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Baby-Friendly Chicken

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Here are two basic methods of cooking chicken that can be used to create a variety of textures and meals for your baby. Baking in the oven works especially well for flavorful, fattier and iron-rich thighs, while poaching keeps lean meat moist and juicy, making it an ideal method for chicken breasts.

15-20 minutes
Freezer safe
Makes 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups (12 to 14 fl oz/375 to 430 ml)

1/2 - 3/4 lb (250 to 375 g) Boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs
Olive oil spray (if needed)
Fruit or vegetable
Puree or Baby's
Cereal, as needed (optional)

1. To bake chicken thighs, preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Line a baking sheet with foil. Lightly spray the chicken thighs with oil and place on the prepared sheet. Roast, turning once, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the center, 20 minutes.

To poach chicken breasts: if the chicken breast is thicker than 1 inch (2.5 cm) slice it horizontally almost all the way across, then open the 2 halves like a book. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, bring about 1/4 inch (6 mm) water to a simmer. Add the chicken; the water should come about halfway up the sides of the chicken. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, turning once, until cooked through and no longer pink in the center, 812 minutes. Adjust the heat to keep the water barely simmering. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and reserve the cooking liquid.

2. Chop the cooked chicken coarsely, transfer to a food processor or blender, and puree for 1 minute. The texture will be clumpy. Add the reserved cooking liquid or water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to make a smooth paste. Add fruit or vegetable puree or cereal as desired to make the pureed meat smooth and palatable. Check the temperature and serve.

3. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or spoon into ice-cube trays or other freezer containers and freeze, covered, for up to 3 months.

From Love in Spoonfuls, Parenting's recipe book of fast and easy ways to make nutritious food for your baby.

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