Pick and Mix Pasta: A Quick Dinner That Pleases All The Family 

My favourite dinners to feed my family are healthy(ish) ones that everyone eats. If they’re quick that’s a bonus.

This isn’t a recipe, it would be cheeky to call it that, it’s more a meal idea, or a way to ensure that everyone eats.

Some might say it’s pandering to fussy eaters, but my attitude to that is that I’d rather they eat something than eat nothing.

My kids tend to be more likely to try different foods if they can serve themselves, so having this for dinner has meant that the one who hates pasta with tomato sauce (or pomadoro as we exotically refer to it!) happily gets the jug and pours it all over his.

My five-year-old likes this so much he chose it as his birthday dinner.

Here’s what it is – you’ll need:

Loads of pasta, the one in the photo is wholewheat fusili

Then, fill lots of little bowls with things people in the family like to eat with pasta.

Photographed are: Grated cheddar cheese, homemade tomato sauce from the freezer, chorizo, pancetta lardons, tomatoes, goat’s cheese and pesto.

The kids get to serve themselves and make whatever combinations they like. There is never enough pancetta or grated cheese to satisfy my lot. Ever.

I can’t decide if it’s the fact that they get to serve themselves or that they all like something that’s on the table but they eat loads and it’s not junk, so I get kids fed and no refusal induced tantrums.

Win, Win. Win. And not even a recipe.


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  2. Brilliant. We often do what we exotically call ‘Tapas’ dinners too (exotic words excite children don’t they? 😉 ) and find they eat more too. I have to admit I’ve never done it with the pasta, I’ve always ‘dressed’ it for them, will do it this way the next time though, it will encourage more variety I think. We too never have enough cheese grated and certainly never enough bacon! Completely agree with you on it being better to have them eat something than nothing and if serving dinners up this way works I’m all for it. Means less stress for us too, many a day I have found myself so frustrated with my fussy fella and it isn’t worth it.

  3. Great idea! Luke loves it if he can pick bits and pieces so we would often have “finger food” at the weekend but never thought to do it with pasta and he loves pasta!

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