Butternut squash, chicken, and mango puree

Butternut squash, chicken, and mango puree | Me & The Moose. This puree is full of fruit, veggies, and protein and will satisfy babies and toddlers alike. #meandthemoose #babypuree #toddlerpuree #puree #homemadebabyfood #healthykids #pureerecipes #babyfood #babyfoodrecipes #meatpureerecipes

I have to tell you something insane: My kid can eat half of a slice of pizza. I'll say that one more time for emphasis: M can eat half of a slice of pizza. We went to a birthday party last week and he had some fruit and a half of a slice of pizza and said "all done." How are kids so good at listening to themselves and stopping when they're full, no matter how delicious something is????? (Then he dove face-first into a cupcake, so he doesn't have that much self-control.)

It's been a long time since I posted a baby puree, so here's a good one! In my quest for balance in all of our diets, I love having a few purees on hand to tip the nutrition scales when lunch is pizza or a bagel. Max still gobbles up veggies and protein in puree form that he might otherwise not eat with such gusto.

Butternut squash, chicken, and mango puree | Me & The Moose. This puree is full of fruit, veggies, and protein and will satisfy babies and toddlers alike. #meandthemoose #babypuree #toddlerpuree #puree #homemadebabyfood #healthykids #pureerecipes #babyfood #babyfoodrecipes #meatpureerecipes

This puree is delicious and full of good stuff. I read a great post about mango on Baby Foode and it's pretty much a super food. Add in the protein from the chicken breasts and the fiber, vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium from the squash and this is almost a complete meal. I wouldn't recommend using chicken thighs in this puree because it has a delicate flavor that might be overwhelmed by a stronger meat, but white fish would be a good substitution.

Butternut squash, chicken, and mango puree | Me & The Moose. This puree is full of fruit, veggies, and protein and will satisfy babies and toddlers alike. #meandthemoose #babypuree #toddlerpuree #puree #homemadebabyfood #healthykids #pureerecipes #babyfood #babyfoodrecipes #meatpureerecipes

Chicken, butternut squash, and mango puree

8-10 oz chicken breast (6-8 oz cooked)
½ medium butternut squash, roasted
2 cups frozen or fresh mango
Glug of olive oil or coconut oil
¼ cup water, if necessary

Preheat the oven to 400. Butterfly your chicken if using a large piece. Halve the butternut squash with your sharpest knife and, using a spoon, scoop out the stringy flesh and seeds from the center. Place a piece of parchment or foil on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the chicken and the butternut squash (cut side down) on the baking sheet and cook for 14-16 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the chicken. When it reaches 165, remove the chicken and cover it with tin foil. Continue cooking the butternut squash until the skin is fork tender, about 15-20 minutes longer. When cool enough to handle, remove the squash skin.

Combine the chicken, squash, and mango in a blender with a glug of olive or coconut oil. Blend on highest speed for a few minutes. Scrape the sides and continue blending. Add water in 1 Tbsp increments until you’ve reached your desired consistency.

Yield: 30 oz or 3 cups

15-minute chicken

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

Ooof. This is the part of Whole 30 in which I just want to take a LOOOOOONG nap. I think my intense holiday cookies-for-breakfast habit is making this first week tougher than any of my other rounds. I haven't wanted to cheat...actually, I totally wanted a slice of pizza yesterday. Nevermind. So, I've wanted to cheat, but haven't because I have the vision of how great I'll feel in a few days dancing in my head.

What helps during these tired, saggy days at the beginning is having a few really fast recipes ready. We also bought a pressure cooker last year, which has been incredible during Whole 30 because we don't even have to "set it and forget it." We can literally forget it and then do it when we panic that there's nothing for dinner. Not that we ever do that.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

This recipe is based on a classic from Gourmet that I found via Smitten Kitchen. We've made the original and it is stupidly easy and GLORIOUS. But it requires a few hours of cooking time and I lack the mental energy for that at the moment. Also, we OD'd on red meat at the end of the year, so we decided to try this with a whole chicken in the pressure cooker. You could definitely make this with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, breasts, or a combination of both, but I wouldn't do boneless, skinless anything because the fat from the skin and bones is what gives the sauce its richness. Also, 3-4 lbs of chicken may seem like a lot, but the chicken, like the meat in the original recipe, is slightly more delicious the next day. I do recommend straining the fat after cooking because there's quite a bit of it. Also, don't skimp on the garlic. You may balk at the idea of feeding a head of garlic to a toddler, but leaving the skin means that the cloves get all mellow and buttery without disintegrating in the sauce and making the whole thing taste overwhelmingly garlicky.  

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

We served this with some smashed potatoes that we just chopped, placed in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and microwaved for 8 minutes until fork tender and then smashed with a few Tbsp of clarified butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

We bought our chicken pre-cut at the grocery store, but you could get your butcher to cut a whole chicken for you or do it yourself at home.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

Pressure cooked chicken with garlic and tomatoes

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, about 4 lbs
1 box/large can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes, about 28 oz
1 head of garlic
S/P

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in the pressure cooker, largest pieces on the bottom. Take apart the bulb of garlic and remove only the flaky outer skin that comes off easily, leaving on the layer of skin around each clove. Add the garlic to the pressure cooker and space out the cloves to avoid any clumps of garlic. Pour the tomatoes over the chicken and garlic and close the pressure cooker. Set to high pressure and poultry, or 15 minutes. Cook. Let the pressure release on its own once cooking is over.

To crisp the chicken skin slightly, place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until you’ve reached your desired crispness. The skin won’t get CRISPY since the chicken is already cooked, but it will firm up a bit. If you plan to remove the skin, skip this step and eat immediately. 

Yield: 2 hearty meals for a family of 2 adults and a toddler, plus extra sauce to strain and use in other recipes, if desired.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

January Whole 30! (and Kale pesto!)

Kale pesto | Me & The Moose. If you’re doing a January Whole 30, cutting down on dairy, or just looking to add more nutrients and veggies anywhere you can, make this kale-packed sauce that is equal parts tasty and healthy. #meandthemoose #januarywhole30 #whole30 #whole30recipes #kalerecipes #kale #kalepesto #pestorecipes

Friends! It's Whole 30 times again. If you want to read about our first go round with this way of eating, check out this post, this post, this post, this post, and this post. And if that last one depressed you about Whole 30 (it depressed me!), read this post that was a little more uplifting after I had some distance from those first 30 days. Technically speaking, we've been easing into this Whole 30 since Christmas because we lost track of how many cookies, cakes, bars, appetizers, cocktails, and glasses of wine we had during the holidays. And technically speaking, yesterday was our first day of this Whole 30. However, today feels like Sunday (even though it's Monday) and since it's the first day of the official #JanuaryWhole30, it felt like the right time to post.

This month, I'll be publishing only Whole 30-compliant recipes here and on Instagram that we're eating regularly and that we also feed to M. Because the only thing harder than doing a Whole 30, is doing it with a kid. While he's not actually doing Whole 30 with us (he'll be eating plenty of grains, legumes, and dairy), I don't want to cook much for him that isn't acceptable for us too because, a) I don't have that much self-control; b) we're making super healthy stuff, so why wouldn't we want to feed it to our kid?; and c) I'm lazy. 

A couple of things we've done to prep for this Whole 30: 
1) Roast a ton of vegetables (and I mean, A TON). At the beginning of a Whole 30, I get really snack-y and while part of the program is about checking in with yourself before grazing to make sure that you're physically hungry and not mentally hungry, the first week is really hard and doing a little damage control is helpful. And by damage control, I mean, cooking things that you can snack on that are Whole 30. Once you get into the swing of things, you can work on eliminating those extras.

2) Stock the fridge and freezer with things that are easy to throw onto a sheet pan or into a pressure cooker. In our freezer right now: Salmon, shrimp, cod, Whole 30 compliant chicken sausages, ground chicken, and skinless, boneless chicken thighs. 

3) Make/buy all of the sauces:
Ketchup, BBQ sauce, and mustard
Mayonnaise
Basil Pesto
Caesar dressing
Romesco
Chimichurri
 

Kale pesto | Me & The Moose. If you’re doing a January Whole 30, cutting down on dairy, or just looking to add more nutrients and veggies anywhere you can, make this kale-packed sauce that is equal parts tasty and healthy. #meandthemoose #januarywhole30 #whole30 #whole30recipes #kalerecipes #kale #kalepesto #pestorecipes

Kale pesto

Adapted from The Kitchn
4 cups packed chopped kale
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp olive oil

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and fill another large bowl about half way with ice water. Wash and chop kale, but don’t worry about removing the tough stems because everything will be blended anyway. When water is at a rolling boil, add the kale and swirl with a slotted spoon a few times. When kale is a bit wilted (about 1-2 minutes), remove it from the boiling water and immediately add it to the bowl of ice water. I don’t drain the kale very thoroughly (I just take it out of the water and shake it a few times) because I think a little extra water helps to thin the sauce without adding more oil, but you can pat the kale dry if you want a thicker pesto. Add to your blender or food processor.

Roast the walnuts in a 350 oven or toaster oven for about 5 minutes or until just lightly browned and starting to smell nutty. You can also toast them in a sauté pan on the stove top. When browned, add them to the blender or food processor as well.

Add the garlic, salt, and lemon juice and start to blend, slowly adding the olive oil in a thin stream. If using a small food processor or a blender without a top that opens, just add the oil with the rest of the ingredients and process together. Blend until you've reached your desired consistency.

Yield: 1.25 cups or 10.5 oz

Kale pesto | Me & The Moose. If you’re doing a January Whole 30, cutting down on dairy, or just looking to add more nutrients and veggies anywhere you can, make this kale-packed sauce that is equal parts tasty and healthy. #meandthemoose #januarywhole30 #whole30 #whole30recipes #kalerecipes #kale #kalepesto #pestorecipes

Chocolate banana reindeer pops

Chocolate banana reindeer pops | Me & The Moose. Sliced bananas and pretzels dipped in chocolate are an easy, festive, and healthier way to celebrate the season. #meandthemoose #bananas #snacks #pretzels #Christmassnacks #Christmasrecipes

The treats train has not slowed down since Halloween and we still have a month to go until we all resolve to stop eating like there's a food shortage coming. But thankfully, we can feel full of holiday spirit, and not junk with these chocolate-covered banana reindeer. I tried this with a few different types of fruit, and bananas worked better than apples, strawberries, or grapes.

Chocolate banana reindeer pops | Me & The Moose. Sliced bananas and pretzels dipped in chocolate are an easy, festive, and healthier way to celebrate the season. #meandthemoose #bananas #snacks #pretzels #Christmassnacks #Christmasrecipes

These treats are also easy to make allergen friendly. Melted carob worked just as well as regular milk, dark, and white chocolates. I used spelt pretzels because this ancient grain is easier to digest than regular wheat and the Happy Herbert brand's ingredient list is blissfully straightforward. However, there are many types of gluten-free pretzels out there that would make a good substitution. The coconut oil that thins out the chocolate also makes these frozen pops a little tropical, which reminds me that there are warmer days ahead. Eventually.

Chocolate banana reindeer pops | Me & The Moose. Sliced bananas and pretzels dipped in chocolate are an easy, festive, and healthier way to celebrate the season. #meandthemoose #bananas #snacks #pretzels #Christmassnacks #Christmasrecipes

Chocolate banana reindeer pops

2 large bananas      
12-14 thin wooden popsicle sticks
Mini pretzels
Chocolate chips (milk, dark, white, carob, or dairy-free chips https://enjoylifefoods.com/our-food/baking-chocolate/chocolate-for-baking-mini-chips/

Cut each banana into thick slices (you should get about 6-7 slices from each large banana). Snap 12-14 pretzels in half and remove the middle nubbin.

Stick the ends of each pretzel into the sides of the banana pieces to make antlers. Stick a wooden popsicle stick into the bottom of the banana slice. Place all bananas with antlers and sticks onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for at least one hour, but up to one day.

Chocolate banana reindeer pops | Me & The Moose. Sliced bananas and pretzels dipped in chocolate are an easy, festive, and healthier way to celebrate the season. #meandthemoose #bananas #snacks #pretzels #Christmassnacks #Christmasrecipes

Once the bananas are frozen, combine ½ bag of your preferred chocolate with 2 Tbsp unmelted coconut oil in a large bowl and melt in the microwave. Cook for 30 seconds on high and then in 10 second bursts until liquid, stirring between each burst. Let cool for 10 minutes. Remove the bananas from the freezer one by one and dip in the melted chocolate. Tap off the excess and, using a small plate, transfer back to the baking sheet in the freezer and repeat with the other frozen bananas.

Let the covered bananas freeze for at least one hour, but up to five days before serving.

Yield: 12-14 banana reindeer

Chocolate banana reindeer pops | Me & The Moose. Sliced bananas and pretzels dipped in chocolate are an easy, festive, and healthier way to celebrate the season. #meandthemoose #bananas #snacks #pretzels #Christmassnacks #Christmasrecipes

Persimmon, pear, and squash puree

Persimmon, pear, and squash puree | Me & The Moose. This puree tastes like pie filling, but contains no added sugar. #meandthemoose #squashpuree #persimmonpuree #pearpuree #babyfood #toddlerfood #hiddenvegetables

Last week was seven full days of cooking fails. From seized chocolate to mismeasured coconut sugar, I haven't been able to get it right. But hopefully I can pass along some of the lessons I've learned from these botched experiments over the next few weeks to save you some time and frustration in the kitchen.

Friends, let me tell you, unripened persimmons are DISGUSTING. I've cooked with this fruit a hundred times, but apparently have never misjudged one's ripeness so badly before. Pictured above are Hachiya persimmons. They are about the size of a large apple or pear and are the largest type of persimmon that I've seen in the grocery store. I learned the hard way that they aren't really ripe until they're literally falling apart. And if you eat them unripe--even just slightly so--your tongue will feel like it's growing hair.

Persimmon, pear, and squash puree | Me & The Moose. This puree tastes like pie filling, but contains no added sugar. #meandthemoose #squashpuree #persimmonpuree #pearpuree #babyfood #toddlerfood #hiddenvegetables

Instead, Fuyu persimmons (pictured above) are short and squat and smaller than the Hachiya type. They're also much more forgiving and can be eaten when they're either firm or soft, though I like them best when they're about as soft as a ripe avocado. I like to peel them, but the skin is edible.

This puree is warm and comforting, but also full of goodness, which is especially nice this time of year when the days are darker and colder and the food is increasingly indulgent. M eats this combo with a spoon, out of a pouch, mixed with oatmeal, or plopped on whole grain pancakes. The persimmons and squash give the puree some thickness, but all three fruits and veggies have a mellow sweetness to them that pairs well together. Add in some cinnamon and ginger and it almost feels like you're eating not-too-sweet pie filling. And who doesn't like pie filling?

Persimmon, pear, and squash puree | Me & The Moose. This puree tastes like pie filling, but contains no added sugar. #meandthemoose #squashpuree #persimmonpuree #pearpuree #babyfood #toddlerfood #hiddenvegetables

Persimmon, pear, and squash puree

2-3 Fuyu persimmons
2 medium pears
½ medium acorn squash (or one whole squash if it’s very small)
Heaping 1/8 tsp ground ginger
Heaping ¼ tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil

Peel and cube the pears and persimmons and place on parchment- or foil-covered sheet pan. On a separate pan, halve the acorn squash and place cut side down onto a foil- or parchment- covered pan. Roast both pans for 20 minutes. Check the fruit for doneness: The cubes should be softened (but not mushy) and slightly browned. When done, transfer to the bowl of a blender or food processor. Continue cooking the squash for another 20-25 minutes until the skin can be easily pierced with a fork. Using a spoon, remove the flesh of the acorn squash and add to the blender or food processor. Add the spices and the oil. Blend until you reach your desired consistency, adding 1 Tbsp of water at a time, if needed.

Yield: 22 oz or 2.5 cups

Persimmon, pear, and squash puree | Me & The Moose. This puree tastes like pie filling, but contains no added sugar. #meandthemoose #squashpuree #persimmonpuree #pearpuree #babyfood #toddlerfood #hiddenvegetables