Spaghetti with Shrimp, Peas and Portobellos

If Kids Were CEO’s

My girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter asks if they could go to McDonald’s and my friend tells her “no” because “the food is very bad for you”.  So this precious little girl with the biggest brown eyes (picture Cindy Lou Who) looks up at her mom and says “then why do they sell it to the people?.  How much time do you have….costs, sales, profits, preservatives, shelf life.  Now perhaps this 4-year-old doesn’t understand all that, but she does understand the basic difference between RIGHT and WRONG.  Too bad she doesn’t have the CEO’s job.

As a parent, I struggle with the balance between GOOD and WEIRD.  I want to make the good choices for my kids;  eat healthy, play outside, limit video games, encourage reading,  imaginative play and non-violent TV.  However, I do fear that if they aren’t exposed to the bad choices, they will be perceived as “weird” or they might rebel or they might never learn to make the good choice for themselves.  I don’t want the kid who has NEVER tasted McDonalds but rather the one who has and knows the consequences (chemicals are bad for your body).  I don’t want the kid on the playground who can’t join in the conversation about Pokemon because he never watched TV or played video games but rather the one who has and knows the consequences (it literally scrambles your brain).  If they can learn this now, maybe it will help them make better choices as they get older and the stakes are higher.  Maybe when they become the CEO’s they will make the right decisions.  Now, I’ve educated the kids enough about food and they haven’t asked for McDonald’s in years, video games….well I’m still working on that one.

Spaghetti w/ Shrimp, Peas & Portabellos:  I buy the shrimp pre-cooked and frozen so they are always ready to go.  Simply run them under warm water for a minute to partially defrost. 

  • Cook the spaghetti in salted water according to directions.  Drain and save a little pasta water.
  • In a pan, heat up a little garlic (2 cloves) and butter (1 TBS) in olive oil.
  • Add shrimp, peas, mushrooms and cook through (few minutes).
  • Add parsley, juice (and grate rind) from one lemon, salt/pepper.
  • Toss spaghetti into pot and mix.  Add a drop of pasta water if needed to thicken sauce.
    Top with parmesan cheese if you’d like.

This recipe is good with a variety of ingredients.  Try asparagus, soybeans, spinach, etc.

How Can the Kids Help?

  • Teach kids how to open a clove of garlic -I smash down on the garlic with the side of the knife – Mia peels away the skin.
  • Pour olive oil in the pan – Count to 3:  That’s enough!
  • Ask kids to tell you when garlic is getting brown – oh no!
  • Count the shrimp – how many per person?
  • Add the peas and mushrooms and stir (I let Mia cut the mushrooms)
  • Help grate the lemon and squeeze the juice in.
  • Disney Spaghetti Coloring Page: http://disney.go.com/magicartist/coloring/lady/page7/index.html

Did You Know?

  • Show your kids this trick!  How do you know when the pasta is done?  Take a piece out of the boiling pot and throw it against your kitchen cabinet.  If it sticks, it’s done cooking!
  • Some historians think the Sicilian word “maccaruni” which translates as “made into dough by force” is the origin of our word, macaroni.  My grandmother called ANY kind of pasta, “macaroni”.  She would get excited and tell us, “We’re havn’ mac-a-rone-eeee!”
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5 responses to “Spaghetti with Shrimp, Peas and Portobellos

  1. Made this one the other night and added bacon to it !! Boy I was glad to see my kids eating the shrimp and “trying” the mushrooms. My daughter is turning into Mia wanting to be the helper!! Great ideas!!

  2. I think “everything in moderation” is key with kids…or adults, for that matter. I keep things as healthful & natural as I can at home, so that it’s no big deal if they have fast food, candy, etc. once in a while. Habits are habits…if kids are in the habit of eating well, reading a lot, playing outdoors, etc, then they will continue those habits even if they occasionally have a TV marathon or a day of sugar overload.

    BTW, I am hoping my kids are as into cooking as yours are when they get older! I have dreams of spending leisurely weekend days making great meals with them.

  3. I think this is my favorite pic of Mia! My aunts all called pasta mac-a-Ron-eeeee too!!! Bella xxoo

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