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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. 

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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


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray muffin tins with cooking spray.
  2. Prepare macaroni noodles. Cook in boiling water a few minutes less than al dente as they will continue to cook in the oven. 
  3. Strain pasta and then put into a large bowl. 
  4. Add the cheese, sour cream, milk, eggs, cold butter, and salt and pepper. 
  5. Mix thoroughly until cheese starts to melt and there are no large clumps. 
  6. Fill each muffin cup and spoon about 1-2 tsp. of mixture generously over each portion. 
  7. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit at least 10 minutes. 
  8. Allow to cool before removing. 
Baked macaroni bites, muffin cups

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


  1. In a medium saucepan filled with boiling water, cook macaroni until al dente, about 6-8 minutes. Drain once ready.
  2. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth, cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Slowly pour milk into butter and flour mixture while stirring until smooth and bubbling, 5 minutes.
  4. Add cheese to milk mixture and stir until cheese is melted.
  5. Stir in egg and bread crumbs until evenly combined.
  6. 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. 
  7. 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.
  8. Serve warm.

mac n cheese waffles, catelli
Allow to cool before removing from your waffle iron

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. Bring the pasta sauce to a low boil
  2. Add dried spaghetti
  3. Cover and simmer for 30 mins
  4. Serve
spaghetti, easy pasta recipes, catelli, dad blog
This was pretty much the easiest meal I’ve ever made.

Tuesday Tuna Bake

  • Key ingredients: Catelli Healthy Harvest Fusilli pasta
  • Recipe Overview: Tuna, tomatoes, cheese, pasta – in a casserole dish, sprinkle more cheese, bake.

catelli, tuna pasta 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


  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Finely chop the onion and garlic. 
  3. Put a large pan over a medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil, onion, and garlic.
  4. Fry for about 8 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Turn the heat to high and add the chopped tomatoes. 
  6. Remove the basil leaves from the stalks and throw in.
  7. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. While simmering the sauce, put a large pan of water on to boil. 
  9. Cook the pasta until almost finished. 
  10. Drain the tuna and stir gently into the sauce.
  11. Season with salt and pepper. 
  12. When the pasta is ready, drain and tip straight into the sauce. 
  13. Toss and coat the pasta in the sauce, then transfer to an ovenproof baking dish. 
  14. Grate the cheese and sprinkle over the pasta. 
  15. Drizzle some olive oil and place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.
  16. 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.

spaghetti, easy pasta recipes, catelli, dad blog



  • 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


  1. To make the meatballs, put the raw meat into a large mixing bowl and add eggs, breadcrumbs, and finely chopped parsley. 
  2. Mix well and shape into large meatballs. Put on a plate, drizzle olive oil over and cover. 
  3. Put the plate in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, pour the pasta sauce into a pan and bring to the boil. Then lower the heat and keep simmering.
  5. Boil the pasta as usual, or use the One Pot Simmered Spaghetti method above. 
  6. Fry the meatballs  on a covered pan on low heat for at least 20 minutes. Check that the internal temperature is 170.F 
  7. Add pasta sauce to the meatballs in the pan and coat. 
  8. 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.

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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 


  1. Cook macaroni to the directions on the box.
  2. Drain the pasta.
  3. In a saucepan, melt butter over a medium heat. 
  4. Stir in the flour to make a roux (creamy sauce base). 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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Easy pasta recipes, easy dinner ideas

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