Healthy Pasta (toddler friendly!)

Healthy (toddler approved) pasta!
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Healthy (toddler approved) pasta!

This is a homegrown, completely (created in a pinch one day) Scratch Mommy recipe. That said, healthy pasta…sounds like an oxymoron, huh? Well, it depends on how you prepare said pasta! Now, I will say that I typically use my own homemade pasta (easy recipe coming soon), but I was out the day I made this recipe, so I used the next best thing (for my crazy allergy family) – bionaturae pasta, which I pick up at my local health food store.

The reason I say that this pasta is healthy is because of the absurd amount of veggies that you put hide inside of it. I happen to have a toddler that could live on fruit alone, but I know that is not okay. So, I take to extremes and hide veggies as often as I can.

Tomatoes and onions...yum!
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Tomatoes and onions…yum!

I have made this versatile pasta many times and each time it is met with an “Ummmmm!” from both toddler and hubby (from whom I also have to occasionally hide veggies). 😉 There are two secrets to this pasta…
1. Using just enough water stock to where the pasta soaks it up (and allows the veggies to “stick” to the pasta; this may not be “proper pasta cooking technique,” but it certainly makes a nice thick, sticky sauce for your pasta).
2. Very finely shredding/chopping the veggies so that they “stick” to the pasta.

Tomatoes, onions, veggies...YUM!
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Tomatoes, onions, veggies…YUM!

I say that this pasta is versatile because I have made it with many different veggies (really, whatever I have on hand that day). I’ve used what you’ll see below, but have also used Brussels sprouts, green peppers, parsnip, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, etc. So, feel free to improvise (while keeping the ratios the same so that you get that “soak up” feature that I’m discussing).

The recipe below is for a BIG batch. I do this so that I can freeze portions and have them readily available. Hey, we all need as many time-savers as we can get, right? You’ll want to at least half it if you don’t plan on using it all within a few days (just depends on how big your family is and how good you are with leftovers).

Healthy Flavorful Pasta (toddler friendly!)
Ingredients:

  • 16 oz pasta (I used the entire bag of Bionaturae Fusilli this time)
  • 1 pint (about 2 cups) organic grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 6 cups homemade chicken stock (or, if you are currently out and need to make more 😉 , whatever organic stock/broth you have on hand)
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 C chicken, chopped/shredded finely (I always pull out this chicken from my freezer – so easy, but any organic/free-range chicken will work)
  • 1 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Pepper to taste (I like white pepper best, but you can use whatever your family loves)
  • Melt butter over medium heat in large stock pot and add salt and tomatoes.
  • Allow halved tomatoes to breakdown for 5 minutes or so and then add the diced onions; give them 10 minutes or so to breakdown.
  • While your tomatoes and onions are breaking down, process your carrots, celery, and garlic in your food processor (if you don’t have one, use a simple box grater like this and you’ll get very similar results…if they are in bigger bits, you just might have to let them cook down a bit longer than stated below).
  • Place veggies from your processor into the stock pot; let everything marinate and breakdown until your veggies are soft.
  • Now, add your chicken (or veggie or beef) stock and bring to a boil. My stock is always frozen, so it takes a while to melt and then come back to a boil. Put the lid on your stockpot to help it boil faster.
  • Once boiling, add pasta and parsley. Don’t be concerned when it looks like there is not enough water for the pasta! Just push your pasta down in the water and be sure to stir it around often. My pasta usually takes about 10 minutes to cook completely.
  • Add cooked, shredded chicken in last 5 minutes or so of cooking.
  • Turn the heat off, put lid on, and allow it to sit and cool for a while (I don’t know how long…I just go and play with Oliver and come back to check it a little while later 🙂 ).
  • Stir your pasta and you’ll see that you have a thickened pasta sauce and that your veggies are now sticking to your pasta. Yum! Now is when you’ll want to pepper (and sea salt) it to taste.

I end up putting mine into freezer bags like you see here. I got 9 bags this time PLUS Oliver and I both ate it for lunch this day (which makes a total of 11 servings).

Yummy, rich, healthy, tomato-based pasta with NO crazy chemicals, fillers, or weird ingredients we cannot pronounce. Yes…this is simple, easy, *REAL* food, friends! Let me know what you think about YOUR pasta! 🙂

xoxo,
Jess, aka Scratch Mommy


This post was shared at Encourage One AnotherFriday Flair Link Party, Hearth & Soul Hop, The Gingerbread Blog, Recipe Sharing Monday, Tatertots and Jello, Hunk of Meat Monday, Tasty Tuesday.

Comments 1

  1. I miss the days of my kiddos wearing their lunch on their faces, so sweet! It can be hard to satisfy the toddler in your life with nutritious foods, good for you. Thanks for sharing on Hearth & Soul Hop. 🙂

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