I'm on the WIC program, and every month they give me vouchers for food, including baby food. A LOT of baby food. My kiddo will eat a little, but nowhere near the 45 jars per month that are on the vouchers! So initially I simply didn't get all the food on the vouchers...then I started thinking about it.
Baby food is the same foods we eat, just mashed up. Sometimes we mash up our food...why not use baby food in some of our foods and save myself a step? Baby food is expensive, and I wouldn't go buy it just to use it this way, but where it's being offered to me (and we're unemployed and I hate to turn down free food!), I decided I'd rather find a good way to use it. So here is a list of ways I 'snuck' baby food into our diet this last month.
- Banana bread! 1 4oz container of baby food bananas = 1 banana, and it's already mashed!
- Smoothies. Mashed banana, mashed peaches...if you get the plastic containers you can just stick it in the freezer all day and then dump it in the blender with a little milk and sugar and voila, smoothie! (If you have other frozen fruit/berries, then unfrozen fruit, especially banana, can add some great smooth texture.) FYI, I think pears give an odd texture to smoothies, and applesauce is ok but not great.
- Eggs in recipes (like muffins or pancakes or cookies) can be replaced with 1/4 c (2oz) of applesauce or mashed banana. Applesauce doesn't taste like much, but banana is pretty sweet, so I only use it in the sweeter things. (Make sure that the recipe has other leavening, such as baking powder or baking soda--sometimes eggs fill that roll. If there is not other leavening, then be sure to add about 1/2 tsp baking soda per egg you replaced.)
- Anything chocolate will hide the stronger flavor of prunes--so chocolate muffins, chocolate cookies, even brownies--add 4-5oz of pureed prunes. Yay for fiber!
- Applesauce is applesauce is applesauce. I just got a bunch of plain applesauces and stuck them in the fridge, and my older kids eat them as single-serving packages of applesauce. That was easy! (The cherry applesauce and blueberry applesauce work too of course.)
- Gravy--I usually make gravy from the drippings when I cook meat, however sometimes I make it just from homemade broth which I've frozen. The problem with using just broth is that the gravy come out a bit thin and runny...so I had the idea of adding a jar of the babyfood meat. Pureed meat has a very weird texture, and the baby doesn't like it plain...but mixed into the gravy it worked ok. I will say that it was not a great gravy--that weird texture came through a little--but over mashed potatoes it worked ok, and I felt good about having a little extra protein in the meal. ☺
- Veggie muffins are one of my favorite things. I put in 1 cup (7-8oz) of pureed carrots, squash, mixed vegetables, etc into a gingerbread muffin recipe, and they are nummy! (see link for recipe)
(this post has been shared on Works For Me Wednesdays, follow the link to see more ideas, or to share what has worked for you!)