I have a confession: I don’t like spaghetti or pasta with marinara sauce. But you know who does like it and eats it up? All my boys (that includes B). So I came up with a plan to make it a little more interesting….
When A was three we started “pick three night” during the summer. He would get to pick three of the topping choices on particular nights (pizza, tacos, pasta). He loved getting some choice in his dinner and I found he always ate better those nights. During the school year we have less time to do this, but one of the ways I incorporate it is by letting A help choose on a pick 3 pasta night. You pick three essentials: pasta, sauce, meat (or tofu). You pick three cheeses: I always add in a ricotta or cream cheese to moisten it up. You pick two (rebellious I know!) fresh herbs. No, each person does not get to pick three (you could do that….but that would be crazy in my house).
To assemble it all (I actually do it in advance):
Cook the pasta according to package directions and brown the meat. Grate your cheeses (or dice/scoop them), and chop the herbs. Then mix all the items (except the grated cheeses) in a 9×13 baking pan. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top. If you have made it ahead, cover tightly with foil and refrigerate until ready to serve (I make it earlier in the day, and then cook it off at dinner). Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes until hot and bubbly.
This is a make it your own dish. You can decide how much meat, cheese, etc. you want to use and adjust according to your family’s taste. You can also add salt and pepper to your liking. And that’s it!