Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Homemade Baby Food: Spaghetti

Whenever my daughter was old enough to begin eating solids, I decided I wanted to make her food myself.  It's not that I'm anti-jar food, but I wanted to save money and liked the idea of knowing what is in her food.

Before I go any further, let me say one thing.  Sometimes when I'm reading other blogs I wonder how people can be SO organized and get SO much done while being a mom.  Well, let me assure you that my house is NOT always clean (it's rarely ALL clean at the same time--I do certain chores each day of the week) and I only have ONE child right now, plus I'm home most of the time.  I make time to do things like this, even though the house needs more attention.  So, PLEASE don't think that taking time to make her food means I have it all together... if you could only see the items scattered all over the floor at this very moment.  ;)  (Extra note:  I got VERY little done today because M wasn't feeling very well, so seriously... making this was one of the FEW things I accomplished today!)

Anyway, I made a trip to the store yesterday and purchased the items below.  This includes chicken tenderloins, four sweet potatoes, two avocados, six kiwis, grapes, nine-ish (?) bananas, and tomato paste.  I realize the tomato paste seems a little out of place here, but I decided to go that route instead of fresh tomatoes this time... maybe next time we'll have some fresh ones from our garden.  ;)

When I first started out making my daughter's baby food, it seemed intimidating, like it would be a lot of work, but it really isn't!  Yes, it is more difficult than opening a jar, but by taking some time, you can prepare a lot of food to last a while.  So, I thought I would do a 'series' of sorts on how I make baby food.  I'm NOT an expert, and I'm NOT saying that my way is the best way.  This is just how I'm choosing to do things.  I get some of my info off of THIS site.  So, if you want to journey along with me, pull up a chair.  Today we're making spaghetti with chicken.  :)  I realize it would probably taste better with beef, but chicken was cheaper yesterday, so there ya go.

My daughter's pediatrician said a basic jar sauce would be fine since she's almost a year old, but I decided to try and make my own, with a little help from tomato paste to get me started.  ;)  

Here are the ingredients I used:
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4ish tsp garlic powder
First I combined the tomato paste with the water.  I added the water slowly, which made it a little easier to mix with the paste.

I put the burner on a low to medium low heat and kept stirring until it combined smoothly.

Then I added the basil and garlic powder.

I want to know why blogger hates me and makes some of my pictures turn like this.  Anybody know why??
Once the seasonings were incorporated (I feel like I'm on a cooking show), I turned up the heat just a little to make sure everything was heated through.  Again, I don't know if this was actually necessary since I wasn't going to serve it to my daughter hot, but I chose to do it this way.

During this time I was cooking my spaghetti noodles, but I imagine we don't need a lot of explanation for that step.  I didn't measure out a certain amount of noodles, so just cook however many you desire.  I actually ended up making two batches because I had enough sauce.  (I'm TERRIBLE at guessing how much pasta to make.  I always seem to make too much or too little!) Once they were cooked, I drained and rinsed them off to let them cool before placing them in my food processor.

Yes, I'm a Fightin' Texas Aggie.  WHOOP! :)
Now, obviously, I pureed the noodles.  I pureed until I couldn't puree any more.  Sadly, I forgot to take an 'after' shot, but just use your imagination.  Then, I poured in half of my sauce.  It's tasted pretty good that way, and my daughter seemed to like it, so that's what I decided to do!  :)

Yum?  Okay, I know it doesn't look great, but remember, this is baby food.  It actually tasted pretty good though!  

I decided to add some chicken for some protein, so I just baked a few pieces of chicken tenders at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.  I didn't use all of the chicken below for the spaghetti.  Some of it is to add to other things.

They were actually a little overcooked, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm really paranoid about chicken being done, especially if my baby girl is going to eat it!  ;)  Anyway, after it was done, I cut each piece in half and threw it in the food processor.  I wanted TINY pieces, as you can see.  ;)

Afterwards, I simply mixed some of the chicken with the spaghetti.  It got a little thicker once I added the chicken, but I decided to just wait and add a little water to individual servings as needed later on.

Once the chicken and spaghetti were combined, it was time to freeze!  This can be done in different ways.  Sometimes I use ice cube trays, but since I'm a little lazy about cleaning the trays, I've been using a different method.  I just take a cookie sheet, put some wax paper on top of it, then put on some clumps of food.  After I'm done, I cover it with some cling wrap and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours or more.  

Once each 'clump' (for lack of a better word) is completely frozen, I remove them and place them in a labeled freezer bag.  You want to make sure they aren't soft when you place them in the bag, otherwise they'll get stuck together when you place them in the freezer again.  (Can you tell I've learned that the hard way?)  ;)

Now I have several meals for baby girl!  (I have more than is shown above)  :)  This cost less than $3 to make, by the math I just did in my head!  Just take it out the day before and let it thaw in the fridge.  I'm bad about taking it out early, but I'm guessing that's the best way to thaw it!  ;)

Next up: Sweet Potatoes!  (which is MUCH less complicated) :)

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