IF I’VE LEARNED ONE THING SO FAR, it’s this: figure out what works and do more of it. We’re all about spin-offs here, and this dinner is the Laverne & Shirley of pasta. We know Phoebe devours spaghetti with red sauce, white sauce, cheese, or really any topping. Today’s challenge: introducing Asian flavors. It sounds a little daunting but the secret is simple. Use regular pasta the toddler/kid/husband/other picky eater already knows (and loves), then go light and mild on the sauce. As usual I threw in as many veggies as I could fit into this white ramekin but you could go with all peas, only carrots, just zucchini–just pick something that your kids already like. If you’re experimenting with a new flavor like we were, now isn’t necessarily the time to throw in a curve ball of new veggies too. While I insist that Phoebe learn to be open to new things, I’m not a tyrant, or a martyr for that matter. And it worked…
Toddler-Friendly Asian Noodles
Use any combination of veggies you like (more importantly, choose something the kids like) and add as much as you can get away with.
- whole wheat spaghetti (or a whole wheat blend)
- 1 pound turkey sausage
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1- 1 1/2 cups carrots (either diced or pre-slivered)
- 1- 1 1/2 cup peas
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed if possible
- reserved pasta water
Bring pot of water to a boil before adding pasta plus 2 tablespoons salt. Cook 2 minutes less than instructions on package. (Reserve the cooking water to use in the sauce, as needed.)
Meanwhile heat a large skillet on the stove and cook turkey sausage over a medium flame until browned and crumbly. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add peas, garlic, soy sauce and orange juice. Stir and bring to a boil. Add the noodles, turn the heat to low and cover with a lid, letting them soak up the sauce for a couple of minutes. After 2 minutes, check the noodles. If you need more liquid, add 1/4 cup of cooking water, then more as needed.
Load up the kids’ plates with the veggies they like best; garnish adults’ portion with freshly ground pepper and chopped scallions.