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5 Stupid Simple Pasta Dinners

Keep it stupid simple!

5 Stupid Simple Pasta Dinners

1. Chicken Parmesan Pasta Skillet

How long it'll take: 30 minutes

What you'll need:

2 tablespoons Italian dressing (not the creamy kind)

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

16 oz small/medium sized rigatoni pasta

1 24 oz jar of your favorite Marinara pasta sauce

1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 c grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

chopped fresh basil for garnish (optional)

What to do:

Heat chicken and Italian dressing in a large 12 inch skillet over medium high heat (If you don't own a large skillet, you can use a stock pot). Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Cook chicken until browned and just cooked through, about 5 minutes depending on thickness of chicken.

Add the box of pasta and the entire jar of marinara. Fill the empty marinara jar with water and add to the skillet. If using a stockpot, use 2 cups water. Lightly stir the mixture to combine. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender to your liking. 

Cover with grated parmesan and then shredded mozzarella. No need to stir. Continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes or until cheese is fully melted. You can also broil the entire skillet for about 4 minutes to make the cheese extra melty! Top with chopped basil (optional) and serve! Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of The Cookie Rookie.

2. Strawberry Avocado Pasta Salad

How long it'll take: 25 minutes

What you'll need:

1 lb dry bow tie pasta

4 - 6 c packed, torn salad greens

1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

2 avocados, diced

1 tbsp. chopped fresh mint

salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

1 to 2 tsp. poppy seeds

1/2 tbsp. EVOO

3 to 4 tbsp. creamy balsamic glaze

What to do:

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water to cool it off and to stop the pasta from cooking. 

Add cold pasta to a salad bowl; toss the pasta with salad greens, strawberries, avocado and fresh mint. Season with salt and pepper. Add poppy seeds, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze; toss it all together until thoroughly combined. If the salad seems dry, you can toss it with a bit more extra virgin olive oil and/or balsamic glaze.

Recipe courtesy of Diethood.

3. Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli 

How long it'll take: 20 minutes

What you'll need:

for the pasta and veggies:

12 oz fettuccine

12 oz broccoli florets, bought bagged (or cut up at home)

for the alfredo sauce:

1/2 c (4oz, 1 stick) butter

2 cups half and half*

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

3/4 cup (3oz) parmesan cheese, grated plus more for topping 

What to do:

to make the pasta and veggies:

Cook fettuccine according to package instructions in a large pot of generously salted water. Add broccoli during the last 3-4 minutes of cooking time and cook until done.

Drain, return to pot, and set aside.

to make the alfredo sauce:

While your pasta cooks, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add half and half and stir. Allow to come to a simmer and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and reduced. Watch closely and do not allow to come to a full boil.
Add garlic powder, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and Parmesan. Pour sauce over noodles and toss to coat. Serve and sprinkle with more parmesan if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Baking Mischief.

4. Chicken Jalapeño Popper Pasta

How long it'll take: 50 minutes

What you'll need:

1 lb cellentani pasta, cooked according to the package and drained

16 oz cream cheese, very softened

1 c bacon, crumbled

2 c cheddar cheese, shredded and divided

1/4 c diced jalapenos

1 c heavy cream

1/3 c half and half

2 1/2 c cooked and chopped chicken

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl add cream cheese, bacon, 1 cup cheddar cheese, and jalapenos. Mix well. Stir in cream and half and half. Add pasta and mix well. Stir in chicken. Pour mixture into baking dish. Spread bread crumbs over pasta.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top and return to the oven for 5 more minutes. Serve.

Recipe courtesy of Chef in Training.

5. Lasagna Roll-Ups

How long it'll take: 45 minutes

What you'll need:

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided

8 oz lean ground beef

1/4 c finely chopped yellow onion

1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp dried basil*, plus more for serving

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese

1 large egg

3 tbsp. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped, plus more for serving

2 1/2 c freshly grated mozzarella cheese, divided

3/4 c freshly, finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1/3 c freshly, finely grated Romano cheese

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

12 uncooked lasagna noodles

What to do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle one tablespoon olive oil into a large non-stick fry pan. Heat over medium high heat, crumble ground beef over oil, add chopped onions and cook mixture stirring occasionally and breaking up meat, until browned. Drain fat from beef. Pour beef mixture into a food processor and pulse for about 5 seconds until it is ground into fine pieces. Pour beef mixture back into fry pan and add crushed tomatoes, minced garlic, basil, oregano and 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste then cover with a lid and simmer over low heat while preparing pasta and cheese mixture.

Cook lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water along with 1 tsp salt and 2 tablespoon olive oil to al dente according to directions listed on package. Once noodles are cooked, drain and line noodles in a single layer on waxed paper or cookie sheets sprayed lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

Prepare cheese mixture (I do this while pasta is cooking) by stirring together ricotta cheese, egg, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper with a fork in a large mixing bowl until well combine. Stir in chopped fresh parsley. Add in 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and 1/3 cup Romano cheese, stir mixture until well combine.

Stir meat sauce and spread 1/3 cup evenly into a 13x9 inch baking dish. Spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture evenly onto each cooked lasagna noodle (it will be a thin layer), then spread 1 heaping tablespoon meat sauce along the top of cheese covered noodle. Roll noodles up jellyroll style and arrange seam side down in baking dish.

Cover rolled noodles with remaining meat sauce then sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese evenly over roll-ups. Tent baking dish with foil (don't allow foil to rest on cheese or it will stick you just want to loosely tent to prevent the cheese from browning) and bake for 35 minutes in preheated oven. Serve warm garnished with chopped fresh basil and parsley.

Recipe courtesy of Cooking Classy.