Few children do not worship pasta. They may be more or less reluctant to vegetables or legumes, but they rarely refuse a good plate of spaghetti carbonara or macaroni bolognese. Nevertheless, kids are usually quite sensitive to routine or lack of imagination.
So we may occasionally put a spark of imagination in a pasta dish to create nutritious, healthy and creative proposals…
1. True colours
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. There is life beyond the classic macaroni necklace painted with markers! A good idea is to dye them with their favorite color, and then… eat them all! To do this, we should add a tablespoon of food coloring in the water when cooking the pasta. When it boils, we will add the spaghetti, fusilli, penne or farfale, and we will see how, little by little, they are dying. Finally, we’ll have a colorful plate of pasta and a big smile on our kids face.
2. Spaghetti mane.
A simple way to surprise kids with a very complete plate. Take some wieners, cut them in half and prick raw spaghetti in one end of each. Then cook them in plenty of water until pasta is ready. When we draw it, we will have cool “colleagues” with blond hair. If we paint their eyes with mayonnaise and a mouth with tomato sauce we will achieve the full effect.
3. The nest of Angry Birds
Say “we’ll see angry birds eat”, and you will how children drive nuts. To make a real nest of angry birds we need spaghetti and some good homemade meatballs. Boil pasta, make a circle around the center of the plate and place two meatballs dipped in tomato sauce. Cutting a couple triangles of cheddar cheese we will make the peak, and circles of boiled egg and black olives will help us with the eyes. To give the feeling that they are in a tree, we can put a sprig of celery underneath.
4. Little Gorgon
For those children who love mythology we may offer them a small Gorgon, where colored spirals will replace the snakes in her hair. When serving, place cooked pasta leaving a circle in the center, where we will “draw” the mouth with half cherry tomato and eyes with two grains of black mustard, for example (which later should be removed to avoid they eat). Learning while eating…
5. On wheels
‘Rotelle’ are small pieces of pasta that look like wheels. The possibilities in terms of creativity are endless: from bikes (where green asparagus are the handlebars and frame) to trains where a slice of cheese may be the car. Imagination to the power!
6. A touch of elegance
If we want to create a distinguished dish, nothing like having ‘farfalle’, a pasta that looks like butterflies or, in this case, little bows. Using egg yolk for the hair (or grated carrots), peas for eyes, a cherry tomato cut in half for the big nose, a little tomato sauce as the mouth and one or two of these bow ties, we have a clown who will say “eat me”.
7. Bringing the field to the plate
We take green pasta (‘tagliatelle’, for instance) and boil it. That will be the grass. Broccoli may be the trees, the yolk of a fried egg will be a perfect sun, and some fresh cheese cut skillfully will become clouds. If we want a complete meal, we ask our little gardener to ‘water it’ with extra virgin olive oil. Delicious, beautiful and very healthy!
8. Lasagna cupcakes
Is there anything better than cupcakes for children? In this case, we will prepare lasagna. How? To make it possible, all you have to do is put the pasta in baking recipients for muffins, which will put it in the oven filled with minced meat and bechamel. We will bake and… Mmmm, ¡delicious Italian cupcakes!
9. Find the treasure
The ‘conchiglie’ or pasta shells are great allies to turn a meal into a game. We just have to put them facing down and ask the kids to find something we have hidden under one of them… Before you notice, they’ll have eaten the whole plate. Just do not forget to have something planned when he/she claims his treasure. A chocolate dessert, perhaps?
10. Use their heroes
If everything else fails, we can always remember that scene with the spaghetti and the meatballs from the Disney movie ‘Lady and the Tramp’, or insist on the fact that Garfield is a true fan of lasagna, or ever reminding them the Italian origin of Super Mario who, of course, loves spaghetti. Buon Appetito!