Pasta is more than just spaghetti! Are you tired of the traditional spaghetti with pasta sauce? This seems to be the old standby for a quick meal. Yes, the kids love it but it gets a little boring, so it’s time to switch things up with your pasta dishes. There are an infinite number of ways to serve pasta. Here are three great recipes and one of them you can freeze in a large quantity and have it ready in no time for a fast dinner.
Easy Penne Primavera
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 (14 ounce) can of chicken broth
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 c. small broccoli flowers
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, cut into small wedges
1 medium tomato, diced
4 cups hot cooked penne pasta, cooked without salt
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1. Mix the cornstarch and 3/4 cup of the broth.
2. Mix the remaining broth with the oregano, garlic, broccoli, carrots and onion in a saucepan.
3. Heat to a boil and cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
4. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring until the mixture boils and thickens.
5. Stir in the tomato.
Toss this sauce with the penne and serve with cheese.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 c. shredded rotisserie chicken (store-bought variety)
1 c. frozen small peas
1/2 c. chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 oz. bow-tie pasta or another shaped pasta
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp butter
1. In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add the shredded chicken and heat through.
3. Stir in the garlic, peas and broth.
4. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the broth has reduced slightly.
5. Keep it warm over low heat.
1. In large pot boil the pasta for about five minutes in salted water.
2. Drain the pasta and add it to the chicken mixture.
3. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and butter then simmer over medium heat.
4. Be sure to stir frequently and drain when pasta is al dente; about 3 minutes.
Done! Now serve with some additional Parmesan to sprinkle over top.
Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells
40 jumbo shell pasta
Cooking spray or oil
1 (12-ounce) tub of 1% low-fat cottage cheese
1 (15-ounce) tub of ricotta cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese
3/4 c. (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 (10-ounce) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
6 cups marinara sauce
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
Pre-heat oven to 375°.
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
2. Spray two 13 x 9-inch baking dishes with the cooking oil and set aside.
3. Put cottage cheese and ricotta cheese in a food processor; process until smooth.
4. Combine cottage cheese mixture, Asiago cheese, Parmesan cheese, chives, parsley, pepper, salt and spinach.
5. Spoon or pipe 1 tbsp cheese mixture into each shell.
Hint: Put mixture into a freezer bag and cut one corner off, use to pipe into shells.
If baking to serve right away:
1. Place half the shells with their seam sides up, in a baking dish.
2. Pour 3 cups marinara over the stuffed shells.
3. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella.
4. Repeat with remaining stuffed shells in a second dish.
Cover with foil. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until heated through.
Wrap the unbaked shells in plastic wrap squeezing out any air bubbles and wrap again with heavy-duty foil. These can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.
To prepare frozen unbaked shells:
1. Pre-heat oven to 375º.
2. Unwrap shells reserving the foil.
3. Place in the casserole dishes and cover with the foil.
4. Bake at 375º – after 30 minutes add the 3 cups of marinara sauce.
5. Continue baking for another 30 – 40 minutes until heated through.
This is a great make ahead recipe for the freezer and is a fantastic time saver. You can wrap them in individual serving packets for a quick lunch or in a larger package for a dinner size. Freezer meals are not only time savers but they can save you money as well!