My Toddler Ate This: A Great Pasta Recipe Courtesy of Sara Moulton
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Life Hack: Meal Plan
Before I had my son, my husband and I used to wing it. We’d go to the grocery store, we’d have a fancy meal on Sunday, order in when we needed, and I ate EVERYTHING else at work. Like so many things, I started planning meals once I worked out in the morning. Packing my breakfast turned into packing my lunch and we were saving money left and right. I also started cooking at home to save money and my sanity. I know meal planning is daunting and when you have limited time I get it. But I will tell you it has been a good bonding experience for my family. We spend about an hour writing out the ingredients we need and go through cookbooks we can hold. I like the tangible feeling of cookbooks in my hand. Recipes are also organized in a way that you can browse and get inspired. We prefer to handwrite the ingredient list. This way you can edit it them with your partner and you can focus more. I’m a big fan of keeping organization both digitally and on paper when it comes to planning.
Here are some tools we use here at my house
You don’t NEED gel pens but it’s fun to have a colorful list. Click on the picture for more info.
Here’s an actual meal planner notebook. This includes a template for grocery list for an entire year! Click on the picture for more info.
In the process of figuring this out, we’ve gone through cookbooks. Some have been good. Some have been mediocre. Some have been meh. One has been great. That book: Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals.
Sara Moulton’s Recipes are Genius
This is not hyperbole. The woman is incredible. I started listening to her on Milk Street Radio and she always seemed so calm and smart. I know she was mentored by Julia Child and every time I mention her in my Instagram stories she acknowledges it. I think she deserves way more credit because this book is amazing. Basically, she said she loved cooking and she was a working mom and it just seemed real. Her brand isn’t a lifestyle brand, it’s cooking and providing for your family with skill. Not to say she isn’t charming, but she is real. I think that is such a great thing. Her Instagram is great and I love it when she and Chris Kimball disagree. She is just a great teacher. Anyway, I can’t say enough good about her. Her weeknight meals are great for working parents and they are so tasty. She has this knack for creating really tasty sauces. We made her white chicken chili and my son loved it. He tasted the soup and his eyes lit up. Toddlers are notoriously hard to please but Sara Moulton has this ability to create layers of flavor. I saw this recipe for Annie’s Favorite Pasta and I thought maybe Annie was a toddler. She’s her sister but my son loved this recipe. I would make this for guests and I would make this on a Tuesday night. It’s actually something I made a week after I bought the ingredients because they keep really well. So if you have a week of curveballs it’s great. So here we go!
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces frozen breakfast sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick (Note: do not defrost sausages before cutting them)
1 garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon rinsed, dried, and chopped fresh sage or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon rinsed and dried fresh thyme or 1/3 teaspoon dried
Two 14 1/2-ounce cans chopped tomatoes
1 pound rotelle (cartwheel) or other shaped pasta
2/3 cup heavy cream
Freshly milled black pepper
1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
I actually purchased these and they are great for people with kiddos in daycare. This helps keep their stuff organized and it is a great way to personalize things.
I didn’t use cartwheel pasta because I couldn’t find it. I used farfalle and it worked fine. I would use fun shapes if it was a special toddler meal.
Since I served this to my toddler I cut the slices of sausage in half to reduce the risk of choking.
I used fewer tomatoes and halved the amount of cream. It was still great.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe and any of my cooking tips. We loved making this and eating it. Our whole house smelled great and my son even ate the leftovers. It’s a perfect meal for your little one. If you make it let me know how it goes. Again, check out Sara Moulton’s cookbooks and TV shows on PBS.They are incredible and worth checking out.