Homemade Baby Food – but you’ll sneak a few tastes, too!

Parsnip and Golden Beets
I’ve worked this past week on compiling a baby food post for anyone seeking out ideas for making baby food at home. I don’t make baby food at home because I’m a store-bought skeptic. In fact, the last time I was at Target and looked at all the baby food options, I was a little bit blown away. It’s completely dizzying how much variety there is in stores these days. So I’m totally for buying baby food. But at .99 cents a pouch, I’ve still got the price beat by making it at home. With a two dollar butternut squash, I can make almost a dozen jars! I also love cooking and tasting and seasoning food for my girls. I find myself sneaking a few bites of their food and I love knowing exactly what goes into the stuff they eat.

Making baby food gets me into a zen-like state in the kitchen as well. I’m not exactly sure why, but I love the process. I love choosing ingredients, maybe even ingredients I don’t use very often, and making something tasty for my babies. I also love the complete blank slate that a six month old baby is in that high chair. They have never tried a single food and I get to show them everything I’ve ever tasted! Hey baby, this is guacamole – you can thank me later.

In this post I have a couple of techniques for you to apply to literally any fruit or vegetable you can find in the freezer aisle. Then I have a couple recipes from my favorite baby food book, Tyler Florence’s, Start Fresh, and then I have a couple original recipes based on what sounded good to me and what was on sale at the grocery store. You’ll soon see that I don’t exactly follow the “rules” of baby-feeding. I find the rules restrictive, paranoid and somewhat unnecessary. You do not need to only introduce your baby to one food a week.  If they have a reaction, it will most likely occur within 24 hours.  It also makes no sense to me to start babies off on something that could be mistaken for wet cardboard in flavor and texture (rice cereal – have you tasted that stuff?!)  It’s no wonder kids are expected to eat “kid food” when they are started off on bland carbs and not challenged very much in the variety category thereafter. I started both my babies off with fruits and vegetables and have alternated and given them something new nearly every day after we hit the solids stage.  If you get in the habit of changing up what your baby eats from the very beginning, then variety will become the norm in your house and they’ll never know that most other kids only eat brown food.  That’s another rant for another day.

Here’s some recipes for you new moms out there – send me any ideas you have, too!  I love new ideas that help me get out of my cooking ruts!

Apricots and Maple

Roasted Maple Apricots with Mint
Roasted Apricots with Maple Syrup and Mint

8 apricots, split in half
3-4 TBS pure maple syrup (avoid honey until a year old!)
2 sprigs mint (I have a fun chocolate mint plant in my backyard that I used)

Preheat your oven to 350F. Arrange the split apricots on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with maple syrup.  Sprinkle with cinnamon (if you wish) and roast for 20 minutes.  Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the mint leaves and pulse till combined.  Thin out with water if it’s too chunky.  I like to freeze baby food in muffin tins or ice cube trays and then once frozen, I store the cubes in a freezer bag for easy access.  I just label the bags with what’s inside and when I made it!

Avocado Pineapple and Yogurt

Banana Avocado Pineapple Yogurt
Banana Avocado and Pineapple Yogurt*

1/2 avocado
1 small banana (or half a large)
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1/4 cup whole fat, plain yogurt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  This doesn’t keep well the next day (it discolors – still tastes fine, but it turns a weird gray from the avocado) so best to keep the portions small.  I cut this recipe in half and Ellie ate it over the course of two days.

*from Start Fresh

Carrot Apple and Mango Puree
Carrot, Mango and Apple Puree

I made this and loved the flavors!  I think it needs longer than 25 minutes roasting – maybe because my oven is on the cool side.  But I think roasting mango alongside carrots doesn’t quite work because carrots and apple take way longer than a mango to roast and then your mango loses a lot of its water.  So, in my opinion, I would roast the carrots and apples together and then add in the mango at the end, or just when you blend.  Make sure you line your pan with foil.  The sugars in the mango will glue themselves to your pan if you don’t! – from Start Fresh

Frozen Peach
Frozen Fruit Baby Food

I love making baby food from frozen fruits and vegetables! There’s always an organic option if that’s important to you, and fruits and veggies are often flash frozen at the peak of freshness.  The only fruit I’ve encountered that isn’t so great frozen is mango. Everything else seems really ripe and awesome.  Here’s what I do:

1 bag frozen fruit – 8 oz (in the pic above it was a bag of peaches)
1 TBS unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla or cinnamon or any spice you want to experiment with!

In a large saucepan, add the frozen fruit and butter and a splash of water.  Cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble and the fruit thaws.  Stir in your vanilla or cinnamon and let it simmer for a bit longer, smashing up chunks of the fruit.  Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth!

Frozen Spinach
Frozen Vegetable Baby Food

8 oz frozen vegetables – in the pic above, I used frozen spinach
2 TBS butter
a pinch of salt
a splash (1/4 cup) of water)

In a large pan, add the vegetables and a splash of water and bring to a simmer. If you’re using spinach, you won’t need that water. Most other veggies could use a little moisture, and if you’re using peas, add enough to where they boil in the water because you’ll just strain the peas out when you puree and add water to thin out the consistency. Add the butter and salt and stir until melted and then blend until smooth.

Parsnip and Golden Beets
Parsnip and Golden Beet Mash

3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
4 small golden beets, peeled and chopped
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS butter
1/2 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable stock

Heat your oven to 375 and toss the beets and parsnips with oil and roast until softened and slightly browned, about 25 minutes.  Transfer to a food processor and add a tablespoon of butter and the chicken or vegetable stock and process until smooth.  You may need to add a bit more stock to get a smoother texture, but if you’re baby can handle chunky stuff, go for it.  This has a FABULOUS flavor.  There’s something magical about parsnips and butter, so I definitely don’t skip out on adding the butter.  Fat is good for baby’s brain development.  Don’t hold back! This is the puree you’ll want to eat, too.  It’d be a great substitute for mashed potatoes at a family dinner!

There you are, my friends.  I hope some of these recipes help you explore and try new things in your own kitchen!  Most all of these recipes can be altered to fit any combination of ingredients, so be creative! Add fresh herbs and onion or experiment with various seasonings like curry.  Have fun! That’s the whole point!

Turkey Sliders

Turkey Burgers with Cucumber Radish
We’ve been plugging away in the Palmer house, keeping ourselves alive and enjoying our lady babies. It’s shocking how little time I have to do extra things like take pictures of the food we eat so that I can write about it. I’m doing good most days to just get things on the table before someone needs a nap or a diaper change or to be held, all of which are pretty difficult while cooking or taking photographs. I say this to excuse myself for not writing for a month and to tell you that not everything is perfect all the time and I can’t and am not even trying to keep all the balls in the air that I used to. Looking back, having just one kid was a dadgum BREEZE. In fact, that’s when I started this blog – when Olive was just seven months old! My days are filled with super baby joy and crazy games of pretend and doing lots of laundry (Eleanor is a super spitter-upper) and cooking and reading endless Olivia books and knitting and sometimes working on my “real” job of editing photographs. It’s a whirlwind and I know that it will slow down soon and these babies won’t need me every five minutes.  But in the meantime, the meals coming out of here are going to be pretty basic, pretty tasty and pretty easy.

If you are in the stage of life where a little person is needing YOU every five minutes, you’ll appreciate this recipe.  It was mega easy. Super tasty. Didn’t miss the beef, AND it is covered in SriRancha.  That’s right, Sriracha sauce and ranch dressing.  Sriracha mixed with most things is wonderful, but mayo or ranch is especially awesome.  I topped them with super crunchy cucumber slices and icicle radish (hadn’t ever tried those before – they were a fun supermarket find and we loved them!) Try these tonight – you won’t be sorry!

Turkey Burgers

Turkey Sliders

1 lb ground turkey
1 shallot, diced (about 1/4 cup – you can use any kind of onion)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Slider hamburger buns

Toppings:
1/2 a cucumber, sliced thin
Any kind of radish, sliced
Slices of American cheese (although you could use any, but I like the traditional taste of American and how it melts)
Sriracha sauce and Ranch dressing, mixed.  Use a ratio of 3 parts Ranch to one part Sriracha

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, shallot, garlic, salt, pepper and cheese until well mixed.  Form into about 1/4 cup size patties and cook in a skillet until a thermometer inserted reads at least 160F. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, you should invest in one, and if you don’t want to invest in one, I would guess I cooked these for about 10 minutes per side on a medium-level heated cast iron skillet.

Turn on your oven’s broiler to high and place patties on a serving plate and top with slices of cheese (I used a quarter of a slice on each) and melt under the broiler.  Serve with generous amounts of SriRancha, cucumber and radish.

 

Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup

Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup - spin on the traditional Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup
I placed Olive’s bowl at the table first so it would have time to cool down while I got mine and Matt’s ready. I started hearing Olive saying, “Mmm!” and “This is so good and juicy, Mama” and at first I assumed she was putting on another one-act play because Olive hasn’t been too enthusiastic about meals, lately.  Certainly not enthusiastic enough to compliment the food.  Usually, it seems as if she just merely tolerates food until she can get down and play again.  And as I thought back while she was inhaling this soup, I remembered the last time she was this enthusiastic about food, it had very similar ingredients in a potato curry Matt made.  She is apparently our Asian flavor lover.  And I love that.  I love that she won’t bat an eye at cilantro, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce and lemongrass.  She will certainly protest if I try to get her to eat…lettuce, or something else benign like that.  But big, bold flavors are her bag (as long as it’s not SPICY!) And the occasional chorus of “mmm” and “this is good, Mama,” is so few and far between that I make mental note of the dishes that inspire that response in her.  I never thought I’d care so much about someone’s opinion of food until I had a child.  But sharing food and sharing a JOY of food is precious and even more so when that person is family.

We’ve done a few spins on classic dishes in the past and have loved the results. We’ve done biscuits and curry “gravy” and a green chili corn chowder and loved the fusion of classic American dishes and flavors from other cultures.  I made up a spin on the classic Campbell’s Chicken and Rice you may have grown up eating, but instead, included all the flavors we love from Asian cultures.  It was super comforting and would be fantastic for a cold, rainy day like we’re having today.  I didn’t have coconut milk, but I think it would be a fantastic addition in place of the heavy cream.  This soup is built with lots and lots of taste-testing along the way.  Every soup should be, I think.  So I’m giving approximate ingredient amounts, but I encourage you to taste and add things you love for yourself.  We added Sriracha (of course) and lots and lots of cilantro as a garnish and some tasty frozen Vietnamese egg rolls for a side and enjoyed the heck out of this dish.  I hope you do, too!  Happy Monday.

Chinese Chicken and Rice

Chinese Chicken and Rice Soup

2 cups shredded chicken from two chicken breasts or 4 chicken legs/thighs (bone in)
2 kaffir lime leaves
A two inch piece of peeled ginger
2 stalks lemongrass, split
1/2 white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk)
salt to taste
1 cup jasmine rice
1 carrot, diced small

In a large stock pot, add the (raw) chicken (bone-in) and cover with water till it’s submerged by abut 2 inches. Add the kaffir lime leaves (can be found at most chinese markets in the freezer or fridge section – this isn’t essential but it gives the soup that thing that I can’t describe but it’s wonderful), ginger, lemongrass, onion and garlic and bring the water to a boil.  Let the chicken boil until the internal temp registers at least 165 when inserted into the thickest part of the meat.  Remove the chicken, let it cool, and pull off all the meat.  Return the bones to the pot and let it continue to boil while you cook the rice.

In a small saucepan, add 1 3/4 cups water, a tablespoon of olive oil, the diced carrot and a pinch of salt and the cup of rice.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, stir and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes until tender.

Remove the chicken bones, the lemongrass and onion and discard.  Return the shredded meat to the pot.  Add the vinegar, sugar, fish sauce and salt to the broth until it tastes…right. 🙂 This is the point where you need to trust your palate. You may like it with more vinegar or more sugar, more fish sauce, whatever.  I tasted and adjusted and then added the heavy cream.

Spoon rice into bowls and ladle the chicken soup on top.  Garnish with LOTS of cilantro and serve!

Roasted Coriander Chicken

Cinnamon Coriander Roast Chicken
This is a fabulous way to revive the same ol’ chicken recipes you’ve been using every week for your family.  We came across this flavor combination years ago from Michael Symon but I’ve done this so many times I’ve strayed pretty far from the original recipe for chicken wings and have adapted it to be a wonderful roasted chicken dish.  Have you ever used coriander seeds in your cooking before?  It’s got this tutti-fruity flavor that reminds me of Fruity Pebbles cereal (don’t be horrified, it’s actually really good).  And combine that flavor with cinnamon and the smokiness of cumin and something kind of magical happens.

If you have a problem spending money on a spice you hardly use, let me be the first to direct you to the Ghandi Bazaar on 34th Street here in Lubbock.  If you don’t live in Lubbock, find a local Indian food market or some kind of ethnic market because they sell spices CHEAP.  Why? Because they USE THEM A LOT.  It’s a staple to most other cultures like flour and sugar is to an American.  We bought a 16 oz bag of coriander seeds at Ghandi Bazaar for $2!  That sure beats a tiny jar for $4.50 at the grocery store.  I don’t think I’ll ever use it up…unless I keep making this chicken…which I need to do this week.
Cinnamon Coriander Chicken

Roasted Coriander Chicken

1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or pre-cut, but make sure it’s bone-in and skin on)
1/4 cup crushed coriander seeds
1 TBS cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
1 TBS kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large, ziplock bag, add the chicken pieces and the spices and rub everything around until the chicken is completely coated.  Pour in the olive oil and mush the bag around again, making sure (to the best of your ability) that all the chicken is coated relatively even.

In a 9×13″ glass pan, or on a cooking rack over a rimmed baking sheet sprayed with oil, add the chicken, evenly spaced apart.  Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 165 in the thickest piece. I can’t cook chicken without a meat thermometer, so I can’t tell you an exact time.  I just start taking the temp after 30 minutes and leave it in there if it’s not done. 

*so good I made it twice on this blog 😉 with slightly different ratios this time.  See?  I change it all the time.  But it’s always good!

Chicken Tikka Masandwiches

Chicken Tikka Sandwich with Cucumbers
I made one of our favorite Indian dishes the other day from a recipe I saw in the latest issue of Real Simple Magazine and it turned out great!  We had a ton of leftovers and so the next day, I decided to turn them into these amazing little sub sandwiches.  With tons of cilantro, crunchy cucumber and cold sour cream to offset the spicy chicken, it became the perfect sandwich.  I highly recommend doing this original recipe and then adapting it into these tasty little sandwiches.  It would also make an amazing wrap with black beans and rice!

Chicken Tikka Sandwich Shredded Chicken Tikka Sandwich

Chicken Tikka Masala (sandwiches)

1-15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons garam masala
salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 and I used bone-in and the bones came right out – no problem)
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a 4-6 quart slow cooker, add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomato paste and spices and stir and taste for seasoning.  Place the chicken thighs over the tomato mixture and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4.  Shred the chicken and remove bones (if you used bone-in).  Stir in the heavy cream and let it keep cooking for about 10 minutes while you get everything else ready.  Serve over rice with lots of cilantro, or make these sandwiches by splitting hoagie rolls down the center and layering the chicken with sour cream and topping with fresh sliced cucumber and cilantro.  And garnish with lots of sriracha sauce for extra spice!

The Best Appetizer, Ever

warm dates with olive oil and salt
Okay, so it’s not spinach artichoke dip (the best junky appetizer, ever) but I love it. It’s just three ingredients! It’s salty, sweet, chewy, and indulgent all in one! It’s so easy that it hardly qualifies to be a blog post, but I can’t help it because we love it so much we have it at least once a week so I wanted to share it with you.  I present to you: Warmed dates with olive oil and kosher salt. That’s it.  Matt read about this appetizer in a book I got for him for Christmas called Delancey.  We ate at Delancey’s in Seattle when we were there last year and had some of the best pizza of our lives.  It’s a cute restaurant owned by a husband/wife duo and the book is the tale of their beginnings in the food world and how they combined their talents in opening the perfect pizza shop.  He bakes the pizza and she takes care of appetizers and desserts. It’s kind of a fantasy of Matt’s to do the same and own a brick oven style pizza joint. I could totally run the apps and desserts.  Maybe one day we will after our children are old enough to be our waitstaff 😉

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These warmed dates are in that book – just a simple appetizer that are completely satisfying.  I could honestly have these dates with a slice of Matt’s bread and be totally happy for dinner.  It seems weird and too simple, but it just works.  Simply heat fresh dates on the stove in some good olive oil until they are slightly sizzling.  Then, sprinkle with kosher salt and serve warm.  Amazing and easy and spiffs up your dinner in about 15 seconds.  Also, our opinionated three year old loves them.

Warmed Dates with Olive Oil and Kosher Salt

Apricot Cream Scones

apricot white chocolate cream scones
Here’s a wonderful recipe I’ve done countless ways over the past few months and it’s delicious every time.  Quick, easy and amazingly fluffy on the inside while being crispy on the outside – these scones are an amazing way to make breakfast better.  Today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite flavor combinations: apricot and white chocolate.  However, anything you want to add will work. I’ve done cheddar and chives for a savory version, a simple version with just currents and then just plain for the most amazing biscuits! This recipe comes from The Best New Recipe cookbook and so you know the recipes have been endlessly tested and work.  I loved this recipe because I had it memorized the first time I did it.  Four ingredients.  Doesn’t get easier than that.  No cutting in butter – these scones/biscuits/whatever you want to call them have just heavy cream!  I even skip the patting out and cutting into triangle method that Best New calls for and make it even easier by just making these drop-style.

I hope you add this to your arsenal of recipes to whip out when company arrives or a friend drops by for coffee (that still happens in my head, although not so much in reality).  My white chocolate chips got kind of torched, but no scone was left behind.
apricot cream scones

Apricot Cream Scones

10 ounces (2 cups, but start weighing your flour!) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Add-Ins:
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped, dried apricots

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or spray with oil.  Whisk together the dry ingredients, stir in the white chocolate and apricots and then with a fork, whip in the cream.  It gets super sticky and super hard to stir.  If it seems too dry, add a splash or two more.  I usually add just a bit more.  Then, by the spoonful, drop mounds onto your baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Brush the tops of the scones with more heavy cream and bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve immediately with butter.

Crunchy Coconut Crusted Fish Tacos with Sriracha Mayo

crunchy coconut fish tacos with sirracha mayo
This was a fabulous meal last night.  I love the combination of coconut shrimp, but had no shrimp on hand and so I did the same crust on cut up fillets of tilapia and it worked perfectly.  We made our quick, crunchy cabbage slaw and srirracha mayo and it was the perfect combination: crunchy, sweet, spicy and satisfying! I did a different version of this with my corn slaw recipe, but the addition of the coconut has made it my new favorite! And Olive ate hers deconstructed (who cares) and gave the fish her “more, please” seal of approval.

Mealtimes around here have become more routine.  I don’t have as much time to plan out weekly menus or to be creative with new riffs on old classics.  I suppose you could say I’m just keeping us alive!  But I do make an effort to offer variety and color and make most meals, although there’s the very necessary trip to Torchy’s about once a week 🙂 I’ve learned to give myself a break from the demands of perfection (a struggle of mine) since this sweet baby came along in November.  I think with every child you have, you get one step further away from the possibility of having all your ducks in a constant, shiny row.  And I am kinda digging it.  I think everyone feels a little bit happier when I don’t consider frozen chicken nuggets to be some sort of personal failure.  😉

coconut fish tacos

Crunchy Coconut Crusted Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw and Sriracha Mayo

For the Fish:
3 Tilapia (or other white fish) fillets
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour

For the Slaw:
2 cups chopped purple cabbage
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
2 carrots, shredded
1/4 cup cilantro
1/3 cup mayo
1 TBS red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the fish into 1/2 inch strips and season with salt and pepper.  Set up three bowls: the first with flour, the second with the two beaten eggs and the third with the coconut/panko combination.  Dredge each piece of fish in flour, then egg, then coconut/panko and set on a paper towel to rest while you do the remaining pieces.  Heat up olive or coconut oil in a pan and fry the fish till they are golden on each side and place on a paper towel or baking rack to drain.  Keep warm in a 200 degree oven while you get the rest of dinner prepared.

For the slaw: combine all the ingredients and adjust seasoning as you like.  More vinegar, salt or pepper.  For the Sriracha mayo, just add sriracha to mayo.  Duh.  Not much to it, but it’s amazing with these tacos.  I did about a 1/4 cup to 1 TBS ratio for ours.  Adjust based on your desired level of spiciness!  To serve, start with a good amount of the mayo on a tortilla, add two fish sticks and plenty of slaw.  Enjoy!

 

Cheesy Cornmeal Waffles with Spicy Honey

Smoked Gruyere Cornmeal Waffles with Spicy Honey Smoked Gruyere Cornmeal Waffles
Parks and Recreation was one of our favorite shows of all time.  We were sad to see it end a few weeks ago and had to cook something special for the finale.  I debated quite a lot about what to cook.  I could’ve done a plain hamburger inspired by the episode where Ron and Chris battle it out in a food war. We thought about doing bacon wrapped shrimp served with all the bacon and eggs the store had to offer, but I figured that might be a tad wasteful. And so we settled on waffles, as Leslie Knope would’ve wanted.  I decided to do a savory waffle with a side of bacon and plenty of melted butter and Mike’s Hot Honey on top.  Mike’s makes some amazingly spicy and delicious honey that we love putting on our pizza crusts and it’s really good on so many things like buffalo wings or smoked sausages, but it was especially good on top of this cheesy waffle!

Smoked Gruyere Cornmeal Waffles and Spicy Honey

 

Cheesy Cornmeal Waffles with Hot Honey

  • Servings: about 8 Belgian waffles
  • Print

 

  • 1 cup of self rising flour
  • 1 cup of all purpose cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil

Get your waffle iron heating up.  In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients along with the cheese and scallions.  In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, water and oil until well blended.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat with a fork until no dry parts remain.  Cook in a waffle iron and keep warm in a 200 degree oven until you’re finished cooking all the waffles.  Serve with hot honey, regular syrup, sweet bbq sauce, or anything you can think of. Hey, why not a fried egg on top?! And make sure you have plenty of crispy bacon alongside.  Enjoy!

 

Savory Vegetable Souffles – Meatless Mondays Never Tasted So Good

Brussels Sprout and Cheddar Souffle Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Souffle
Happy Monday After Daylight Savings Time!  This will be a hard week for many, getting used to the time change.  I love it once the adjustment takes place because I LOVE that it stays light outside till nearly 8:30 in the spring and nearly 10 in the summer.  We get to play later (it seems) and it’s important to not feel so closed in after months of the cold, dark evenings of winter.

I’ve been in a new, happy rut, lately.  On most Mondays lately, I’ve been making a vegetable souffle.  I hardly ever have my act together for dinner on Monday and I usually haven’t been to the store for the week (like today), but I nearly always have some sort of leftover veg in the fridge and (usually) four eggs.  Voila – this beautiful souffle, big enough for all of us to eat more than a big portion.  I’d say it would serve 4 as a side dish or 2.5 (like us) as a main. And it’s so versatile!Brussels Sprouts Souffle
The pics above were made with Brussels sprouts and cheddar and the pics below were spinach and gruyere.  I’ve done leftover broccoli with white cheddar, leek, and asparagus, too!  If you have eggs, cheese and some leftover vegetables, you have a meal!  And a really good one.  Every time I have made this, Olive has said, “this is a good meal, Mama.” Good enough for me!  It’s a wonderful vehicle for getting more vegetables into your little people, as well.
Spinach and Parmesan Souffle

Savory Vegetable Souffles

  • Servings: 4-6 as a side
  • Print

1/3 cup grated parmesan or fine bread crumbs
2 cups cooked vegetables, finely chopped.  Use boiled brussels sprouts, spinach, leeks, asparagus, kale, whatever floats your boat!
5 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
4 eggs, room temp and separated
1/2 cup grated hard cheese – cheddar, gruyere, gouda, romano, parm, etc

Heat the oven to 375F. Butter a 6-cup souffle dish or 6 one cup ramekins, if you want everyone to have a nice, neat side dish of their very own.  Coat the sides of the dish with cheese or breadcrumbs. Cook your vegetable in salted boiling water until tender.  Drain and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the 1/4 cup butter over medium heat, stir in the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and cook until the sauce has thickened, whisking the entire time.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a splash more milk if it gets too thick (you want a thick gravy consistency).  Set aside off the heat.  Into your egg yolks, whisk in about 1/2 cup of the hot cream sauce to warm them and then return them to the rest of the sauce and whisk to incorporate.  Stir in the cheese and when it’s melted, fold in the vegetables.

With a mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff.  Stir a quarter of them into the souffle base and then fold in the remainder until no white streaks show.  Bake souffles on a rimmed baking sheet in the middle of the oven until risen and golden, 30-35 minutes.  The middle will be slightly wobbly if you’ve made it in one large dish.  Serve immediately!

*recipe adapted from The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone cookbook, which is completely fantastic so far.  Hasn’t steered us wrong, yet!

 

 

 

Spinach and Parmesan Souffles