Monday, January 17, 2011

Adventures in "Baby" Food Part Two

It seems so crazy that it was all the way back in August that I blogged about Makenzie just getting the hang of solids. Now, 5 months later, Makenzie is establishing her independence and mainly only wanting to feed herself. While everyone says, "Just feed her what you're eating" it's not always possible for us. I'm realizing that a lot of the foods we eat aren't the easiest things to feed a baby.

I have already been struggling to find healthy, yummy, inexpensive meals, now I have to add baby friendly meals to the criteria. It's getting to be quite the struggle!

Last week I made Sausage, Pepper and Onion Hoagies. All three of us loved them (although Makenzie didn't get the sausage part) and they were super easy so I thought I'd share.

Sausage, Pepper and Onion Hoagies
adapted from Simply Recipes


4 Italian Sausage Links (you can use sweet or hot or a combo of both, we used sweet)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2-3 Bell Peppers (you can use a variety of colors, I used green because they were cheaper. Also, I only used 2 Bell Peppers because they aren't Dirk's favorite and they were still so yummy but you can use 3 if you'd like)
4 garlic cloves, sliced into slivers
1 large sweet or yellow onion, sliced into 1/4-inch half-moons
15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp of Italian Seasoning
4 Hoagie Rolls
Mozzarella (you can use slices or cut off the block, we prefer to slice off the block so the slices are nice and thick)

1) Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pan that has a lid. When the oil is hot, add the sausages and brown them slowly. If they sizzle and crackle too much, turn the heat down. You want a gentle browning, not a sear. Cook for several minutes, turning them occasionally so they brown on all sides. When the sausages are browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

2) Increase the heat to high and add the onions and peppers. Toss so they get coated with the oil in the pan and sear them as well as you can, stirring every so often. You want some blackening. Once the onions and peppers soften, sprinkle some salt on them. Once you get some searing on the onions and peppers, add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

3) Add the tomatoes and Italian seasonings and stir well to combine. Add the sausages back in. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the peppers are soft the sausages are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

4) Split hoagie rolls. You can put the cheese on however you'd like but we LOVE cheese so here's how we did it. Place a piece of mozzarella on both sides of the hoagie roll. Place the sausage in the middle of the roll and top with pepper and onions. Place another piece of mozzarella on top of the sausage and peppers and microwave until melted.

There is quite a bit of sauce leftover so you can also use it as a sauce for pastas.

Recipe for little ones:

The above recipe minus the sausage and bread (I chose to omit the sausage but had we had all natural sausages I would have given them to her, the option is all yours)
1 lasagna "sheet"

1) Place the uncooked lasagna sheet in a plastic bag and give it a few hits with a metal spoon to break up into finger sized pieces. (You can use any pasta but I've found that this is the easiest way to have bite sized pasta without spending forever cutting and/or breaking it up)

2) Cook the pasta past the cooking time. I can't give you an exact time but it should be a little more mushy than you would prefer it.

3) Take about 3 tablespoons of the sauce; peppers, onions and all. Mush it up a bit with a fork.

4) Place the sauce on top of the pasta. Sprinkle with mozarella and mix it all up. It should be hot enough that it melts the cheese. Set aside until it is cool enough to serve to baby. (I put mine in the freezer) While the food is cooling, strip your baby down to his/her diaper because they will get messy.

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