Hi. Yes, I’m still here. I haven’t completed forgotten about you despite all evidence to the contrary. The new baby came along and I stopped giving you attention — I know. My dog totally feels your pain. If it is any consolation, I’m still writing about food and posting fun recipes on this other blog! No, that doesn’t help? I see.
A quick recap of the last several months: My baby is growing like a weed on steroids doused in Miracle Grow making a wish at a Zoltar machine. She’s been eating solid food for 5 months, something I looked forward to with all of my being only to discover that babies don’t just automatically love food and want to go out for dumplings and mapo tofu. Oh. I didn’t realize. So in an effort to 1) feed her real wholesome nutritious ingredients, I’ve been making all of her food and 2) expose her to new and fun flavors thus getting her on our same menu ASAP, I’ve been a cooking fool. Cooking for her, cooking for us… cooking cooking cooking! And now… 5 months into solid foods… she is finally eating almost anything that I put in front of her. (Note: That “finally” is purely a reflection of my foodie impatience and not a reflection of her pickiness/non-pickiness.)
Anyway… We’re good now! Any foodie parent will agree that there are few things more satisfying than watching your child devour and enjoy something you cooked for them. Pure. Heaven. (For a special kind of nerdy parent…)
How about a recipe, huh? I’ve got a good one for you… adult, kid and solid-eating-infant friendly! Adapted from a recipe I spotted on Pinterest, I present to you…
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Red Pepper Quinoa Bites (or nuggets or balls or patties… whatever)
This recipe is great for kiddos; a great snack for adults; or even a terrific appetizer or hors d’oeuvre.
- 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup of uncooked polenta or milled barley
- 2–3 roasted red peppers — minced
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup of crushed tomatoes or purée — I used the fire roasted kind. Muir Glen’s cans are BPA free!
- Cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano — or whatever seasoning you like
- salt and pepper
- breadcrumbs as necessary to make the mixture easy to mold
Cook the quinoa in 1 cup water. Add quinoa to a hot saucepan and toast for a minute or two. Add the water. Add a little seasoning if you would like — I added a sprinkle of chili powder. Reduce the heat and cook covered for about 10 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed.
Cook the polenta or milled barley. (Milled barley is barley that has been ground into a flour-like consistency. I love this stuff… it makes a great breakfast cereal.) Cook the barley in 2 cups of water whisking often. You don’t want it to get clumpy. It takes about 15-20 minutes to cook. You want it to be thick like oatmeal.
Heat your oven to 350.
Combine the quinoa, water, roasted peppers, tomato puree, and any seasonings you like. I used jarred roasted peppers and they were kind of salty so I skipped the salt. Season it to your liking, tasting often, BEFORE adding the egg! You can’t taste it once you add the egg.
Once you get it all right, add the egg and some bread crumbs. Add a little at a time until it is a texture that can be molded — sort of like meatloaf.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
Shaping your bites is easier if you chill the mixture first. If you don’t have time for that, no worries.
Shape your bites into whatever shape you want. I went with a nuggety shape. Balls would work great as hors d’oeuvres. Patties would be good on sandwiches. Whatever you want.
Bake for 20-35 minutes depending on how think your bites are. Mine took 35 minutes. The outside should be crispy and they should be firm to the touch.
I made a bunch so some will go into the freezer and can be defrosted one at a time for Baby. They are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside as if they were deep fried. I’m pretty much in love with this recipe. Later this summer when I get eleventy bazillion sweet peppers in my CSA box, this is what I’m doing with them.