Toddler pasta dinner in a hurry

That night when you suddenly realise they’re super tired and they need to go to bed before they fall asleep without food. 
This pasta “go to” meal is a quick dish I’ve made many times with variations over the years for all four of my children. 

Pasta part 

  • Water for boiling
  • Pasta (make however much you need,  1 cup is my suggestion for 4 generous child serves.  (Other noodles such as penne,  shells and spirals all work,  macaroni is just quicker I find).
  • 1 egg per child (optional) 
  • 1/2 carrot cut into small dices (you can use small diced pumpkin about the size of an icecube, parsnip finely diced,  sweet potato icecube sized dices)

Start by bringing the water to boil with an egg per child in the water (optional- but remember you can use the egg as a ready to eat snack the next day). Add macaroni noodles. 

As you bring the pasta and water to the boil quickly dice up half a carrot,  add to boiling water. Cook pasta as directed on the pasta packet.  Around 10 -12 minutes is typical.

If you’re very time poor add frozen mixed veggies to the pasta and skip the veggies in the next section,  add them to the boiling pasta water in the last 4 minutes. 

Cheese sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon diced onion
  • 3 tablespoons diced red capsicum 
  • 1 stalk diced celery

Other veggies that work at this part of the recipe include finely diced zucchini, finely diced squash)
Yes,  everything is diced this is quicker to cook and children are less likely to pick it out.

  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 

Throw the butter,  diced onion, capsicum and celery into a large glass measuring jug which is microwave suitable.  Cook on high for 4 minutes. 

Mix in:

  • 3  tablespoons plain flour 
  • 4 tablespoons powdered milk 

It will look lumpy and disgusting. Stay with me….  

  • Cocktail Frankfurts (if you want meat but don’t have Frankfurts add diced ham or a tin a tuna to the cheese sauce) 
  • Corn kernels tinned or frozen (amount to suit your palette) eg 1/4 cup. Alternatives or additions at this part of the recipe include frozen peas,  spinach, herbs,  snow peas sliced smaller, frozen beans 

Check the pasta is pretty well ready.  If you want cocktail Frankfurts add to the boiling water for a few minutes.  Like …2 minutes…or at least before they burst open.  Also add the corn now.

Now the trick… 
Drain a little water from the pasta into the cheese sauce jug… Stirring… Add more until the sauce is as thick as a thick custard.*

 (*if you’re very time pressed,  add the cheese while it’s “too thick” so the cheese melts,  then make up to desired thickness using cold water to cool the sauce).  

Now add:

  • Grated cheese 1/2 cup (I freeze pre grated cheese for quick availability) 

Now use a pasta server to take out your egg/s. Set aside. (If you’re very time pressed run pasta and veggies under cold water to cool it down.) Drain off any excess liquid.  Add the sauce to the pan and mix through. 

Put the eggs into the jug (don’t stress about the sauce it’s on the shell!)  add cold water.  Shell and dice if using or set aside for another meal. 

“Style” your meal.  My toddler likes olives as her garnish. I added the quarter egg pieces and the Frankfurts.

This was her verdict “yummy”.

  

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