As my daughter Lea is getting older, I try my best to prepare meals for her that taste close enough to the food we eat at home. The sooner she gets used to these flavors, the easier it will be to feed her from whatever I cook at home and just mash it up a little bit. I find myself spending so much time in the kitchen cooking up different dishes for Lea, and other ones for my husband and I.
Koussa Mehshe, or stuffed zucchinis, is a very flavorful Lebanese dish that we often eat at home. Creating a simpler version for Lea is so convenient, because now I can use the same ingredients to do two dishes (one for us and one for her) and satisfy everyone.
- 2 zucchinis
- 1 tomato
- 1/4 cup orzo pasta or 1/4 cup rice
- 1 tbsp minced meat*
- 1/2 small onion, minced
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 1 garlic clove
* To make life easier, I usually sauté 200grams of minced meat and keep it in the freezer. I prefer doing this because 1) it's usually hard to cut out a little piece of frozen minced meat 2) I like doing one-pot recipes 3) if i ever need meat last minute, I save time defrosting and sautéing
1- Do two slits on your tomato and pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes, enough so you can peel off the skin.
2- Dice up the zucchinis, tomato, and mince the garlic and onion, then put them all aside.
3- In a small pot, fry the minced meat, onion and garlic for 1 minute then add the tomato.
3- Next, add a little water so the tomato can turn saucy.
4- Add the zucchinis and add enough water to cover them.
5- Now add the orzo (or rice). This way, will allow you to add just the right amount of water to cook the zucchinis and the pasta without having excess liquid.
* I prefer to add the orzo pasta or rice here instead of making them on the side because I'm going to mix them all together eventually. Also, it makes the recipe a one-pot dish.
4- Lastly, add the dried mint and mix well. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the orzo if fully cooked.
5- When its ready, it will be very easy for you to mash the zucchinis with a masher and get the right consistency for your baby.
Honestly speaking, this is a recipe that could work for adults too. If you don't have time to carve out your zucchinis and stuff them with rice and minced meat, you can simply just cook diced zucchinis with meat and red sauce and have it with a side of rice - it tastes just as good!