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Pass da Pasta

November 16, 2011 by Joanna Drake, Registered Dietitian

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If you have children, I don’t need to tell you that raising them is expensive. The writing is on your monthly bank statement!

In fact, depending on what “expert” opinion you read, raising a child is going to cost you about $180,000 to $200,000 by the age of 18. If you have more than one, get out the calculator. This doesn’t even include lost income from parents staying at home, the cost of university or the cost of replacing:

  • the car that junior totaled while learning to drive
  • the laptop that Suzie dropped while clearing a spot to do her colouring or
  • the ceramic stove-top that was destroyed when the two of them melted a pot to it while making “ten-minute icing” (sorry mom!)

So, for all the things that cost a lot of money when raising a child, nature tries to balance the books by giving us a relatively inexpensive and versatile food that most, if not all, children love: pasta.

“Noodles” is the extent of the list of foods that my children ask for every day.

Me: “What would you like for lunch?”

Them: “Noodles.”

Me: “What would you like for dinner?” (I don’t really give them this many options in life. I’m just demonstrating.)

Them: “Noodles.”

Me: “If you were stranded on a deserted island and you could only take three items with you, what would they be?”

Them: “Noodles.” (They don’t even want the other two things.)

The beauty of pasta is that, from a taste perspective, it is a blank canvas. And if you like the ingredients you choose, it is really, really hard to go wrong. There are literally more recipes on the internet than you’d ever have time to look at. Type in “pasta recipes” and you are sure to fancy something you find. But if you’re more willing to experiment, try these fantastic flavour combinations and see where they take you:

Pick your noodle power it up load with veggies make it saucy
Penne Roasted chicken Sundried tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach Basil or cilantro pesto
Rotini Cottage cheese and chickpeas Zucchini, eggplant and sauteed onions Any tomatoe-based sauce (you can use no added salt stewed tomatoes)
Rice Noodles Scrambled egg and tofu Cilantro, green onions and sauteed shredded cabbage and bean sprouts Peanut sauce (smooth peanut butter, a touch of soy sauce and a pinch of sugar)

The possibilities are as vast as your imagination. What pasta creation are you most proud of?

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Comments (5)

CarysAdams3

Posted on Wednesday November 16, 2011 a 11:44am

Yum...I have got to try the penne roasted chicken one. My kids love pasta!

CorinneP

Posted on Wednesday November 16, 2011 a 11:46am

Good morning! Love your post. My daughter loves Rotini with grated Cheddar Cheese and small tomatoes. I steam spinach ahead of time and mix it in. It's always an easy to make hit. :)

smassey

Posted on Wednesday November 16, 2011 a 3:02pm

Pasta seems to be a favourite with restauranterus & chefs who have children too! Noah Cantor likes to make pasta (http://bit.ly/uYc86I) with his kids and John Bishop says baked manicotti (http://bit.ly/uCumpF) is a dish his children loved.

cpetelski's picture

HealthyFamilies BC

Posted on Friday November 18, 2011 a 11:46am

I'm so happy to see that my noodle-loving children are in good company! For other kid-friendly recipes I like the Better Together website. Does anyone else have suggestions for successful recipes for kids that don't take hours to prepare?

- Joanna

kirsten6384

Posted on Tuesday November 29, 2011 a 7:04pm

Dice and cook up some chicken breasts, use a jar of pesto sauce, and mix in some parm,asiago, and romano cheese. Toss it with some linguini pasta.

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