Please critique my pasta bake and tell me how to make it more tasty?!

(29 Posts)
dottytablecloth Tue 08-Jul-14 18:36:49

But still ensure that my 17 month old will eat it as I'm not keen on separate dinners for adults and children!

Chopped onion
Chicken breast
Pepper
Pasta
Tin chopped tomatoes
Tiny pinch sugar (have never added to a recipe before but it said to)
Breadcrumbs
Cheddar cheese on top

Ds seemed to love it but I thought it was slightly bland.

I didn't add garlic or chilli as I always think these will put ds off. It needed something like this though, didn't it?

Any ideas?

Timeforabiscuit Tue 08-Jul-14 18:37:40

HERBS

tell me you've got a good smattering of mixed herbs?

NCISaddict Tue 08-Jul-14 18:40:30

Some mascapone to make it a bit creamy? I have to say I would have to put a tiny pinch of salt in it and did do when mine were small but I appreciate you might not want to.
Some fresh basil? Children generally like garlic or at least those I know mainline garlic bread so I wouldn't worry about adding garlic to it even if you don't want to risk chilli.

Timeforabiscuit Tue 08-Jul-14 18:41:09

Sorry for the shouts, other things to consider...

Slug of red wine (alcohol will evaporate during cooking, so fine for kids)

Slice up some chorizo and fry off once the chickens browned off

Couple of teaspoons of smoked paprika

Maybe chuck in some olives ?

Lunaballoon Tue 08-Jul-14 18:45:31

Those ingredients cry out for garlic and herbs - fresh parley, oregano and/or thyme - and maybe some Parmesan cheese.

BirdhouseInYourSoul Tue 08-Jul-14 18:49:12

DS loved anything garlic tasting.

I remember reading once that it's one of the things they can taste through breastmilk and I like garlic so it was probably that. But it is a taste they can identify with early on I think so both bottle and breast fed babies are supposed to like it.

I would add herbs too. It's good to add different flavours in for kids.

dottytablecloth Tue 08-Jul-14 18:58:57

Thanks for the tips!

Wonder if a few spoonfuls of Philadelphia would add some creaminess?

Will definitely add garlic and maybe basil next time. Herbs are a good idea but when I use mixed herbs sometimes they are all I can taste!

FunkyBoldRibena Tue 08-Jul-14 19:00:56

Herbs or bung half a stock cube in when you put the chopped toms in.

NCISaddict Tue 08-Jul-14 19:02:34

Sometimes dried mixed herbs are a bit like that. Try fresh herbs and,yes, Philadelphia should work especially if it's the full fat version.

dottytablecloth Tue 08-Jul-14 19:02:48

funky wouldn't adding stock make it very runny? confused

schmee Tue 08-Jul-14 19:02:54

Paprika and some philedelphia would be nice

sonlypuppyfat Tue 08-Jul-14 19:03:32

Chorizo makes everything taste better.

Passata is much nicer than chopped tomatoes as well I find.

ravenAK Tue 08-Jul-14 19:13:37

I always find tinned toms a bit bland & watery.

I must admit I often use a jar of spag bol sauce for things like this, but failing that passata or cook two tins of toms down a bit with onion/garlic/herbs to make a sauce?

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 08-Jul-14 19:16:18

I can't imagine tomatoes being nice without sweated down garlic and onions. And I'd use pasta not tinned tomatoessmile

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 08-Jul-14 19:16:51

Oh you said oniongrin

MrsMonkeyBear Tue 08-Jul-14 19:36:40

Big squeeze of tom purée to amp up the tom flavour.
Worcestershire sauce,
Garlic for sure, the lazy garlic in a jar is brilliant.
Chorizo is another yy.
Try another type of cheese mixed with the cheddar, Mozzarella for gooeyness, crumbled goats cheese for peppery-ness.
And finally some freshly ground black pepper

Chopped peppers
Garlic - DD's first proper item of food was a piece of garlic flat bread purloined from DH's plate grin
Thyme
Tomato puree
Use a more mature cheddar - at least a 5!

juneybean Tue 08-Jul-14 19:45:01

Squirt of ketchup

dottytablecloth Tue 08-Jul-14 19:52:48

I think my next pasta bake is going to be amazing!

Gerty1002 Tue 08-Jul-14 20:11:03

Paprika, lot of it, which could be in the form of chorizo if you like. My 10mo DS loves it, he doesn't have a problem with strong flavours at all. One of his favs is garam masala! You will never know if your DC will like it until you try smile.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 08-Jul-14 20:13:46

You could use lardons instead of chorizo too.

Rainydayblues Wed 09-Jul-14 06:46:59

Fry the onion gently for at least 10 mins closer to 15, till it's soft and translucent - not browned. Pancetta or bacon or chorizo - non spicy version would help. Use good quality tinned tomatoes. Chuck in an old Parmesan rind. Cook the tomato sauce for at least 45 mins, do not add dried herbs, use fresh basil or parsley or fresh pesto at the end if you like. Use chicken thighs rather than breast. Adjust seasoning, acidity and flavour at the end, use a very small amount of either ketchup, balsamic vinegar, sugar, mushroom ketchup, Lea & Perrins, S&P to taste. And I'd probably not bother baking it!

Rainydayblues Wed 09-Jul-14 06:48:50

And if I did bake it I would use mozzarella and not cheddar - which IMO is too overpowering. Grate some Parmesan over the top after baking.

FunkyBoldRibena Wed 09-Jul-14 06:49:59

funky wouldn't adding stock make it very runny?

Stock cube. Not stock. Although the water would be absorbed or cook off.

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