Monday, April 4, 2011

Meals Your Little Chef can Make! Day 7

Good afternoon my little chefs and parents! I am so glad we got to spend the week together making new and inspiring meals. I hope your little chef has learned some valuable cooking skills and meals they can make now. On that note, we all know that children love pasta, whether it be mac and cheese or other kinds of pasta. We are going to end this week with a wonderful pasta dish that any kid and parent alike will love. So, let's grab our aprons and cooking dishes and let's begin!

Cheesy Stuffed Shells

You will need:

(For the tomato sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (28 oz.)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar   
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
(For the Pasta)
  • 1 large bunch spinach (blanched, squeezed and drained well on a paper towel, then chopped)
  • 1 and 1/2 lbs. fresh ricotta
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra-large pasta shells, cooked and drained
  • Extra 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Do our amazing little chefs have everything? Excellent!

To make the tomato sauce:
  1. Have your child put the garlic, onion, tomatoes, sugar, basil, seasonings and balsamic vinegar into a large saucepan.
  2. Turn on the heat to medium.
  3. Allow it to simmer for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes have collapsed and the sauce has started to thicken.
  4. Let it cool down for a few minutes and with your child, (oven mits on) pour it into the base of a large baking dish.
To make the pasta:
  1. Little chefs, combine the spinach, Parmesan, parsley, dill, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper into a large bowl. 
  2. Mix well.
  3. Spoon mixture into pasta shells.
  4. Have your child place the filled shells into the baking dish of pasta sauce, side by side.
  5. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cooked and golden.
  7. Serve!

And there we have a delicious meal that any pasta eating child would love. Since they helped make it, they will eat it over and over again. I hope you all enjoyed it. Thank you all for spending the week with me and I hope to see you all soon. Great job little chefs! Good night!