Nutrition is important to your child’s physical and mental development, no matter what age they are. As parents, it’s important to set a good example and mealtime is a great place to start.
Allowing your child to help prepare meals is a great way for them to be active in the selection process. It teaches them how to make something and works the brain muscles at the same time. It sparks creativity and interest. Your child is more likely to eat something they helped make and even try new foods in the process.
Here’s a fun recipe that children can assist with and it’s one that will feed the whole family, approximately 6-8 servings.
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs (kids love cracking the eggs — use a separate bowl in case of shells)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded (let the kids measure this into a cup)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 2 Tbsp. fresh basil (if you have fresh basil, it’s fun for kids to pick the leaves)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
- 45 oz. tomato and basil pasta sauce
- 8 oz. no-boil lasagna noodles (these are great for kids to handle)
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach (optional)
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (another good opportunity for kids to measure)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine ricotta, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and a 1/2 cup of mozzarella in a bowl. Use a big bowl so the kids can add the ingredients and stir it up without making too big of a mess.
- Mix in salt and pepper and, if you’re using them, basil and garlic.
- Spread about 1 cup of tomato sauce at the bottom of a 13×9″ pan. This step is great for kids. Think of it as painting the pan red.
- Allow the kids to arrange a layer of lasagna noodles on top of the sauce (probably 4 will cover the pan–it’s ok if they overlap).
- Next, layer 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture, 1/3 of the spinach (if using), 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Then layer about 1 cup of sauce on top. This part is up to you. It can get a bit messy, but the kids will love that.
- Repeat layers in this order (noodles, ricotta mix, spinach, mozzarella, sauce) twice more.
- For your top layer, use noodles, then top with the remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella.
- Bake covered with aluminum foil for 40-50 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 minutes longer to brown the cheese on top.
- Let stand for 5 minutes. Bon appétit!
Family mealtime is so important for children and their development. This is where they learn from you, process what you’re doing, pick up on your eating habits and create their own. We hope you have fun making this recipe with your family and we would love to see you post your pictures of the process.