I started trying to think of how I could make chard Henry-friendly. I have a wonderful lasagna recipe that was given to me by a close family friend that calls for spinach, and that got me thinking of a cheesy pasta dish. Henry loves cheese and pasta, so it seemed like a good option. The idea of having to layer pasta, sauce, and cheese, however, seemed a bit much, so I settled on making baked ziti with Swiss chard.
When it came to feeding time, I wasn't sure if Henry would eat it because shortly before dinner he had sort of chowed down at a Hanukkah event. He ate pretzels, Cheerios, and chocolate spread, while the older kids made food menorahs...and then he ate the tip of a green crayon, while the older kids made crowns (he totally tricked me - lulled me into a sense of security when he was coloring so nicely, and then when I started a conversation with the mom next to me, he bit it right off!). But, when we got home, he seemed to still be hungry. I cut the baked ziti up and put it in front of him. He gave me a big smile, but then just sat there staring at it. I happened to be really hungry myself, so I turned around to cut myself a piece and heat it up. When I turned back, Henry was happily eating it. A few bites in, it looked like he was tired of it, but then when I came to sit down with him, he grabbed my fork, and then used it to eat the rest of his piece (with some spearing help, of course). Mixing the new veggie in with a favorite seemed to really work!
Swiss Chard Baked Ziti
1 lb ziti or penne
1 bunch Swiss chard, ribs removed, and leaves chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder (2 garlic cloves would be better, but I didn't have them. Ok, I'm lying, I had them but I didn't want to mince them - again, it was one of those days!).
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup part-skim ricotta
1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella, divided
1/2 jar tomato sauce (probably could have used more, but that was all I had left)
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a pot, saute chard in oil, and add garlic powder, salt and pepper (if using fresh garlic, saute garlic first, and then add chard). Once wilted, set aside.
In a bowl, mix together ricotta, 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, sauce, chard and pasta. Taste to see if you want more salt and pepper. Then add eggs, and mix. Pour mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until you like the way the cheese looks on top.
Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!