Monday, March 14, 2011

French Chicken Stew

This is a fabulous family meal!!! My mom made this when I made a visit a month ago and after seeing how much Little Joy seemed to like her few bites, I decided to try it on my own. I love family foods because (on Sundays) we can all eat together. This recipe comes from Better Homes and Garden.

I have listed the ingredients as they appear on the site but in BOLD you will see some changes we made. Although there are a lot of ingredients and some chopping this is a crock pot recipe which means those of you who work....this is a great option; assemble in the morning and then a meal ready to enjoy when you get home!

Allergy Warning: Again, there are many ingredients in here so be on the watch for allergic reactions.

  • 4 cups sliced button and/or shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly diagonally sliced (I used a couple more since Little Joy eats these)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red potato, cut in 1-inch pieces (I used two)
  • 1/2 cup fresh green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup pitted ripe olives, halved (I skipped this since my husband and I both do not like them)
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth (I used white wine, remember the alcohol cooks out!)
  • 2 Tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 tsp. herbes de Provence or dried Italian seasoning, crushed (I used Italian seasoning)
  • 3/4 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • Pinch of salt (I did not add this to mine, but it need just a tiny bit---and I am NOT usually a salt person)
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (1-3/4 to 2 lb. total)
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • Pinch of paprika
  • 1 14-oz. jar tomato pasta sauce or one 16-oz. jar Alfredo pasta sauce (I used Alfredo)
  • Serve with French bread (optional) (I gave Little Joy toast)

  1. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker combine mushrooms, undrained tomatoes, carrots, onion, potato, green beans, olives, broth, wine, tapioca, herbs de Provence/Italian seasoning, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir VERY well (I think I messed up here and my tapioca did not get mixed in well, so my stew was a little runny but still yummy).
  2. Place chicken on top; sprinkle with seasoned salt and parika. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Remove bones and cartilage from chicken (be careful because I did not know about the cartilage and it was in our biggie, just annoying).
  4. Stir in pasta sauce.
  5. If desired, serve with French bread.
Yield: 8 adult servings.

Serve: We served as a finger food only the green beans, carrots and chicken to Little Joy; we took it out of the stew juice. Mushrooms are hard to chew and she does not LOVE potatoes. We had to give her seconds of chicken. She seems to like meats when they are soft and FULL of flavor like this.

Timing: 11-12 months. This is jam packed with flavor and requires very good chewing skills. I would advise this as a finger food for the more advanced chewer or mashed up.
Storage: Several days in the fridge and a month in the freezer. Although, it is too good to freeze...I bet we eat it up fast!

Difficulty: 3 out of 5. Once you are pretty much done with this dish. The only hard part was de-boning because I have never done that before :)

Epicutie Rating: Yummy in the Tummy--see right side of page for descriptions
Little Joy gobbled up one plate and signed for MORE!!! We love this dish because we can enjoy it as a family or with friends too!

Step 1: All veggies and spices in crock pot, just before stirring

Step 2: Chicken skinned, place on top and sprinkled with season salt. This was just before cooking.
Ready to serve!

Little Joy's plate; most of the stew juice removed. Only carrots, green beans and chicken here.


Stuffing her face!
After Little Joy devoured it; what a happy plate!

After stew, toast with homemade peach puree!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Vegetable Lasagna

I do not know what else to say about this recipe but it is THE BEST. This was the first recipe that I made for the whole family to enjoy together! Every time Addison sees it coming on her plate she waves her hands excitedly (this is how she always shows excitement) AND she eats/wants to eat so much at some point I have to cut her off because I am scared she will make herself sick. This recipe is also fabulous because it is full of vegetables and dairy!

I know it seems like a lot of ingredients and although it is slight time consuming, it is worth it if your little one loves it as much as mine! Allow me to warn your pallete, it is a southwestern take on lasgana so be prepared--it is very different.

ALLERGY AND TASTE WARNING: There are MANY ingredients in this recipe. Be sure to introduce these one by one to eliminate any potential allergies OR be on the lookout for any reactions after your Little One eats this. Also, tomato and tomato sauces are acidic and some babies (and toddlers) do not like tomatoes until their taste buds are a little more developed. Little Joy had eaten spaghetti with tomato sauce before and loved it so I did not figre we would have trouble.

**This is adapted from a Southern Living recipe**

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese (if making for adults only use Monterey jack cheese with peppers)
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (2-pound, 13-ounce) jar pasta sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 9 precooked lasagna noodles
  • Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Stir together first 5 ingredients and 1 cup cheese; set aside.
  3. Mash beans with a potato masher or fork in a large bowl; stir in pasta sauce and cumin.
  4. Spread one-third of bean mixture on bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
  5. Layer with 3 noodles, half of spinach mixture, and 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  6. Again, Layer with 3 noodles, half of spinach mixture, and 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese.
  7. Spread with one-third bean mixture
  8. Top with remaining 3 noodles and remaining bean mixture.
  9. Bake, covered, at 350° for 1 hour
  10. Uncover and top with remaining cheese. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish, if desired.
Yield: LOTS (see pictures to follow)

Timing: This depends on your baby's ability to chew/grind. If your baby demonstrates the ability to chew well and has some teeth, this would be appropriate. Test a few small bites first to make sure they grind some. After this is cooked everything is very soft but since it is hard to cut up/mash very very small it is important your little one be an efficient chewer.

Serve: Serve to your baby warm and cut or mashed up to whatever consistency appropriate for you baby's age and chewing ability. Try to avoid the edges of the lasagna when serving to your Little One because it tends to be tough/hard.

Storage: We saved it in the fridge and ate off of it for 5 days and then froze Little Joy sized portions in ziplocks. I plan to use within 1-2 months.

Miscellaneous: Ok, this is totally gross but I need to share it.....spinach is one of the dominate ingredients in this dish and it does not digest completely. Yes, that means you will see it when it comes out. I am sharing this so you are not alarmed it honestly grossed me out a bit.

Difficulty: 5 out of 5. Of all the foods I have served to Little Joy this one was the most time consuming and involved the most steps and ingredients. BUT as you will see in the Epicutie Rating, it was worth it. I would make it everyday just to see her excitement!

Epicutie Rating: YUMMY IN THE TUMMY-- see right side of page for descriptions
As I said in the opening, Little Joy cannot get enough of this. Hands down, this is her favorite dish ever of all times ever thus far.

Precooked noodles

Step 2: Stir together first 5 ingredients

Step 3: Mashed black beans, pasta sauce and cumin

Step 8: This is just before coving and cooking

FINISHED, as you can see we were anxious to dive in and forgot to take the picture until after we served it up :)

Before Little Joy attacked it (thats a lot of food and we gave her seconds!!)

She SEES the new food!

After Little Joy attacked it!

She loved it!
Can you tell she loved 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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