Stuff My Kid Eats – Lemony Pasta with Tuna Sauce

Stuff My Kid Eats

Stuff My Kid Eats

(Photo credit: Audrey Kranz)

I have been fortunate enough to have a toddler who is relatively adventurous in the foods she will try — and often even like. This is not to say that we don’t have our moments of refusing to eat, declaring something “yucky” simply because it’s brown, or ending a meal in tears; she is 2 years old, after all! But almost without fail, I can count on her to at least taste everything I put in front of her, even if she won’t finish it. When I do find a dish that is particularly popular with her, I feel like SuperMom and do a private little victory dance in my chair across the table from her.

In this weekly segment, I’ll be sharing quick, easy, healthy recipes that break away from the mac-‘n-cheese/quesadilla/chicken nugget rut that’s so easy to get stuck in. All of the meals I post here are great for kids, and delicious for adults as well. Good luck and enjoy!

Lemony Pasta with Tuna Sauce and Arugula

Lemony Pasta with Tuna Sauce

I found this recipe in one of my husband’s Men’s Health magazines over the summer (I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on the similarity of a grown man’s pallet to that of a toddler’s.) I was able to throw this meal together in 15 minutes, then crossed my fingers that it was something my daughter would eat — she did, and now it’s one of her favorites. Hallelujuah!

Serves 4

1 lemon
8 ounces radiatore pasta
2 – 5 oz. cans of tuna in olive oil (see Tips*)
2 canned anchovies (even if you don’t like anchovies, don’t omit them! They really enhance the flavor.)
¼ tsp. red-pepper flakes, divided (see Tips*)
5 cups baby arugula
¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Juice and zest lemon. Cook pasta per package instructions; drain, saving ½ cup of cooking water.

While the pasta cooks, drain tuna, saving 3 Tbsp. of the oil. In a blender or food processor, combine tuna, reserved oil, lemon juice, anchovies, and ⅛ tsp. red-pepper flakes; process until smooth.

In a large bowl, toss the hot drained pasta with tuna sauce (thin with pasta water if necessary). Add arugula, lemon zest, salt & pepper, and remaining red-pepper flakes (see Tips*). Serve topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese and cracked pepper.

*Tips:

  • I waited to add the final ⅛ tsp. red-pepper flakes until after I dished my toddler’s serving to save her delicate tastebuds from too much heat (if there is such a thing).
  • To make this a heartier meal, buy an additional can of tuna, drain, then add chunked tuna to the finished pasta.
  • Look for Genova brand tuna, if available (pictured below).

Genova Tuna

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

This is the time of year when many of us fall ill with the flu, so this season, instead of downing a bottle of NyQuil ®, why not treat your symptoms the way our grandmothers did – with chicken soup!

Serves 6-8

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups yellow onion, diced (about 1 small onion)
2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds (about 4 carrots)
1 ¼ cup celery, sliced (about 4 celery stalks)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. Kosher salt, divided, plus more for seasoning
2 tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. celery salt
1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc
8 cups homemade chicken stock (see recipe in Homemade Stocks)
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh oregano, plus 2 Tbsp. chopped oregano leaves for serving
2 cups reserved chicken from chicken stock recipe, chopped, mix of white and dark meat
2 cups dry egg noodles
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Heat butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat until butter has melted. Add onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until veggies have softened and onions become translucent but not brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add dry mustard, celery salt, 1 tsp. Kosher salt, and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook until liquid has reduced by half, about 2-4 minutes.

With a 4″ piece of cotton kitchen twine, create an herb sachet (sachet d’ épices) by tying together bay leaf, and sprigs of parsley, thyme, and oregano (Figure 1). Add chicken stock and sachet to soup pot. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, partially covered.

Figure 1 – sachet d’ épices

Sachet

In a separate pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil with 1 tsp. salt. Once boiling, add egg noodles and continue to cook until noodles are al dente, about 5-8 minutes. Pour noodles into a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

After the 30-minute simmer is completed, add chicken and noodles to soup pot and continue to simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes. Remove herb sachet from pot and season with salt and pepper.

When ready to serve, ladle soup into pre-warmed bowls and top with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of fresh chopped oregano.

Soup can be stored in refrigerator for 3-5 days and frozen for up to 3 months.

Note: After refrigeration, the soup may accumulate a layer of fat on the top, remove with a slotted spoon and discard before reheating.

Sidekicks: 

  • There’s probably not a person in the world who would argue that the best accompaniment to chicken noodle soup is a good old fashioned grilled cheese sandwich – my recommendation is using a couple pieces of sourdough bread, unsalted butter, and a slice each of sharp cheddar and Muenster cheese.
  • Serve with a glass of Chardonnay, and you’ve got yourself a meal to beat any ailment!

Shortcuts:

  • Replace homemade chicken stock with store-bought stock.
  • Instead of using reserved chicken from stock recipe, buy a pre-roasted whole chicken (found in the deli department of most grocery stores), cut meat away from bone and dice. Use 2 cups for soup, then reserve remaining chicken for another use.