I'm really excited to share this recipe with you….it came about because i had been wracking my brain trying to figure out a way to get Ruby (my twin who has difficulties with sensory processing and food aversions) to pick up pasta.
So far we have been successful with spaghetti and also the little stars from soup pasta….but she won't even touch any other shaped pasta….and believe me i have tried them all! We had our breakthrough with spaghetti after we began having some fun with Spaghetti Play & Printing and the star pasta i mixed with a little bacon which she will eat because it is crispy.
But i have been getting really frustrated because her twin Tara will eat pasta mixed with some basic sauces or chopped meat and it makes for an easy toddler dinner after one of ‘those' days…only trouble is Ruby won't touch any of it!
So i went back to my Food Strategies for SPD Toddlers list and thought about what she will eat! She will eat crispy, crunchy things often in a round or muffin type shape so i figured why not try it with pasta too? I was inspired by Daydream Kitchen who shared a Mini Mac and Cheese Pie recipe on Pinterest…it is a great recipe for adult party food so i encourage you to pop over for a look.
However, i wanted to modify it to include some meat and vegetables as well as being quite firm and crispy to touch (with high hopes that Ruby would pick it up!) This is the recipe i came up with…but as with all of my recipes please modify to suit your own family or fussy toddlers….you might want to leave out the vegies or ham to start with or use smaller pasta or make more or less!
It's easy to tweak…just add more or less pasta and milk really till you have the consistency you want…here's how i made mine….
- 1 and 1/2 cups Panko Crumbs (or whatever type of crumbs you feel would make a good base for your toddler)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted(modify depending on the type of crumbs you use)
- 1 1/2 cups grated tasty cheese
- 1 Tablespoon parmesan cheese (optional but Ruby likes the salty touch)
- 3 Cups cooked macaroni or pasta pieces you are trying to encourage
- 1 Tablespoon cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
- 1 Tbslp Butter or Margarine (I used Nuttelex)
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1/4 Cup Milk (You may need a little more depending on the pasta you use)
- 1/4 Cup sour cream
- 3 slices diced ham or chicken*
- 1/2 Cup grated Carrot *
- 1/2 Cup grated Zucchini *
- 1 small tin creamed corn *
* Please choose the meat and vegetables you want to include, it won't really affect the base recipe…you may choose to leave them out first and just get them used to the pasta and cheese taste!
Now you need to….
- Mix the melted butter and 1/2 Cup of the grated cheese through the panko crumbs until the mix begins to bind together.
- Press a small amount into the bottom of greased mini muffin tins..cover the bottom and come just a little way up each tin…you could do the whole tin if you wanted more of a crust. The panko crumbs won't form as solid a crust as crackers would but they make a nice crispy base.
- After draining your macaroni place back in the saucepan and add the butter, additional grated cheese, cream cheese and parmesan.
- Add the grated vegetables, corn and diced ham then stir through well.
- In a jug whisk together the milk, sour cream, eggs and any herbs you are game enough to add!
- Pour contents of the jug into the macaroni mixture and stir well until all combined. Add a little more milk if too thick.
- Spoon into the mini muffin pans and sprinkle a little extra cheese over the top if desired (My girls don't like the texture of melted cheese on top of things so i didn't!). Make sure to pack the macaroni down a little with the back of the spoon so it forms a solid little tart when cooked.
- Bake in a moderate often for about 15-20 minutes or until they look crispy and golden.
Serve warm or cold!!!
I actually had enough of the mix to make a few larger ones for Miss Teen to take in her school lunch as well.
I'm happy to say that both girls absolutely loved them although big sister had to model eating them first before Ruby would pick up. At first she touched and then said no…but i think the novelty and smell encouraged her to take a nibble and then it was success!
Obviously i would prefer that she begin to pick up pasta with a fork or spoon and eat from a bowl…but i really feel like this is a stepping stone on the way to that goal…she tried and ate something different and that makes this Mummy very happy indeed!
Let me know if you give them a try….i warn you…it's not just toddlers who like them…they disappear quickly!
For more Toddler Food recipes and inspiration you might like to visit my Pinterest board …
Have a great weekend….my apologies for the lack of blog posts this week. Tara's operation had to take priority this week! Thank you for your thoughtful wishes on FB …happy to say it all went well and she is pretty much back to her old self. Hopefully the results will be good and the scar not to big….fingers crossed!