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Making Your Own Baby Food – Chicken

When my daughter was first old enough to eat meat, I started with chicken.  It was one of the healthier meats and I thought it would be one of the easier ones to start with (plus it’s bland and she would be more likely to eat it).    There are a few ways to cook it but I felt that poaching, although it gets rid of a few nutrients, would be the easiest way to make it a good texture for my daughter.   So here are my steps for making chicken baby food.

Cooking the Chicken for Your Baby

I start with boneless skinless chicken breasts.  I get organic but that’s your choice (it can easily be twice as much since non-organic is often on sale to reduce its price drastically).  I trim off the excess fat and then put the breasts in a pot in a single layer.  I then cover them with water about an inch above the chicken breasts.  I put the lid on (make sure it’s one that has a fairly tight seal).  I bring the chicken just to a boil and then turn it down to low immediately so it gets to a simmer.  Simmer where there are just a few bubbles for about 10 minutes.  Take it off the heat and let it sit for another 10-15 minutes.  You can tear into it to make sure there is NO pink on the inside.  If there is, simmer for a few more minutes.  It should be pretty obvious when it’s finished.  While it is still warm, put the chicken into a food processor (I love my Cuisinart, but anything will do!)  Turn it on and mix until it turns into small pieces.  It becomes very finely chopped and won’t get any smaller. I left it like that and my daughter ate it just fine (although she really liked it when we mixed it with equal amounts of a pureed fruit or veggie).  If you want, you can add some of the water from the pot and get some of those lost nutrients.  This gives it a much stronger flavor so if you’re going for bland, just do regular water.  This will turn it more into a paste and will resemble baby food from a jar (they add quite a bit of water and often corn starch to make a “gravy.”) 

Storing and Freezing Your Chicken

I then put the chicken into ice cube trays, getting about 16 cubes/ounces (or one full ice tray) for each pound of chicken I cook.  I push the chicken down with a spoon or a clean finger to make sure the chicken pieces stick together well in the cubes.  Freeze in the trays until solid (I usually do at least 12 hours to make sure it is completely frozen).  I then empty them into a plastic freezer bag, label with the type of food, and the date (chicken should only be kept a month or two).   When my daughter first started eating meat (at about 8 months) she ate one cube a day.  She now eats one cube for lunch and one for dinner (one chicken and one beef – stay tuned for a lesson in cooking beef for a baby). 

Chicken for Older Babies

As she got older, I wanted her to start eating the chicken on her own.  I found some organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  I thought the thighs would be more tender for her little mouth with few teeth.  With the added fat of thighs, I was able to cook it in the oven with no oil and then chop it into pieces the size she can eat (think the size of the chicken bites in canned chicken noodle soup).  Again, I just trimmed off excess fat, laid it in one layer on a cookie sheet, and cooked it in the oven on 350 degrees for about 10  or 15 minutes.  Watch it carefully because it depends on how thick your thighs are and how your oven cooks.  You want to be able to cut into it and see NO pink.  My daughter eats it with no seasoning but you could add something if you wanted like pepper (no salt!).  You can put it in food cubes the same as the food processed chicken breasts.

Save Money

snapshot from gerber.com

The chicken thighs that I buy are $4.99/pound.  Again, it is organic and you could purchase it for a much lower price non-organic.  Getting 16 cubes with a pound, it costs about $0.31 a cube, or $0.31 an ounce.  Considering it has no water added, unlike jarred baby food, it is a great value for your money with very little effort put in.  And if you’re not buying organic the cost per cube could be as low as $0.12 per cube/ounce.  Compare that to the cost of non-organic jarred food at about $0.54/ounce for the same amount with all the filler (https://gerber.alice.com/?tag_id[]=65).

Our Other Baby Food Articles

Making Your Own Baby Food – Introduction

Making Your Own Baby Food – Apples

 Making Your Own Baby Food – Bananas

Making Your Own Baby Food – Eggs

Making Your Own Baby Food – Beef

Making Your Own Baby Food – Sweet Potatoes

Making Your Own Baby Food – Tomatoes

Making Your Own Baby Food – Starting with Frozen Foods 

2 Responses to “Making Your Own Baby Food – Chicken”

  1. Kathy says:

    I know this might sound stupid – but what’s the process from frozen to baby eating the food? What’s the best way to defrost? Do you reheat?

    • Lauren Ross says:

      Not stupid at all. One of my upcoming posts is going to talk more about the overall process. Every evening we get out what we think she will need. We found some great containers at Babies R Us but any small containers work great. We do separate containers for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any snacks she needs. I put them in the refrigerator and they are all thawed by morning. If some pieces don’t manage to thaw, we put them in the microwave on defrost for a few seconds. Again, I will give more details in a future post, but I hope this helps gets you started!

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  7. Gregory Smith - I love your blog I have read this article and enjoyed it

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