Meals and finger foods for your baby and toddler don't have to be bland, boring or time consuming. Here are 3 finger foods for baby recipes packed with wholesome vegetables and nutrients that will have your children devouring each bite and asking for more!
These recipes are a great way to introduce your baby to a wide range of flavors after they have got a handle on the basics.
All these recipes are inspired by the River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook. Each recipe has been slightly adapted from the original.
Chicken and Vegetable Pies
This is a perfect recipe for toddlers on-the-go and babies who are advanced in the weaning stage. You can always start with simple ingredients like sweet potato and cheese and then add more vegetables and herbs as your baby's taste buds develop.
These pies can be eaten warm and are great cold. They are a perfect portable lunch, dinner or snack and a wonderful alternative to boring on-the-go food.
- 1 lb (500g) shortcrust pastry (use all-butter shortcrust if using ready made)
- 1 organic chicken breast or 2 chicken thighs
- 1 medium potato
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 medium carrot
- 4 florets of broccoli
- A dash of milk
- Knob of butter (optional)
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion (chopped finely)
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- 1 grated zucchini
- 2 handfuls of chopped spinach
- 1/4 cup (50g) of Cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peel and boil potatoes and carrots for 20 minutes or until soft. Add the broccoli to the water for the last 10 minutes. Drain and mash with milk and a knob of butter. Set aside to cool.
- Brush the chicken thighs or breast with olive oil, put them in a baking dish and cover with tin foil. Bake for 40 minutes (50 minutes if meat is on the bone). When the chicken is cooked through, take out of the oven and set it aside to cool.
- Finely chop onions and fry for 3 minutes or until soft. Add the crushed garlic and the grated zucchini and fry until tender. Add the spinach and fry for a further 2 minutes. Set the mixture aside to cool.
- Shred the cooled chicken and put it in a large bowl with the mashed potato mixture and fried zucchini mixture. Add the grated cheese and mix until all the ingredients are combined.
- Roll out the shortcrust pastry fairly thin on a floured surface. Cut 7-8 circles, 12 cm in diameter using a small plate or an upside down bowl as a guide.
- Add a dessert spoon or two on one side of the pastry circle, fold the pastry over to enclose the filling and press the edges firmly to seal. Continue to make pies until the mixture and/or pastry runs out. The recipe makes approximately 8 pies.
These pies are freezer friendly. Freeze the assembled pies, uncooked and defrost completely before baking.
Mini Zucchini Polpette
This is a fuss free, fast recipe and these polpette or vegetarian "meatballs" are a perfect healthy snack for your toddler when you are out and about. They are delicious warm or cold.
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 3 grated zucchinis
- 1 clove crushed garlic (optional)
- Grated zest of half a lemon
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup (50g) buffalo mozzarella or Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup (50g) breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic until soft, add the grated zucchini and cook for 10 - 15 minutes until tender and turning golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- Once cool, mix with the grated lemon zest, egg, grated cheese and breadcrumbs. The mixture will be thick and sticky. Make small round balls and put them on a baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
They can be frozen as well. Freeze the uncooked polpette and defrost before baking.
Sweet Potato Fish Cakes
Fish cakes are an excellent way to introduce your baby to fish. You can also experiment with fish types as they become more adventurous. Try sustainably caught cod, salmon, haddock and/or mackerel.
- 1 medium potato
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 tbsp of parsley
- 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
- 3 fish fillets (400g)
- 2 cups (100g) breadcrumbs (blitz 2 pieces of bread with a dash of olive oil in food processor - experiment with different types of bread)
- Preheat oven to 380 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peel, chop and boil potato and sweet potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain potatoes and mash with a dash of milk. Set aside to cool.
- Brush the fish fillets with a small amount of olive oil and bake in an oven dish for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside to cool.
- Once the fish is cool, flake it apart and add it to the mashed potato, parsley, lemon juice and mix. Roll the mixture into small balls and flatten into about 2 inch diameter patties no more that half an inch thick. Coat each patty in a layer of breadcrumbs.
- You can either fry or bake these fish cakes. To bake, put them on a baking tray and cook them at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. To fry, heat a small amount of olive oil in a non stick frying pan. Add the fish cakes and fry each side for 3 minutes or until piping hot in the middle and golden brown on the outside.
All recipes are inspired by the River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook.
Photo credit: Marina Mikus