Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fun Foods for Kids: Pasta Nest!

OK, so as you may know, I have a fascination with putting eyeballs on most of the foods I make for my oldest son.  I made Octo-Dogs before and they were a HUGE hit. I wanted to try it with his pasta and meatballs also. It's very simple and too cute!

Things you will need:
  • Cooked spaghetti-(our nest)
  • Cooked meatballs-(our birds)
  • Candy eyes from craft stores or baking supply stores
  • 1 Carrot or orange peel (our bird's beak)
  • Sharp pointy knife 

I basically cooked the spaghetti, drained it and set aside.  I added a teaspoon of butter to his portion to prevent it from sticking together.  Mix well.  Use your fingers to comb a handful of spaghetti and lay it on the plate in a swirl (shown in blue).  Do not use too much butter because you don't want the nest to fall flat. With just enough, it should stand as shown below.  
Find any basic meatball recipe online. This is how I normally make mine.
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2-2/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4-3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 egg

Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and pan fry in 1/2 inch oil. Use medium heat. Fry for about 10 minutes then flip over to fry the other side. About 20 minutes total. Slice open one just to make sure it is cooked thoroughly, unless you're one of those meatball pros...
Use your sharp pointy knife to make the holes for the eyes.  Remove the tiny piece inside so that our eyes can sit well.
Remember those cute candy eyes? Get them ready.
For the bird's beaks, carrots would've worked better but all I had was this tiny orange. I sliced off a small section of the peel and cut 2 triangles less than a half inch wide.
Cut right under the eye sockets to create a 1/2 inch cut or roughly the size of your beak.  Just a slice would do, no need to gut out a portion as we did with the eyes.
Insert the beaks first then the eyes. Doing so will prevent the eyeballs from popping out while pushing the beak part in.  Garnish with some celery or any greenery to suggest tree branches.
Cute from every angle...
Heck, add the entire celery stalk-I used the center of the celery bunch-they usually have more leaves attached on it.  Just lift the back of the nest and place the celery stalk under.
Once again, kid approved!
 Serve your preferred sauce on the side or pour onto nest then place the 'birds' on top.  Enjoy!
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  1. Awwwwww so cute.........Too cute to eat :-)

  2. Genius... and so cute. Celery stalk... wouldn't have thought of that! Great finishing touch. Also, if you didn't want to make numerous nests for inidvidual plates, this would be nice for simply decorating the buffet table at a kiddie party... octo-dogs too! Too cute!

  3. So cute! my kids will love it - off to track down some candy eyes. Thanks!

  4. Those are cute from every angle! How adorable. Next time we've got meatballs, they're going to have eyes and a nose!!

  5. Thanks Marie! They do make kids super happy!

  6. So, so cute! I shared this on my Facebook page!

  7. Love it!! What a fun idea!!!

  8. So creative. It is fun for adults too! Very nice.

  9. I included this post and your sunflower cheese snack on a roundup of fun food for kids on my blog--here's a link if you'd like to check it out:


    I LOVE this idea and will be making some for my toddler. She'll think they're so cute!

  10. Too Cute! I love it :) I'm going to make this sunday! Thanks so much !!!

  11. Adorable! They just turned out too cute, I need to get some of those eyes, there's all kinds of possbilities! Thank you.

    1. Thank you!--yes they come in handy for all kinds of cooking projects :)


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