Yay! Les Petits Chefs are back! I’m so excited to see a few “old timers” in the club as well as a bunch of Grade 4s who are thrilled to finally be old enough to join in the fun! We have a fun term planned with some very special guests coming in to work with the boys as well as a couple of field trips – yup, Les Petits Chefs are on the move!
A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Rose Reisman who was interested in the boys testing out one of her “children’s favourites” dishes. A health and wellness entrepreneur, Rose is best known for her many popular cookbooks, and has also written extensively on topics, which include fitness, chronic disease prevention, weight management, career stress, nutrition trends, parenting and dealing with challenges of a rapidly changing world while living a healthy lifestyle. As soon as I saw the Pasta shells with Three Cheeses, I knew that I wanted to make this the first dish of the year for the boys. I mean, who doesn’t love cheese and pasta? Especially when – sssh – it’s pretty good for you! It’s a super easy recipe which I wanted for the first session since we’re always a little discombobulated for the first couple of weeks 🙂
The boys got to work grating cheese – gouda, parmesan and mild cheddar…
And had quite a lot of fun working with the cottage cheese filling. Rose’s recipe calls for ricotta but I have found excellent results with low fat cottage cheese – you don’t notice the taste difference so you don’t even miss the fat…
Then came the fun part – getting our hands dirty to fill the shells. Our hotplates conked out on us halfway through cooking the shells so they were definitely more al dente than I would normally use to fill but I just cranked the oven up a bit higher when they were baking and they came out perfectly… The al dente-ness made them easier to handle and fill!
I didn’t get to try any of this but I had glowing reports. In fact, so glowing that I think I might have to try this over the weekend. If 10 little boys can make this in a science lab in under an hour, so can I!
Jumbo pasta shells with three cheeses
Rose says: These pasta shells with three different cheeses are no question my family’s favourite. I’ll serve this as an appetizer, alongside a main dish, or just on its own with a nice green salad. This is a great recipe to get the kids involved, let them mix the ingredients allowing them to pick their favourite tasting cheeses.
- 12 jumbo pasta shells (or 6 manicotti shells)
- 1 1/4 cups light ricotta (5%)
- 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives (or green onions)
- 2 Tbsp low-fat milk
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup tomato sauce (homemade or store-bought spaghetti sauce)
- 1/4 cup canned evaporated milk (2%)
- 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly coat an 8-inch-square baking dish with cooking spray
- Cook the shells in boiling water according to the package instructions or until firm to the bite. Drain, cover and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, ⅓ cup cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Add the chives, milk and egg and mix until well combined. Fill the pasta shells with approximately 2 Tbsp of the filling.
- In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce and evaporated milk until smooth. Pour half of the tomato mixture in the bottom of a large baking dish. Place the stuffed shells in the baking dish and pour the remaining sauce over the shells. Sprinkle with the ⅓ cup cheddar cheese. Cover and bake for 20 minutes or until heated all the way through.
This is a super easy recipe to make with kids – almost too easy for my little guys! If you are cooking with less than 10 kids in your kitchen, you’ll find it a breeze!
Rose has also been kind enough to donate a copy of Family Favourites: Healthy meals for those who matter most to one lucky (US or Canadian) reader!
For a bonus entry, tweet the following message: I entered to win a copy of @rosereisman’s Family Favourites at @eatlivtravwrite. You can too: http://bit.ly/o6viq2
then come back to leave me a comment telling me you did.
Contest closes Sunday, October 2nd at 6pm EST, winner chosen by Random.org and announced on Monday, October 3rd.
Contest is now closed and a winner has been chosen. Will be announced on Tuesday Oct 4th.