Kids Cook Monday: Fun Shaped Pasta for Sports and Holidays

Fun Shaped Pasta to Delight Kids at Mealtime

I don't remember the first time I found fun shaped pasta at the store. It was probably Christmas time, and I noticed these packages of little tree-shaped noodles in red, green and white colors.

How fun, I thought! Whether the special noodles are used in a casserole or pasta salad, they can take encourage picky eaters and make mealtime more exciting.

Years passed, and I forgot about the creative noodles until my nephew's swim team started selling them last fall for a fund raiser. The company, the Pasta Shoppe, is one of several that manufacture special pasta noodles in a wide variety of shapes and colors for any holiday, birthdays, favorite pets and animals, any sport, or even college logos in school colors! There are over 150 special pastas that are offered. You can also find novelty pasta from other companies, including shapes like Hello Kitty, cute ducks, and - of course - alphabet noodles.

Admittedly, shaped pasta is not a new concept, given the long-time popularity of Alphabet Soup. But cooking your own meal from scratch and incorporating special theme pasta is a fun way to bring the family together in the kitchen and around the table.

Kids love cooking and eating these fun pasta noodles!

Shamrock pasta noodles for St. Patrick's Day, or to use in a "Good Luck" meal
Shamrock pasta noodles for St. Patrick's Day, or to use in a "Good Luck" meal | Source

Easy Family Meals Start with Pasta Noodles

Just about any child loves pasta noodles. A family dinner recipe that is built on cooked pasta will usually be a hit. When you add in fun shapes and you might not have any complaining about what is served.

Cooked novelty noodles can be served plain (or with a little bit of butter or oil and cheese) to young children, provided you make sure that the noodles are cooked to a soft consistency. You can also stir in uncooked noodles to soup or stews. Whether you're cooking on the stove top or the crockpot, add a desired amount of noodles during the last 15 minutes of preparation to enhance the meal.

We like to use a variety of ingredients to make a satisfying pasta meal. Our current favorite is Shamrock "Good Luck" Pasta - the recipe is below!

Of course, cooked and cooled novelty noodles make a fine base for a chilled pasta salad. Substitute the fun shapes for the "usual" pasta you use in your recipe.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Good Luck Pasta DinnerStart by cooking the chopped onionsAdding the green beans and chopped hamCooked shamrock pasta holds its shape!
Good Luck Pasta Dinner
Good Luck Pasta Dinner | Source
Start by cooking the chopped onions
Start by cooking the chopped onions | Source
Adding the green beans and chopped ham
Adding the green beans and chopped ham | Source
Cooked shamrock pasta holds its shape!
Cooked shamrock pasta holds its shape! | Source

Cook Time for Shamrock Good Luck Pasta

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 25 min
  • Yields: 6-8 servings

Shamrock "Good Luck" Pasta Recipe

This is another easy family recipe that takes no more than 15 minutes to make, from start to finish! We serve Good Luck Pasta the night before a gymnastics meet or the beginning of a baseball tournament.

Loaded with healthy carbohydrates, this energizing meal is satisfying and delicious. Again, no heavy sauce is required, making less of a mess at the dinner table for busy parents to clean up!

Ingredients for Good Luck Pasta:

  • 2 cups shamrock shaped pasta, cooked and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup cooked ham, diced
  • 1 cup green beans, washed and trimmed (can use frozen, but be sure to thaw ahead of time)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook and drain the shamrock pasta
  2. In a large skillet, add olive oil, then brown diced onion over medium high heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly
  3. Add chopped ham and green beans to onion mixture and stir to warm, another 2-3 minutes
  4. Remove ham mixture from heat
  5. Stir together cooked pasta, ham mixture, butter, cheese and salt and pepper
  6. Enjoy!

This recipe serves 6-8 people and can easily be doubled for a larger group. Left-overs will keep refrigerated for several days and can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Rate this Shamrock Good Luck Pasta Recipe

5 stars from 1 rating of Shamrock Good Luck Pasta
My 9 year old son loves to help cook with adult supervision
My 9 year old son loves to help cook with adult supervision | Source

Kids Aren't the Only Ones that Love Novelty Pasta!

Planning a tailgate party before the big game? You can buy novelty pasta in your team colors with collegiate logos (where they have agreed to a license). Stir up some fun pasta salad to enjoy during pre-game festivities or at half time!

Maybe you're having a few friends over for a "girls weekend?" Girlfriend pasta is pink and white, and includes tiny high heels, handbags and cell phones.

Perhaps not surprisingly, you can buy novelty pasta in wedding shapes too! These designs are fun for a bridal shower or a bachelorette party (I've even seen "naughty" pasta shapes for such events!)

Novelty shaped pasta is an affordable way to inject some fun into a celebration or family dinner. Regular 14 ounce packages of these special noodles usually cost less than $10 and include 6 servings. Gluten-free varieties are also available.

Insect shaped pasta would make a great addition to pasta salad for a picnic!
Insect shaped pasta would make a great addition to pasta salad for a picnic! | Source

What Kind of Fun Shaped Pasta Would Your Family Like?

  • Sports Themes
  • Animal Themes
  • Holiday Themes
  • Collegiate Teams
  • Other - Describe Below in Comments
See results without voting

Make Your Own Bow-Tie Shaped Pasta

© 2012 Stephanie Hicks

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Comments 35 comments

Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

We love pasta shapes in our family - we’ve had animals, Scooby Doo, Telly Tubbies and even Thomas the Tank Engine over the years. A fun hub!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Melovy, How did I miss Thomas the Tank Engine pasta?? My oldest son loved that series when he was little! Best to you, Steph


LauraGT profile image

LauraGT 4 years ago from MA

Another great hub! We love shaped pasta - even just basic penne is fun. My daughter puts one on each finger and then eats them each off. Thanks for sharing.


kelleyward 4 years ago

I've never found this. I'm on a new hunt for this now! Thanks for sharing!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Laura - nothing like fun pasta shapes to make meals enjoyable for kids. Best to you, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Kelley - yes, tons of fun and so many shapes to choose from. We almost always have at least one package of novelty pasta in our pantry. Cheers, Steph


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

I love pasta in any form so this hub, steph, is especially appealing to me. Gonna look for some novelty shapes the next time I shop. I'll tell them you sent me.


SandyMcCollum profile image

SandyMcCollum 4 years ago

I love pasta so much I make it myself. I add all kinds of flavors and spices, and the family loves it, too. Good write up, thanks!


Maddie Ruud profile image

Maddie Ruud 4 years ago from Oakland, CA

Your photos are positively mouthwatering. That's it -- I'm having pasta for dinner!


emilybee profile image

emilybee 4 years ago

Looks delicious! I'm liking your Kids Cook series, these pictures look delicious!!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

LOL @drbj! You do tell them I sent you. :-) Have fun!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Maddie - this one turned out really well! Pasta is a family favorite at our home. Cheers, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

@Sandy - that is the next step for me: making our own pasta noodles! Thanks for the comment, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Emily! Our kids love cooking almost as much as they love eating our creations. Cheers, Steph


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

We find novelty noodles at places like Michael's and Marshalls and the fun of cooking these and serving to our grandchildren is priceless. Your dish will put smiles on the faces of everyone and satisfy their pasta yearnings. Voted up.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi teaches - I've seen the noodles at Marshall's too! In fact, today while I was shopping at the grocery store, I found 3 new varieties of novelty pasta (I took some photos and will add to this hub): winter (snowflakes and snowmen), travel (trains and planes) and teddy bears (so adorable). Its fun that many companies are making these awesome noodles. Cheers, Steph


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Cute, cute, cute--the little guy, I mean. :)

Seriously, I'm with the kids, food should be fun and creative! The shaped pastas have come a long way. Thanks for highlighting them as I'm always on the lookout for something special for little ones.


sunbun143 profile image

sunbun143 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

My little guy loves the kraft mac n' cheese that is shaped like Cars....if I could find this in bulk, I would get it and make my own dish for him! Thanks for the ideas...I'll look around more closely.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

:-) Thanks RTalloni - my son loves to pose for photographs almost as much as he likes to help make dinner. Not sure how long this will last past the age of 9. Cheers, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi sunbun - I am plesantly surprised that these shaped pastas are showing up in more stores. You might also check online - Amazon has a good collection of fun novelty noodles. Good luck, Steph


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 4 years ago from California

Love shaped pasta it even tastes better.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago

What fun--I know my kids love these fun-shaped pasta. Somehow, they think the pasta tastes better. Your recipe looks yummy and I like the fact that it's simple. Thanks!


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 4 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

Hi Steph, it certainly looks like your son is enjoying cooking away in the kitchen! If you do decide to make your own pasta, one thing that might be fun is to make pasta bows. I make them at home all the time and they are really simple and fun to make. Just roll out the pasta dough and cut into squares with crinkled cookie cutters. With a little bit of water on the fingertips, "pinch" each one to form a bow shape and place them on a floured cookie sheet while you're making the rest. Great hub, voting up!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Great idea for making any pasta recipe more appealing for kids! You're right that it would be fun for holiday parties and other events, too.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Thanks for the ideas on different shaped pasta! I have always loved the bows and the shells. I will be on the look out for the other cool shapes. Shamrock shaped pasta, how cool is that!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Steph, my granddaughter loves pasta, now I must think to buy her the different shapes, she'll love them!

The photos of your son is fabulous!

Thank you and voted up, best wishes Lesley


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks anginwu - I think you're right! Fun shaped pasta does taste better to kids. Best, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Cloverleaf - yes, I had thought that pasta bows would be fun to make. I'm sure my kids would have a blast creating the noodles from scratch. Thanks for the tips! Best to you, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi RC, I'm sure adults would find specialty pasta fun for parties, etc. My older teen sons love the college team selections. Cheers, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Rebecca - of course, I had to publish a hub with the shamrock pasta in time for St. Patrick's day. But its fun any time of year when the kids need a little Good Luck! Best, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Lesley, What a great gift idea for your grandmother! Little bunnies or flower-shaped pasta would be adorable this time of year. Appreciate your read/comment! Best, Steph


Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 4 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

Never seen this Shamrock pasta noodles. I personally do not encourage children near fire. But I do not mind them becoming self sufficient by making sandwiches or other items which does not need cooking. Good Hub! Voted up and tweeted.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Anamika - I have been a cub scout leader for years and we teach children (over the age of 9) how to safely use a stove and oven. It is great to have them be self-sufficient, isn't it? The Shamrock pasta noodles are my favorite, but my daughter loves gymnastics fun shaped pasta too. Best, Steph


margy 3 years ago

where can I find shaped pasta in hawaii


benamore 3 years ago

They should make computer shaped pasta.

Colors: White, light green, dark green

Shapes: Monitor, keyboard, hard drive, router

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