November 13, 2018
Half the struggle of day-to-day parenting is trying to incorporate veggies into your picky little one’s diet, right? Believe it or not crafting handmade pasta may just be the solution you’ve been missing. You’re probably thinking: Who has time to do that, and how does a carb-focused food really provide the nutrients our children need? Just hear chef and author of the cookbook Pasta, Pretty Please, Linda Miller Nicholson, out; she speaks from experience that her manageable pasta recipes can completely change the way your child eats.
“I have my son to thank for my career when he went through a picky phase as all 5-year-olds do. He wouldn't do green smoothies, he wouldn't do spinach tucked under the cheese of the pizza—he could totally detect every little trick,” Nicholson told Parents.com. That’s when she took to her culinary background to create 25 stunning colors of pasta—all made from different veggies, herbs, and superfoods.
“I can essentially get two cups of spinach into one personal serving of pasta. It worked so well that [my son and I would] make pasta together and he’d have his little Minecraft cookie cutters and say, ‘Mom let’s do red!' and I'm like you're going to eat beets tonight for dinner,” she explained.
Nicholson’s favorite recipe from her book, the Emoji Raviolini, is guaranteed to champion any kids’ dietary stubbornness for two reasons: dinner is basically playtime when festive emoticons are involved, and you can sneak even more healthy staples into the filling. Her son, Bentley, can’t get enough of the poop emoji pasta, which Nicholson describes as “grown-up food for kids.”
Without even trying, Nicholson’s rainbow pasta have proven so successful amongst children, parents of kids struggling with sensory processing disorders have reached out to show their gratitude for her creations.
“I guess it's really hard [for some parents] to get their kids to eat because they'll go into a phase where they only want to eat one color and so all the food has to be purple,” Nicholson explained. “It was such a cool thing to stumble upon; I learn so much from the crazy emails I get. That inspires me and helps me figure out what people want and how I can help. My big thing is to bring joy to people through food. I get a little bit weepy when I get emails from people who are like, I was at my wits end and you have no idea how much this has impacted my heart.”
Another focus of this cookbook we can get behind is Nicholson’s devotion to not being wasteful. Her pasta crackers recipe uses up all the pasta dough scraps brushed with olive oil and salt to make colorful crackers perfect for a peanut butter snack or a funky dinner appetizer.
Along with getting a two-for-one deal thanks to Nicholson’s genius cracker hack, homemade pasta is surprisingly easy to meal prep—music to any parent’s ears.
“Balls of dough freeze really well, so you can do all your dough at one time, pull your dough out of the freezer make it and literally have pasta dinner on the table homemade, from scratch in 30 mins,” she explained. “Spend a Sunday batching it out: A lot of moms will precook the farfalle and then portion it out for lunches so that they can pull it out of the freezer, dip the bag in hot water, and then put it in their kid's lunches.”
Created with the busy parent in mind, Pasta, Pretty Please, is your one-stop-shop for pasta experts and newbies lacking a pasta machine, alike. Why not combine dinner-prep with arts and crafts? Even the littlest of sous chefs can gain valuable cooking knowledge (and sweet memories in the kitchen) with building up an appetite. Plus, with all tiny hands on deck, dinner may just be served in record time.