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Emma has always loved baking.  She started  baking with me when she was 4 years old.  This past year she started coming into the kitchen while I was cooking and ask if she could help.  I always obliged.  I think that one of the best ways to get kids eating new and different foods is to get them involved with the cooking of it.  I know it works with my kids.  Because Emma gets involved with the ingredients that go into a meal and with the whole preparation of it, she becomes more familiar with those foods and therefore feels more comfortable trying them out.

I picked her up from school yesterday and said, “Guess who’s cooking dinner tonight?”  “Who?”, she asked.  I replied very excitedly, “You!”  She was equally excited, asking what she would be cooking and stated that she wanted to do it all by herself.  Fine by me!

I did have to do one thing which I thought she was just a tad too young for. Cook the giant pasta shells in boiling water and drain it.  They look like sea shells, don’t they?

Emma was on her own from here.

Empty one container of ricotta cheese into a bowl.

Chop 3 tomatoes and add to cheese.

Finely chop some parsley and basil leaves and add to cheese mixture.  

Grate some parmesan cheese into the mixture.  Add a little salt.  Mix it all up and stuff the giant pasta shells.


Place into a baking dish with a little olive oil poured onto the bottom.  It’s o.k. if they’re snug in there, just squeeze them in.

Pour a little olive oil over the pasta and grate some parmesan over them.

Into the oven they go.  350 degrees for 15 minutes or so and voila!  Don’t they look good?

If there are any pasta shells left over, do what Emma did.  Put them in a small baking dish, add a few dabs of butter with grated parmesan and throw them in the oven.  You know what?  They were pretty tasty! Emma even took the pictures herself and said, “You can put them on your website.”  She’s only 9!