Charlie is growing up so fast!
Crawling, talking, standing on his own, and almost WALKING! With all these new and exciting developmental milestones being checked off, I can honestly say that the one that worried me the most was his new desire to feed himself.
About 3 months ago Charlie decided “I can do it myself”. Watching my little man shovel handfuls of “O” shaped cereal with his chubby little fingers, into his tiny little mouth TERRIFIED me!! To top it off, he didn’t even have any teeth yet! Soft, easy to handle, and healthy foods were needed STAT!
Although I haven’t quite retired my food processor just yet (see Cooking for Charlie: Homemade Baby Food Recipes for his favorite purees), I created some quick and easy, go-to finger foods for babies and toddlers to satisfy Charlie’s appetite and new-found independence.
Roasted Fruits and Veggies
Roasting fruits and veggies helps to soften up the bites so my “toothless Joe” could chew them more easily. It also enhances the flavor of many foods without having to pile on a ton of added ingredients.
- 1 Sweet Potato- skinned & diced into chunks
- 1 Yam- skinned & diced into chunks
- 2 Apples, peeled & cut into quarters
- Extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, & cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place prepared fruit and veggies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle all with EVOO. Sprinkle sweet potato and yam with salt and pepper. Dust apples with cinnamon. Place in the oven and roast for 45-50 minutes, until fruit and veggies are fork tender but not charred. Let stand until they are cool enough tho handle. Dice fruit and veggies into bitseze pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
For Longer Storage
After dicing fruits and veggies into bite size pieces, place food onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Be sure to separate food as best you can so food does not freeze in clumps.
Place baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour (until bite size pieces are completely frozen through).
Place frozen bites into airtight freezer bags and remove remaining air from bag.
Return to freezer.
Cheese Tortillini and Spinach Gnocchi
Charlie is a big fan of cheese tortellini. No complaints here – they’re so easy to prepare. Recently I tried adding some spinach gnocchi to incorporate more greens into his finger foods and it seemed to be a hit! Once he got used to the pastas on their own, I added lemon butter, marinara, or pesto sauces to liven it up.
- Prepackaged cheese tortellini
- Prepackaged spinach gnocchi
- Favorite store bought mainara or pesto sauce
- Lemon butter sauce – melt 2 tbsp butter and juice of 1/2 a lemon in a saucepan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook tortellini and gnocchi according to package directions. Heat sauce in saucepan. Drain pasta from water when it reaches al dente. Toss drained tortellini and gnocchi in heated sauce. Cook for 5 minutes in sauce, then set aside to cool. Serve.
Turkey and Cheese Quesadilla
- Deli style thin sliced turkey (you can also use thin sliced ham, chicken, roast beef, etc.)
- Cheddar cheese (I used sliced but shredded works as well)
- Whole grain tortilla
Add cheese and sliced turkey to one 1/2 of the tortilla. Fold over the other side of the tortilla to cover cheese and turkey. Place in a frying pan on medium heat until cheese is melter and quesadilla is heated through. Set aside to cool. Cut into bite size pieces. Store leftover quesadilla in an airtight bag, and use as needed.