Homemade Spaghettio's is fun-shaped pasta dish for toddlers and kids, in a healthy and delicious tomato and cheese sauce. (Secretly, adults like it too!)
You know the cans. The ones that are right at small-child's eye level in the store, and kids devour it. Even us grown ups are prone to craving it's nostalgic, heat-and-serve goodness in a can.
But making it homemade (and incidentally, healthier) is easier than you might think. What's in it? Pasta, 100% real tomato puree, nutrient rich chicken stock, and 100% real shredded cheese.
How to make it
Homemade Chef Boyardee takes a few minutes to make and it's so easy, there really is no reason to buy the canned stuff. The hardest part, is deciding which cute little pasta shapes to use. (Check both the regular pasta aisle, and also the Hispanic Food Aisle in your local grocery store. I find most of the fun shaped pasta for kids in that aisle.)
Once you've made up your mind on whether to use adorable zoo animals, silly sea creatures, or ferocious dinosaurs, measure out an even 2 cups of the dry pasta shape.
Bring the chicken stock and tomato puree to a boil. Add salt (to taste) and sugar (tomato needs some amount of sugar to balance acidity), along with dry pasta. Reduce heat to medium simmer and stir occasionally, uncovered until pasta is tender and liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat, and stir in freshly shredded cheese. Use whatever favorite cheddar, or similar cheese that you have on hand. That's it!
For more homemade versions of kid favorites try:
- Homemade Graham Crackers (they're gluten free because that makes them crispier!)
- Homemade Personal Pan Pizzas- kids love these things, and you can really stock up your freezer with them!
- Stove Top Mac n Cheese- the creamiest, silkiest sauce, ever!
- Instant Oatmeal- yes! An easy, "instant" oatmeal in tons of flavors, just like the boxed versions!
- Homemade Pop Tarts- 3 different varieties, with just 1 recipe!
- Homemade Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets- with the option of white or whole grain crust!
Homemade Chef Boyardee
- 2 cups dry kid friendly fun pasta shape
- 1 cup canned tomato puree
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tsps sugar
- ⅓ cup shredded cheddar cheese or similar cheese
- Bring stock, tomato puree, salt and sugar to a boil on medium high heat.
- Stir in the dry pasta, reduce heat to a low-medium simmer and cook until al dente (usually 1-2 minutes under full cooking time- refer to package directions).
- Remove from heat, and stir in shredded cheese.
- Serve to hungry kids, and grownups alike!
- If substituting tomato sauce for tomato puree, be aware that sauce usually has salt, sugar and other seasoning, so the salt and sugar that the recipe calls for may need to be reduced.
- If substituting chicken broth for chicken stock, you may also need to reduce the salt that the recipe calls for, as broth tends to have more sodium than stock.
- Check the pasta aisle for fun pasta shapes, but also go through the Mexican food aisle, as there is often more variety to choose from in that section.