Easy Baked Pasta

We woke up to rainy and sleepy weather last weekend, and we (okay, to be honest, it was just me! Baby V was still in sleepy mode) got excited when daddy suggested McDonald’s for breakfast! After gumming into hotcakes and cup corn, followed by supermarketing, we headed home so mummy can prepare baby’s lunch for the day – Baked Pasta!

We’ve got a serious diner… well, they looked like there’s some serious discussion going on there… HAHA!

Baby V had pasta (pan-fried and soup options) before, so this time, I wanted to do a version by baking it, in a bid to introduce new textures and flavours. As always, i’m a fan of easy, no frills recipes, so this one fits the bill perfectly! Its versatility makes it fun as well – all you need is an oven and cheese, okay, make that lots of cheese!

Easy Baked Pasta
~serves 2 adults and 1 toddler

Ingredients:
Wholemeal Fusili (we used San Remo Fusili, and feel free to use other pastas such as penne or fancy cute shaped ones, quantity = guesstimated :P)

1 Cheddar Block, grated (we used Kraft block and grated it. Parmesan and Mozzarella are great options too. some parents might be stricter on the sodium level though so it’s entirely up to you on the brand or type and whether they are processed or not. Baby V took a small portion only, so we’re cool with that as long as it’s not on a regular basis)

1/2 Beetroot, diced

1/2 Carrot, diced or sliced

1/3 White radish, diced or sliced

2 Chicken thigh, stripped and boiled

3 Celery sticks, chopped

1 Tomato, chopped

6 large Shitake mushroom, sliced

Steps:
1) Wash and prepare all ingredients as above. Bring pasta to a boil and drain water.

2) Place all ingredients except cheese neatly in glass tray. Cover with a layer of cheese and basically, the quantity is up to you. We used the entire block though. LOL!

3) Bake at middle rack, 220 degrees for 30minutes, or until cheese has browned beautifully. Cut desired portion for baby and allow it to cool before serving. Bon Appetit!

See those browned cheese?? Yeah, im a cheese lover :P

All those natural veg juices are bathing the pasta in there….

Tips:
– Pre-cooking the chicken (or other meat) ensures that they get fully cooked especially if it’s food for baby. Overcooked beats undercooked, eh?

– We didn’t pre-cook the veggies but they got cooked nicely during baking. If you’re concerned about this, veggies can be chopped into smaller pieces to increase the surface areas and contact with heat during baking to ensure they are fully cooked and gets softer which makes it great for babies.

– No seasonings were added as the natural juices oozed out during the baking and it was naturally sweet with slight saltiness and crispiness from the cheese. Hubs was amazed and shocked when I told him everything was au natural!

– Feel free to replace any of the ingredients – fish or other meats like beef; veggies are great complements so feel free to add your faves. Might be able to get some veggies into your anti-veg toddlers too. Heh!

TA-DA!! I guess the ingredients portion got overestimated – wanted to bake with a smaller glass tray but had to shift the ingredients to a bigger one before baking. Guess it’s all about experimenting!

Glad Baby V liked it! It would have been much easier to feed her because the food was getting cold and we were in a rush to head out. Still, BLW allowed her to eat independently while mummy ate beside her. Also noticed that she was starting to show preferences by choosing to eat the coloured food first, then the dull ones like the pasta and chicken when the bowl was not refilled.

So, there! A quick and simple recipe for a balanced meal – full of natural nutrients, vitamins, proteins, carbo, minerals! It’s very convenient to make if you’ve an oven – just toss the whole tray in and bake, while parents can entertain their bubs or go about with the chores. It’s piping hot, so take extra care when removing tray from oven and when serving the baked pasta to baby. Happy baking this hearty meal too! ;)