Oct 9, 2012
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As parents, we sometimes try to have recipes in our rotation that can be made quickly, thawed or warmed up. Once you make a batch of these ABC Os, you’ll never go back and buy the canned stuff! YUCK-O!
I have a love affair with my immersion blender. It lets me puree hot soups and hide veggies in sauces without the hassle of cooling and moving it to a blender.
As a busy mom, I don’t always have the time to wait for things to cool enough to transfer to the blender and all that. Plus, with two extremely picky eaters, tomato sauce is the easiest place to hide veggies without them noticing. Call it a nutrition packed sauce if you must, but the point is the same: lots of veggies hidden in tomato sauce kids will love and nobody complains.
See how easy it is? Seriously. Make the sauce, blend and add cooked pasta.
This recipe has been such a hit with my kids that I finally included it in our MOMables menus.
Healthy Spaghetti-ABC-O’s Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 cup broccoli florets chopped (optional)
- 1 zucchini chopped
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
- 1 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
- 16 oz bag of ABC pasta shells or macaroni, cooked
- Add all ingredients in a crockpot for 4-6 hours on low.
- With an immersion blender, puree sauce. You might have to add a bit of water until you have the traditional sauce consistency you like.
Stove top Directions:
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, celery, onions and garlic. Sauté until veggies are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the tomatoes, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, puree with an immersion hand blender (or in a regular blender) until almost smooth.
- Return sauce to the heat and simmer until thick, 10-20 minutes. The longer you simmer this sauce the thicker and more flavorful it will become. You can simmer up to 2 hours
This is delicious and toddler approved! Thank you!
I’m glad it was kid-approved!
Made this for dinner last night and my very picky three year old ate it up! This was the first time he’s eaten a red sauce. My fairly picky husband also ate it, and no one had any idea it was loaded with vegetables. A winner! Thank you so much! I’ve enjoyed all the recipes I’ve made from your site.
so glad you liked my ABC O’s! 🙂
Oh my do sorry… I just re read the above and see my questions answer…. Yes to the immersion blender! Sorry!!
Silly question Laura, if doing the crock pot version, do I still use the immersion blender? I just purchased one! Can’t wait to try this!!! 🙂
yes, use an immersion blender even in the crockpot version 🙂
If I am doing the crockpot version, do I still have to pre-cook the pasta before adding to the crockpot? Thanks!
Laura, you can add uncooked pasta 30 to 40 minutes before serving -although i rarely cook pasta in the crockpot because I don’t like the texture. cook it separately, and mix at the end –it’s what I would do.
Do you have any tips for freezing this? I’d love to give it to the kids for lunch once a week or so. I’m wondering how the pasta would hold up. Thanks!!
Ashley, all you have to do is let it cool and freeze in individual portions. To enjoy, warm and serve. If you are sending it to school, warm up the spaghetti-o’s and send in a thermos container.
I really really really want to make this but I don’t use canned products. I am horrible about recipe sub. Can you help me, can I use fresh tomatoes and cook those?
Toni, do you “can” your own tomatoes? meaning, in a glass jar? if so, substitute for that. I am totally guesstimating here that you will need about 2.5- 3 lbs of fresh tomatoes for a whole pot and add some water. I’m sorry I can’t be any more specific.
Dana from CT
Fabulous! And it’s dairy free 🙂 My son is highly allergic to dairy and it seems all “kid food” has dairy in it. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This recipe does look easy. I still love spaghetti-o’s. I’m definitely a big kid. I agree that tomato sauce is a great plcae to hide veggies. Great idea! Thanks for the tips. 🙂
You are welcome Monica!
Tiffany's Toy Box
THIS LOOKS YUMMMMMM-E! Great recipe, Laura!