The ideal pasta dinner is made with five key components, including whole grain options. Choose your own combinations and serve your family a delicious budget-friendly meal.
Put together your recipe with these components:
Pasta (1/2 pound)
- Whole grain pasta
- Brown rice pasta
- Lean ground beef, turkey or chicken, cooked and drained (1 pound)
- Beans, rinsed and drained (1 can or 2 cups cooked)
- Frozen peas or edamame (soy beans), thawed and drained (2 cups)
- Chicken or turkey sausage, cooked and sliced (1 pound)
Vegetables (2 cups total, any combo)
- Spinach, chard, or kale
- Sugar snap or snow peas
- Zucchini or yellow squash
Sauce (1-2 cups)
- Peanut Sauce
- Canned diced or crushed tomatoes
- Quick Cheese Sauce
- Simple White Sauce
Seasonings (optional, to taste)
- Dried basil
- Dried oregano
- Garlic powder or minced fresh garlic
TRY THIS COMBINATION
- Wash your hands well with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta in a colander.
- Cook the protein if needed.
- Cook vegetables by steaming, grilling, roasting, sauteing, or adding to boiling pasta water during the last few minutes of cooking.
- In a large pot over medium heat, heat sauce. Add optional spices.
- Add protein and vegetables to heat through. Toss with hot cooked pasta and serve.
- Add sauce and toss with pasta and vegetables.
- Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
QUICK CHEESE SAUCE
- Carefully grate cheese
- In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together 2 Tablespoons cornstarch and 1 cup non-fat or low-fat milk until smooth.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, add milk mixture. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly about 5 minutes.
- Stir in cheese.
- Add dried mustard, then dried or fresh herbs, starting with 1/2 teaspoon, then to taste.