Cooking a meal that a toddler or preschooler will eat is tough for many moms. You want them to eat something healthy, and they want to eat potato chips and gummy bears for dinner. Diced beef is a healthy source of iron and protein, plus it's easy to cook. Mix it with noodles and gravy for a mild-tasting yet healthy meal that your little one might just gobble up.
Diced beef with noodles, also known as stroganoff, is easy to cook because you can just throw everything into a crock pot and walk away. Use a sharp knife and a cutting board to dice the beef, if needed, and keep a spoon handy to stir the meal occasionally. If you brown the meat first, a cast-iron skillet and spatula work well. Once your diced beef recipe is finished cooking, you'll need a large bowl to transfer it from the crock pot to the table for serving.
Besides the diced beef, stroganoff doesn't require any fancy ingredients and you can throw it together quickly. You'll need flour and butter or oil for browning the meat, and some beef stock and tomato paste for keeping the meat moist while it cooks. Some recipes call for vegetables, which make the meal heartier and increase the overall nutrient content. Potatoes, carrots, garlic, onions and mushrooms are common choices. Toward the end of the cooking process, you'll add sour cream. Cooked egg noodles or steamed white rice are sides that pair well with diced beef stroganoff.
Place the diced beef into a plastic zip top bag and add a couple of tablespoons of flour. Shake the bag well to coat the meat. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil or butter in a skillet and brown the diced beef on all sides. Transfer the meat to your crock pot and add about a cup of beef stock and a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce. Throw in whatever vegetables you think your little one might eat. A couple of cubed potatoes and sliced carrots is enough for four to six people. An eight-ounce package of sliced mushrooms, half an onion or a tablespoon of garlic are other yummy options. Cook on high for four to five hours or on low for eight to 10 hours. About a half hour before serving the meal, stir in four to eight ounces of sour cream.
As with any food, serving your toddler or preschooler requires safety precautions. Cut the meat into small pieces, no more than a 1/2-inch each to prevent the risk of choking, recommends the Healthy Children website. Stay close by when your little one eats to make sure he doesn't stuff too much into his mouth at once and chews each bite before swallowing.