Barley Bites {Easily Freezable for a Baby on the Go}

Hi there, Mamas!  Here’s another #RecipeWednesday post for ya!  This yummy recipe was adapted from this one, but I’ve updated it to mine (and L’s) liking.  I think a few little tweaks made all the difference!

We add some black beans to up the protein and fiber.

We add some black beans to up the protein and fiber.

We have made variations of this recipe since L was about 7 months old and I like it for several reasons:

  • It can be a complete meal in itself
  • It’s a way for her to try new foods in a familiar way
  • It’s easily portable
  • It freezes well for my make-ahead Mamas (I love to make a big batch to send to my mother-in-law’s for L to eat on days that I work)
Seriously, Mama, can't I just eat in peace for once?

Seriously, Mama, can’t I just eat in peace for once?

For this recipe, I’ve liked barley (great source of soluble fiber) more than brown rice.  Brown rice tends to get hard, and even a little sharp, during cooking… so much so that I’ve had to peel off the top layer of cooked rice so that L didn’t hurt her mouth (not sure if that was completely necessary, but it made me feel better).  I think barley would be better for little ones starting out baby-led weaning (make sure to introduce foods separately at first; see here and here for more), or those with few teeth.

So, about it being a complete meal… that’s one thing that I LOVE about this recipe!  It gives a nice framework, but little modifications here and there can make it seem like a whole new meal.  (This article talks about my requirements for a “meal” – at least 3 food groups.  Barley Bites have grains, veggies, and protein [the beans, cheese, and eggs]). barley bites pin

We’ve added beans, chicken, and various steamed veggies at different times.  You could also add herbs or vary the cheeses or grains for completely new flavors.  The recipe I have listed for you is casserole size, so the whole family can get in on this action.  We have served it with roasted veggies for a cozy meal on a cold day, or with clementines to help brighten it up a bit.

 

Hope you and your little ones enjoy, Mamas!  What additions would you add?

Barley Bites

Yield: 16 large squares

Barley Bites

Ingredients

  • 3 1/3 cup cooked barley
  • olive oil
  • 1 half onion, diced
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, minced (we use 5 because L likes it, and so do we!)
  • 1 can low-sodium (or no added sodium) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • heaped 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 deg F.
  2. Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add the onion. Cook for a minute or two until beginning to soften, then add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Transfer the cooked onion and garlic to a bowl.
  5. Add the cooked barley, beans, egg, and cheese, mix everything together with a wooden spoon.
  6. Press the mixture into an oven-proof dish.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for around 45 minutes, until the mixture is set and has golden spots on top.
  8. Cut into cubes to serve.

Notes

Mix and match whatever grains, protein, veggies, and cheese you like! The eggs act as a binder to hold the mixture together. Our dish is deep, so I usually cut her squares in half length wise so she doesn't have to force her mouth open to take a bite.

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Photo credit: Barley on spoon by rakratchada torsap at freedigitalphotos.net.

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