BLOG: The 2 year old's favourite meal

pasta sauce blog (3)It's Saturday night and I need a quick meal for the kids. For me, vegetables are important regardless of whether or not I'm in a hurry. When my motivation is at an all time low, as is the case tonight, I turn to an old faithful - pasta and sauce. The sauce is full of a variety of vegetables and provides everything the kids need in their dinner. The fact that it's a favourite of the 2 year old is a great bonus!
Once a month or so, I cook up a batch of pasta sauce, portion and freeze it in small plastic containers. All that's required at dinner time is to cook up a handful or two of pasta - my big kid is a fan of the dinosaur shaped stuff - drain and throw in the frozen sauce. No need to defrost as the heat of the pasta sorts that out, but you can put it on a low heat just to warm it through if required. Grate some cheese on top and voila, dinner done. A nutritious, yet easy meal, full of vegetables.
It's a versatile sauce too, good for the adults; if you're wanting to make it more substantial, just add some chicken, or chorizo and it's good to go. And now the baby is of an age where puréed foods are becoming a thing of the past, it's a meal for the whole family. I often add it to some cooked mince, for a fast, easy bolognese.
Here's the recipe - double it if you will use it often or want to freeze it.
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 courgette, finely chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste
handful of fresh herbs chopped, e.g, parsley, coriander, mint
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a medium sized heavy based pan, add garlic and onion and sweat for 3-4 minutes.
Add celery and carrot and cook for further 5-6 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer on a low heat for 20-30 minutes or until thick. Serve and enjoy.

Add extra vegetables if available and use a stick blender to make a smoother sauce.