recipes

Recipe: Baby's Cannelloni Stuffed with Butternut Squash, Spinach and Ricotta

Wee man is teething. Like, really teething – we think we’ve seen 8 of the little toothy bastards pushing down through his little gums. Poor muffin has been having trouble with solids for the last two days, with any kind of harder texture making it a bit agonising for him to chew. Wee man has been so enthusiastic about skipping spoon feeding and forgoing purees, that it does leave us with few options when he has moments like this. So today we made some baby cannelloni – soft and squishy on his gums, full of yummy goodness to get him through a tough week. They are easy to pick up and handle, either in whole form or cut into slices.

This recipe is perfect for using up leftovers, since with stuffed pasta the variations are endless. It’s also freezer-friendly. Just be sure to freeze the cannelloni separated on a tray first, before putting into a freezer bag, so that you don’t have a big wad of pasta stuck together in one lump.

Wee man inspects his lunch…

Wee man inspects his lunch…

I never claimed it wasn’t a messy meal…

I never claimed it wasn’t a messy meal…

Witness the carnage!

Witness the carnage!

Recipe: Baby’s Cannelloni Stuffed with Butternut Squash, Spinach and Ricotta

Makes: 12 cannelloni tubes

Ingredients

  • 12 cannelloni tubes (ready for the oven)
  • 2 cups roasted and mashed/pureed butternut squash (mine was leftover from our dinner so was loaded with unsalted butter)
  • ½ cup ricotta
  • 2/3 cup spinach, cooked and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (if using canned or tinned, check the salt content, or make your own)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Grated cheese (you can use cheddar, mozza, parm or anything really, just check the salt content for the quantity you use)
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil, chopped

Method

  1. In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash with spinach, ricotta and seasoning.
  2. Grab a baking dish that will fit all of your lovely cannellonis, and smear the olive oil on the bottom with a few tablespoons of the tomato sauce.
  3. Fill each cannelloni with the squash, spinach and ricotta mixture. You can pipe it through a corner of a plastic bag, or use a small teaspoon. If you have trouble getting the mixture to move all the way through, give it a poke with your finger or the skinny end of a spoon.
  4. Arrange cannelloni in the baking dish, leaving a bit of space between each. Cover with remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle on grated cheese.
  5. Bake at 200c/180c fan/gas mark 6 for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly, cheese is golden and pasta is cooked.
  6. Garnish with basil and serve after cooling.

Variations

Stuffed pasta has endless options. In fact, the recipe above can be varied in terms of amounts – if you have less ricotta and more squash, no big deal. Just remember to keep the mixture a bit wet, with either tomato sauce or ricotta, or you may find your cannelloni tubes get a bit crunchy in the oven. Here are some different ingredients to try:

  • Cooked minced beef or pork with sautéed garlic, mushrooms and onions
  • Finely diced leftover chicken with sauteed peppers
  • Well steamed kale or other greens
  • Roasted aubergine and courgette

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Recipe: Little Salmon and Pea Cakes

These little salmon and pea cakes are absolutely delicious, and I may have stolen a few nibbles from Charlie’s plate on occasion. We seem to have salmon every few weeks, so these are a fab way to use leftovers.

salmon-cakes-veg

While Charlie’s fav is loaded with peas, these are scrummy with many veg – try substituting with cooked broccoli, green beans, asparagus, or kale, depending on what you have on hand. You can even get away with using up veg purees you might have on hand, but just watch the mixture doesn’t get too wet, or you might have trouble forming patties.

They are perfect for little hands to grasp, and their texture is easy for wee gums without teeth, too.

Salmon cakes are a great freezer staple. Just remember that once cooled, freeze individually on a tray so that they don’t stick together, before you place them in a freezer bag. Then just defrost and reheat before eating.

Recipe: Little Salmon & Pea Cakes

Makes: 16 cakes

Ingredients

  • Two eggs

  • 400g mashed potato (mine was made with milk and unsalted butter, but plain would be fine as well)

  • 300g cooked salmon (I use fresh cooked fillets, but canned would likely be just as good – just watch the salt content)

  • 125g peas, cooked (we use frozen)

  • 3 spring onions, chopped

  • 125g dried breadcrumbs

Method

  1. In a large bowl, combine the potato, salmon, peas and spring onion until mixed.  I find these work best with chunks of salmon intact, so take care not to completely remove the texture by overmixing.  Once mixed, beat one egg and combine with the salmon mixture.
  2. Get ready to coat in breadcrumbs. Beat the second egg and pour into a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, fill with breadcrumbs.
  3. Form salmon mixture into cakes. If you find they are too soft, you can refrigerate until cool to make this easier. We make these about 4cm in diameter, but you can go smaller if your baby’s grasp requires it – just adjust cooking time accordingly.
  4. Dredge each cake in the egg mixture to coat it, then dunk in the breadcrumbs on both sides
  5. You can either fry these on the hob over medium heat until the outside is crispy and the egg in the mixture is cooked through, about 4-5 minutes each side. Or bake them in the oven at 170 fan for about 15 minutes or until the egg in the mixture is cooked through, turning once in the process.

Learn how to introduce solids to your baby

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Recipe: Baked Oat Bites for Easy BLW Breakfasts

Ah, the ubiquitous porridge fingers recipe. A mainstay of baby-led weaning books and mummy internet lore, those weird floppy flapjacky oats have seen us through so many mornings. Usually, wee man gobbles them up dotted with some dried apricots, or mixed berries, sometimes with half a banana on the side. He has always been a hungry one in the morning, but lately he hasn’t been giving this old standard his usual gusto. So I tried to mix it up a bit, and by mix it up, I mean serve him almost exactly the same thing but in a new shape! And lo and behold, it has worked. Looks like he just needed a little (illusion of) variety!

So, don’t expect too much change from the original here, but mayhaps enough change to kickstart your wee one’s appetite as well.

baked-oat-bites

Recipe: Baked Oat Bites

Makes: 12 cakes

Ingredients

  • 12 tbsp porridge oats
  • 12 tbsp milk (coconut milk or almond milk work well)
  • Handful fresh berries, chopped
  • ½ banana, mashed
  • 1 apple, grated
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Method

  1. Grab 3 bowls. Mix 4 tbsp of oats with 4 tbsp of milk in each as the base for your oat bites.

  2. In one bowl, add half of a mashed banana. In another, use the handful of chopped berries. In another, use the apple and add a pinch of cinnamon. Mix each of the bowls and check the consistency. What you’re looking for is a very thick porridge, a little on the dry side. It should clump and stick together if you pinch a bit. If it’s off, either add more milk or more oats to get it right

  3. Load up a greased mini muffin tin (silicone muffin tins are the best for this, no need for greasing) with the mixes, packing it in quite densely with a teaspoon.

  4. Bake at 160 fan for 8-10 minutes, or until the cakes are solid and the oats are cooked. They’ll get a little golden brown on top in the process.

  5. Cool on a wire rack and serve, or store in an air-tight container. These keep for a couple of days.

Learn how to introduce solids to your baby

Get the FREE 5-day course and learn how to wean well. Sign up for First Foods Fundamentals to start your baby-led weaning journey, step-by-step, with lessons delivered to your inbox!