A perfect combo of squiggly pasta and spicy Mexican-ish sauce. Throw the whole business together ahead of time(you can even freeze it, if you want)and put it into the oven when you're good and ready. If you prefer a vegetarian dish, just omit the sausages from the recipe and cook the onions in a bit of vegetable oil instead.
4 cup rotini, or fusilli pasta
250 g Italian sausages, (hot or not)
1 onion, chopped
1 green sweet pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, squished
2 tsp Mexican chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
1 796-mL can diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels, (or canned baby corncobs)
1 540-mL can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar, or Monterey jack
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta until tender but not mushy. Drain thoroughly in a colander, then rinse under running water and drain again. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Cut the (uncooked) sausages into - in. (1 cm) pieces with a sharp knife. (If your child is helping you, let her cut them with kitchen scissors. Place in a dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sausage slices are slightly browned on all sides. Drain off any excess fat, leaving just a film in the pan. Add the chopped onion, green pepper and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin and oregano, stir, then pour in the canned tomatoes (juice and all) and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Now add the tomato mixture to the pasta in the bowl. Have your child stir in the corn kernels (or baby corn), the kidney beans and about half of the shredded cheese. Mix well, then dump the mishmash into an 8 cup (2 L) casserole dish. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese, cover with foil (or with a cover, if the dish happens to have one) and bake at 350°F (180°C) for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes, until squooshy and done.
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