A pasta meal provides an easy-to-fix and satisfying meal option, especially for a busy family short on time. Certain types of pasta such as whole grain also offer a good source of nutrition and make a healthy part of a balanced diet. Once you decide to make pasta for dinner, you can work out a menu in your head or jot down a few notes on a piece of paper. In just a few simple steps you can have your evening meal planned out before you leave work.
Decide which type of sauce you want to have. Perhaps you have a craving for a simple, red marinara, or spaghetti sauce, or a creamy white sauce with plenty of garlic. You may even want a simple butter and garlic sauce that you can put together easily. After you choose the type of sauce, you'll have a better idea of what you can add to your meal.
Select the type of protein or other additions that will go well with the sauce. You can add grilled chicken to a white sauce or a butter sauce. If the red sauce sounds best to you, you may want to bake lightly breaded chicken breasts, or cook ground beef, or sauté Italian sausages to put in the sauce. If you want a lighter meal or follow a vegetarian diet, you may want to add cooked vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, or carrots. You can include tofu marinated in a creamy dressing or cooked beans or lentils to your sauce if you want to include a plant-based protein.
Choose the type of pasta. Once you know which sauce, proteins, and vegetables you plan to include you can decide which pasta will work best. You may want to use thin spaghetti or fettuccine for a traditional sauce such as marinara, or you may opt for penne or egg noodles for a butter and garlic sauce.
Include a side dish. You may want to include roasted vegetables or a crisp salad with creamy dressing to go with your pasta meal; these healthy sides will make a good, nutritious addition to a pasta dish. Other options include a loaf of fresh bread or slices of garlic bread.
- If you know you'll need to make a stop at the grocery store, make a quick list as you create your menu. This will help prevent you from forgetting an important item for your meal.
- To save time and money, make extra pasta for dinner and take the leftovers for your lunch the next day. Once you finish dinner, put the leftovers in a plastic container and place in the refrigerator. All you'll need to do is grab the container on your way out the door the next morning.
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