I am thrilled to share with you some selected recipes from the Smart Bites for Baby cookbook for a feature on People.com.
I hope these recipes can help in creating a fun, stimulating and nutrient/vitamin-packed meals for your child.
For the book, you can purchase it at :
Baby Sushi with Salmon and Edamame
Sushi is a perfect power meal for kids that can be shaped into fun shapes and sizes, integrated with a variety of ingredients and packed with DHA Omega-3 fatty acid, protein, calcium and iron.
It is also a great meal on the go and packs well for lunchboxes and picnics.
4 cups cooked rice – brown rice or white rice
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 filet cooked salmon, broken into small bits
1/2 cup chopped cooked edamame beans, chopped
1. In a bowl, combine the cooked rice, preferably warm, with the vinegar, sesame seeds, chia seeds and salt.
2. Fold together with a large spatula, being careful not to break the rice (this would make the rice sticky and not fluffy).
3. Add the salmon and edamame and mix well.
4. Decorate with nori seaweed, carrot sticks or green peas.
Soft Udon Noodles with Sardines and Chives
Udon rice noodles are a great alternative to past dishes and has an interesting texture for kids – slippery and silky.
Paired with sardines, pomegranate and chives, this dish is full of antioxidents, Vitamin B12, DHA Omega-3 fatty acid, protein, and other vitamins and minerals.
5-6 pieces of dried kombu
¼ cup dried bonito flakes
4 cups udon rice noodles (about 1 pound)
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4-6 sardine fillets (with the bones carefully removed)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
1. Soak the kombu and bonito flakes in 3 cups of water, making sure the kombu pieces are well soaked. Set aside while you prepare the rest.
2. Boil the udon noodles according to package instructions, usually around 6-8 minutes. Drain and run cold waters over the noodles to stop the cooking process and avoid the noodles from sticking.
3. Make stock – drain the kombu and bonito through a strainer, catching the liquid in a pot. Add soy sauce. Heat on medium heat and let it simmer.
4. Add the sardine filets to the stock, allowing the sardines to break into small pieces.
5. In a small bowl, whip up the eggs for a minute with a fork until they become frothy and pale. Pour into the simmering stock and stir so that the eggs cook in a uniform way in the stock.
6. Add the chives, then the pomegranate seeds.
7. Divide the portion of the noodles among four separate bowls, and then pour the stock over them evenly. Serve immediately.
Hawaiian Halibut with Macadamia Nut and Flaxseed Crust
The macadamia nut crust gives a great crunchy texture that kids love – and makes a simple fish dish into an interesting sensory experience.
The nuts combined with the flaxseeds give it added DHA Omega 3 and fiber. This dish is a great source of protein, calcium and potassium.
1 cup macadamia nuts, ground
½ cup panko-style bread crumbs
1 tablespoon wheat germ
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 halibut steaks
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a bowl, mix together the nuts, bread crumbs, wheat germ, walnut oil and flaxseeds
3. Cover a baking tray with foil and brush it with canola oil. Place the halibut on the baking tray and sprinkle it with salt and pepper on both sides. Bake for 2-3 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the oven, and spread the nut mixture on top of the fish; pat it down.
5. Bake for another 4-5 minutes. The topping should be brown. Serve immediately with spinach on top (recipe follows).
Sautéed Spinach with Chia and Sesame Seeds
Getting kids to like spinach can sometimes be a challenge. Many times, it is about the texture – many kids dislike the mushy texture of plain cooked spinach. . Try serving the spinach with the halibut or another protein with sauce, integrating the flavors and textures – or mixing it with a bowl of rice or noodles. Your child may open up to the flavor of spinach if the texture is varied. Adding chia seeds is a quick way to add extra DHA Omega 3 to any dish, and this spinach recipe is rich with folic acid, calcium, vitamins C, D, and E, as well as the fatty acid.
1 pound fresh spinach leaves
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon fish sauce*
1. Wash and cut the spinach into smaller pieces. Peel and crush the garlic with the side of the knife, but without breaking it completely apart – it will only be used to infuse the dish and will be removed before serving.
2. Heat a pan with the oils on medium heat, and then add the garlic and fish sauce. Cook for 1 minute, and then add the spinach leaves, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until they soften and wilt.
3. Remove from the heat and discard the garlic clove.
4. Add the chia and sesame seeds and serve.
[*fish sauce (nuoc nam) is a Vietnamese sauce that is available in most supermarkets. You can also order it on amazon.com].
Chicken and Egg Domburi
Domburi is a rice-bowl dish that is popular in Japan for kids. It is a wonderful way to combine flavors and textures, and kids love the sweet gravy that is soaked up by the warm rice nestled beneath the chicken.
You can use different kinds of protein for this dish, such as fish, beef or tofu.
4 chicken thighs
5 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons mirin*
5 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cooking sake*
4 cups cooked brown or white rice
1. Cut the onion in half and then into thin slices. Cut the chicken into small chunks, discarding the skin. Chop the scallion into small pieces.
2. Spread the onions in a pan and add the soy sauce, mirin, water and sake. Cook on low to medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until the onion begins to soften.
3. Add the chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes, covered.
4. In a small bowl, whip the eggs into a foamy mix; add the scallions and pour over the chicken in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, covered, and remove from the heat while it is still soft and not completely cooked – the remaining heat will cook the eggs through.
5. Pour the entire mixture into four bowls filled with rice.
6. Serve immediately.
[* you can find mirin (a sweet sake based flavoring sauce) and cooking sake at many supermarkets or Whole Foods stores. If not, you can either find them at an Asian grocery store or order them on Amazon.com]
Miso Soup with Clams, Kale and Young Potatoes
Miso soup is a winner with kids because of its deep flavors. It is a versatile soup and can be combined with a variety of ingredients – which means you can make it different and interesting each time – adding fish, chicken, tofu, as well as different vegetables and legumes. In this dish, clams, kale and potatoes provide DHA Omega 3, Vitamin B12, folic acid, fiber, calcium, potassium and other vitamins and minerals.
1 pound fresh littleneck clams
1 cup young fingerling potatoes
6 cups cold water
1 large piece kombu seaweed*
2 tablespoons miso paste *
2 cups frozen kale, thawed
1 tablespoon chopped scallions
1. Scrub the clams, and place them in a bowl; cover it with a kitchen towel and refrigerate them while you prepare the soup.
2. Wash the potatoes and cut them into quarters. In a large pot, bring to a boil the potatoes with enough water to cover them. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a knife. Drain.
3. In another pot, combine the cold water and seaweed and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
4, Add the miso paste, kale and potatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
5. Add the clams and cook until all of the shells open up. Discard any clams that have not opened up after 4-5 minutes.
6. Sprinkle with scallions and serve warm.
[*you can find miso paste and kombu seaweed at many supermarkets and most Whole Foods stores. Otherwise you can order them on Amazon.com].
Goat Cheese Balls with Red Peppers, Walnuts and Chives
These cheese balls are festive and fun – and you can make them with your child as a project. You can substitute the toppings with other nuts, seeds or dried fruits, as well as fresh herbs, cereals or grains.
1 cup soft goat cheese
3 tablespoons chopped chives
3 tablespoons chopped red peppers
3 tablespoons chopped or crushed walnuts
1. Taking one tablespoonful of goat cheese at a time, place the cheese in the palm of your hand, and slowly roll into a ball. Continue until all of the cheese has been rolled into small balls.
2. Place the three toppings on separate plates.
3. Roll the cheese balls in the toppings until well covered.
4. Serve immediately.
Chocolate Sesame Cupcakes
Sesame seeds are a great source of DHA Omega 3, Vitamin B, protein, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, fiber and other minerals.
These cupcakes have a dense texture because of the ground sesames and are a great protein snack, as well as being a special treat, because of the rich chocolate.
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup ground sesame
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup warm water
¾ cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white sesame for decoration
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Prepare muffin tray with cupcake liners.
3. Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, flaxseeds, sesame, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
4. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, brown sugar, and vanilla until well blended and smooth.
5. Slowly add the flour mixture into the egg mixture and mix well.
6. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 cull with the batter, then sprinkle each with a bit of sesame.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, and let cool.