Friday, August 18, 2017

I generally cook most of the family's non-breakfast meals on Sunday afternoons and have done this for a while. Now that we have a toddler, this means I have to cook things that all of us will eat and that can be difficult since I'm picky, my wife is Indonesian, and our toddler is a toddler. Below I've laid out a few simple recipes that have worked well for us.
calories and nutritional info for taco meat and salsa recipe

General Goals

  • Not just carbs
  • Decent vegetable content (we all snack on fruits but not so much on vegetables)
  • Really easy to cook and store
  • Doesn't require cutting or anything so he (toddler) can feed himself
  • Inexpensive

Recipe 1 - Sort of Taco Meat

  • 3 lbs of ground turkey
  • 2 jars of salsa
  • 4 ounces of shredded cheddar
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • breadcrumbs
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • brown the ground turkey in a large saucepan
  • while that's happening, cut up the peppers and onions in a food processor
  • once the turkey is done, stir all ingredients together in the pan and add a cup of water
  • simmer while stirring for ~10 minutes
And that's it. Super-basic, he can eat it with a toddler spoon or just with his fingers, and most importantly...he will actually eat it. It takes ~20 minutes total to cook. My wife and I use chips with this and he (toddler) just eats the meat along with some fruit or an avocado, and this makes ~12 portions. Where we shop (HEB), the ingredients are ~$18, so it works out to ~$1.50 per portion. The approximate nutritional info is below:

calories and nutritional info for taco meat and salsa recipe

Recipe 2 - Japanese Restaurant-Style Fried Rice

  • 8 cups of rice (cooked...I use the brown rice in a bag stuff)
  • 2 cups of diced onion (I use frozen)
  • 3/4 cup of diced peppers (I use frozen)
  • 1/2 cup of peas (I use frozen)
  • 1/2 cup of carrots (I use frozen)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 8 tablespoons of soy sauce (I use kikkoman's low-sodium; if you want a slightly different taste, you could do half soy sauce and half teriyaki or half soy sauce and half sweet soy sauce) 
  • 12 eggs (you can use egg whites if you want)
  • favorite powdered seasoning (I use a garlic and pepper mix)
  • Boil the rice in a big pot
  • While it's boiling, saute the vegetables in another pan
  • Once vegetables are done (should only take 5-6 minutes), move them out of the pan and start cooking the eggs in it...basically, scramble them without adding normal scrambled egg ingredients
  • Rice should finish in the middle of cooking the eggs, so drain the water (and cut open the bags if you use the bagged stuff)
  • Once the eggs are done, put the butter, and soy sauce on top of the rice in its pot, then sprinkle as much of your seasoning as you want
  • Add the eggs to that pot, and stir for a few minutes
That's it. It tastes great and is very baby/toddler friendly. The ingredient list above makes ~8 servings. If you need to extend this because it isn't enough, you can always cook more, or you can supplement with protein (steak, chicken, shrimp, scallop, tofu, fish, more eggs). It also pairs well with a side of fruit or more vegetables (broccoli and zucchini in particular).

Where we shop, the ingredients are ~$9, so this works out to just above $1 per portion.

Recipe 3 - Crustless Quiche

  • 1 cup of chopped onion (I use frozen)
  • 10 ounces of chopped spinach (I use frozen)
  • 7 eggs
  • 4 cups shredded gouda cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of seasoning (I use salt and pepper)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Spray non-stick spray into a 9 inch baking dish
  • Saute the vegetables
  • Stir up all ingredients and put in the baking dish
  • Bake until eggs are done/solid (start at 30 minutes and check every 10 minutes after that if they aren't ready yet)
That's it. The ingredient list above makes 8 servings. Since this is basically carb free we usually pair it with a carb (usually fruit).

Where we shop, the ingredients are ~$6.50, so that's just under $1 per portion.

Other Meals

He gets some of his meals from daycare. He averages three lunches a week from them. For breakfast, he almost always eats a banana, and I will give him some cheerios if he is still hungry. He can have whole milk on demand. For snacks, he normally has an avocado at dinner, crackers and fruit in the afternoon, and eats grapes or oranges two or three times a day. 

He really loves grapes...he'll run to the refrigerator and scream 'ANGGUR!' which is Indonesian for grape and is equally adorable and annoying. He also screams no if you try to eat one of his grapes and will occasionally put one in your mouth and nod all wide-eyed like 'it's freaking awesome right?'. I'll stop now.

Other meals that we cycle in that we all love and are too basic to detail here include:
  • spaghetti with double sauce and half noodles
  • rotisserie chicken and fruit (we just buy the chicken from the grocery store)
  • mashed potatoes with spinach and sausage
  • frozen burritos (buy the wraps, pour salsa in them, chop sausage or egg, jalapenos, onions, and bell peppers into them, add cheese, and freeze)
  • jambalaya (buy the zataran's mix, add meat, jalapenos, and habaneros, and that's it)
  • salmon (put oil, lemon pepper, and almonds on it and bake it for 20 minutes)


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