Kid-Friendly Meals: Stuffed Shells with Carrots, Zucchini, and Tofu
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Made with jumbo pasta shells stuffed with cheeses, meats, or vegetables, stuffed shells is easy to make, delicious, and a sure fire hit with kids and adults alike.
This recipe expands on a basic stuffed shells recipe to include some healthy additions - shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, and mashed tofu. If your kids are like mine, getting them to eat their vegetables can be a challenge, but with this recipe they don't even notice that they are there.
Tips for Getting Kids to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
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We all know that eating fruits and vegetables has many health benefits. This article provides practical tips for parents on getting kids to eat fruit and vegetables. Having fruits and vegetables readily accessible, have
Veggies: To Hide or Not To Hide
Several recent books have been devoted to teaching parents how to "hide" vegetables in foods to increase veggie intake among their picky toddlers and preschoolers. Some parents, doctors, and experts oppose this method, suggesting that it doesn't help children learn to like the taste of vegetables or promote healthy eating habits. Others oppose it, saying it's a "deceptive" practice.
As with most things, I advocate a middle ground. I think it's fine to hide veggies where you can. It helps boost their intake of nutrients and might even train their tastebuds to like a wider variety of food, even if they are unaware that they are eating it. At the same time, I believe that it's a good idea to continue exposing children to vegetables and other healthy foods in their natural state so that they have the opportunity to realize that they actually like vegetables.
In my experience, kids tastes change. One day they might be completely unwilling to touch broccoli and then one night they eat only broccoli for dinner (yes, my son did this one night!). Keep exposing them, trying different cooking methods, and making funny faces with cherry tomato eyes, zucchini noses, spaghetti squash lips, and red pepper slice ears, but still add veggies to every day dishes.
Converting a Picky Eater
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Many children are picky eaters and parents struggle with how to get them to be more flexible at mealtime. This article describes how one mom conquered picky eating and now cooks one meal for the entire family. While it may seem scary initially, by ma
Have the Kids Help
One great thing about this recipe is that the kids can help, and we all know kids are more likely to eat their own creations. They can help by:
- Mashing the tofu
- Cracking the egg
- Cutting the zucchini
- Mixing the cheese mixture
- Spooning the cheese mixture into the shells
- Drizzling the tomato sauce on top
- Spreading the cheese on top
- 1 box jumbo shells
- 1-2 cups crushed tomatoes with basi
- 1-2 carrots, shredded
- 2 cups ricotta (full or low-fat)
- 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (divided)
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese (divided)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup smashed tofu
- 1 zucchini, shredded
- Cook the shells according the directions until al dente. Drain and cool by running cold water over the shells
- Add shredded carrots to the crushed tomatoes.
- Spread a layer of the tomatoes on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- Combine ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup parmesan, egg, tofu, and zucchini. Mix until combined.
- Spoon the cheese mixture into the shells. Arrange shells in the baking dish.
- Drizzle with tomato mixture.
- Sprinkle with remaining parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with tin foil.
- Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, until bubbly.
- Uncover and bake 5 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
Step 5: Shells, stuffed with cheese and zucchini mixture
Step 6: Shells drizzled with tomato sauce
Step 7: Shells sprinkled with mozzarella
The Final Product. Enjoy!
Serve with a kid-friendly vegetable dish
While the stuffed shells cook, choose one of these easy, kid-friendly vegetable dishes to serve on the side. Add a green salad, and voila, dinner for the whole family.
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