Today, The Baby Cubby is so pleased to welcome Christine Bono from This Is How I Mom! She is an absolutely fabulous mother and chef who is focused on healthy and tasty recipes! We love to follow her since her creations are not only kid friendly but parent friendly, too! Seriously. You're going to LOVE her.Cooking for Easter is always so exciting because it’s the first spring holiday after a long and cold NYC winter, and I’m usually craving lots of light and fresh foods. These recipes are especially great because they’re done quickly (all three in under an hour), they’re beautiful enough to serve to guests of any age, but palatable for even the pickiest of toddlers. Make any (or all) of these for your Easter gathering and I promise every guest, even the adults, will be going back for seconds.
Asparagus Pesto Flatbread with smashed peas, goat cheese, and kalamata olivesMy son doesn’t have many food aversions but he hates asparagus. I tried using it in many different ways but he always rejected it (aka, spit it onto his high chair). That is until I made this asparagus pesto. He ate it spread on toast with an egg on top, tossed in homemade pasta, and most recently on this flatbread which I topped with some of his favorite foods: peas, olives, and cheese. This was my first time using pizza dough as a flatbread but it was so easy, so quick, and it turned out beautifully without very much fuss. Best of all? It was toddler approved! My son ate 2 slices for lunch and another 2 for dinner!
1 lb asparagus (for this pizza I boiled the asparagus but you can roast it or even use it raw) 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (you can also use pine nuts) 1/2 cup olive oil 1/2 cup shredded parmesan Salt and pepper to tastePlace in food processor and pulse until well combined. I like to work in the order listed above when making the pesto: first the asparagus with about half of the olive oil, then the walnuts with the rest of the olive oil. Whichever way you decide to break it down please make sure to do the parmesan last and to only pulse it a few times. Did you know parmesan is so delicate that over-pulsing it can actually begin to melt it?
Asparagus Pesto Flatbread
Whole wheat pizza dough that has been sitting out for 20-30 minutes
1/2 box defrosted frozen peas, lightly smashed with some peas still whole
1-2 oz goat cheese
8-10 chopped kalamata olives
Parmesan cheese to tastePreheat oven to 450. Begin prepping the dough by cutting into 3 pieces. Roll into a log and then begin to flatten with a rolling pin. You can also gently pick up the dough from one end, allowing the weight of it to stretch itself. Be gentle as its prone to tearing. If that happens, pinch the tear with moist fingers to close it. Once the dough is to your desired thinness and length, lay on a lightly greased baking sheet and prick the center with a fork (this is to avoid it creating pockets int he center of your flatbread). Spread a layer of asparagus pesto, smashed peas, crumbled goat cheese, kalamata olives, and a sprinkle of parmesan. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the dough begins to brown around the edges. Cut into triangles and serve immediately or at room temperature.
Mini Black Bean CakeMy son loves beans and will eat them raw and cold! These mini black bean cakes are great not just as an appetizer but as a meal to keep in the freezer on nights when our dinner choices aren’t to his liking or when we need food to bring on the go.
1 can black beans, rinsed
1/2 box frozen corn
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp flour
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp chopped parsley
panko (optional)Preheat oven to 400. In a bowl smash black beans, leaving a few whole. Add in corn, parsley and egg and mix to combine. Add in breadcrumbs and flour and fold gently. Use a cookie scoop to create uniform cakes, scoop mixture into breadcrumbs or panko crumbs (I used panko to make the cakes extra crispy on the outside). Gently place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, turning mid way, until they begin to brown on both sides. Serve with strained yogurt, pico de gallo, salsa, avocado crema, or a salad, warm or cold.
Warm Lemon Yogurt Ricotta DipThis dip is a staple for me for any gathering because its so versatile. Want to make it Greek? Add feta, green peppers, and top with tapenade. Want to make it Italian? Omit the lemon and add oregano, basil, sage, and top with thin slices of tomato. Want to make it Mexican? Add some cheddar to the base and mix in some chopped jalapeño and now you’ve got a jalapeño popper dip! The yogurt here is the real star because it keeps the dip light while also binding it to allow it to be firm yet creamy. The trick it to use well drained ricotta and yogurt. For the ricotta, I actually use low-fat store brand because I know from experience it is well drained, however you could buy your favorite ricotta and drain some of the excess liquid in a cheesecloth. For the yogurt I always buy Siggi’s because the sugar content is the lowest of any other brand I’ve seen and it’s even thicker than greek yogurt. What that creates is a dip that is creamy enough to spread on bread or to dip fresh veggies into, but also versatile enough to use as filling for manicotti, skillet baked rigatoni, or as a quick and healthier baked ziti.
1 cup Low-fat ricotta
1/2 cup Siggi’s 0% yogurt
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to tastePreheat oven to 375. Mix ricotta, yogurt, salt, pepper, lemon juice and zest and place in baking dish. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and more black pepper. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes until the top begins to brown slightly. When it comes out it will be very runny but will set as it cools. Serve warm of room temperature with crudite, crackers, bread, or flatbread. (you don’t have to include this but I think it’s helpful for people to understand how these can all come together in an hour)