Everyone always assumes that because I write a food blog and cook a lot, my kids must be fabulous eaters. EHHHHHH. (That's the sound of an annoying buzzer.) WRONG! I have picky, picky eaters. Right around 18 months, each of them have rejected all foods that are healthy (I'm exaggerating, but you get the picture). It's hard! I've felt everything from frustration, anger, shame and embarrassment over it. But on my good days, I realize... they are still growing, they won't be like this forever, and so I go about trying and sneaking, sneaking and trying. Trying new foods, and when that doesn't work, sneaking them into their meals. (*Ordinarily, that photo above would be much more beautiful with cilantro, green onions or jalapeños sprinkled on top... but, green things, yeah.)
Cue this cheesy, one-pot Mexican pasta with a whole lot of, wait for it, SQUASH! I sneak frozen squash into the ground turkey and it sort of melts into the dish, creating a slightly sweet counterbalance to the spicier Mexican flavors. Obviously, the best part about this dish is you can make it in under 30 minutes in ONE pot. And another great thing about this recipe? I used Chickpea Pasta for some added protein and fiber, which also makes it gluten-free! (Of course, you can use any pasta that you would like). My son and toddler loved it. The stubborn middle child? Well, we had a 1950's style showdown. She sat there, crying, begging for a treat, resisting even ONE bite, and I held firm and drank a bottle of rose by myself.
One Pot Mexican Pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 pkg. taco seasoning
12 oz. frozen squash, thawed
8 oz. pasta
2 cups chicken stock
1 8 oz. jar taco sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground turkey, and cook until no longer pink. Add the taco seasoning and squash, and cook for a few more minutes, until everything is combined. Add the pasta, chicken stock and taco sauce and bring to a boil. Stir everything up, cover the pot, lower to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Uncover, add cheese, and simmer until cheese has melted and sauce has thickened. I added a little more cheese on the top before serving. Top with anything you like!
*This sort of tasted like a delicious, homemade Hamburger Helper!