Saturday, 12 May 2012

Spinach and Goats cheese stuffed Jacket Potatoes for Babies and Toddlers

This was our lunch today.  An interesting mixture of cheeses, potato and spinach, perfect for the reluctant vegetable eater in your life!

As I said in my post praising potatoes, I often have a couple of extra jacket potatoes in the fridge.  These are useful for making mashed potato quickly or knocking something like this up.  Also it's then a great way of utilising the heat in an oven you're using already for something else.

There is a variation later in the recipe which is a little less healthy!




Spinach and Goats Cheese stuffed Jacket Potatoes - this quantity would serve two adults and two toddlers.

Ingredients

3 Jacket potatoes, cooked and cold (or cook some from fresh if liked)
4 blocks, 90g (frozen weight) chopped spinach (approx 60g when cooked and drained of excess water)
70g of creamy rindless goats cheese
30-35g of hard cheese, I used grana padano but you could use a hard mature goats cheese or cheddar

Method

Preheat an oven to 200oC / 400F

Cut the cooked potatoes in half and scoop out most of the creamy insides being careful not to break the skin (it's ok to leave some potato around the edge.)  Mash the potato, ideally using a ricer as then it's definitely lump free.

Cook the spinach following pack instructions for half of the cooking time and drain off any excess liquid (or if you prefer, wilt some fresh spinach and then chop finely.)

Mix the mashed potato, spinach and goats cheese well.  Put back into the potato shells and top with the grated hard cheese.  Use vegetarian cheddar or goats cheese if you're following a vegetarian diet (Grana Padano and Parmesan aren't vegetarian.)

Bake in the preheated oven for approx 25 mins or until the tops are brown and they're hot through.  Allow to cool to a suitable temperature before feeding to your child.

If you cut up the pieces, this could easily be baby led weaning food but also even if you're spoon feeding this could be great just using the mashed potato filling mixed with the goats cheese reheated either in the skins as above or in the microwave until piping hot.

Allow the food to cool until at a safe temperature for your child.  They are very hot straight from the oven.

Variation:  Probably just one for Mummies and Daddies but we made a delicious variation on this recently with chopped home cooked ham, a scant teaspoon of grainy mustard and cheddar cheese mixed into the mash and on top (instead of the goats cheese).  It was delicious if lacking in anything resembling a healthy vegetable.  One for older kids maybe with plenty of lovely veggies on the side.

On an aside subject.  Like many people, I recently heard about "neverseconds", a new blog by a nine year old taking photographs of her lunch every day.  I have to admit, I know less than I would like to about nutritional standards within school but I think they are pretty strict.  It made me wonder looking at the range of largely processed food this girl is offered whether the nutritional guidelines actually encourage schools to serve more processed options?  What's wrong with potatoes?  Why croquettes?  After all entering ten ingredients into some nutritional software and weighing everything out carefully is way more of a hassle than reading the back of pack.  What really shocked me though is due to the choice of foods, the portion sizes are pretty small and she complains about feeling hungry, which seems a little off when they're charging £2.  An interesting 'insider' look at school meals.

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