Mummy & Me – Favourite Spaghetti Bolognese

Mummy & Me

This week is the first introduction to a new monthly series that I’ll be running on SR Nutrition along with Emma from Emma’s Food Stories – Mummy and Me!

What’s Mummy & Me all about?

The Mummy & Me (and Daddy & Me!!) series will offer meals that are perfect for two – an adult and baby or child – as well as meals perfect for the whole family.

This idea came about as I realised many families were cooking separate meals for babies or young children and also from the fact that there are very few meals out there that are perfectly portioned for two – an adult and a baby. I’ve always been a promoter of the fact that there’s no need to make separate meals for adults and children, especially when you know how to make meals that are just perfect for all ages or can be adapted to suit everyone.

Each month I’ll be sharing simple, nutritious meals that are suitable for all of the family whilst making sure they are nice and balanced, providing lots of ingredients from the food groups that we all need every day. Additionally all recipes will be adaptable – simply adjust the amount of ingredients used if there are more or less of you eating…or you could simply freeze any leftovers for another day!

Each special Mummy & Me recipe will also come with a free, downloadable recipe card to help get you both cooking together in the kitchen.

A little about Emma:

Emma Green run’s Emma’s Food Stories and is a final year postgraduate Dietitian who loves writing and creating recipes. Emma will be writing some of these recipes for me in her own style and testing them in her own kitchen too. I’m very lucky to be working with her and I hope you enjoy her meals as much as I will.

And Today’s Recipe is…

Mummy & Me – Family Favourite Spaghetti Bolognese

Mummy & Me – Favourite Spaghetti Bolognese

This month, we’re taking a spin on the classic family dish, spaghetti Bolognese. Traditionally originating from the small Italian town of Bologna, this meat-based spaghetti dish is actually called ‘ragu alla bolognese’, consisting of meat, pasta and a complex sauce containing ingredients such as tomatoes, wine and broth. The dish came to British shores in the early 20th century and ever since, us Britons have fallen in love with the pasta dish, adopting it as one of our own. The dish is traditionally made with the pasta ‘tagliatelle’ rather than the traditionally British used ‘spaghetti’. In the modern day, using tagliatelle is a little bit more pricey than spaghetti, but its brilliant for coating the pasta with more filling and holds better when twizzling around your fork. The dish can easily be adapted in many ways for many requirements and seasoned to taste, with vegan and veggie versions, ‘healthy option’ versions and even some extra spicy versions too!

This meal is ideally suitable for babies from around 9 or 10 months of age (depending on their weaning stage) right through to adults. It is an ideal meal for both spoon fed and baby-led weaning (especially if you don’t mind the mess!).

Why turkey… and what about vegetarians?

Whilst the traditional dish uses beef, the possibilities are endless when it comes to Bolognese. Weaning and toddlerhood is all about exploring and trying new foods, with their five senses developing and them learning something new every day. Turkey is an amazing ingredient and nutrition source for both children and adults alike.

If you’re vegan or vegetarian this dish is so easily adapted. We’ve used soya mince as a replacement for the turkey – it’s easily accessible at most supermarkets and small convenience stores and comes at a fraction of the price of the meaty version. Soya mince is a wonderful source of protein, as well as being super tasty and filling.

Finally, this family sharing dish is colourful, nutritious and contains an array of textures for your little ones to explore and enjoy, but for the parents and older siblings to devour too! It makes 4 servings, so adjust the amount of ingredients used if there are more or less of you eating…or you could simply freeze any leftover sauce for another day!

What do I need?

  • 500g turkey mince/or soya mince
  • 400g (aka a tin) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 clove of garlic (optional)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 175g broccoli florets
  • 125g mushrooms, sliced
  • 325g spaghetti or tagliatelle OR you can use baby pasta for your little ones if you prefer! 30g per baby will do!
  • 30g cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1tsp paprika (optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Pepper to taste

So, shall we get started?

  1. Finely chop the onion and crush the garlic, pop into the pan with the oil and fry off lightly. If you’ve not introduced your little one to garlic, it’s probably best to just offer a small amount for the very first time – it’s a strong taste and you don’t want to put them off the food. The same goes for using spices and pepper in baby’s meals too.
  2. Now to add the turkey/soya mince! No extra fat needed here, simply cook until the meat has browned. If it’s starting to stick, add a little splash of water to the pan.
  3. Whilst your meat is cooking, prep your veggies! Chop your mushrooms into little cubes, grate your carrots and quarter the cherry tomatoes. By chopping them small you can get those nutrients in but ‘disguise’ them for those fussy eaters, you probably won’t even see the carrot.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, mix well then turn down the heat.
  5. Time to steam your broccoli florets! 12-15 minutes will do. Steaming means that you won’t lose as many of the vitamins, such as vitamin C and they will maintain their lovely bright colour too. Once they’re done, drain them and pop them in the meaty mix.
  6. Time to add in those other veggies. You know what to do, pop them in the pan and stir well.
  7. Now time to boil the kettle and get that pasta ready. Cooking time is usually around 10 minutes, but check the back of your packet as it varies from brand to brand. If you’re using baby pasta, pop it in a separate pan and cook accordingly.
  8. Whilst the pasta is cooking and the sauce is simmering, add in the paprika if you’re using it. Again, paprika is an amazing spice for dishes but if your toddler isn’t quite used to spice yet, add only a little or not at all.
  9. Pasta done? Sauce smelling good? Time to drain the pasta and pop it in your plates and bowls ready to serve. If you aren’t opting for baby pasta and using spaghetti, simply cut the spaghetti up into smaller pieces so your tot can grab and pop into their mouth!
  10. Take the sauce off the heat and add it on top of the pasta, portioning it appropriately for each hungry tum! Grate on the cheese and crack some black pepper onto the adult plates and add a little sprinkle of cheese too for the little one.

Remember to mix your little one’s din dins well and leave to cool slightly, so it’s not too hot for those little tongues. And most importantly, enjoy! A healthy, nutritious meal for all the family.

To print or download your very own recipe cards, click the link below!

Spaghetti Bolognese’ Recipe Card


Article written by Emma Green PgDip Student Dietitian at University of Chester, Registered Associate Nutritionist and owner of Emma’s Food Stories – with support from SR Nutrition.

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