School has started, it is day one, and I already hear, “I hate what you packed me for lunch.” What! I want to tell them the story about the children without food or the food that we ate when I was younger. You remember the pizza could have just as easily been found in the recycling bin as on the tan rectangle lunch tray. The “pizza” was brown, hard, and smelled tangy and the flavor was missing like the change in the couch.
I was not always a good cook, in fact; I had no idea how to cook. In college, I read the box for pasta, and it said, “Let boil for 10 minutes.” I let the water boil for ten minutes and then I wondered when I was supposed to add the pasta. That was back then, but this is now. I am smarter and a more seasoned cook. I do, however, like to take a great short cut to a super meal. One of the tricks I have is to head to BJ’s Wholesale and pick up the Barilla Organic Pasta Penne/Spaghetti 6 pack along with the 2 pack of the Barilla Pesto Sauce because you can make two easy meals!
I like the variety in a single box, you get both organic spaghetti and penne. This box of Barilla pasta gives me two different cooking options. As an added bonus, Barilla Organic Pasta is USDA certified organic, contains no GMO ingredients, and cooks up perfectly “al dente” every time! #BarillaOrganic. And did I mention the Barilla Pesto Sauce?! It is amazing! It is made with the highest quality ingredients like sweet basil, aromatic herbs, and extra virgin olive oil. It is delicious hot or cold! #BarillaPesto. I am going to share a great dinner recipe that also makes a great lunch. Plus I will share a recipe for a side that I often eat as my main course at lunch or when I am running to soccer practice. I put this pasta salad in a container on the go. It is also my go to lunch idea for my kids. They adore it, and they can make their own variation of my (famous to them and in my own mind) Pesto Pasta Salad.
I love asparagus and I am always looking for a new way to make it. Pasta salad is a staple in our house during the summer months. It is fresh, easy to make and there are so many variations. This Penne Pasta Recipe with Asparagus is a meal my whole family loves and enjoys!
Growing up, my mother would strive to make each and every birthday special for my sister and myself. On your birthday, you could pick any dinner you want, and Mama would prepare it for the Birthday Girl. My birthday dinner was always lasagna. This was probably because the classic dish was not something Mama prepared very often. And, it can be a pricey dish. However, it feeds a lot of hungry folks, so it is a favorite in many families. I decided to recreate my favorite lasagna recipe.Continue reading
I came up with this recipe because we had a lot of tomatoes, basil, and peppers. I am a huge fan of recipes you can freeze and this sauce is one that you can easily freeze and eat with another meal. You can also put this in ice cube trays and use it as a starter for chicken or for fish. It is just a great all around sauce. You can also blend this less and make a soup out of it. I have a husband who is dairy free so you can leave out the cheese. I also have children with nut allergies so I make them the sauce without the pesto. I then put in it a jar and label it “kids”. You just make their version first. This recipe is very easy and healthy. It’s light but hearty. It is the perfect meal for a summer evening and the best way to use all of your fresh in-season produce while it is plentiful and inexpensive.
Disclosure: “I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Mom Central for the National Pasta Association. I received pasta samples and a stipend to facilitate the creation of pasta recipes as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”
With my busy schedule as a mom, teacher and a business owner, pasta has always been a great choice of ingredient for meals that I prepare because of its easy, quick, and wholesome meal possibilities. Pasta is a perfect foundation for healthy, nutritious and satisfying meals. It is also very easy to pair up with variety of nutrient-dense foods.
October is National Pasta Month and if you want to prepare yummy pasta dishes you should check out Pasta Fits website for lots of mouthwatering recipes. I love preparing recipes that are super simple, that doesn’t take time to prepare but doesn’t lack in flavor. Of course it’s important that it will be a filling meal because I have active 3 kids to feed who are also into sports and need extra energy. So I decided to prepare Pasta Fits One Pot Tomato Rosemary Linguine With Meatballs & Mozzarella. The best part about this recipe is you simply put all of the ingredients in a large pot, cook for 10-15 minutes and you’re done!
Place all ingredients except the cheese in a large pot or large, deep sauce pan like a dutch oven.
Bring mixture to a boil then cover, reduce heat to low and cook an additional 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.I set my timer to stir every three minutes.
The key is to make sure not to overcook the pasta. You will also make sure most of the liquid is absorbed.
Once the pasta is cooked, remove from heat and slowly stir the mozzarella.
Cover and let sit until the cheese can melt. Serve immediately.
The National Pasta Association launched the Pasta Fits campaign to help educate consumers on the power of pasta. The recipes on the Pasta Fits page are amazing and they contain approximately 500 calories or less per serving. My family love pasta and I love the benefits of eating it. I hope you try a couple of Pasta Fits recipes because they are amazing. I was so surprised and happy with the recipes I have made using the site, you should also check out my Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe . I know you and your family will also love them.
To get the latest updates, check out
Being a busy mom is not an excuse for not being able to give your family a nutritious meal. As the saying goes, if there’s a will there’s a way. For me, planning and time management is the key. You have to choose the right ingredients and how you cook it and in between try to squeeze in other activities and chores that you have to do. Pasta is one of my preferred ingredient for our meals. We make tons of meals using pasta because getting back to school is difficult enough with out having to think about what is for dinner. I also know my kids will always eat pasta. It is the perfect meal to fuel their bodies and their minds as the adjust to homework and school. Pasta is a good source of energy and it offers the speed and simplicity of cooking and preparation that busy moms like me look for. It’s very versatile, you can combine it with seafood, beef, pork, chicken or turkey. There are lots of recipes to try and best part is you can easily combine it with healthy ingredients such as vegetables, beans and tomato sauce. And did you know that pasta can fit right in with your weight loss plan? Yes pasta is a fat-free, low sodium food and has a low Glycemic Index (GI). One cup of cooked pasta contains just 100 calories, in addition to valuable vitamins and minerals.
I’m sharing with you my scrumptious Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe. I promise this mac and cheese taste so heavenly, kids and adults will love this.
For the Pasta
2 cups (8 ounces) pasta
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons oil for grilling the vegetables
2 ears sweet corn, shucked
1 medium onion, cut into 6 wedges
1 red bell pepper
Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
!For the sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons, melted for the top
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half or milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cups (8 ounces) coarsely grated pepper Jack or white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup toasted breadcrumbs, preferably homemade
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In order to cook the noodles bring 4 quarts of lightly salted water to a rapid boil in a large pot over high heat. Cook until the pasta is Al Dente.
Then drain the macaroni in a large colander, rinse with cold water until cool, and drain again.
Then to prevent sticking toss the macaroni with the oil.
I got out my pan to grill my veggies I have a grill pan. I figured out that standard grill didn’t have propane so I had to use this method.
When ready to cook, lightly brush the corn and onion with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Grill the corn and onions until nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side (8 to 12 minutes in all for the corn, and 3 to 4 minutes per side for the onion, turning with tongs as needed.
Transfer to a cutting board and let cool.
Darkly brown the red bell pepper 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the cutting board and let cool.
Then cut all of the veggies and place at the bottom of your cast Iron pan
Next in a large sauce pan melt the 2 tablespoons butter. You will then add the veggies and cook until they are sizzling. Next, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the half and half and increase the heat to high.
Boil the mixture for 3 minutes, stirring well to thicken.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the mustard and cooked macaroni, followed by the cheese.
Add salt and pepper to taste; the mixture should be highly seasoned.
Spoon the macaroni and cheese into the cast iron skillet.
Sprinkle the top with the bread crumbs and drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter over the breadcrumbs.
Bake the mac and cheese in the wood-burning oven or the regular oven like I did until the sauce is bubbly and the top is crusty and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serve at once.