Thursday, August 22, 2013

easy meat lasagna

As I was making lasagna last week, I thought... nearly-8-month-old Avery could eat some of this. I haven't introduced wheat yet and I like to put eggs in my lasagna (which, from what I've read, are a no-no until after the first year), so I decided to take some of the pre-lasagna components and blend them into a tasty dinner for the little one. Here's what I did:

Easy Meat Lasagna (+ baby's first beef!)
Serves 8-10

olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
fresh or dried oregano
1.5 pounds lean ground beef
16 oz. whole milk ricotta
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. white pepper
3 c. fresh mozzarella, grated
1/3 c. parmesan, grated
3 c. marinara sauce
12 no-cook lasagna noodles
fresh basil, chopped, to top

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until softened, a few minutes. Add oregano (we have an oregano plant that is out of control, so I went a little crazy here and used the leaves from 4 dried sprigs - probably about 2 Tbsp.). Stir. Add beef, breaking up with a wooden spoon as it cooks.

If you're cooking for baby: Put a couple spoonfuls of the ricotta into a food processor. Once the meat is totally cooked, add a couple spoonfuls of the meat and onion mixture to the processor bowl. Add a spoonful or two of marinara and process until desired consistency. This created Avery's first encounter with beef. He devoured it.

Mix the remaining ricotta (or all of the ricotta, if you're only cooking for adults) with eggs, white pepper, and half of the parmesan together in a bowl.

Spread a couple spoonfuls of marinara in the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish. Arrange a single layer of noodles. Top with more sauce, beef mixture, ricotta mixture, and a sprinkling of mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles and repeat. On your last set of noodles, top with the remaining marinara and cheese. Sprinkle remaining parmesan and basil on top.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for additional 10-15 minutes.

The piece pictured at the top of this post was topped with the first ripe tomato from our garden!

Friday, August 16, 2013

squash, kale, and black bean baked burritos

Baby Avery's second meal with kale coincided with his first encounter with butternut squash. On this night, the grown ups enjoyed roasted butternut squash, kale, and black bean baked burritos, while Avery's meal consisted of pureed squash, kale, and black beans (pictured above). All were satisfied!

Squash, Kale, and Black Bean Baked Burritos
Serves 4 plus baby

olive oil
1 medium butternut squash
1 big bunch curly kale, de-stemmed and chopped
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. monterey jack cheese, grated
4 whole wheat tortillas
1 c. of your favorite salsa

Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Brush with olive oil and place cut-side down in glass baking dish. Roast in 400-degree oven until soft, about 60 minutes.

Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and beginning to color. Add kale. Cover and allow to steam for about 2 minutes, until bright green and starting to cook down. Uncover and add cumin and oregano, stirring well to coat.

For the baby: Scoop a couple spoonfuls of the roasted butternut squash and put into the bowl of a food processor. Add a scoop of the kale mixture and a spoonful or two of black beans. Process to desired consistency, adding a bit of water if needed.

For the grown ups: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Divide remaining butternut squash, kale, and black beans among the 4 tortillas. Top with cheese (reserving about 1/4 cup) and roll into 4 burritos. Place burritos in glass baking dish. Spoon salsa over the top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, 10-15 minutes.
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