(Photo by sheri silver on Unsplash)
When it comes to feeding hungry families, pasta never goes out of style or favor. I think kids eat more when summer is in full swing, than other seasons. As families with full lives, keeping the dinner rotation fresh can be hard–especially on a budget. Beyond that, balancing nutritional needs can be challenging.
Fortunately, pasta is one of the most versatile dishes you can cook up and serve to loved ones. Mix and match different shapes of noodles, add meat, veggies, and various cheeses into the rotation and voila–you have dinner. Today, I’m going to share some of our favorite pasta dishes that will make your kids’ tummies happy, and your weekly grocery budget.
Who knew that a college kid staple would ever make it your dinner table? Despite the exotic name, this dish is simple to make and approved by my family’s tummies. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4 cups of baby spinach
- 2 cups of cilantro (I skip cilantro because I’m a super taster)
- 1 tbsp. White miso (I sometimes don’t have this on hand and it still turns our wonderfully)
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- ½ cup of sunflower, grapeseed, or olive oil
- 1 tsp. Toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp. Fresh lemon juice
- Dash of kosher salt
- 2 (5 oz.) packages of ramen noodles- I like to use konjac noodles because they’re low in carbs, full of protein, and easy to make. Plus they’re gluten free for our family’s needs
- 1 tbsp. Unsalted butter, diced
- (bone broth to stretch)
While bringing a medium pot of water to a boil, blend the garlic, cilantro, spinach, oils, miso and lemon juice until uniformly smooth and very, very green—season with salt after blending. Once the noodles are done, drain them and add the pesto sauce. Mix in the butter and gently toss until smooth and melted. After that, serve up the noodles and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top to taste. Add some italian chicken meatballs to give this dish a protein boost.
If you need to stretch this meal for a large family like ours, add in some bone broth to thin the sauce/make a soup.
The best of three worlds come together in this easy-to-make summer dish. Their portability makes them perfect for barbecues and picnics, and the recipe is a lovely nutritional upgrade of the traditional pasta salad (despite having ‘pizza’ in the title). Here’s what you’ll need:
- 9 oz. uncooked pasta- we go gluten free
- ½ cup of cherry tomatoes
- 2 oz. of cheese- we use goat cheese due to allergies
- 2 oz. of pepperoni or salami- salami is our fav
- 20 oz. of pitted kalamata olives
- 1 green onion
- ½ tbsp. of olive oil (more to taste)
- ½ tbsp. of red wine vinegar (more to taste)
- 1 tsp. Oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
Cook and drain the pasta as usual-chill in the fridge so the pasta doesn’t absorb all the dressing. once chilled (about 2 hours) toss in the oil, white wine vinegar, and oregano for a nice punch of flavor. After that, you can pretty much “decorate” your pizza pasta salad however you want. While the ingredients listed above are the standard measurements, you can add, omit, or adjust certain ingredients to create the pizza pasta salad of your dreams. Opt for local summer veggies, like zucchini and cucumber, for added nutritional value.
Pool season is the perfect time to give these kid-approved pasta recipes a try–they’re guaranteed home runs.
Thanks for reading and bon appetit!
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