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Food Your Kids Can Learn and Play With

Updated on January 12, 2021
StephanieBCrosby profile image

Stephanie Bradberry is an educator herbalist, naturopath, and energy healer. She loves being a freelance writer and whipping up recipes.

Tri-color rotini with shrimp, zucchini, and prosciutto
Tri-color rotini with shrimp, zucchini, and prosciutto | Source
5 stars from 1 rating of Tri-Color Rotini with Shrimp, Zucchini, and Prosciutto

Whenever it comes to deciding on a quick recipe to make for dinner, the solution is usually a pasta dish. In this case, I basically conducted one of my infamous pantry raids. There was already frozen shrimp in the house and the tri-color rotini. I was waiting for the perfect time to use this colorful pasta to feeds my kids' eyes before their stomach. And it worked. Read to the bottom to find out great ways to encourage your kids to play with their food. You can also use the same ideas in a classroom setting. Of course the activities should be done with dry pasta in a school setting due to students who may have food allergies.

Zucchini | Source
Chicken stock
Chicken stock | Source
Shrimp | Source


  • Box of tri-Color Rotini
  • Handful salt for water
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 2 cups shrimp
  • 8 baby zucchini or 4 medium zucchini
  • 2 slices prosciutto
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 8 oz. chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Salt and pepper taste

Pasta | Source

Directions for Pasta

  1. Bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil
  2. Salt the water (notice I use a handful)
  3. Add pasta
  4. (You will start the pasta sauce at this point)
  5. Boil for 7 minutes
  6. Drain in colander
  7. Add pasta back to the pot
  8. Add some olive oil to keep pasta from sticking together

Zucchini | Source
Sauteed zucchini
Sauteed zucchini | Source
I no longer use this ingredient when making this meal since the kids and I are eating for our blood type.
I no longer use this ingredient when making this meal since the kids and I are eating for our blood type. | Source
Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio | Source

Directions for Sauce

  1. Thaw shrimp in colander if you are using frozen shrimp
  2. Peel shell from shrimp and de-vein unless they were brought this way
  3. Melt olive oil and butter over high heat
  4. Cut zucchini into thin rounds
  5. Saute zucchini until browned on both sides
  6. Cut prosciutto into small chunks and add to saute pan
  7. Add garlic and onion powders and stir to evenly distribute
  8. Add stock and white wine
  9. Let simmer two minutes
  10. Add shrimp and cook for additional 3-4 minutes, just until shrimp start turning pink
  11. Add the sauce to the pasta and stir to incorporate well. The shrimp will continue cooking some and will be perfect when served.
  12. Add salt and pepper to taste

Did You Know?

Zucchini is a great source of Vitamin C. For 3/4 cups, you get 25% of your daily value.

Bag of shrimp shells
Bag of shrimp shells | Source


  • If you notice your zucchini is sticking too much, you can add some salt to get some water to release from them and make them easier to move around and finish cooking.
  • You can skip the white wine and substitute something acidic like caper berries and juice.
  • If you only eat fish as meat, you can leave out the prosciutto.
  • Save those shells from the shrimp! They can be used as the base for a seafood stock or bisque. I put mine in a plastic bag in the freezer until I have a use for them.
  • Be careful with the wine: it is flammable. So try to keep the pan away from the flame while you pour it in.

Tri-Color Rotini

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 2 oz
Calories 200
Calories from Fat9
% Daily Value *
Fat 1 g2%
Saturated fat 0 g
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 42 g14%
Sugar 2 g
Fiber 2 g8%
Protein 7 g14%
Cholesterol 0 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Pasta Variations

Consider changing the type of pasta to play with shapes and color. If you want to create more colors or specific colors, try making your own pasta. This will allow you to control what goes into your pasta and create colors without additives or artificial coloring and dyes.

Zucchini Nutrition Facts

% DV
Serving Size
3/4 cup
Unsaturated Fat

Swap Veggies

Just like changing the pasta can add variety with shapes and colors, the same can be done with trying different vegetables. You can even create themes. For example, you can combine different squashes to get a variety of colors.

Shrimp Nutrition Facts

% DV
Serving Size
3-4 shrimp
Unsaturated Fat

Play With Your Food

  1. Have the kids help from the beginning. Depending on age, they can can help add pasta to the water by using a measuring cup. They can then compare the amount of pasta in the measuring cup with the listed amount on the box. Challenge: If the amount is different, ask the kids what would account for it.
  2. Give your child one color of each pasta (orange, white, and green). Ask them to say the colors of the pasta. Challenge: Ask your child to name something that is the same color.
  3. Ask the kids why the pasta is three different colors. Remember to not ignore any responses they may give and encourage variety. Challenge: Ask your kids to find an image of the Italian flag and compare it to the color of the pasta. The adult can also print out a picture of the flag in advance and ask the kids to match one piece of pasta with the colors on the flag. Super Challenge: Older kids may notice that the pasta is more orange than red. Ask them why this would be. You can teach them about food coloring. You can even use this opportunity to teach about color blending and use paints to show how different amounts of red and yellow make orange.


About the Author

Stephanie Bradberry is a freelance writer and editor. She is an educator, herbalist, and naturopath who runs her own home-based business, Stephanie J. Bradberry, LLC. One of her favorite pastimes is whipping up or trying out recipes.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 Stephanie Bradberry


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