(Family Features) Constantly seeking out recipe-specific ingredients that may only be used once or twice can be a burden. Instead, keep your home stocked with necessities to simplify dinner prep with dishes made using common household staples.
One perfect example: pastas. These recipes for Minestrone Pasta Saute with Ricotta, Creamy One-Pot Spaghetti and Pasta in a Pinch include easily recognizable seasonings and canned goods for simple dinner solutions. Plus, they all include dairy, an irreplaceable part of a balanced diet as a source of essential nutrients.
Another way to scale back on unnecessary grocery purchases is to give yourself permission to modify. Many recipes can be tweaked for personal preferences, such as using black beans rather than kidney beans or adjusting the amount of a spice used based on your family’s tastes.
Stock your pantry and refrigerator with versatile ingredients like these:
- Canned tomatoes
- Canned beans
- Quick-cook rice
- Small whole-grain pasta
- Stock, like vegetable, chicken or beef
- Fluid milk
- Shredded cheese
- Plain Greek yogurt
For more ideas to simplify family meals, visit milkmeansmore.org.
Minestrone Pasta Saute with Ricotta
Recipe courtesy of Lori Yates of “Foxes Love Lemons” on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 8 ounces ditalini pasta
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 carrots, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 bunch kale, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and halved
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 pound lean ground beef (optional)
- 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup Ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water then drain pasta.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add carrots, garlic and onion; cook 3 minutes, or until vegetables start to soften, stirring occasionally. Add kale and green beans; cook 3 minutes, or until green beans are tender-crisp, stirring occasionally.
- Add wine to skillet; cook 2 minutes, or until most liquid has evaporated. Transfer vegetables to medium bowl. If including meat, return skillet to medium-high heat. Add ground beef; cook 6-8 minutes, or until meat is cooked through, breaking up with side of spoon. Spoon off excess fat.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Add kidney beans, marinara sauce, salt, pepper, pasta, reserved pasta cooking water and cooked vegetable mixture to skillet with beef, if using. Cook 2 minutes, or until warmed through, stirring occasionally. Divide pasta between four pasta bowls or plates and top with Ricotta and Parmesan cheeses.
Pasta in a Pinch
Recipe courtesy of Jenn Fillenworth, MS, RDN, of “Jenny With the Good Eats” on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- freshly chopped herbs, for garnish (optional)
- In large microwavable bowl, place uncooked penne pasta and pour water over top to cover. With food-safe plastic wrap, cover bowl, leaving small section to vent as it cooks. Cook 3 minutes longer than package directs, approximately 13 minutes.
- Once pasta has cooked, drain into colander then place back in bowl. Add salt, pepper, basil, garlic powder and milk; stir to combine. Begin to stir in cheese a little at a time. Microwave 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir again.
- Add cannellini beans and diced tomatoes; stir. Microwave 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir. Assess if ingredients are hot and cheese is melted. If not, microwave 1-2 minutes.
- Top with Parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.
Creamy One-Pot Spaghetti
Recipe courtesy of Marcia Stanley, MS, RDN, on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound lean ground turkey or lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or reduced-sodium beef broth
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 8 ounces spaghetti noodles, broken into 3-4-inch pieces
- 1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese, cubed
- 1 1/3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- chopped fresh basil or parsley (optional)
- Using saute function of pressure cooker, heat oil until hot. Add meat and onion. Cook, uncovered, about 5 minutes, or until meat is browned, stirring to break up. Press cancel.
- Stir broth, marinara sauce, fennel seeds and cayenne pepper into meat. Stir in spaghetti, making sure noodle pieces are covered by liquid. Secure lid and set pressure release to sealing function. Select high pressure and cook 5 minutes. Press cancel.
- Allow pressure to release naturally 2 minutes. Move pressure release to venting function to release remaining steam. Remove lid.
- Stir spaghetti mixture. Stir in cream cheese and 1 cup cheddar cheese until melted. Ladle into bowls to serve. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese. Garnish with chopped fresh basil or parsley, if desired.
(Family Features) Keep warm with hearty dishes that satisfy appetites and comfort food cravings. From russets to reds, fingerlings to purples, the hearty potato comes in many beautiful varieties that add color and texture to beloved comfort dishes. Bring out the flavors of your down-home creation by pairing it with a perfectly suited wine.
A spicy red with raspberry and peppery flavors, Zinfandel pairs particularly well with the flavors of winter — the season where comfort food is king. When searching for the perfect complement to your hearty, comfort fare, go for wines that deliver on quality at a fair price.
Discover Amador County, an up-and-coming wine region nestled in the rolling Sierra Foothills of California, through the wines of Renwood Winery. The winery runs under the direction of Joe Shebl, a talented winemaker whose artistic vision and passion for both Zinfandel and Amador County shows in every bottle.
For more information, visit www.renwood.com.
One Healthy Spud
Beyond their appearance in some of the most beloved dishes, potatoes also boast many benefits to your diet. Here are few reasons to add this versatile vegetable into meals:
Potassium — Potatoes are a great source of potassium, which may help lower high blood pressure, making them a heart-healthy choice. In fact, potatoes contain more potassium than a banana or spinach.
Vitamins — A spud a day may keep the cold germs away. One medium-sized spud has nearly half the recommended daily value of vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin B6.
Dietary fiber — Potatoes are also a source of dietary fiber, a complex carbohydrate, which is known to increase satiety and help with weight loss.
Gluten free — Potatoes are a naturally gluten-free food, so those with gluten sensitivity can enjoy this flavorful vegetable.
For more on potatoes and healthy recipe ideas, visit www.eatwisconsinpotatoes.com.
Pair with Renwood Zinfandel, California
Yield: 6 servings
- 5 pounds bone-in short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/3 cups Renwood Zinfandel
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 beef bouillon cubes
- 6 large Wisconsin potatoes, washed, peeled and quartered
- 1/2 pound small fresh mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen whole green beans
- 1 can (16 ounces) peeled whole tomatoes, undrained
- Dredge ribs in flour to coat; reserve leftover flour.
- Heat oil in 8-quart Dutch oven on moderate heat.
- Add half of ribs and brown on all sides. Once browned, remove ribs. Repeat instructions for remaining ribs.
- Stir in the reserved flour. While stirring, add 1 cup water and wine and stir until thickened.
- Return ribs to the pan.
- Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper and bouillon and bring to a boil.
- Cover and lower heat to simmer for about 1 hour, or until ribs are tender.
- Remove ribs with slotted spoon and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Add potatoes, mushrooms and beans. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
- Add ribs and tomatoes with liquid, and heat through.
- Use slotted spoon to remove meat and vegetables to large serving platter.
- Remove gravy to serving container and serve with ribs.
Healthy Potato Lasagna
Pair with Renwood Premier Old Vine Zinfandel, Amador County
Yield: 4 servings
- 2 links Italian turkey sausage (3 1/2 ounces each)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried basil or Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 egg white
- 2 cups marinara sauce, divided
- 1 1/4 pounds Wisconsin Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced, divided
- 1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- Remove sausage from casing and crumble into medium skillet with onion.
- Cook for 10 minutes or until both are browned, breaking up sausage with back of spoon.
- Stir together ricotta, basil, garlic powder and egg white in small bowl.
- Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in bottom of 9-inch square baking dish.
- Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the dish, forming solid layer with no gaps.
- Drop 1/2 ricotta mixture in spoonfuls over top and spread out just a little.
- Sprinkle with 1/3 of mozzarella and 1/2 sausage mixture.
- Add 1/2 cup more sauce then repeat potato, cheese and meat layers.
- Top with last layer of potatoes, remaining sauce and mozzarella.
- Cover with plastic wrap and make small slit to vent.
- Microwave on high for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Quick & Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken & Potatoes
Pair with Renwood Zinfandel, Fiddletown
- 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence (or combination of dried thyme, fennel, basil and savory)
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 4 small (2 pounds) bone-in-chicken breasts, skin removed
- 1 1/4 pounds small Wisconsin red potatoes
- 3/4 cup frozen, thawed pearl onions
- 1 cup small baby carrots
- 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 8 ounces small baby bella or white mushrooms
- Chopped fresh thyme (optional)
- Combine Herbs de Provence, garlic salt, and pepper on a dinner plate.
- Spoon flour onto a second dinner plate.
- Coat each chicken breast with herb mixture; then dredge in flour.
- Heat oil in a large skillet.
- Add chicken and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is golden brown on both sides (approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side). If necessary, cook chicken in two batches so as not to crowd the pan.
- Once browned, place chicken in large slow cooker and add all remaining ingredients, except fresh thyme.
- Cover slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
- Sprinkle with fresh thyme before serving, if desired.