In my quest to get some more protein and iron into the toddler twosome given their current dislike for anything in a bowl…. I have come up with another way to get them eating what once was a favourite… Shepherd's Pie!
It's all about getting it out of the bowl and if i'm honest…looking a little sloppy…and into little bite size pieces with a different texture…..Shepherd's pie became Savoury Rice Bites!
Perfect finger food for the younger and older toddler! Seems to work well for Ruby who has SPD(Sensory Processing Disorder) and aversions to certain textured foods and smells. I have had to face the fact that she will not currently eat many family meals presented on a plate or in a bowl in the same way we would eat it. But because I am growing weary (and that's a polite term really!) of cooking 2 different meals most nights I am trying to find ways to modify our family meals into versions that are deemed ‘safe' by her to eat and try to chew and swallow.
This often means making things into a patty or muffin form which does take extra time but at least I can restock the freezer as I go for those nights when I can't face making dinner (am I the only one who gets that feeling??)
I was quite pleased with how these little savoury bites turned out…and the fact that the toddler twosome ate them! I used my basic TODDLER FRIENDLY SHEPHERDS PIE RECIPE and just added a few little extras before cooking in a mini muffin tin. Here's what I did….
Follow my Shepherd's Pie recipe HERE including the potato topping mix but before assembling in the casserole dish take aside a cup of the savoury meat and vegetable mixture and follow the easy steps below (you do not need the potato topping for these savoury bites)……
- I mashed the mix in a bowl but I have also used the mouli when I feel I have left the vegetables a little too chunky. It really is up to you and what you feel your toddler or child with sensory difficulties will tolerate. Either a smooth or lumpy meat mix will work.
- Add half a cup of cooked rice (white or brown) to the meat and vegetable mash along with…
- 1 beaten egg
- 2 tablespoons panko (or bread) crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated tasty cheese
- Combine well but do not over mix.
- Spoon into a well greased mini muffin tin or regular size if children are older. Sprinkle a few crumbs or parmesan cheese on top of each muffin if you need a crunchier texture (as Ruby does)
- Cook in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling and crispy on the top.
- Leave to cool a little and then lever out gently with a knife.
- Serve on their own, or with some dipping sauces and crunchy salad sticks
If you intend to serve Shepherd's Pie for the family dinner as the same time then I would suggest assembling into the casserole dish with the potato topping as per the recipe in the link above before you put your mini bites into the oven.
Put them into the oven at the same time and take the savoury bites out earlier to cool well for little mouths!
And there you have a meal for the family and for the fussy toddlers or children of the house with very little extra work!
They freeze well in a zip lock bag and are just as nice in their lunch the next day too. A few of our little animal forks make them even more tempting!
Don't forget to drop by my Toddler Friendly Food Pinterest Board for more ideas and recipes!
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Ali Wright says
You are very creative in the kitchen, I would never have thought of that.
Jodie Clarke says
Thanks Ali…it’s out of necessity trust me!!!
Woo hoo, you just scored ten out of ten on a Masterchef innovation test. I love the idea of turning them into savoury bites. Brilliant!
Jodie Clarke says
Thanks Chef Penny!!
Ngo Family Farm says
You are so clever! Those bites are adorable and I bet they really do get gobbled up by the whole family 🙂
Amie M says
Haha “Think outside the bowl” that’s great! I agree with stocking up on some frozen meals, I can’t face the dinner grind sometimes either!