Now listen, I know you are a fabulous cook. You are capable of producing a dish, even a whole meal, that people just go gaga for. They ooh and ahh and sing your praises, and you wear a tiara.
But sometimes, you just don’t feel like cooking.
And sometimes you need to get supper on the table in a hurry.
And sometimes, you committed to a 100 Day No Eating Out Challenge and no matter how tired you are or how late it is, you just have to get some food on the table before your family resorts to cannibalism.
Just me? Oh.
Anyway, my solution for those nights? Pasta. I love me some pasta, baby. It fills my belly, it tastes delicious, and it can be done a million different ways. We’ll just ignore its effects on my waistline for now.
5 Quick and Easy Ways to Make Pasta when you don’t feel like cooking
This was something I whipped up for my one year old one night when the family’s supper was running late. Actually, I think my husband was bringing home take out (Before the 100 Day Challenge) and whatever it was not suitable for a toddler. So I made him some quick pasta.
It turned out to be better than whatever we bought! It’s one of my favorite things to eat now. I used spaghetti, but any shape of pasta will do.
Cook your pasta and drain it.
Pour in a little milk and add mozzarella. I usually have moz on hand. Now, it’s not really going to melt into a sauce. It sort of melts and clumps and gets stringy. This is weird, but it’s still tasty. Sprinkle in a teeny bit of garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper. Yes, I seasoned my baby’s pasta.
I had some leftover broccoli and chicken in the fride so I chopped it up and tossed it in.
In later creations, I have used frozen broccoli (cooked) and canned chicken (drain and season it before adding to the sauce).
Spaghetti with Tomatoes.
Begin by boiling your pasta. I love the whole grain variety from Barilla (no, they didn’t sponsor this post, but they totally should.) It’s a little heartier than regular pasta without that mealy, this-isn’t-pasta-you-tricked-me! thing most whole wheat pasta has going on.
While that’s going, chop up an onion and a clove of garlic if you have one. (Garlic powder works if you don’t.) Heat a drizzle of oil in a large skillet or sauce pan, and toss in the onions. Let them cook, on medium heat, until they begin to brown a little on the sides. When they’ve got a little color, add a little splash of water. I don’t measure, but it’s probably 1/4 Cup. That helps them to soften a bit and gets the yummy brown stuff off the bottom of the pan.
This is where it gets very non-foodie and simple. Dump in a can or two of tomatoes (diced, crushed, stewed…doesn’t matter.) Sprinkle with some italian herbs such as oregano and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Mix it all in real good. Finish you sauce with a bit of butter or olive oil.
Drain your pasta and mix it together with the tomatoes. Top with cheese.
This will please everyone except the “I must have meat” people.
Macaroni and Cheese
The cheater way.
Again, perhaps you make a fantastic macaroni and cheese. You know all about the roux and the bechamel base and the proper flavorful, melting cheeses.
Or maybe you know a blue box with the letters K-R-A-F-T on it.
This is in between.
Boil some macaroni til tender, and drain it. Pour in milk–about a cup. Add cheese and stir to melt it. The best melting cheese is American (I like Deluxe), but it’s not most delicious. I’ve actually had pretty good results with the fiesta blends of shredded cheese. If you’re unsure of how your cheese will melt, heat your milk in a saucepan (separate from the pasta) first then stir in your cheese. When your sauce is good, add it to the pasta.
We usually serve this one as a side dish, but if you’re willing to make pasta the entire meal, it’s certainly delicious enough. It also satisfies late night grumbly-tumblies really well.
Boil your pasta–whatever you like.
Melt some butter in a skillet or sauce pan. How much depends on how much pasta you are cooking, so I can’t say for sure, but it needs to be a substantial amount–about 1-2 tablespoons per serving. When the butter is melted, add some herbs. Really whatever you are in the mood for. I like oregano. Rosemary might be interesting. I’ve also used tarragon or thyme. Dill would even be ok. Just smell it first and see if that’s what you want your sauce to taste like.
Add some white wine to your melted herbed butter. I use cooking wine. It works for bringing out the flavors, but it does have added salt, so be cautious of over salting. On that note, add some salt and pepper to your sauce. Sometimes I add a little lemon juice too.
Drain your pasta, but leave a little bit of the water. See, you don’t even have to get out a collander! Then pour the sauce over it and mix thoroughly.
Top with parmesan.
Brown ground beef.
Add canned sauce.
Ok, I know this isn’t really a recipe, but it’s one of the fastest and easiest ways to feed a family. There is no shame in using bottled sauce. It’s healthier and better than drive thru.