Happy New Year!
I’m currently in the midst of the countdown to normal life resuming, where I head back to work and baby back to the childminder a couple of days a week. And part of being in that zone sees me peering into the freezer – specifically the drawer where all the baby grub is stored – and doing a stock check of what she’s got left before more batching commences.
So the rest of this week is going to see me frying, flipping and baking to get her some meals banked for the weeks ahead, some of which include some solo parenting stints. See here on that.
Anyway, the below are a range of things I always like to have in stock to take some pressure off on the days where there’s little time…or ingredients available. They are my essentials if you like. Most of them from online sources, but also I couldn’t have been without the Young Gums weaning book for inspo. I think I must’ve made about 60% of what’s in that book. Not got it? See here, like immediately.
Banana and spinach pancakes (vegetarian)
Perfect for a morning or afternoon snack, or even as part of a nibbly lunch.
Prep time is so minimal, as long as you’ve got a whizzer/food processor. We use our smoothie maker, a Vitamix, and that works just fine.
The recipe usually makes between 15-18 pancakes. You can freeze them and on the days you want to serve one up, you just defrost one in an airtight container at room temp. No need to reheat.
Black bean burgers (vegetarian)
‘Burger’n’beans’ is a regular (and loud) request from my little 20 month old. Which when bellowed in the middle of Sainsburys, may make people think I am heading to the frozen aisle for a Birdseye feast for the tot. Noooo. I make these burgers and usually pair them with some homemade baked beans – below – and some mash. One of my daughters absolute faves. The burgers pack a punch with the protein power in the beans and are sweetened up with sweetcorn and some cheese (I opt for subbing cheddar for Sainsburys Free From cheddar style grated cheese.)
Daddy’s stew (vegan)
This is a special concoction made by Mr Gooden himself and Elodie loves it. It’s hearty, packed with goodness and is stellar with some mashed potato. But also perfectly substantial on its own. A great option for a dinner or lunch to tuck into as a family. You can choose whatever veg you want really, it’s a bit of a ‘chuck it all in and see’ situation.
1 tbs coconut or olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 celery stick chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 carrot, diced
Handful of closed cup mushrooms
Few green beans, quartered
Handful of kale, cut the stalks off
Few florets of broccoli chopped up
Few tablespoons of frozen peas and sweetcorn
1 tin chopped toms
2 tins of white beans – we opt for 1 cannellini and 1 butter beans
3 tbs of buckwheat
1 tbs white quinoa
1 tbs flaxseed
750ml veggie stock
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp mild chilli powder
Heat oil in a large pan
Add onion, garlic and celery and fry for a few mins until softened
Add cubed sweet potato, plus spices, and fry for another few mins
Add tinned tomatoes and stock and bring to simmer
Add beans, buckwheat, quinoa and flaxseed – stir
Add your veg selection; carrots, mushrooms, green beans, kale, broccoli
Let simmer for 2-30 mins until veg is softened
Add frozen peas and sweetcorn for the final few mins
Salmon and sweet potato fishcakes (vegetarian/pescatarian)
These are yum and great as a simple light lunch. Elodie tends to have biiiiig breakkies, lighter lunches and then big dinners. So for lunch I might serve up just one of these fishcakes and some peas and sweetcorn. Done. Again I sub the cheese for the Sainsburys Free From cheddar style grated cheese.
Healthy baked beans (vegan)
Ahhh the baked bean. A staple of my childhood, adolescence, adulthood. Lols.
Who knew that they are in fact not baked at all. And that to make your own is super simple and much healthier? I have a batch of these in the freezer ALL THE TIME as they can really help bulk up a meal. For example, they go great with scrambled egg for a lunch or if you’ve got to do the food shop and only have a few sprouting potatoes rolling around in a drawer somewhere, potato wedges and beans it is!
Recipe here – but I always double all the ingredients and make a bigger batch as the passata I normally buy is usually around 600g not 300.
Veggie shreddies (vegetarian)
Another fab addition to most meals to get more veg in, especially for any kiddies who struggle with veg. Luckily with Elodie she still scoffs broccoli likes it’s about to run out but still, these are super quick and freezable. Perfect. I might serve them up with some poached cod and quinoa.
Veggie, beany chilli (vegan)
When I tell baby that she’s having chilli for dinner she lights up. I sometimes serve this with rice, other times quinoa. Either way, it gets scoffed.
Blueberry and coconut muffins
A simple sweet treat using Elodie’s all time favourite fruit, the blueberry. I freeze them and defrost at room temp in the morning for an afternoon snack. I caught on camera the first time she ever tried one of these, fresh and warm out of the oven. Her face was a picture, seconds before she took both of her hands and rammed the whole thing in her mouth. Loves them.
Recipe from the Young Gums cookbook, available here