Easy Arrabiata Pasta

Check out these quick-cooking back-to-school snacks or after-school meals for the kids!

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Back-to-school-madness has once again engulfed our humble household.

Since most of time is spent on the new baby (i.e. the new business venture I had mentioned in my previous post), I did what any sane mother should do:

I delegated all back-to-school tasks to Mr. Flintstone and our trusty household manager, Ate.

Mr. Flintstone is in charge of taking the kids to the mall to go shopping for clothes, shoes, and school supplies. Meanwhile, I enrolled Ate in a summer cooking class so she can learn new recipes, as well as pick up nifty tips and tricks in the kitchen.

Fortune must have smiled upon me when I gave birth to my eldest kid. This summer, the eldest kid had taken a keen interest in cooking as well, spending hours watching cooking shows on TV and YouTube.

In fact, last week, Ate and eldest kid connived with each other, spending hours upon hours experimenting in the kitchen. I had been told they were busy preparing an awesome back-to-school menu.

This weekend, I let the eldest kid go nuts in the supermarket (under Ate's supervision of course). I am an advocate of letting kids run loose in supermarkets. I think it's both enjoyable and educational because doing so exposes kids to different ingredients, allows kids to interact with the supermarket staff (and ask all sorts of questions), and encourages kids to practice mathemetical skills.

The eldest kid filled the cart with a bevy of foodstuff--from chicken nuggets, corned beef, canned chicken chunks, and fish filet. I also spotted a block of cheese, bottles of ketchup, tortilla, canned tomatoes, bread, and assorted veggies.

I wondered loudly, "What could these 2 be up to?" My husband just chuckled and said, "You are enjoying this more than they are!"

Back in the house, I watched in quiet fascination as the two danced circles around each other in the kitchen. The eldest kid was adamant in getting a handy-dandy kitchen knife, so a few weeks ago, I orderd KiddiKutter knives online. I swelled with pride as the eldest kid chopped vegetables with profound seriousness. Ate, on the other hand, was hunched over the stove, mixing and tasting sauces as if Gordon Ramsay himself would scrutinize her. Go Ate!

After an hour, the combined efforts of Ate and the eldest kid resulted in a crazy mix of both hearty and healthy, easy-to-prepare baon or after-school snacks. They made a tasty quesadilla made of crispy chicken nuggets with ooey gooey cheese scrunched between two grilled tortillas. They made a belly-busting sweet-and-spicy sloppy joe nestled in a soft bun. They made a buttery, tangy tomato sauce topped with chicken chunks and cheese over a bed of steaming pasta.

Oh, and they also prepared a grilled, lemony fish filet topped with peppery arugula and juicy tomatoes, tucked between aromatic focaccia bread just for me!

What can I say? Their brave efforts have paid off! Everything they cooked was wiped out in a flash.

I high-fived the eldest kid and Ate.

"Good job, team!", I said.

"I'm glad you enjoyed it, mom.", my eldest kid said, beaming with joy. "Can I ask for something?"

"Sure! Anything! What is it?", I beamed back.

"Mom, can you make us bento boxes?", asked the eldest kid, quite sheepishly.

"Oh. Uh, alright! No problem!", I retorted, as I secretly whipped out my smartphone under the table to search for bento box tutorials on YouTube.

Easy Arrabiata Pasta

Protein:
1 can Sexy Chix Arrabiata

Sauce:
1 can Sunny Select tomato sauce
1/2 stick butter
1 yellow onion
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sugar

Components:
250g Barilla penne rigate pasta
Parmesan cheese

1. Simmer tomato sauce, butter, and yellow onion for 15 minutes. Add chicken and simmer for 5 more minutes. Season with salt, red pepper flakes, and sugar. Set aside.
2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Once done, drizzle with olive oil.
3. Top pasta with arrabiata sauce and parmesan cheese.
4. Serve!

Tags: back-to-school
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