(Family Features) Constantly seeking out recipe-specific ingredients that may only be used once or twice can be a burden. Instead, keep your home stocked with necessities to simplify dinner prep with dishes made using common household staples.
One perfect example: pastas. This recipe for Pasta in a Pinch includes easily recognizable seasonings and canned goods for a simple dinner solution. Plus, it includes dairy, an irreplaceable part of a balanced diet as a source of essential nutrients.
Another way to scale back on unnecessary grocery purchases is to give yourself permission to modify. Many recipes can be tweaked for personal preferences, such as using black beans rather than kidney beans or adjusting the amount of a spice used based on your family's tastes.
Stock your pantry and refrigerator with versatile ingredients like these:
- Canned tomatoes
- Canned beans
- Quick-cook rice
- Small whole-grain pasta
- Stock, like vegetable, chicken or beef
- Fluid milk
- Shredded cheese
- Plain Greek yogurt
For more ideas to simplify family meals, visit milkmeansmore.org.
Pasta in a Pinch
Recipe courtesy of Jenn Fillenworth, MS, RDN, of “Jenny With the Good Eats” on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- freshly chopped herbs, for garnish (optional)
- In large microwavable bowl, place uncooked penne pasta and pour water over top to cover. With food-safe plastic wrap, cover bowl, leaving small section to vent as it cooks. Cook 3 minutes longer than package directs, approximately 13 minutes.
- Once pasta has cooked, drain into colander then place back in bowl. Add salt, pepper, basil, garlic powder and milk; stir to combine. Begin to stir in cheese a little at a time. Microwave 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir again.
- Add cannellini beans and diced tomatoes; stir. Microwave 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir. Assess if ingredients are hot and cheese is melted. If not, microwave 1-2 minutes.
- Top with Parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.