Janet's Notebook
Pasta Recipes for an Easy Dinner Option


Crock Pot Cheeseburger Mac


I always keep a box of pasta in the pantry so I can pull it out and create a delicious dinner. Adding a little bit of sauce or butter and Parmesan cheese is so tasty. But there are so many other uses for pasta.

Super creamy your family is going to love Lori Moore's (Collierville, TN) Creamy Pizza Casserole.

"I am sharing an original recipe I put together because I enjoyed an appetizer dip from the Pampered Chef," explains Lori. "Using that as my inspiration, I came up with this Pizza Casserole."

Lori uses condensed soup and cream cheese to make the dish really creamy. Whatever type of meat or toppings you like on your pizza, incorporate into your casserole. I used ham, pepperoni, and Italian sausage and loved the combo. I added some mushrooms to the top too. It's quick, easy and feeds a big crowd.

Another favorite is Mamma Ang's Cavatini. "My mother used to make Cavatini for me on special occasions," shares Angie Webb (Centennial, CO). "Unfortunately, I never got her recipe. So, I came up with the closest I could find and added some lower fat options since I try to make healthy food for my family. My kids LOVE it (had seconds AND thirds!)."

This will make your house smell like a pizzeria! Angie uses elbow macaroni, penne and rotini pasta in her recipe. Thanks to their shape, the sauce really seeps into the pasta. Filled with ground turkey, peppers, onions, pepperoni, and a cheesy red sauce this is fantastic. Butter some garlic bread and toss together a green salad for a completely delicious meal.

"One day when I was a little girl of 7 my grandmother from Palermo, Italy stayed at our home for 3 months or so," reveals Janet Lagulli (Bensalem, PA). "One day she woke me up around 8 AM and asked me if I would help her cook dinner that day. I was so excited to work beside her as she showed me how to make this dish. She hid the recipe for when I got older in a place she knew I'd find. She's gone, but her memories and this Tuscany Minestrone recipe live on."

The aroma from this soup while simmering is so good you're going to have a hard time not grabbing a spoon and eat it from the pot. All the flavors are fabulous and complement each other. There's tomatoes, cannellini beans, carrots, onions, spinach and other herbs in the recipe. Fresh rosemary, though, is evident and adds an earthy flavor. If you're looking to do Meatless Monday or cut back on meat, try this minestrone. It's a full-flavored vegetarian dish.

Karen B.'s (Manchester, NH) Chicken Spinach & Artichoke Arrabbiata With Pasta is a simple and flavorful pasta dinner. "I made this one night when I had not much in the house," says Karen. "The ingredients came together for a fabulous meal."

In Italian, arrabbiata means angry. In this recipe, it refers to the spice of the dish. And a punch of spice it has! All the veggies soak up the wonderful spice flavor. The chicken cooks down to be a tender, thick sauce.

Who doesn't love mac and cheese for dinner? Leena Corral's (La Miranda, CA) Crock Pot Cheeseburger Mac is going to become a weeknight staple. "So easy and yummy, this is great comfort food and the kids love it," thinks Leena.

This is an easy dinner that everyone will be happy to eat. It's cheesy, meaty and full of flavor. The kids will love the creamy, hearty meal and mom will love how easy it is to make. Once everything is in the Crock Pot, you only have to give it an occasional stir while it's cooking, fold in cooked macaroni and, voila, dinner is ready.

When wondering what to make for dinner, head to the pantry and grab a box of pasta. Using different ingredients, spices, and sauces, it can be transformed into many different dishes. Want more pasta recipes? Check out our Perfect Pasta collection. Happy Pinching!



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