Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Chicken Tostadas

We call this quick family friendly meal Mexican pizza!  This was adapted from 100 days of real food. If you want an easy, non processed, healthy meal this is it!

* 3 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken (slow cook, roast or boil it)
* 1½ cups freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese
* 2 tablespoons water
* 1 teaspoon cumin
* ½ teaspoon salt
* ¼ teaspoon chili powder
* 1½ limes (1-2 tablespoons)
* 1 cup cooked black beans (organic canned or dried and then soaked and cooked in the crockpot)
* 8 whole-grain 5" to 6" corn tortillas,
* Recommended toppings: Tomatoes, avocado and cilantro

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl thoroughly combine the chicken, cheese, water, spices, and juice of 1 lime (or eye ball more if you want). Stir well then add black beans and toss gently so you don't smash the beans up!
3. On a large baking sheet lay the tortillas out in one even layer. You will probably need more than one baking sheet. 
4. Evenly distribute the chicken mixture on top of the 8 tortillas (the top layer should be about ½" tall) and bake until cheese begins to brown, about 12 to 13 minutes.
5. Squeeze the remaining lime juice, to taste, on top of the cooked tostadas and serve warm with diced tomatoes and avocado, and cilantro leaves.

**tips: cut into pizza triangles; 
serve with some cilantro lime rice; 
WORKING/BUSY MOMS: Make the chicken/cheese/spice/bean mixture the night before then simply top it on the tortillas 15-20 minutes before mealtime for a SUPER quick and healthy meal

Serves: 4 people (so we double)

Difficult: 1 out of 5; for a dinner, it doesn't get much easier than this. The make ahead option makes this meal super appealing too!

Timing: 15 months of its chopped up well!

Epicutie Rating
Little Joy: yummy in the yummy--always easy to please at meals she gobbled up two toastadas!
Little Asher: somewhat yummy--despite being the tough critique he still ate half a tostada with no complaints. He wasn't chomping at the bit for more, but was not gagging either. Gagging is common when he has beans!
Little Juliette:  yummy in the tummy; while we had to cut hers quite a bit she ended up eating an entire tostada. I think she would have eaten more but she got a sharp piece of tortilla and then seemed discouraged. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Keep Well Chicken Orzo Soup


There are no words for how this soup aromatically fills the air in our home and soothes my soul.  Ladle after ladle full and we never tire of this--it has made it to the short list in the cold months.

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon flour
    4 garlic cloves
    8 cups chicken stock (From here--Crockpot Chicken and Stock)
    2 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (From here--Crockpot Chicken and Stock)
    4 cups chopped kale, stems removed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 Tablespoons fresh, chopped rosemary
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh, chopped thyme
  • 2 cups small, dry pasta--orzo
  1. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute about 5 minutes until softened. 
  3. Add garlic and flour stirring constantly for 1-2 more minutes until fragrant.
  4. Add chicken stock, chicken, and kale.
  5. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until flavors are combined and veggies are tender.
  6. After the soup has fully simmered, Stir in salt, pepper, rosemary, parsley and thyme.
  7. Cover and begin to cook pasta until al dente.
  8. IMMEDIATELY after pasta is al dente, drain and add to soup (if you let the orzo sit it gets clumpy and soaks up all the water-yuck)
Tip:  Chop the veggies the night before serving and refrigerate until ready to use!

Timing:  Little Juliette had this at a few days shy of 8 months coarsely chopped up.  I added extra steamed carrots for her to make it thicker and easier to spoon feed her.  For a child to self feed this, I would say 18 months depending on how well they self feed.

Difficulty:  2 of 5.  As far as soups go, this is pretty easy.

Epicutie Rating:
Little Joy, Asher and Juliette:  Yummy in the Tummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Extra carrots for Little Juliette's Soup

Pre Chopped Veggies

Little Juliette's Soup to be Chopped

Chopped and ready for her!

SHE COULD NOT GET ENOUGH!  She kept signing more as soon as the food hit her mouth!

Little Joy and Asher had smile face toast with their soup---the face is Bell Pepper :)

Crockpot Whole Chicken and Stock

 I have a huge back log things to post, maybe one day I will catch up!

This is a regular thing at our house these days because it is quick and easy and inexpensive.  I can get whole chicken for .95/lb; we use it in four ways:
Our favorite "way" we use it is in Soup and as Stock!

Ingredients for CHICKEN
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion
  • Rosemary sprigs
  • Lemon cut in half
  • Apple chunks
  • 1 large chicken
Steps for CHICKEN
  1. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
  2. Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Remove any giblets from the chicken and stuff the cavity with lemon, apple and rosemary.
  4. Rub the spice mixture all over. Be sure to put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.
  5. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, toss a few rosemary sprigs on top, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid. 
  6. Cook for 4 – 5 hours on high (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone. 
  7. Leave all the juices from the chicken in the crock pot so you can make the easiest stock EVER overnight
 Ingredients for STOCK
  • Bones and onion from above (remove all the chicken from the bones)
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Water
Steps for STOCK
  1. After eating the chicken and removing the meat from the bones place the bones back into the crockpot
  2. Break up the carrots and celery by hand into large chunks--no need to cut or peel!
  3. Fill the crock up with water
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste
  5. Turn to low and allow to simmer over night--We usually eat the whole chicken with sides for dinner then I make the stock overnight.  The next morning I remove the lid and crank it up to high until noon to concentrate the flavor some---this is optional.  The stock is ready the next morning.
  6. DONE!  You can refrigerate the stock for several days or freeze it---I use it right away in a soup!
My stock the next morning
Timing: 7/8 Months; The chicken is super soft.  If you are uncomfortable offering it as a finger food pulse it in a food chopper for a few seconds.

Difficulty:  2
of 5--for what you get in return on making this, its EASY!

Epicutie Ratings
  • Little Joy:  Somewhat Yummy--They eat the chicken just fine, but at the end of the day she could take or leave it.
  • Little Asher:  Somewhat Yummy--He loved this the first few times it was served but now as with many things he tries to exert his will.  He lollygags but eventually eats it.
  • Little Juliette:  Yummy in the Tummy--Much like her big sister, this girl loves all kinds of food.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Oatmeal Pancakes has been a while since I have been able to post!  We had a third baby and my husband had to leave town for 8 weeks for work.  Translation:  Life has been crazy!  BUT...I am back and Epicutie Juliette will be reviewing recipes soon!

I am nursing so I am always on the prowl for recipes with oatmeal!  This recipe was inspired by a cooking light recipe.

  • 1/4 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup nonfat buttermilk (we use almond milk for dairy free)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (we use canola oil for dairy free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • Cooking spray

1.  Spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.
2. Combine milk, butter/oil, vanilla, and egg in a small bowl.
3.  Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
4. Heat a nonstick griddle over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Spoon about 2 1/2 tablespoons batter per pancake onto griddle.
5.  Turn pancakes over when tops are covered with bubbles; cook until bottoms are lightly browned.

Serve:  serve warm with pure maple syrup and fresh berries. 

Difficulty:  1 out of 5; quick prep!

Tips:  combine dry ingredients the night before to save time in the morning. Another idea, double the recipe and freeze half for a last minute breakfast another day'

Epicutie Rating (see left side of page for rating descriptions)
Little Joy:  yummy in the tummy
Little Asher:  yummy in the tummy
Mommy and Daddy:  love this!  Healthy, quick and helped the milk supply too!

Dairy Free Mexican Pizza

I got my inspiration for this dairy free pizza from The original recipe called for olives and we DO NOT like olives but I liked the base recipe so away we went!

Avocado Cream Sauce:
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/3 to ½ cup Dairy Free Plain Greek Style Cultured Almond Milk (Yogurt)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Mexican Pizza:
  • 1 ball pre-made dairy-free pizza dough (I made mine in my bread machine)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • ½ lb ground meat of choice, browned
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons non dairy Parmesan 
  • ½ cup dairy-free Monzerella cheese 

For the Avocado Cream Sauce:
  1. Pit the avocado and scoop the flesh into a food processor.
  2. Add all other ingredients and process until completely smooth.

For the Mexican Pizza:
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Stretch the dough onto a pizza pan or cookie sheet and brush with olive oil.
  3. Spread the avocado mixture onto the dough leaving about ½” border around the edge.
  4. Evenly sprinkle on the remaining ingredients, adding cheese last. 
  5. Bake the pizza until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  6. Cut into slices and serve with your favorite hot sauce or salsa

Difficulty: 3 out of 5; I only give it this high for difficulty because i homemade the dough. Store bought dough would give this a 2!

Yield: 6 people

Serve:  We served with salad and fruit to our 2 and 4 year old.

Tips/misc:  if you do not care about dairy free there's a few substitutions you can make....
  • dairy free yogurt = sour cream
  • dairy free mozzarella = mozzarella 
  • dairy free Parmesan = grated Parmesan 

Another tip, chop and brown the meat earlier in the day when your kids are napping or occupied versus waiting for the dinner rush to do everything 

Timing:  12 months. It's pizza and there's lots of seasonings going on here. Chopped small I think 12 months is fine!

Epicutie Rating: 
  • Little Joy: YUMMY IN THE TUMMY she's our adventerous eater. Give her a new food and she's all over it! She ate three small slices 
  • Little Asher:  Somewhat Yummy he is the skeptic. He ate his slowly and liked it enough to eat it without too much encouragement. He pulled everything apart and ate it like that. 
  • Mommy and Daddy: Oh man. I love this!  It wasn't heavy like traditional pizza but made me feel like I was eating regular pizza!  This is on my short list. 

Crust with sauce

Pre Baking

Post Baking

Fruit, salad and pizza

Little Joy

Little Joy Digging in!

Thumbs Up Approval!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Welcome to the World Epicutie Patricia

The sixth epicutie, Little Patricia, joined Little Frances and Little Elizabeth on September 12, 2014 at 3:24 pm weighing 7 lbs 4 oz and 19.5 inches long. 

Welcome little blessing!  You are well loved already!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

This recipe was inspired by a Parents Magazine recipe.  The original one had chunks of butternut squash whereas mine has puree; it saves me time just having purees already made vs having to cook the chunks of squash when I make this.  That is how this recipe was born....


  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash puree (less if you want the squash taste less pronounced)
  • 1/2 lb elbow noodles of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons butter (we used butter alternative to decrease the dairy amount in here for dairy intolerant Little Asher)
  • 2 tablespoon flour or tapioca flour
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk (or reduced fat milk or other milk alternative)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • dash of salt
  • dash of white pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups cheese (I used a mixture of part skim mozzarella and reduced fat cheddar--the high fat content is what bothers lactose intolerant folks; If I could do what I wanted I would use WHITE CHEDDAR)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease a medium casserole dish.
  3. Cook the elbow noodles 2 minutes less than the box says.  Drain and place in a large bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, melt butter over low heat.
  5. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Slowly whisk in milk.  Bring mixture to a boil, add nutmeg, salt and pepper, then simmer.  Cook for 3 minutes; stirring occasionally making sure the lumps mix out.
  7. Add cheese and squash and stir until cheese is melted.
  8. Stir cheese sauce into pasta and transfer to greased casserole dish.
  9. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
NOTE:  You can top this with turkey bacon crumbles or buttered crumbled wheat crackers or more cheese.  Get creative.  This time I tried buttered crumbed wheat crackers and it added a nice texture/

Difficulty:  2 out of 5; with the puree already made this was easy peasy!  I made it about an hour before I wanted to bake it, covered it in the oven and when it was almost time to eat I took the lid off and baked.  You could also make this during nap time or in the morning and refrigerate until ready to bake.  Increase the bake time if you refrigerate.

Timing:  I would give this to mine as early as 9 months depending on their chewing abilities.  Mine love finger foods so 9 months is good for mine---otherwise around 12 months is perfect!

Epicutie Rating (see left side of page for rating descriptions):
  • Little Joy:  Yummy in the tummy!  She loved the crunch--she's my one with a bit of a mature pallete.  She likes lots of flavors like her mommy.
  • Little Asher: Yummy in the tummy!  He does not have mac and cheese much because it is too much dairy but since there is not as much dairy to pasta with the squash in there, it is quite a treat!  He gobbled up two hardy helpings.

Step 6: Whisk in milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper with butter and flour

My Squash Puree

Noodles awaiting sauce

Shredded cheeses

Step 7:  Add cheese and squash to milk mixture

Before adding a topping

Topping added


And its done!

Served with ham and steamed peas

Little Asher going in...

Hows it taste?


"Watch me mommy" says Little Joy

And all she says is CHEESE after it

I am a warrior!

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About the Authors

This blog was started by two Babywise pen pals to document our adventures in high chair manners, making our own baby food and doing our bests to raise happy, healthy, thriving little ones!

Epicutie #1

Epicutie #1

Little Joy at 2 years, Sept 2012

Epicutie #2

Epicutie #2
Little Frances

Epicutie #3

Epicutie #3
Little Asher at 11 months, Sept 2012

Epicutie #4

Epicutie #4
Little Elizabeth, July 2013
  • Yummy in the Tummy: Epicutie thoroughly enjoyed each bite
  • Somewhat yummy: Epicutie seemed to somewhat enjoy the food at first, but seemed to like it less with subsequent bites
  • Not so sure I like it...yet: Epicutie somewhat rejected the first bites, but seemed intrigued. The next exposure may be better!
  • Confused: Epicutie rejected the first bites, perhaps due to texture or strong flavor.
  • Sour Puss: Epicutie gave a sour face indicating she did not like the food. However--if at first you do not succeed, try, try again!

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