Four Ways to Cook Pasta

The great thing about pasta is it can be cooked and served in so many different ways! Warm, cold, light, or hearty- pasta is an inexpensive and easy meal to prepare on busy weeknights! Be sure to try these four different ways to cook pasta!

Pasta Fajioli Soup

What you will need:

1/2 pound Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed

1 small onion, chopped

1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups water

1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can chicken broth

3/4 cup uncooked tubetti pasta

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup fresh greens (spinach, kale or Swiss chard)

5 teaspoons Parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a large saucepan, brown sausage over medium heat. Drain and set aside. In the same pan, sauté onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook for approximately one minute. Add water, beans, tomatoes, broth, tubetti, and pepper to pan. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered until pasta is al dente  (approximately 8 minutes). Stir in meat and greens. Cook until greens are wilted (2-3 minutes). Top with Parmesan cheese.

Pasta Salad

What you will need:

16 oz tri-color rotini pasta

½ medium red onion, chopped

½ cucumber, chopped

½ medium green bell pepper, chopped

½ medium red bell pepper, chopped

½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 bottle zesty Italian dressing

Crumbled feta cheese to garnish

Directions:

Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse well. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta and chopped veggies. Stir in the Italian dressing and mix until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least six hours. Before serving, top with crumbled feta cheese.

Four Ways to Cook Pasta

Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

What you will need for the meatballs:

1 lb ground beef

1 cup dry breadcrumbs

1 cup parmesan, freshly grated

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 egg, beaten

All-purpose flour for dredging

You will also need:

1 jar prepared spaghetti sauce (or 24 oz homemade sauce)

1 lb spaghetti noodles

¼ cup olive Oil

¼ cup vegetable oil

Directions:

Crumble beef into large mixing bowl. Add breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup parmesan, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and beaten egg. With clean hands gently combine all ingredients. Shape into 1 inch round meatballs. In a shallow dish, lightly dredge meatballs through flour until evenly coated. Set aside. Heat olive oil and vegetable oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Without over crowding, fry each meatball in batches for approximately 6 minutes turning throughout. Place browned meatballs on paper towels to drain excess oil. In a separate saucepan, bring spaghetti sauce to boil. Add meatballs to sauce and cook for about 30 minutes (or until they are cooked through). Prepare spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and serve topped with spaghetti sauce, meatballs and remaining parmesan.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

What you will need:

1 lb elbow macaroni

8 tbsp butter

8 tbsp flour

2 cups milk

2 cups cream

1 tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper.

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

2 cups Velveeta cheese, cubed

Directions:

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare macaroni according to package instructions. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Slowly add flour, salt and pepper, whisking continually. Gradually add milk and cream, constantly stirring. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes (still stirring constantly). Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes (stirring throughout). Slowly add cheeses (reserving half cup of cheddar) and simmer until all cheese has melted. Add prepared macaroni to cheese sauce and toss to coat. Transfer to large baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

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Awesome Tuna and Veggie Pasta Salad

In the hot days of summer when fresh vegetables abound, there’s probably no better meal than an awesome tuna and veggie pasta salad. And even better than simply tasting good, it’s a healthy meal that even kids will enjoy. As an added bonus, it’s inexpensive, filling and quick to fix.

Here we give you some starter recipes for a couple of our favorite combinations. But this is a great dish to experiment with. All you really need is your favorite pasta (bowties, macaroni and mini wheels always work well), olive oil, canned albacore tuna, veggies (don’t forget the tomatoes) and spices.

Awesome Tuna and Veggie Pasta Salad

Recipe #1

Ingredients:

8 oz of mini wheel or bowtie pasta

Olive oil

1 5 ounce can of albacore or chunk light tuna

1-1/2 teaspoons parsley flakes or several sprigs of fresh parsley

Dried onion flakes (to taste)

Salt and pepper

1 grated carrot

½  - 1 cup of chopped tomatoes

Put the pasta and spices into a cooking pot and add enough water to cook the pasta. Bring to a boil and cook the pasta for 8-10 minutes. When the pasta is the consistency you like, drain it in a colander and rinse with cold water to cool down the pasta. After the pasta is drained, return it to the pot and drizzle with olive oil, stirring to coat the pasta lightly. Put the pot in the refrigerator to thoroughly chill the pasta.

Meanwhile, drain the tuna and then put it in a bowl and mash it with a fork or potato masher until it is an even consistency. Add a touch of olive oil, and a bit more parsley, onion flakes, salt and pepper to taste and blend together. When the pasta is thoroughly chilled, add the tuna, carrot and tomato to the pasta and stir. Add additional spices as desired.

Recipe #2

Ingredients:

1 lemon

6 cloves minced garlic

1/3 cup olive oil

1 bunch chopped basil

Salt and pepper

12 oz package of pasta

1 red bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

4 stalks celery

½ red onion

1 cup sliced pepperoncini peppers

1 14 oz can of chopped olives

4 6 ounce cans of albacore or chunk light tuna

Cook the pasta 8-10 minutes until it is your desired consistency. Drain and set aside.

Scrape the lemon rind into a large bowl to create a zest, then squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl. Add the garlic, basil and olive oil. Whisk the ingredients together.

Chop the veggies as small or as large as you want and add them to the bowl with the lemon juice mixture. Next, add the pepperoncini peppers and olives. Drain the tuna well and add it in last. Mix everything well. Add more spices or olive oil to taste.

By now, the pasta should be cool. Gradually add the pasta to the tuna combination and mix thoroughly (and gently) as you go. Put the tuna and veggie salad in the refrigerator for at least an hour or two to chill before serving.

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