisk the dry ingredients.
  • Allow him to help pat down the dough and cut out the biscuits.
  • He can also help brush the buttermilk on top before baking.
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