Whenever we cook in class, I try to follow our discussion theme. Last week, as we talked about our families, I decided to make a pasta casserole to step away from the many muffin recipes but also because it would be, potentially, a dish that a family could enjoy together. My other goal was to sneak in vegetables (although not really snuck in since they were the ones adding them to the dish) and have the kids eat it anyway. Working on my picky eaters, alright! 🙂 I made up the recipe, with whatever seemed to make sense to get a colorful and healthy dish.
- 4 cups of cooked pasta (we used macaroni)
- 2/3 can of corn (you could use the full can but we wanted them to taste it on itself so we lost some)
- 2 cups of steamed broccoli, chopped
- 2 cups of cooked chicken, diced
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- 2 cups of mozzarella cheese
- Seasoning to taste (we used an Italian blend)
- In a big bowl, mix together the pasta, vegetables, chicken and seasoning.
- Pour the mixture in an oven-safe casserole dish. Cover with cheese.
- Bake at 375F until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.
During this cooking activity, we worked on various skills with our toddlers, including colors (by naming the various colors present in our dish) in English, French and Spanish. We also let some of our children cut the steamed broccoli with plastic knives. While they worked hard at making their broccoli very small, the other children started pouring and stirring the rest of the mixture. The great thing about cooking is the variety of tasks which lets you pick something appropriate for each child, depending on where they are in their development. This week, the recipe was in my head, but normally, I ask one of the children to hold my recipe paper, a very important task as they all know now.
As a result, when we sat down for snack, most of the children (I don’t expect our pickiest eaters to be cured all of a sudden, it will definitely be a game of patience) were excited to eat the savory and healthy dish they made. A couple of them licked their plate clean and even asked for more. I was also told that a child asked his mom to make him a pasta casserole over the weekend. This is very exciting to me as I do hope to be able to introduce more savory and health centered projects in the future. Of course, with the holidays coming up, health won’t be the primary focus for the next 2 weeks but as soon as we come back from break, that’s what I plan to primarily focus on.