Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kid-Friendly Pasta and Salad

Keep in mind as you consider the pictures to the left, that this week I'm posting meal ideas for a family with tweens.

Kids are often fussy about their food, which can make for a challenging time when sitting down to a family meal in the evening

Last night I had dinner with some friends. There were five adults, and two boys aged 8 and 10.

The boys wouldn't eat the beef ribs their parents had prepared, or the polenta with greens and bacon, which I'd made. Their mum, quickly prepared a hot dog for both boys and still they were fussy.

Using items from Jane's shopping list, today I'm proposing a very basic meal of spiral pasta topped with tuna tossed in olive oil and parsley with a simple side salad.

I'm almost a bit hesitant to suggest parsley over the pasta because I remember having Jane's son at lunch a couple years ago and he had a complete meltdown when he saw "little green bits" in the pasta dish I made.

Obviously you can modify this simple meal to meet the taste-needs of your kids.

For instance, Jane has a number of different cheeses on her list, so pasta with tuna and or a little cheese on top is a meal, if the kids will also eat a bit of salad.

I know it's hard to make greens and vegetables enticing for children, but try, try, try to get them to eat some color that way you can be sure they're getting the nutrients they need.

Kid-Friendly Pasta and Salad
1) Boil a pack of spiral pasta till tender. Drain. Rinse under hot water. Return pasta to pot and a low-heat hot plate. Drizzle pasta with olive oil and then season.
2) You can either top pasta with a tin of good quality tuna, tossed in a pan with olive oil, or Whole Foods Whole Catch tuna, defrosted and pan fried in a little oil or butter and lemon juice.
3) Dot the top with cheese, or chopped parsley, or chopped tomatoes.
4) For the salad: Toss some washed lettuce into individual bowls, top with grated or chunky slices of carrots, and any veggies in the crisper that your kids are likely to eat.

Rather than make a separate meal for the grown-ups, perhaps add the tinned tuna to the kids' pasta.

And for the adults, saute the Whole Catch Tuna in butter and garlic, adding chopped tomatoes to the pan, cooking gently with a little white wine, for say 10 mins.

Serve tuna fillet whole or broken into pieces over the spiral pasta, with the tomato, white-wine pan juices spooned over the lot. Dress the suggested, individual side-salads with olive oil and lemon juice.

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