Pasta Meal Solutions
With so many different varieties of noodles and sauces, pasta makes a perfect side dish, or main-course meal. We will focus on the 1-dish pasta meal for ease-of-preparation and kid-friendly, yet healthy meal solutions.
Pastas are available in wheat, colorful veggie, gluten-free and egg noodle selections which are the healthiest varieties. If you make your own pasta at home use whole grain flours (try grinding your own) and add vegetable juices to the dough, to insure better nutrition.
Kid favorites are spaghetti noodles, and elbow macaroni, offering dinner table fun. However once they try shells, bows, or other shapes, and realize they taste the same, you will be able to switch around the same sauces to look like completely different-looking meals.
Your kids love their red tomato sauce, but keep in mind cheese sauces can also hide a multitude of vegetable-meal additions. Children are not as fond of the white-cream or green-pesto sauces, but if you like them, go for it.
Homemade spaghetti "marinara" sauce is healthy, and easy-to-make in large batches, to freeze and use later.
Simmer a large pot filled with trimmed and chopped tomatoes, with several cloves of chopped garlic (preferably from your own organic garden as recommended in "How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden") along with a cup or two of water, on the stove-top. Lift the lid and stir occasionally.
Add fresh or dried oregano, basil, a quarter cup of sugar, and a tablespoon of sea salt cooking together for several hours, until the sauce becomes a consistency you like. Feel free to add any other pre-steamed vegetables, to be hidden beneath your sauce, such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or chopped spinach.
Try Twinas' easy-to-make pasta sauces ("Saucy Salsas" tab, right below the guacamole)!
Homemade cheese sauce works just as well to hide vegetables your kids might not ordinarily eat. Simply add one 8 to 12 ounce can of evaporated canned milk to one pound of non-imitation grated cheese, and 1 to 2 tablespoons of oat flour, for healthy whole grain fiber (acts as a natural thickening agent).
Use your food processor to grind old fashion, or instant oats into oat flour, as suggested for whole-grain fiber, in the cookbook "ABC's of Nutritious Cooking". Combine the canned milk, cheese, and oat flour into a frying pan, and stir consistently over a low heat.
Once the cheese is melted (7 to 15 minutes) and your sauce is creamy, take it off the stove to prevent burning. No salt or butter is necessary, and it will continue to thicken while it cools.
My grandmother claimed the secret for perfect cheese sauce was to stir in one tablespoon of mustard. You cannot taste the mustard, but it does add an unexpected flavor that your entire family will enjoy.
Pasta Main Dishes
Boil vegetables and Italian sausages right along with your stove-top pasta water, according to pasta package cooking instructions. Make sure sausage is thoroughly cooked, and vegetables pierce easily with a fork, prior to serving.
Serve up an impressive platter of cooked pasta, layered with steamed vegetables, and sliced Italian sausages, or left-over meats such as chicken pieces, or seafood, such as shrimp.
Pour warm marinara sauce, or creamy cheese sauce, over the entire pasta-veggie-meat tray.
Add a couple of black-pitted olives or cherry tomatoes on top, and you will have a quick, yet elegantly-served pasta meal for your entire family.