Ella's Kitchen Chick, Chick Chicken Casserole vs. the Homemade Version
Here's the thing - parents either make their own baby foods or they buy the un-refrigerated dry shelf pouches/jars from the grocery store. They don't have a lot of choice... which is frustrating and the reason why I decided to open Simple Baby Foods this year. I wanted to make this comparison video and plan to do more like them because we need to understand that there is a big difference between homemade and processed baby foods. Like, for instance, do you know that homemade baby foods have TWICE the nutritional value of processed baby foods? As consumers, it's not our fault that we don't know these facts... after all the way the grocery store brands market their foods is misleading because:
- You can't even see what the food looks like on the inside of their pouches.
- They call their products things like Chick, Chick Chicken Casserole and yet there are more onions then chicken in it.
- Nearly all the protein meals will add a fruit to sweeten the pouch up. (side note: I don't have a problem with fruit but when we find them in nearly every "blend" or "meal" pouch out there... That should be a red flag.)
I actually made the homemade version of this organic pouch for less than the Ella's Kitchen pouch. Ella's was $2.49 per pouch at Ralph's. The homemade version cost me just $2.25 a pouch! So parents, start reading the labels of your baby food - I have a feeling you will be surprised at the order of the ingredients & what they add to make the food more palatable! Yes, they can be convenient but nothing can replace the nutrition of homemade..... Because research says first foods may be the most important foods we will ever eat!
Our Homemade Chicken Casserole Recipe
This is a stage 2 puree (8+ months). Always ask your pediatrician before introducing new foods
You can make this a stage 1 puree by leaving the onions, garlic & mint out.
About 1 lb. of puree - 1 (16 oz) ice cube tray or about 4 simple pouches.
6 oz of boneless, skinless chicken breast (or thighs)
4 oz of brown rice (I used Trader Joe's frozen brown rice, feel free to make your own)
3 oz of broccoli florets
3 oz of diced carrot
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped celery
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint leaves
1 garlic clove chopped
1/2 cup salt-free chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
Spray a large piece of heavy duty tin foil with canola/olive oil (going to make a foil pouch)
Wash broccoli, carrots & celery, then peel/string carrots & celery. Cut broccoli florets & dice carrots. Place in the middle of the foil.
Add 6 oz of chicken to the top of the vegetables. Top with the onion, celery, garlic, mint, olive oil & 1/4 cup of chicken stock. Fold the foil tightly into a pouch & place on a cookie sheet. Put in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes (if you are doubling the recipe break make extra foil pouches, don't put all in the same pouch)
Carefully open the pouch when you take it out of the oven... There will be steam! It will burn you. Put the cooked ingredients into your food processor/blender including the juice in the pouch. Pulse to the desired consistency. If you want a thinner puree, add the rest of the chicken stock.
Cool the puree thoroughly in the refrigerator or an ice bath before putting into pouches or into the freezer.