As someone who develops recipes professionally, you’d think that I’d always have a plan for feeding my family dinner. Just like everybody else, though, the busier I get, the harder it is to get dinner on the table. Thanks to natural brands like Three Bridges (who is our newest, awesome sponsor — yay, welcome Three Bridges!) being time crunched doesn’t have to mean relying on take-out or heavily processed foods loaded up with preservatives. Their natural and organic pastas (including gluten-free raviolis!) plus ready-made pasta sauces make it possible to throw together fresh, simple meals like these easy pasta dinners.
These four meals are my favorite quick pasta/sauce combinations for my family. When I have time, I make them from scratch with recipes like the ones you see here. When I don’t have time, semi-homemade using a good quality pasta and sauce like the ones from Three Bridges saves the day, allowing me to spend my last bits of energy eating with my family and listening to my boys carry on about their newest Pokemon revelations.
Farfalle with Chicken and PestoFrom scratch
There’s nothing that brings me back to childhood the way that a simple bowl of pasta with chicken and pesto can. This one-bowl meal was a go-to for my busy, working mom and now it is for me, too. I love this easy recipe for Farfalle Pasta with Chicken and Spinach Pesto from Bev Cooks. You can make it entirely from scratch or use packaged pesto which is often quite good. I love that Three Bridges Basil Pesto is so simple–the only ingredients are basil, extra virgin olive and canola oils, parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, pine nuts (yum), salt and spice. Just like I’d make. There’s also a Superfood Pesto made with kale. Skip the chicken in this recipe if you don’t have any (or the kids are picky) or substitute leftover roast chicken as a quick, easy shortcut.
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Butter and Sage
This is one of those pasta dishes that sounds super gourmet—and it certainly can be. Just check out this gorgeous recipe for Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage Sauce from Top Chef alumn Fabio Viviani. Lovely, but uh, I’d hardly call making your own ravioli easy! Simplify this dish big time by using store-bought ravioli instead–Three Bridges Butternut Squash Ravioli is gluten-free, which is great for so many families. Then, all you need is butter, fresh sage, salt, and pepper. Don’t have sage? Believe me that you can’t go wrong with just butter and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Fettuccine AlfredoFrom scratch
Like a grown up macaroni and cheese, Fettuccine Alfredo is comfort in a bowl. It has a sophisticated feel that makes grown-ups happy (at least this grown up), but is simple, creamy and cheesy enough for the kids, too. This Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo recipe at Gimme Some Oven (also at very top) is perfect when I feel like I can take 30 minutes at the stove. When I can’t, I go the semi-homemade route, combining Three Bridges organic fettuccine, their simple Alfredo Sauce, plus a bag of frozen peas and call it a night. A very delicious night.
Tortellini in BrodoFrom scratch
This dish, which is nothing more than tortellini served in a rich broth, is all health and happiness. Paula at bell’ alimento makes her fantastic Tortellini in Brodo with homemade chicken stock, but a high-quality store-bought stock is a tried and true shortcut that does the trick in a pinch. Just float plain Cheese Tortellini or Spinach and Cheese Tortellini in chicken broth (organic chicken broth is always my pick if you can), top with a good grated Parmesan and a bit of parsley, and serve with a hunk of bread. It doesn’t get easier—or better.
Thanks to our sponsor Three Bridges, makers of fantastic natural pastas and pasta sauce that really make things easier and healthier for busy families, all without artificial flavors, hydrogenated oils, artificial colors or preservatives. Even the packaging is eco-friendly and recyclable. Use their store finder to find where they’re sold near you, including local groceries and Target stores everywhere.