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Meals With Pasta

by Leigh Good

Many moms consider pasta to be one of the most versatile ingredients in the kitchen. The options for making pasta the centerpiece for a healthy, easy family meal are numerous. Choose ingredients and put together a delicious pasta-based main course that your whole family will enjoy. To give your loved ones an extra healthy punch, choose whole wheat pasta to add fiber to the meal.

Pasta Salad

Make a cool and refreshing pasta salad for a main course on a hot summer night. Start with cooked noodles and go wherever you want from there. Stir in cubed raw veggies, such as cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, or cubed steamed broccoli or zucchini. Add more flavor by throwing in some halved olives. Stir protein into the dish with cubed or crumbled cheese, or deli meats. Toss the salad with your favorite salad dressing and dinner is ready to go.

Baked Pasta

Heat things up on a chilly night with a hearty baked pasta dish. Mix together cooked pasta with cheese, tomato sauce, and cooked shredded chicken, cooked crumbled sausage or browned ground beef. Pour the pasta mixture into a greased baking dish and sprinkle shredded cheese or bread crumbs over the top. Bake the dish until it's hot on the inside and crunchy on top. Serve the casserole with steamed broccoli, a tossed green salad with light dressing or roasted cauliflower.

Frittata

Don't let leftover pasta go to waste. Beat several eggs and mix in cooked pasta, along with a few handfuls of cheese and some chopped, fresh herbs. Boost the health factor by stirring in some chopped vegetables, such as summer squash or cherry tomatoes. Add instant flavor with a salad dressing mix. Cook the eggs and pasta all at once in a large dish as you would do with an omelet or scrambled eggs.

Soup

Nourish your family with an easy chicken noodle soup. Heat up a pot of chicken broth and cook a handful of noodles in the broth. Stir in shredded, cooked chicken and diced vegetables, such as carrots and mushrooms. Use a store-bought rotisserie chicken to make things even easier. Taste the soup for seasoning and add diced celery and onion to punch up the flavor.

Traditional Dishes

Pasta is a family dinner-time staple for many reasons. Throwing together a bowl of spaghetti with tomato sauce is a snap. Add in some meatballs for filling protein or go vegetarian. Toss warm pasta with any variety of vegetables, meats and cheeses for an easy weeknight meal. From plain macaroni and cheese to noodles tossed with pesto and steamed green beans, traditional pasta meals are only limited by your imagination.

About the Author

Leigh Good has been writing for magazines and newspapers for more than 10 years. Her work has been published in numerous print and online publications. Good has a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Georgia State University.

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