Spaghetti O’s are kid food, not adult food, right??? Nope, not in my world.  Spaghetti o’s are like the perfect food, no matter how old you are and if you’re in diapers or not. Ok, maybe they’re not perfect.  In fact, the canned stuff is basically processed to the point of no nutritional value, AT ALL. But I get why people give it to their kids, it’s easy!  And I bet most kids gobble it up, so it makes meal time pleasant.  I get it.

I’m not hear to tell you why you should or shouldn’t give your kid processed food. Listen, as a mom, I realize that meals need to be so easy it only requires the use of a can opener.  HOWEVER!!!!!! This doesn’t mean we need to serve our kids dinner from a can. You can make homemade spaghettios that are filled with vegetables, but that taste like the comforting spaghettio’s we all enjoy from time to time (admit it, you knooooow if push came to shove, you’d stick a spoon right in the can and eat them, cold!).  You, yes YOU, can make this at home! And it’s soooooo easy! You don’t need any special equipment or fancy ingredients. You can make the sauce one day, and the noodles the next if you’re short on time and want to slowly assemble this. You might even be able to cook the noodles in the sauce in the crockpot.  I’ve never made noodles in the crockpot, so I don’t know how well this would work.  If anyone tries it, let me know!

As I was eating this, I couldn’t stop thinking that it totally tasted like it had cheese in it (even without the topping of parmesan). The pureed roasted veggies have such a great flavor that really makes the dish super tasty, and apparently makes my tastebuds think it has cheese in it.

Oh, and just so you know I’m human, and do not judge you if you do give your kid dinner from a can, psssst, so do I sometimes. Because some days it’s more important for me to sit on the floor and play lego’s with my kid than make dinner. Some days it’s more important for us to go to the park and eat sand,  than make dinner. But with recipes like these homemade spaghettio’s, you can make a big batch in advance, and eat leftovers all week.  You can spend quality time with your kids AND feed them dinner that they’ll actually eat AND that has nutrients, REAL vegetables!

And sometimes it’s more important to paint your kid’s toes. (I took this picture yesterday and posted it to instagram).

Yes, my 16 month old not only sat still, but literally, in her best baby babble way, asked me to do this.  You see, I bought a new color at Target and my target bag was on the ground in the living room and she was rummaging through the bag. She found the polish and SHOVED it in my face.  I said, “yes Wave, that’s purple nail polish.”  She wouldn’t accept my answer (she nodded and acknowledged, but that wasn’t enough) and kept shoving it back at me, with her whines getting louder and louder.  I knew what she wanted.  So I opened it and started to QUICKLY paint her toes.  She sat perfectly still.  This is her first pedicure, I’m so proud.

 

Homemade Spaghetti O’s

Homemade Spaghetti O’s

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/2 thick slices
  • 1/2 lb carrots, chopped (you don’t have to peel them, unless you want to)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 heads garlic, cloves separated (but not peeled)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock for non-vegetarian/vegan)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp of each)
  • 1 lb whole wheat pasta noodles (elbow, alphabet, or O’s)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On 2 baking sheets lined with either parchment paper or a silpat mat, lay the sliced tomatoes, chopped carrots and chopped onions in a single layer. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Add the garlic cloves on top (Unpeeled. The peel comes off really easily after they roast)

Bake the vegetables for about 35 minutes, until the tomatoes are wrinkling and the onions and carrots start to get brown on the edges.

Peel the garlic, toss the skins. Transfer vegetables and garlic to a crockpot (or large pot on the stove). Add the vegetable stock.

Crockpot method: cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.

Stovetop: bring to a boil, then simmer over low/medium heat for about an hour.

Transfer veggies and stock to a blender or food processor and puree until really smooth. You might have to do this in 2 stages because it’s a large amount.

Transfer pureed veggies back into either the crockpot or stovetop. Allow to simmer over a very low heat, just to keep it warm while the noodles cook.

Cook the noddles until al dente. Drain noodles and dump into the tomato sauce.

Scoop into bowls and enjoy!

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Recipe Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Notes:
I didn’t use ‘O’ shaped noodles because I couldn’t find any in whole wheat. And also, the little elbows (which are whole wheat) are easier for the baby to grab).

This is dairy free and vegan if you just don’t top it with the cheese (like the picture above).

To use up leftovers, layer the pasta with ricotta and mozzarella cheese ina casserole dish and make a ‘mock lasagna.’

To make the dish soupier, use only about 3/4 of the amount of pasta noodles I did. I wanted it to be thick, more like pasta than soup.