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Cheesy Shells for a Beach-Themed Dinner

Posted on 07/06/20 by Anne in Early Childhood

This time of year, our gardens are growing and local farmers markets are filled with fresh produce. It is a great time to try new foods and cook together as a family.

Cooking activities with children support so many areas of development while having fun and creating yummy food.

The benefits of cooking with preschoolers include:

· Social-Emotional Development: confidence, following directions, turn-taking and develop problem-solving skills.

· Physical Development: Fine motor and eye-hand coordination skills are developing by chopping, mixing, squeezing, and spreading.

· Cognitive Development: Measuring, sequencing, sorting, cause and effect and creativity.

· Language Development: Vocabulary and communicating cooperatively.

Here is a fun recipe for your beach-themed family meal! Look at all of the yummy veggies hidden inside!

Cheesy Veggie Stuffed Shells

Serves 6

Ingredients:

· 24 jumbo pasta shells, cooked according to package directions

· 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese

· 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

· 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

· 1 large egg

· 2 cups baby spinach, chopped

· 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion

· 1/3 cup finely chopped mushrooms

· 1/3 cup shredded zucchini

· 2 cloves garlic, minced

· 1 (26 oz.) jar pasta sauce

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix ricotta, ½ cup mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, spinach, onion, mushrooms, zucchini and garlic in large mixing bowl.

3. Fill each cooked pasta shell with 2 Tbsp. cheese/vegetable mixture and arrange in 13x9-inch baking dish. Top with pasta sauce and bake 30 minutes. Top with remaining ½ cup mozzarella and bake 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Here are a few more ideas for your beach party dinner!

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