5 Easy Back To School Pasta Dinners
It’s late and you’re hungry! Back to school season usually means that us parents are frantically trying to fuel our kids and offering a healthy option rather than just quick-fix snacks. I’m working with Catelli to come up with and share a few ideas that fill bellies with veggies and fibre.
These 5 Quick Afterschool Snacks are guaranteed hangry-busters. We’re busy and have literally no time, so here we go!
Baked Macaroni and Cheese Bites
- Key ingredient: Catelli Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Macaroni
- Recipe Overview: Cook macaroni and cheese, scoop into muffin pan with breadcrumbs, bake until crispy on top
- 12 oz. Catelli Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Macaroni
- 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 x 3/4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Pinch salt and pepper
- Panko or breadcrumbs for the topping
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray muffin tins with cooking spray.
- Prepare macaroni noodles. Cook in boiling water a few minutes less than al dente as they will continue to cook in the oven.
- Strain pasta and then put into a large bowl.
- Add the cheese, sour cream, milk, eggs, cold butter, and salt and pepper.
- Mix thoroughly until cheese starts to melt and there are no large clumps.
- Fill each muffin cup and spoon about 1-2 tsp. of mixture generously over each portion.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit at least 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool before removing.
Mac ‘n’ Cheese Waffles
- Key ingredient: Catelli Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Macaroni – (only takes 5 minutes to boil!)
- Recipe Overview: Make mac ‘n’ cheese, allow to cool and spoon into a waffle iron.
- 1 box of Catelli Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Macaroni
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- Nonstick cooking spray, for the waffle iron
- In a medium saucepan filled with boiling water, cook macaroni until al dente, about 6-8 minutes. Drain once ready.
- Stir in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth, cook for 5 minutes.
- Slowly pour milk into butter and flour mixture while stirring until smooth and bubbling, 5 minutes.
- Add cheese to milk mixture and stir until cheese is melted.
- Stir in egg and bread crumbs until evenly combined.
- Meanwhile, preheat the waffle iron. When the waffle iron is hot, spray with cooking spray. Scoop about ½ cup of the macaroni and cheese into the center of the grate and sprinkle with more cheese.
- Close the iron and cook until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from your waffle iron with a fork. Repeat until you’ve used up all the macaroni and cheese.
- Serve warm.
Messy + delicious One Pot Sauce-Simmered Spaghetti
- Key ingredients: Catelli Smart or Smart Veggie Spaghetti
- Recipe Overview: Make meat sauce (or veggie-based sauce), add uncooked noodles 30 minutes before serving. Simmer. Done.
- Tip: If they look like they’re drying out, add some water and stir in.
- 1 x serving of Catelli Smart Spaghetti per person
- A jar of Catelli Diced Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce or your favourite sauce recipe.
- Bring the pasta sauce to a low boil
- Add dried spaghetti
- Cover and simmer for 30 mins
Tuesday Tuna Bake
- Key ingredients: Catelli Healthy Harvest Fusilli pasta
- Recipe Overview: Tuna, tomatoes, cheese, pasta – in a casserole dish, sprinkle more cheese, bake.
- 500g Catelli Healthy Harvest Fusilli pasta
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- 3 x 400 g cans of chopped tomatoes
- 1 bunch of fresh basil (or use 1 teaspoon dried oregano instead)
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 x 180 g tins of tuna (choose sustainable tuna)
- 150g cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Finely chop the onion and garlic.
- Put a large pan over a medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil, onion, and garlic.
- Fry for about 8 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.
- Turn the heat to high and add the chopped tomatoes.
- Remove the basil leaves from the stalks and throw in.
- Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- While simmering the sauce, put a large pan of water on to boil.
- Cook the pasta until almost finished.
- Drain the tuna and stir gently into the sauce.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- When the pasta is ready, drain and tip straight into the sauce.
- Toss and coat the pasta in the sauce, then transfer to an ovenproof baking dish.
- Grate the cheese and sprinkle over the pasta.
- Drizzle some olive oil and place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.
- Leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Spaghetti and Monster Meatball
- Key ingredient: Catelli Smart Spaghetti
- Recipe Overview: A few large meatballs instead of several smaller ones (minced packet beef, 100g breadcrumbs, 1 egg, 1 sprig of parsley). Served with spaghetti (cooked for 7 minutes) and your favourite pasta sauce.
- 500g minced packet beef
- 100g breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- 1 sprig of parsley
- 1 jar of Catelli Garden Select Six Vegetable Pasta Sauce or your favourite sauce
- 1 x serving of Catelli Smart Spaghetti per person
- To make the meatballs, put the raw meat into a large mixing bowl and add eggs, breadcrumbs, and finely chopped parsley.
- Mix well and shape into large meatballs. Put on a plate, drizzle olive oil over and cover.
- Put the plate in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pour the pasta sauce into a pan and bring to the boil. Then lower the heat and keep simmering.
- Boil the pasta as usual, or use the One Pot Simmered Spaghetti method above.
- Fry the meatballs on a covered pan on low heat for at least 20 minutes. Check that the internal temperature is 170.F
- Add pasta sauce to the meatballs in the pan and coat.
- Serve with pasta.
All of these recipes are great for making during the weekend and freezing in individual portions ready for reheating in a rush.
Bonus recipe: Simple Mac ‘n’ Cheese – Two Ways:
- 8 ounces uncooked Catelli Smart or Smart Veggie Macaroni
- 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 cups milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 pinch paprika or cayenne pepper
- Cook macaroni to the directions on the box.
- Drain the pasta.
- In a saucepan, melt butter over a medium heat.
- Stir in the flour to make a roux (creamy sauce base).
- Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly. Stir in cheeses, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick.
- Mix and serve, or if you want to bake it, put the macaroni cheese in large casserole dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well.
- Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and brown. Spread over the macaroni and cheese to cover. Sprinkle with a little paprika.
- Bake at 350.F for 30 minutes. Serve.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by the lovely people at Catelli. All cooking and washing up was done by me. My daughter helped but mainly just ate the food.