“Healthy” Baked Ziti for kids – and parents – from nutritionist, Robin Barrie
Robin Barrie’s Baked Ziti
This is a dish I created recently on a whim, knowing that my oldest son had tasted and enjoyed it at camp last summer. I had never tried it at home, figuring it was too much of a “food combination” dish that the boys would refuse. Just like most kids, mine haven’t met a noodle they didn’t like, so I gave it a shot and served them something a little “different” that is still healthy. It was a hit! Whole wheat pasta is more filling because it contains fiber. This is a great dish to add/hide veggies if your little ones don’t love them. Another option to truly “hide” the vegetables would be to cook/blend them into the sauce FIRST, so that they can’t be “seen” by little eyes. The cheeses I use are both lower in fat, lower in cholesterol / saturated fat (thus lower in calories) than regular cheese. You could also get crazy and add ground meat (turkey, chicken beef or even tofu) and/or gluten-free pasta and/or dairy-free cheese or nutritional yeast as needed. Let me know what you think!!
- Package of organic, whole wheat Italian pasta from The Fresh Market (you can use any pasta but make sure to UNDER cook by a couple of minutes since it cooks more in oven)
- 1 to 2 cups spinach (depending on size of baking dish….or any vegetables)
- Rao’s Homemade Marinara sauce
- Organic Valley part-skim shredded mozzarella
- Organic Valley shredded Parmesan cheese
- Red chili flakes and parsley to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Coat oven pan with olive oil spray (or a light coating of olive oil).
- Place noodles in pan and add in spinach (and other vegetables or meat as mentioned above), desired amount of sauce (my kids prefer a little less), about 1/2 cup of Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, and chili flakes/parsley as desired. Mix all together.
- Add a layer of sauce and another thin layer of cheese and then parsley to garnish top.
- Place in oven for about 20 minutes or until cheese begins to brown and bubble.
- Serve and ENJOY!
You can find more recipes – and nutrition tips- from Robin by following her at @RobinBarrie