30 Favorite Toddler Meals

Random Observation/Comment #620: I can’t find a purer way to show my love than through cooking and sharing food.

Why this List?

As soon as Evie could eat solids, I claimed head chef of the household. It started off with creating purees of everything using our Beaba and making sure we had as many colors as possible throughout the day… Not a lot of purple foods.

After the puree phase, we wanted her to eat what we did. We chose overcooking vegetables with less salt and oil while making anything as tender as possible. Since we needed to pack lunches for daycare, I usually cooked two go-to dishes on Sunday and packed it in a thermos with two separate container of fruits cut into chunks.

Good choices for fruits are watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapples, mangos, strawberries, blueberries, and seedless mandarins.

Our method for making her meals is mixing/matching a base, protein, and sauce.

Good choices for bases are bowtie pasta, spaghetti, pearled cous cous, and sticky rice. Note that these sauces are written the way I memorize my recipes.

  1. Vegetable Pancakes – Grate veges like zucchini and carrots mixed with egg, salt, baking soda, and flour. Make like a pancake.
  2. Mapo tofu – Make a thick sauce with miso paste, water, oyster sauce, tomato paste, sesame oil, and corn starch. Brown minced pork. Add sauce and tofu cubed.
  3. Cheese quesadilla – Cook protein. Finely chop. Toast tortillas and mix protein with cheese. Press downward.
  4. Meatballs – Mix beef and pork with cooked onions, parsley, cheese, one egg, and breadcrumbs. Brown on pan and slowly simmer in tomato sauce.
  5. Vegetable Frittata – Soften veggies, salt properly, turn off fire and add beaten eggs. Bake.
  6. Pan fried tofu chunks – Cut 1/4 inch tofu chunks and slowly brown in olive oil. Turn after light browning. Add salt at the end.
  7. Mac and cheese with veges – Cheese mixture with flour, butter, and cheese with heavy cream. Cook veggies, cook pasta, and mix it all together.
  8. Dumplings – Make filling with pork and cabbage. Make sure cabbage is cooked and dried. Buy dumpling wrappers, fill lightly, and use water to seal edges. I personally boil my dumplings instead of steaming.
  9. Cubed sweet potatoes – Cut in cubes, blanch, and dry. Light olive oil and medium heat cooking of all sides.
  10. Stuffed chicken breast – Slit breast along the inside without fully butterflying. Stuff with a mixture that likely includes mashed greens and cheese.
  11. Breaded chicken tenders – Dry, flour, egg, and panko crumbs (with thyme and salt). Medium-to-low heat with olive oil and cover.
  12. Toasted bagel with cream cheese – Halve and toast. Add cream cheese afterwards and serve cut into cubes.
  13. Pizza rolls – Either buy it frozen or make your own. Cut smaller pieces of flatbread or rolls and add tomato sauce + cheese. Everything tastes good with cheese. Serve cubed.
  14. Baked vegetable Fritter – Cut veges and dry. Mix together with breadcrumbs, eggs, and flour. Bake in oven 400+.
  15. Beef stew – Brown something bone-in. Saute onions. Add beef stock and meat with tomato paste, carrots, and potatoes. I personally use an instant pot because I’m lazy.
  16. Pulled pork – Marinate meat and slow cook or pressure cook.
  17. Avocado toast – Toast bread separately. Spread butter lightly. Slice avocados to set on top and smash with fork. Add salt and light cayenne.
  18. Split pea soup with bacon and shredded ham – Soak lentils. Render bacon. Remove. Cube ham. Saute onions or carrots. Add stock, bacon, ham, and lentils. Pressure cook until tender.
  19. Creamy pesto sauce (made with cavatappi) – Since I’m lazy, I just buy the pre-made pesto. Start with butter, flour, and milk. Then mix in pesto paste and pasta. Toss to finish with cheese.
  20. Baked fries – Cut potatoes into fry slivers. Wash, blanch, and dry. Spread on baking sheet. Cover with olive oil and salt. Bake.
  21. Chicken fried rice – Love this recipe with thinly sliced chicken, some easy to cook veges, and overnight cold rice. Sauce is simply soy sauce, ketchup, and salt.
  22. Beef sliders – Simple beef with onion powder and salt. Follow smash burger or regular patty with thumb-sized indent. She likes to eat the potato bun more than the meat, but it’s a good mix.
  23. Japanese Chicken Curry – Chicken thigh sear. Onions, carrots, and potato. Minced garlic and ginger. Curry paste (flour, butter, curry powder). Chicken stock. Coconut milk. Pressure cook. 1 Tbsp ketchup and soy sauce at the end.
  24. Fishsticks – Buy fillets of white fish. Wash. Dry. Refrigerate. Flour, egg, panko. Bake.
  25. Sausage mushroom onion sauce – Cube everything. Sausage first. Remove and add onion to soften. Add mushrooms. Deglaze with some stock or wine. Sausage back in with a bit of heavy cream.
  26. 2-layer lasagna – Make a meat-based tomato sauce. Puree for better consistency. Lots of low moisture cheese choices. Quick layer of sauce, pasta (dry), sauce, cheese, pasta, sauce, cheese. Bake until dry.
  27. Shrimp scampi – Defrost, clean, and de-vein shrimp. Salt and dry. Pan sear with butter and parsley.
  28. Cauliflower gnocchi – TBH I just buy the frozen ones from Trader Joe’s and mix them together with a butter sauce. Evie likes the texture.
  29. Flatbread – Being lazy and trying to avoid a mess in the kitchen, I buy the pre-made flatbread. It’s still fun to add sauce, cheese, and toppings. Bake.
  30. Vietnamese spring rolls – Evie does not eat this, but it’s surprisingly fun to make and practices slicing cabbage, carrots, spinach, and other vege fillings into thin matchsticks. Soak the wraps and find a good sauce for dipping.

~See Lemons Cook for Evie