Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Freezer Cooking #7- Toddler Finger Foods



Our little one is growing up FAST and that means he is eating more and more!   He is still allergic to cow’s milk so I have to pre-plan all of his meals regardless of if we will be eating home, eating out, traveling ect… because I have learned I cannot count on a restaurant knowing what ingredients are in their food!   Doing “freezer prep” for toddler food makes it super easy to thaw & serve!


My little one seems to get “tired” of the same old stuff (and lately we have become all to familiar of him throwing his food on the floor!!) so each time I freezer cook for him, I try to mix it up a bit with a different flavor or concept, but still giving him important nutrients.


As I mentioned above-- my LO has an allergy to cow's milk- so I use vegan cheese, coconut milk, non-stick cooking spray etc... in my recipes-- you can use regular cow's milk products in the same quantities I have listed.  I also try to buy as much organic for him as possible—but I don’t always—so even if it says organic or doesn’t say at all—you can use your own discretion.


Something I will also mention is that you will definitely need a mini muffin pan (or TWO) to make this freezer cooking easier-- I still only have one and probably could have saved myself a lot of time if I borrowed my neighbors! If you don’t have a mini muffin pan you can improvise with most of the recipes and just roll everything into a ball or patty.  For the muffin recipes you can utilize a regular sized muffin tin and cut them in half.
What's on the menu for your Little One?

  • Southwest Style Mini Meatloaf (24-32)  Recipe inspiration from SavvyMom
  • Mini Barbeque Apple Chicken Muffins (24)  Recipe inspiration from SavvyMom
  • Spinach Cakes (14)
  • Zucchini Cups (24)  Recipe Adapted from SkinnyTaste
  • Chicken Apple Sausage & Sweet Potato Egg Muffins (24 regular sized)
Here is my grocery list: (don’t be alarmed! The list looks a bit long but most of the ingredients were already in my cabinet and are probably in yours! Everything in italics was already in my cabinet. Compare this list to your cabinets and cross out the items you won’t need to buy at the store. =) )

 Fresh Produce:

·         Large Sweet Onion (1)  

·         (1) Large Sweet Potato

·         Cloves of Garlic (4)

·          Large Apple (1)

·          (2) Zucchini Squash
Meat:

·         1 Ib. Ground Organic Chicken (I bought breasts and ground myself)

·         1 Ib. Ground Organic Beef

·         12 oz package Chicken Apple Sausage (I used Al Fresco Brand)
Grocery:

·         Breadcrumbs (I use Panko b/c they don’t have milk- use whatever kind you wish)

·         Wheat Bran

·         Mild Salsa

·         Barbeque Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)

·         Ketchup (Organic)

·         Dijon Mustard

·         Garlic Powder, Pepper, Onion Powder, Dried Sage

·         Olive Oil

·         Brown Sugar

·         Baby food Puree (1 container) – I use these since I have them leftover, you can use any other sort of vegetable grated or applesauce for this.

·         Gallon Sized Freezer Bags

·         Quart Sized Freezer Bags
Refrigerated:

·         Coconut Milk

·         Eggs (2 dozen)

·         Daiya Mozzarella Style Cheese Shreds

·         Daiya Cheddar Style Cheese Shreds

·         Vegan Mayonnaise (or you can use sour cream)
Frozen:

·         Frozen Chopped Spinach (16 oz bag) -- you can opt to use fresh also if you would like!

I label everything with name and date BEFORE I start:

  • Southwest Style Mini Meatloaf  (quart)
  • Mini Barbeque Apple Chicken Muffins (quart)
  • Spinach Cakes  (quart)
  • Zucchini Cups  (quart)
  • Chicken Apple Sausage & Sweet Potato Egg Muffins (gallon)
Now it’s time to get started! 
I did this freezer cooking a little different than my others—and did 1 item at a time instead of multi-tasking.   Recipes listed below in the order I did them:



Zucchini Muffins

(makes 24 mini muffins)



Ingredients:

·         (2) Zucchini Squash

·         (2) Eggs

·         ¼  cup finely diced onion (you can go ahead and finely dice an entire onion and reserve for the rest of the recipes in this series)

·         ½ cup Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds

·         ½ cup Panko Breadcrumbs

·         Black Pepper (a couple shakes)



Method:

1.      Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees.  Spray mini muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.

2.      Grate Zucchini into clean dish towel or layered paper towels.   Ring out as much water as you can.

3.      In a medium sized mixing bowl beat (2) eggs.  Add zucchini, onion, cheddar, panko and black pepper.  Mix well.

4.      Distribute mixture evenly between the 24 muffin tin cups.

5.      Bake 18-22 minutes or until browned/done.

6.      Remove from oven and cool slightly.  Transfer muffins to wire cooling rack. *you will need to lightly wash the muffin pan for recipes coming up.





While the Zucchini Muffins were cooking I started on the Sweet Potato Apple Chicken Egg Muffins:





Sweet Potato Apple Chicken Egg Muffins

(makes 24 regular sized muffins)



Ingredients:

·         (1) Large Sweet Potato

·         Chicken Apple Sausage (12oz)

·         ½ cup Coconut Milk


·         20 eggs

·         Black Pepper

*I had some leftover diced red pepper in the fridge I threw in also!

Method:

1.      Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. (24)

2.      Remove casings from Chicken Sausage (I used a knife and cut a seam the length of the sausage and then removed casing.)  In a skillet, brown & chop sausage well over medium heat until done.

3.      While sausage is browning peel & grate sweet potato.    Add grated sweet potato to pan with sausage and cook approx 5 additional minutes or until somewhat tender. (this is when I also threw in the diced red pepper from the fridge so if you have something you want to use up throw it in!)

4.      While sweet potato is cooking – start cracking the 20 eggs into a large mixing bowl.  Add ½ cup coconut milk (I only had vanilla flavored so that’s what I used!) and ground pepper (to taste).   Beat eggs well.

5.      Once sausage/sweet potato mixture is done- evenly distribute amongst the 24 muffin cups.   Now evenly distribute egg mixture into the muffin cups.

6.      Bake approximately 18-22 minutes, or until done (when you touch top of egg it should feel bouncy).

7.      Slightly cool and then transfer to wire-cooling rack.



While The Sweet Potato Apple Chicken Sausage Muffins were cooking I started working on the Southwest Mini Meatloafs:



Southwest Mini Meatloaf Muffins

(makes 24-32 mini muffins/meatballs)



Ingredients:

·         1 Ib Organic Ground Beef

·         (2) Garlic Cloves Minced

·         1 Container Baby Food Puree (I used carrot) *If you don’t have any purees you are trying to get rid of grate up a carrot or some other sort of veg and add!)

·         ¾ Cup Wheat Bran

·         ¼ Cup Panko Breadcrumbs

·         ¼ cup finely diced onion

·         ½ Cup Daiya Mozzarella or Cheddar Style Shreds

·         Black Pepper

·         ¾ Cup Mild Salsa

·         ¼ Cup Organic Ketchup

·         2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

·         3 Tbsp Brown Sugar

·         1 tsp Onion Powder



Method:

1.      Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees (should already be heated since you are already cooking!).  Spray mini muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray OR if you don’t have one- spray a baking sheet (with sides).

2.      Combine all of the above ingredients in medium sized mixing bowl.  Using a cookie scoop- distribute mixture amongst the 24 muffin cups or roll into small meatballs.  (I had some extra meat mixture left so I did 24 mini muffins + 6 small meatballs)

3.      Bake approximately 18-22 Minutes.

4.      Remove from oven and let cool slightly.  Transfer to wire cooling rack.



While Southwest Mini Meatloaf Muffins were baking I started the Spinach Cakes:



Spinach Cakes

(makes 14 spinach patties)



Ingredients:

·         16 oz bag Frozen Chopped Spinach

·         ½ cup Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds

·         (2) Eggs

·         1 tsp Garlic Powder

·         ½ Cup Panko Breadcrumbs

·         Black Pepper (a couple shakes!)



Method:

1.      Oven should be at 350 degrees.  Lightly spray baking sheet with non stick cooking spray.

2.      Place frozen spinach in a microwave-safe dish with lid and ¼ cup water.  Microwave on high 4 minutes.  Ring out spinach in clean dish towel or paper towels to drain excess water.

3.      In a medium sized mixing bowl beat 2 eggs.  Add spinach, cheddar, garlic powder, panko and pepper.   Mix well.

4.      Using a cookie scoop, scoop mixture onto baking sheet- flatten and form into the shape of a patty.

5.      Bake 350 for 10 minutes.  Flip Spinach Cakes over with a spatula.  Bake an additional 10 minutes.

6.      Remove from oven.  Cool slightly and transfer to a wire cooling rack.



While the Spinach Cakes were cooking I started the last recipe for Mini Barbeque Apple Chicken Muffins:



Mini Barbeque Apple Chicken Muffins:

(makes 24 mini muffins)



Ingredients:

·         1 Ib Ground Chicken (I used 2 breasts and ground myself in food processor- you could also use Ground Turkey)

·         ½ cup Panko Breadcrumbs

·         ½ cup Wheat Bran

·         1 Apple Finely diced

·         ½ cup Finely diced Onion

·         2 Cloves Garlic Minced

·         1 Tbsp Vegan Mayonnaise

·         ½ Tbsp Dried Sage

·         Black Pepper (a couple of shakes)

·         ¾ Cup BBQ Sauce

·         Olive Oil



Method:

1.      Oven should be at 350 degrees.  Spray mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2.      In a small skillet heat a drizzle of olive oil.  Saute the onion, garlic and apple approximately 5 minutes or until apple is soft.

3.      In a medium mixing bowl combine the ground chicken, panko, wheat bran, mayo, sage, bbq sauce and onion/apple mixture.  Mix well.

4.      Distribute mixture evenly amongst the 24 muffin tin cups.

5.      Bake 18-22 minutes or until done.

6.      Remove from oven and cool slightly.  Transfer muffins to wire cooling rack.



*As your items are cooling on the wire rack, you can transfer them onto a baking sheet or cutting board that fits in your freezer to “flash freeze” them.  Make sure they are not touching each other.  Once items are frozen- you can transfer them to your labeled Ziploc bags.



*To defrost- I usually put in microwave on defrost for 1 ½ minutes. 



Hope your little ones enjoy these recipes as much as mine does!  (and hopefully they help make mommies life simpler!)



~Melissa




2 comments:

  1. You know, these would be great as lunch box items for older kids too...pinned!

    ReplyDelete
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