No matter how much you enjoy making your baby’s food, there will be busy days when it may seem hard to find the time to prepare a separate meal for your little one.
There are a few different time-saving techniques that you can use when cooking for your baby – and the best one, of course, is to cook “in bulk” on a quieter day and freeze individual portions of food.
But today we’re looking at another time-saving method – and that’s one-pot cooking… which also saves time in washing up!
One-pot meals can be created in a variety of ways, although the basic principle always involves combining a variety of ingredients in one cooking vessel. When preparing a one-pot meal for your baby, try to make sure that the meal is nutritionally balanced by including one type of food from each of the following food groups…
- Group 1 – meat, fish, beans, cheese or tofu
- Group 2 – rice (preferably brown), pasta, barley or other grain
- Group 3 – vegetables
Not only is one-pot cooking relatively quick and easy, it can also be a good way of preserving the nutrients in your baby’s food. Some vegetables contain water soluble vitamins which can leach into the liquid they are cooked in. If you strain these vegetables, then the vitamins are lost – but one-pot cooking “re-uses” the cooking liquid, meaning your baby receives their benefits.
The healthiest method of one-pot cooking for your baby is by steaming the foods.
This can be a little tricky, because some foods take longer than others to cook. With a little experimentation, though, it’s possible to produce a very healthy and complete meal in your steamer!
The secret is to add food in layers – start by steaming foods that take the longest to cook (potatoes and carrots, for example), allow to steam until close to being done, then add other veggies that cook more quickly (such as broccoli and leafy vegetables).
A great way of using your steamer to prepare a balanced meal for your baby is by making foil parcels containing fish and veggies. Try this quick and easy recipe for steamed cod – remember to check the fish VERY carefully for bones, both before and after cooking, even if it is labelled as “boneless”.
Easy steamed fish parcel recipe
small cod fillet (you could also use another white fish or a small piece of salmon – check our list of sustainable fish here)
4 asparagus spears, chopped and with the woody stems removed
1/2 small sweet potato, diced
3 or 4 sugar snap peas
several slices of courgette/zucchini
1/4 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp unsalted butter
tiny dash of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh, chopped parsley
Bring around an inch of water to the boil in your steamer pot.
Place the vegetables in the centre of a square of foil, sprinkle with the black pepper and half the parsley, then place the cod on top.
Sprinkle with the remaining parsley, then top with the butter.
Bring the edges of the foil together to create a parcel and seal tightly, then place in the steamer basket.
Replace the cover and steam for 15 mins.
Remove from the steamer, allow to rest for a few minutes, then carefully open the package (beware of the escaping steam).
Chop or mash to a texture your baby enjoys and serve!
One-pot rice meals
Cooking rice together with your veggies and meat (or alternative) is very easy. Try this simple brown rice and veggie dinner, which requires very little preparation.
1/2 cup brown rice
2 tbsp cooked chicken dice
*1 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock (you can just use water, but stock gives a tastier result)
4 broccoli florets
2 tbsp diced courgette/zucchini
1/2 tsp fresh, chopped parsley
little pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp cheddar cheese, grated
*Note – you may need to adjust the quantity of liquid a little depending on the type of brown rice you use. We always use a little more liquid than suggested on the packaging of the brown rice.
Pour the stock into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the rice, stir and bring to the boil again.
Reduce the heat to very low, cover tightly and cook the rice for 30 mins.
Remove the lid briefly and add the chicken dice, veggies, herbs and seasoning.
Re-cover and cook for a further 10 mins.
Remove from the heat, sprinkle with the grated cheese and set aside for a few minutes.
Chop or mash as necessary and serve.
Soups, of course, are also nutritious and tasty one-pot baby meals and are easy to puree if your baby isn’t up to coping with lumpy foods. Our soup recipes page includes lots of ideas for yummy soups that your baby will enjoy – and we have lots more soup ideas right here on our blog!
Stews and casseroles
Stews and casseroles can be a great way to introduce your baby to meat. This is because the extended cooking time can break down the connective tissues in the meat, producing a more tender result than other cooking methods. You’ll find a variety of stew/casserole recipes here, which are great for babies from 10 months of age.
Have YOU discovered a quick and easy one-pot meal that your baby enjoys? If so, then we would love to hear about it! Simply leave a comment or visit our contact us page to share your recipe!Pin It