Serves: 4 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 35 minutes
Here are the percentage of key nutrients in one serving of this recipe:
Ages 1-3 years old: Calcium: 21 percent / Iron: 24 percent / Vitamin C: 386 percent
Ages 4-8 years old: Calcium: 15 percent / Iron: 14 percent / Vitamin C: 270 percent
2 cups whole wheat macaroni or favorite high fiber elbow macaroni
1 small red bell pepper, washed, diced
3/4 cup diced frozen onion
3 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
3 ounces reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, no salt added, do not drain
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place the macaroni in a skillet that's at least 2 to 2 1/2-inches deep. Pour about 1 1/2 (16.9-ounce) bottles of cold bottled water over the pasta. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook until the macaroni is al dente (just a little underdone), about 7 minutes. Most of the water will absorb, but drain any that is remaining. Set aside.
While pasta cooks, rinse and dice bell pepper. Peel and finely chop onion. Peel and mince garlic. Grate cheese.
In large skillet over medium heat, add beef or turkey, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Cook, crumbling beef with spoon, until meat is no longer pink, about 15 minutes. Drain fat.
In skillet, add remaining ingredients to meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook over medium heat until cheese is melted, 5-7 minutes.
Cook's note: You can add any of your favorite veggies (such as cooked spinach and broccoli) with the other vegetables, to add variety and up the vegetable content.
Adapted from Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
300 calories (25 percent from fat), 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 34 g carbohydrates, 25 g protein, 360 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.