It is twelve weeks since our baby girl Etta arrived and although it is great to be able to reach for the pre-cooked meals, Deliveroo and frozen pizzas with a newborn baby there are also times when you fancy a nice home cooked meal.
With limited time and energy at the minute I thought I would share a few newborn baby friendly meals I have cooked in the last few weeks with the hope of not only inspiring a few others but possibly gaining a few ideas back!
All the recipes are quick, easy, fairly cheap, have some veggies (you can’t unfortunately live on carbs alone) and are one handed eating friendly. I’m not a chef and I don’t profess even to be an exceptionally good cook, I just love eating tasty food that is easy and fuss free. I have included some amounts and weights but there are no rules really, e.g. if you like garlic add more, if you don’t like it add less or none at all! I would love to hear any feedback you have and if you have any ideas along the same theme then let me know. Here are the meals we have eaten in the past week with basic recipes-
1. Pesto, chilli and courgette pasta – I love pasta, I would do this with pasta that looks like shells (and its also very easy to eat with one hand). I know the yogurt is a bit random but its something I tried and like!
- Ingredients for one portion- 1/3 jar of pesto, 150g pasta, 1/2 courgette, chilli flakes, natural yogurt, lemon, olive oil, salt, garlic, Parmesan, basil leaves.
This is such a quick and easy meal but really delivers on flavour. Put the pasta on to boil in salty water and then fry the courgette in olive oil. (I find about half a medium sized courgette per person), when the pasta is nearly done add the garlic. Transfer the pasta to the courgette pan using tongs and add a splosh of the pasta cooking water, then add the pesto, basil and chilli flakes tossing through the pasta. Check for seasoning then serve. Squeeze over 1/2 a lemon, drizzle some olive oil, grate some Parmesan cheese and add a dollop of natural yogurt on top.
2. Tomato salad (more filing and tastier than it sounds trust me!)
- Ingredients- tomatoes, mozzarella, baby spinach, parma ham (preferably all room temperature), one slice of bread per portion, olive oil, dried oregano, balsamic glaze, basil leaves, salt and pepper.
Chop the bread into chunks and fry slowly in olive oil, add dried oregano, salt and pepper as it starts to crisp up. Arrange a handful of spinach leaves on a plate, followed by the tomatoes, mozzarella chunks and parma ham. Top with basil leaves, croutons, balsamic glaze and a drizzle of olive oil.
3. Smoked haddock kedgeree with poached egg and yogurt
- Ingredients- Smoked haddock (about 120g per person), curry powder, frozen peas and sweetcorn, basmati rice, onion, eggs, olive oil, chicken stock cube, butter, chives, natural yogurt, salt and pepper.
This is a really warming, hearty dish and can also be used for left overs the next day. Poach the haddock for five minutes in a deep saucepan, remove and place to one side to cool. Place a chicken stock cube in the pan and add the rice to cook (around 75g per person or half a mug). While the rice is cooking, in a large frying pan saute the onion, then add the peas, garlic, curry powder and sweetcorn to the pan and fry gently for a few minutes. Add the drained rice to the pan and stir gently until all the rice grains have the curry powder colour. Flake the haddock into the mix and stir again gently to not break up the haddock too much. Serve with a poached egg, topped with chopped chives and a dollop of yogurt.
4. Salmon en papillote
- Ingredients- Frozen salmon fillets, potatoes, courgette, mange tout, baby sweetcorn, tomatoes, harrissa paste, lemon, olive oil, butter, salt and pepper.
Lay out on a baking tray a piece of foil and then on top place a piece of baking parchment which is slightly smaller. Inside lay thinly sliced potatoes, a dollop of butter, salt and pepper, the veggies and then the salmon. On top of the salmon spread your desired amount of harrissa paste and sliced lemon. Drizzle with olive oil and then wrap and seal up before putting in the oven at 180 for 30 minutes. Super easy and also saves on the washing up, always a winner in my book! You can use pretty much any fish, I like the frozen fillets because of convenience and it also means the potatoes get chance to cook without over cooking the fish.
5. Garlic, bacon and mushroom spaghetti
- Ingredients- Spaghetti (150g per person), mushrooms of your choice, I like chestnut but in the picture I used oyster because I was growing them at the time. Streaky bacon, garlic, thyme, basil, olive oil, lemon, Parmesan, salt and pepper.
In a large pan of boiling, salted water place your spaghetti to cook, fry your bacon until crisp and set to the side of your pan to fry your mushrooms in the bacon fat. Add the garlic and herbs at the last minute before using tongs to add the cooked spaghetti. Spoon some starchy pasta water into the pan to create a nice loose pasta dish and then a dash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese. This really is a simple dish but I love the taste of bacon and mushrooms and with the herbs and lemon it really is delicious.
6. Sausage and cabbage casserole
- Ingredients- Sausages, onion, savoy cabbage, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, honey, ginger, chicken stock cube, butter, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Fry off the sausages in olive oil until they start to brown, the more patient you are (or the quieter your baby is) at this stage then the better the gravy sauce later. Once the sausages are a nice brown colour then add the onion and fry until they have a little colour, add the cabbage and mushrooms, I usually add a little butter at this stage just to add a little richness. Add grated clove of garlic and 2 cm square sized piece of ginger and thyme. Allow to cook in butter for a few minutes then cover with stock adding the honey also. Allow to simmer with lid off until cabbage is cooked and the sauce is a nice consistency and not too thin. Salt and loads of black pepper is nice when added at the end of cooking. I usually serve with mashed potato but boiled spuds would work just as well. If you have any red wine vinegar then a sometimes slosh a little in as I add the stock. The ginger may seem random but I think it adds a nice bit of zing as long as you don’t over do it!
7. Cheats pizza with sweet potato fries and avocado dip
- Ingredients- Fajitas, tomato puree, spinach, Parmesan, chorizo, basil, oregano, sweet potatoes (one per person), avocado, chilli flakes, natural yoghurt, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Slice the sweet potatoes into wedges and lightly cover with olive oil, salt and pepper, place on a non-stick baking tray and oven bake for 30 minutes at 180, turning halfway through cooking. On a fajita spread a thin layer of tomato puree, sprinkle some oregano, grated cheese, chorizo slices, spinach leaves and olive oil. Place in the oven for the last 7-8 minutes of cooking (keep an eye because it will burn quickly!). To make the dip mix 2/3 well mashed avocado with 1/3 natural yoghurt, add chilli flakes, salt and pepper to taste.
This dinner feels naughty and is good to have on a Friday or Saturday night when you fancy a takeaway pizza but your maternity leave budget says no! Its also a lot healthier than the real thing and you can put anything you want on it.