Gradually introduce new flavors: add chopped fresh mushrooms to meat-braising vegetables, or diced tomatoes or fresh chopped herbs to the cooking liquid. Get your child used to seeing herbs in food now, and avoid the "Yuck! Green stuff!" scene in restaurants later.

Carla M Cruzoni

As your child weans off cereals, replace with pasta, rice and mashed potatoes. Make extra for dinner and save it for baby's lunch the next day. Heat meat and veggie cubes in one bowl, then mix in a couple of tablespoons of whatever starch you have on hand right out of the fridge. It will blend to the perfect warm temperature to serve.

Keep an electric "mini processor " out on your counter: it's the quickest, neatest way to finely chop leftovers.

Daycare lunches made simple: Pack cubes in a microwaveable travel bowl in your toddler's lunch box.

If cooking is already part of your routine, work with the time you've already set aside to add to your "baby food stash." Putting up a big batch of tomato sauce or soup? Freeze some in cubes at the same time. When making meatballs or meatloaf, roll some into 1-1/2" balls, bake on a cookie sheet, cool completely and freeze.


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