Spaghetti Alla Caprese and Parmesan Fish Sticks (Great for Kids!)

As requested by my sister, I am sharing a GREAT & EASY recipe for your kids! This is one that they can help you with as well (if they are willing kitchen helpers with clean hands! :))

What kid doesn’t like pasta and fish sticks? Both recipes are super simple and healthy!

Spaghetti Alla Caprese


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 pound mozzarella ball, cubed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • Salt


  1. Dice the tomatoes and cube the mozzarella
  2. Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente, about 6-7 minutes (read what’s on your pasta package; some are 8-10 minutes).
  3. While the spaghetti is cooking, begin to make the sauce
  4. Mix the tomatoes and mozzarella in a large bowl
  5. Add the best available extra-virgin olive oil, oregano, basil leaves, and salt, to taste
  6. When the spaghetti is ready, remove it from the water and add it to the bowl with approximately 1/2 cup of pasta water (you can use more or less if you’d like).
  7. Mix well, and serve immediately. If you are making other dishes, make sure you save this part for last so you can serve immediately. The pasta will not taste as good if you let it sit.
Voila! You are finished!

Tip for basil:

Don’t cut your basil with a knife; tear it with your hands. If you use a knife, the basil will turn dark. The discoloration of cut basil is a result of oxidation; when you cut basil with a knife, you break through the cell walls, releasing enzymes that cause that dark color and mushy texture. The same thing happens to lettuces when cut too far in advance. Tearing basil with your hands (as opposed to using a knife) helps slow the process, as tearing tends to keep more of the cell walls intact than cutting does. But either way, the basil will indeed discolor over time, so your best bet would be to make sure that you tear basil immediately before using it.

Spaghetti alla caprese

Parmesan Fish Sticks


  • 1 (18-ounce) center-cut salmon fillet, about 9 by 4 inches, skinned (or CHICKEN if you want to make chicken sticks)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or chives


For the Fish Sticks:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.Rinse the salmon fillet and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Cut the fish in half to make 2 fillets each about 4 by 4 1/2-inches in size.
  3. Starting on the longest edge, slice the fillets into 1/2-inch pieces. Lay the widest pieces, from the center, cut side down, and slice in half length ways so all the pieces are equally about 1/2 by 1/2 by 4 1/2-inches in size.
  4. Place the flour in a medium bowl and season with the salt and pepper.
  5. Place the egg whites in another bowl and beat until frothy, about 30 seconds.
  6. Combine the Parmesan and bread crumbs in a third bowl.
  7. Coat the salmon pieces in the seasoned flour and pat to remove any excess flour.
  8. Dip the floured salmon in the egg whites and then into the Parmesan mixture, gently pressing the mixture into the fish.
  9. If you set-up an assembly line and get your kids to wash their hands, you can get the kids involved in this part too! The kids can also wear plastic gloves if you prefer.
  10. Place the breaded salmon pieces on a liberally oiled baking sheet.
  11. Drizzle lightly with the olive oil.
  12. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
For the Dipping Sauce
Mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, Dijon mustard, and parsley (or chives, if using) in a small dipping bowl.

Arrange the fish sticks on a serving platter and serve with the dipping sauce.

Cook’s Note: The fish sticks can also be dipped in ketchup, marinara sauce, pesto, ranch dressing or vinaigrette.

And here’s a better photo of the fish sticks from

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, 2008


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