Toddler eating habits make for frustrated mothers. My pint-sized fickle one is completely unpredictable when it comes to what he will and will not eat, but there are three things that I can almost always get him to eat: dairy, fruit and noodles in most forms.
Dairy and fruit are fairly easy, and are reserved mostly for snacks, breakfast and beverage purposes. But noodles. Noodles in the right form can make a fabulous meal, not just for a toddler who will actually willingly eat them, but for the whole family.
I wrote last week about my meal planning style: cooking on Sundays for the week. Every other week, I have some form of baked noodle casserole dish on my menu. They are all referred to as “baked ziti” in our house, but really, there are about a zillion ways to make it.
Since I know that everyone gets stuck in a rut sometimes when it comes to life’s age old question (What should I make for dinner?!?!?!), I thought I would share the many variations of delicious “baked zitis” we have made over here (and maybe you can share yours too!).
The Noodle: We are a divided house in our home when it comes to noodle preference. I love rotini the most, as I find that the sauce gets into the groves and twists best, but Mr. C likes the traditional ziti or penne shaped noodles. We have made baked noodle dishes with everything from farfalle (bowties) to small shells, ruote (wagon wheels) to elbow macaroni to orzo. I’ve used whole wheat pasta, veggie-infused pasta, the Barilla “plus” protein-infused noodles, and oven ready lasagna noodles.