Toddler Approved: Turkey and Veggies {Serve w/ Rice or Pasta}

When Savya was unwell a few weeks ago, he refused to eat anything. This made me even more stressed out than usual. How was I going to entice his appetite to come back? I did everything I could to try and make yummy and nutritious foods. Anything to make him eat more than 5 mouthfuls was considered a success. The usual favourites were completely vetoed and accompanied by angered screams. 

I was exhausted, worried, frustrated, on the verge of being burnt out, and was totally stumped on what to feed him. Then I remembered a meat and rice dish he had enjoyed at few weeks ago and decided to make my own veggie-packed version of this dish.

It went down like a dream!

Now, you guys know I prefer to cook fresh foods for Savya. I used to cook in large batches and freeze them, but I noticed the consistency of the food didn’t always keep. Now I try to avoid cooking in large batches. What I now prefer to do is buy in bulk, individually wrap single servings of meat in freezer-safe bags, then freeze them for a maximum of two months. 

Whenever I cook this dish, there is enough for 2 servings worth of turkey and veggies. I then serve it with fresh rice for Savya’s evening meal. With the leftovers, I cook the next night’s dinner by adding a bit of cream cheese and serve it with freshly cooked pasta. Both times, he feels like he has a different dish. Both times, he polishes off his dinner within 20 minutes. Both times, I felt like SuperMom! 

Batch freezing, not batch cooking:  now when I need to cook a meal with meat in it, I just reach into the freezer and pick out a parcel to thaw and cook. I have found that this method is tastier than batch cooking and freezing. As an example, I took a 500g package of turkey mince at 7% fat and separated it into 8 servings. This serves as 8 cooking batches, or 16 meals.

FYI: Dinner in 20 minutes is record fast for my kid, especially when unwell.

Tisha’s Helpful Tips:

  • Add a pinch of cinnamon to get rid of that raw, stinky, turkey meat smell.
  • Leeks can be really muddy. Make sure to slice them down the middle and give it a really good rinse to remove all that dirt!
  • Adding a little unsalted butter goes a long way. You can also use ghee (clarified butter).
  • Only add a little cream cheese when serving with pasta to fake a pasta sauce. It’s purpose is only to add creaminess and texture.
  • If you don’t want to chop these veggies finely by hand, roughly cut them and pulsate the raw vegetables in a processor to make smaller bite sized pieces. Pulsating will help control the size, otherwise you may end up with a vegetable smoothie!
  • Pasta-wise, you can use any kind. My kid is really particular about shape and size, so I have to be really mindful. If he doesn’t like the size, he chucks it out of his mouth. That’s mess and frustration I’d like my fellow parents to be able to avoid. If your kid is like mine, I recommend Tesco Goodness Animal Pasta (Wheat + Oat) which is 90p for 500g. Another small pasta is Tesco Marghartine Soup Pasta which is 50p for 250g. You can, of course, always choose your favourite spaghetti and snap it down to an appropriate size for your tot. I like to snap mine when it’s raw, boil, then add it to the turkey and veggies.

    Turkey and veggies with cream cheese sauce pasta

     
    Turkey and veggies with rice

    Tisha’s Toddler Approved Turkey and Veggie Dinner {add to fresh rice or pasta}

    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes (not including rice or pasta cook time)
    Serving Size: 2

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 teaspoon pure sunflower (or vegetable) oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon ghee
    • 2 tablespoons turkey mince
    • 1/2 shallot, minced
    • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger/garlic paste
    • 2 baby plum tomatoes, cut into tiny pieces
    • 2 tablespoon minced tender-stem (or regular) broccoli
    • 1 tablespoon minced red bell pepper
    • 1 tablespoon minced carrot (I used tender-sweet baby carrots)
    • 1 baby leek, minced
    • 2 button mushrooms, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon tomato paste
    • 1-2 tablespoons water
    • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
    • dash of cinnamon powder
    • thin slice of unsalted butter (to add creamy consistency)
    • salt to taste
    • Freshly cooked rice or pasta to mix and serve with.

    Optional Ingredients:

    • pinch of black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon cream cheese (only when serving with pasta)

     

    METHOD:

    1. Heat up oil in a small pot. I recommend a medium-sized flame.
    2. Add shallots and ginger/garlic paste and cook for a few seconds to release fragrance. Be mindful that the heat is not too high so that your aromatics don’t burn.
    3. Add all veggies – baby plum tomatoes, tender-stem broccoli, bell pepper, tender-sweet carrots, baby leeks, button mushrooms. Feel free to use other greens like spinach or kale if your kiddo will agree to eat them.
    4. Add curry powder and and salt. Stir until raw spice smell has gone away (10 seconds) and add water.
    5. Cook veggies for 5 minutes on low heat.
    6. Add turkey and sprinkle some cinnamon to remove the raw smell of turkey. Add tomato paste and mix again.
    7. Cook for another 3 minutes.
    8. Add a small sliver of unsalted butter to add creaminess.
    9. Optional steps to take:
      • add black pepper
      • only add cream cheese if serving with pasta
    10. Mix with fresh rice or fresh pasta and serve when at a cool enough temperature.

     

    Clarifications and Ending Comments: I only recommend adding cream cheese when serving it with pasta. The added cream cheese makes the mixture a bit more saucy, which is perfect for faking a pasta sauce. You can add a little more or less butter or salt for taste and consistency. You can also use whatever vegetables you like. Remember, cater to what works best for you and your family. This is just what works best for my little man. My goal is just to help any Mum or Dad with a tot or picky eater. Much love to everyone, and happy eats.


     

    Xoxo!