(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) The holiday season means it’s time for gathering family and friends for food and celebration. To make the process easier, incorporate recipes that can feed a crowd without lots of exotic, hard-to-find ingredients or long, laborious prep and cook times.
These recipes for Hearty Roasted Winter Vegetables featuring Aunt Nellie’s Whole Pickled Beets and Caprese Bean and Salami Salad with READ 3 Bean Salad, for example, are ideal side dishes for holiday gatherings with enough to go ’round for everyone at the table. Plus, if you’re heading to a holiday potluck, they’re perfect for bringing along to share with the whole crew and versatile enough to be paired with a variety of main courses. Plus, the Caprese Bean and Salami Salad can also stand in as an appetizer.
Hearty Roasted Winter Vegetables
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45-55 minutes
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Whole Pickled Beets, drained
- 1 small red onion, cut into 12 wedges
- 2 cups baby portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper, plus additional, to taste (optional)
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and scored with cross-cut
- Heat oven to 400° F. Place beets, onion, mushrooms and squash on rimmed 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-by-1-inch baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil. Add garlic, rosemary, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Roast 15 minutes.
- Add Brussels sprouts, stir and continue to roast until vegetables are tender and browned, about 30-35 minutes, stirring once. Adjust salt and pepper, to taste, if desired.
Caprese Bean and Salami Salad
Recipe courtesy of “The Reluctant Entertainer”
Prep time: 25 minutes
- 5 cans (15 ounces each) READ 3 Bean Salad (3 cans drained, 2 cans undrained)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 pound small marinated mozzarella balls, drained
- 3/4 cup (1 ounce) fresh basil, chopped
- 8 ounces dried salami, sliced
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 2 whole-wheat baguettes (13 ounces each), sliced
- In large bowl, stir together bean salad, tomatoes and mozzarella balls.
- Before serving, add basil and salami. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Stir to combine.
- Serve on large platter surrounded by baguette slices.
Easy Meals That Go Anywhere
(Family Features) Once again, you’re in a rush to pick up one child from soccer practice and take the other one to dance class — you have to feed them something, but there’s no time to eat at home. What do you do? Forget fast food. Everything you need for something quick, delicious and portable could be in your kitchen already.
In just minutes, you can wrap up an easy meal for your dashboard dining experience using tortillas. They’re versatile, with recipes that go beyond traditional Mexican fare. They’re so handy, in fact, that they’re outsold in the U.S. only by fresh breads, and they outsell bagels two to one. Most tortillas are made from either corn or flour, but they come in a variety of flavors and sizes, as well as fat free, heart healthy, low carb, whole wheat and multi-grain versions. And moms will appreciate that corn tortillas are naturally low fat and a good source of fiber.
Wrapping up favorite ingredients inside a tortilla is a simple way to make breakfast, lunch or dinner a moveable feast the whole family can enjoy anywhere.
To help busy moms, Mission Foods, the makers of Mission Tortillas, has tips and recipes for healthy, easy-to-travel meals.
On-the-Go Meal Ideas
- Breakfast — Breakfast burritos with eggs, ham, cheese & salsa start the day off right.
- Lunch — Turkey, Red Delicious apple and cottage cheese wraps make lunch at the office a real treat.
- Dinner — Kids love quesadillas. Dress up the basic chicken quesadilla with avocado and mushrooms.
For more easy-to-make, easy-to-take recipes, visit www.missionmenus.com.
Low Carb Stromboli Wraps
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Prep Time: 12 minutes
- 4 Mission Carb Balance 8-inch Soft Taco Size Flour Tortillas
- 1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces provolone cheese, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces salami, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces ham thinly, sliced
- 1/2 cup (4-ounce jar) roasted red bell peppers, rinsed and cut into strips
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Marinara or pizza sauce, heated
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Lightly spread one side of each tortilla with softened butter; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Arrange one fourth each of provolone, salami, ham and roasted peppers over center of tortillas, leaving border around edges. Sprinkle with one fourth of the mozzarella.
- Fold up “wrap fashion.” Place seam side down on nonstick baking sheet. Brush with remaining butter; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
- Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Slice each stromboli in half on the diagonal. Serve with marinara or pizza sauce, if desired.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
- 4 Mission Sundried Tomato Basil Wraps
- 3/4 cup prepared marinara sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup thinly sliced pepperoni rounds (approximately 72 slices)
- Evenly spread 3 tablespoons marinara on each wrap.
- Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella evenly over marinara sauce on each wrap.
- Layer 1/4 cup (about 18 slices) pepperoni over shredded cheese on each wrap.
- Fold each wrap in half, forming a half moon.
- Heat 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat and lightly spray with non-stick spray.
- Place two pizzadillas in skillet and cook for 3 minutes on each side until crisp and golden brown. Remove and reserve hot. Repeat for other pizzadillas.
- Cut each pizzadilla into quarters and serve one full sliced portion to each person.
Cheeseburger Soft Tacos
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
- 4 Mission 6-inch Fajita Flour Tortillas
- 1 pound lean ground sirloin
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese or 4 ounces sliced
- 1 red tomato, cut into 1/4-inch slices (4 total slices)
- 2 small green leaf lettuce leaves
- 1 large red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch slices, then pulled into rings
- 12 dill pickle slices
- Separate ground beef into 4 equal parts (4 ounces each); form each part into 4 thin half moon shape patties. Try to shape each patty to fill half of a tortilla.
- Heat a 10-inch non-stick skillet (or use a square, deep walled non-stick electric skillet) over medium high heat.
- Season each hamburger patty with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes a side or to desired temperature.
- Near the end of desired cooking time, evenly sprinkle each patty with 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and allow the cheese to melt. Remove cheeseburgers and reserve hot.
- Warm tortillas in microwave for 10 seconds.
- For 1 serving: place a hot cheeseburger on one half of a warmed tortilla and top with 1 tomato slice, 1 lettuce leaf, onion rings and 3 pickle slices. Fold the tortilla in half and serve.
Source: Mission Foods
(Family Features) You don’t have to be a master chef to create great meals that your family will love. Simple yet flavorful and warming dishes are the perfect solution for busy cooks with hungry families to feed.
Using high-quality ingredients helps guarantee you’re serving meals you can be proud of, even when you’re short on time. For delicious dinners, look for ingredients such as Hunt’s® tomatoes and KRAFT® Parmesan cheese. Hunt’s diced, stewed and whole tomatoes are peeled using only steam and their sauce is 100 percent natural with no preservatives.
Ranging from a Latin-inspired Chorizo Bolognese to easy Italian lasagna in a skillet, these recipes combine carefully chosen ingredients, so you can serve meals rich with flavor and quality.
Look for more great recipe ideas at Hunts.com.
Easy Chicken Parmesan
- 1 can (15 ounces) Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano, undrained
- 6 tablespoons KRAFT® Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
- 6 small boneless skinless chicken breasts (6 breasts = 1 1/2 pounds)
- 3/4 pound spaghetti, uncooked
- 1 1/2 cups KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Heat oven to 375°F.
- Pour tomato sauce and undrained tomatoes into 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish. Stir in 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) Parmesan. Add chicken; turn to coat evenly both sides of each breast with sauce. Cover.
- Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is done (165°F). Meanwhile, cook spaghetti as directed on package, omitting salt.
- Top chicken with remaining cheeses; bake, uncovered, 5 minutes or until mozzarella is melted.
- Drain spaghetti. Serve topped with chicken and sauce.
Classic Spaghetti and Parmesan Meatballs
- 1 pound ground round beef (85 percent lean)
- 3/4 cup KRAFT® Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes, undrained
- 2 cups Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 12 ounces dry spaghetti, uncooked
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Combine beef, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley, egg, 1 teaspoon garlic and salt in medium bowl. Divide mixture into 12 portions; shape into meatballs and place on aluminum foil-lined shallow baking pan. Bake 15 minutes or until done (160°F).
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add remaining 2 teaspoons garlic, cook 1 minute more or until fragrant. Stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, basil and sugar. Bring to a boil.
- Add meatballs to sauce; gently stir to coat. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain spaghetti; top with sauce and meatballs. Top with extra KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese, if desired.
- 8 ounces dry fettuccine pasta, uncooked
- 1/2 pound ground chuck beef (80 percent lean)
- 6 ounces fresh pork chorizo (Mexican-style)
- 1/4 teaspoon adobo seasoning blend
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/4 cup sliced stuffed green olives
- 1 can (15 ounces) Hunt’s® Tomato Sauce KRAFT® Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt.
- Meanwhile, heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, chorizo, adobo seasoning and pepper to skillet; cook 3 minutes or until meat begins to brown, stirring once.
- Add onion and olives; cook 2–3 minutes more or until meat is crumbled and no longer pink. Drain.
- Stir in tomato sauce; reduce heat and simmer 5–7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve sauce over pasta.
- Sprinkle with KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese, if desired.
Classic Skillet Lasagna
- 8 ounces dry bowtie (farfalle) pasta, uncooked
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup KRAFT® Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 12 ounces Italian pork sausage
- 1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) or 1 can (28 ounces) Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano, undrained
- 1 can (6 ounces) Hunt’s Tomato Paste
- 1 1/2 cups shredded part- skim mozzarella cheese, divided.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt.
- Meanwhile, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, water and pepper in small bowl; set aside.
- Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and onion; cook 3–5 minutes or until sausage is crumbled and onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Drain.
- Add tomatoes (undrained), tomato paste, 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and cooked pasta to skillet; stir to combine.
- Dollop spoonfuls of ricotta mixture on top of pasta mixture. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 2–3 minutes or until ricotta mixture is hot and mozzarella cheese melts.
- 2 (10.75-ounce) cans condensed tomato soup
- 3 cups water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 11/2 cups dried elbow macaroni (or other short dried pasta such as ditalini or alphabets)
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
- 1/3 cup diced pepperoni
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
- dried oregano
- Preheat broiler.
- In large pan put soup, water, and garlic; bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in macaroni, green onion, oregano, and pepperoni; cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until macaroni is almost done.
- Pour soup into 4 oven-proof bowls. Top each with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, and some oregano. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
- Or serve soup in a small round, crusty loaf of bread. Cut top off bread and scoop out insides. Fill with soup, top with cheeses, and broil as directed above. Try different "toppings" as well, such as mushrooms, onions, and sausage.
6 minutes Broil: 3 minutes
Makes 4 servings
Source Meredith Corporation