“Surviving Dinner” is a series that is not about good wifeing, mothering, or cooking. It’s about surviving. It’s for those nights when you’re tempted to write “fast food” on the menu, but cooking at home will save you a few dollars, a few hundred calories, and loads of mommy-guilt. And now that baby is eating with the rest of you, you need a strategy! Feeding them foods you’re already cooking for everyone else or having some pre-prepared purees in your freezer will help you save money on baby food, ensure the freshest ingredients and best flavor, and let you focus on cooking dinner for the rest of the family.
Brynna is 8 months but not even interested in or close to being ready to self-feed, so we are solidly in the puree/mash phase of baby-feeding. I’m all about giving as little money to the baby food industry as possible, so I make her food, which is usually a modified version of something the rest of us are having for dinner. For example, if we have a sweet potato mash, I’ll mash a portion for her before adding the seasonings for the rest of us. If we’re having steamed broccoli, I’ll puree a few for her. But what do you on Taco Night? It’s usually helpful to at least have a few pre-prepared baby food options, just in case there isn’t an easily adaptable food at the dinner table one evening.
While we were traveling a few weeks ago I bought a few commercial baby food packets. There was one that she loved in particular, and gobbled it down. I thought I’d try to cook something similar for her and I must have gotten it right on my first try – she can’t get enough! So, instead of spending $1.50 on a few ounces of baby food, make your own giant batch for just a few bucks – in the slow cooker! That’s right, baby food in the slow cooker. It doesn’t get any easier. MIND BLOWN.
- 1 butternut squash (approximately 4 lbs)
- 2 ripe pears
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 C water
1. Peel the butternut squash, cut in half, and scoop out the seeds. Cut into one-inch chunks.
2. Peel and quarter the pear. Cut out core.
3. Combine all ingredients – squash, pear, cinnamon, and water – into a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours.
4. Place all the food in a blender or food processor and puree. Add as much of the water from the bottom of the slow cooker as you need to achieve the desired consistency for your baby.
5. This makes a ridiculous amount of food; freeze what you can’t use within a few days for future use!
Wondering what I’m doing here? Learn more about the idea behind Surviving Dinner.