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15 Delicious Family Pasta Meals You Can Make for Less than $10

15 Delicious Family Pasta Meals You Can Make for Less than $10
Justin Stewart Jan 8, 2020
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When it comes to cooking dinner for yourself and your family, you may be looking for quick easy pasta recipes that stay within your budget.

The good news is that there are plenty of dishes you can make at home that won’t cost you much to put together, and they’re all healthy and delicious!

Finding ways to cut corners on the cost of food is on everyone’s agenda, and pasta itself tends to be relatively cheap and easy to get your hands on.

There are so many different kinds of pasta to try, and with all the various combinations you can make, it’ll be easy to stay excited about trying different dishes.

If you’re looking for simple pasta recipes to make at home, this guide will help you decide which recipe is the one for you to try today!

15 Delicious Budget-Friendly Pasta Recipes

Cheap, quick and easy are all words that can describe these recipes below, and making them at home will be so simple you may make some of these recipes a weekly staple.

Try your hand at some of these dishes and enjoy them with your friends and family!

1. Pasta and Potatoes with Cabbage (Pizzoccheri)

Pizzoccheri is a classic pasta dish that comes from the town of Valtellina in the Lombardy region of Italy.

This area has really cold winters but the hardy vegetables that grow in the region make it through year after year.

Potatoes and cabbage make it through these rough months, and this pasta dish honors both of these veggies in style.

This dish calls for cheese and butter to make your mouth water, and the results are delicious.

You might be surprised to learn how well potatoes and pasta actually do work together.

Traditionally, this recipe calls for buckwheat pasta, but if this is hard to find, you can substitute farro or whole wheat pasta.

Soba noodles are also a good substitute considering they are made of buckwheat, but these noodles will be much thinner than the traditional pasta for this dish.

Whatever your choice, it’s not the biggest deal!

Work with what you have on hand if you can’t get your hands on the traditional pasta for this dish.

This recipe serves four people.

Feel free to double it to accommodate some friends for dinner!

For this pasta dish, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 pound red potatoes
  • 8 ounces dry, shaped pasta
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small to medium-sized green cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Grana Padano cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To make this pasta dish, bring a large pot to your stove and drop your potatoes in with cold water.

Add a teaspoon of salt to the pot and bring the water to a boil over a medium heat.

Once the water starts boiling, bring the heat down to a simmer and cook the potatoes until the are tender.

Remove the potatoes from the pot and leave the water in the pot on your stove.

Bring the water back to a boil and throw your pasta in there.

Cook it until it’s al dente.

When your pasta is ready, reserve about half a cup of the pasta water and then drain the rest.

Bring a large wide pan to your stove and add the olive oil and garlic to it over a medium heat.

Cook these ingredients until the garlic begins to sizzle.

Throw in the cabbage and season it with salt and pepper.

Cook these ingredients until the cabbage has softened, usually around 3 minutes.

Next, add in the potatoes and pasta along with the half cup of pasta water.

Add your butter and cheese, and toss all of the ingredients together.

Add salt or pepper if you’d like to up the seasoning, then serve it up!

2. Pasta Salad with Roasted Peppers, Tuna & Oregano

If you’re headed to a potluck, or you just want tp cook something for your family that everyone will enjoy, this recipe is a perfect pick.

Pasta salad is always a crowd pleaser, and with the red pepper, tuna and herbs in this recipe, you’ll make mouths water!

To really bring the flavor out of the vinaigrette for this pasta dish and have the ingredients combine fabulously, you can make it a day before it is to be served.

For this recipe, you can use any kind of shaped pasta you’d like.

Bow-ties or wagon wheels are perfect for the sake of presentation, or you can use different kinds of macaroni to keep it classic.

This recipe calls for fresh oregano, but you can substitute this with half a teaspoon of dried oregano.

As you add it to the vinaigrette, crumble the dried oregano between your fingers to help release the flavors and aromas from the oregano’s natural oils.

This particular recipe serves eight people.

To make this pasta salad you’ll need:

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 ounces lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small shallots, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (5-ounce) cans solid white albacore tuna, drained
  • 1 (8-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, cut into 1/4-inch by 1-inch strips

To get started making your pasta salad, you’ll start by boiling 4 quarts of water in a large pasta pot.

Add two tablespoons of salt to the pot and throw in your pasta.

Cook it until it is al dente, then drain the pasta and run cold water over it to stop it from cooking more.

You want your pasta to be fully cooled, but make sure to shake out any excess water that may be trapped in the pasta.

Next, you’ll want to grab a container that has a lid to make your vinaigrette.

A jar or a clean tupperware container will do just fine for this purpose.

In your container, add the lemon juice, olive oil, shallots, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper.

Put the lid on it and shake the ingredients to combine them.

You are welcome to season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper as much as you’d like, but start light to not overpower the other ingredients.

Next, you’ll want to grab a large bowl.

In this bowl, combine the pasta, vinaigrette, tuna and roasted peppers.

Toss the ingredients gently to keep the tuna from breaking apart.

Serve your pasta salad immediately or store it in your fridge for a day to help the flavors really come together.

3. Chicken and Broccoli Penne Pasta

Penne pasta is something to consider always having on hand.

Making your own pasta can be fun, but it can be time intensive.

When you want to be able to attack a pasta dish quickly without worrying about developing your own pasta, penne pasta is always a great quick fix.

Keeping three ingredients in your home as often as possible can make your life so much easier when it comes to quick meals.

Chicken, broccoli, and penne pasta are these three magic ingredients.

Choosing a whole wheat pasta can mean that your pasta will always have that delightfully distinct nuttiness and bite.

If you’re in a time crunch, adding mushrooms to this dish will add more time to your cooking process.

Leaving them out will shave off some time, getting you closer to dinner faster.

This is a perfect weeknight dish to make for yourself and your family.

Its basic ingredients come together with some cream cheese and pasta water to create a perfect sauce.

Everyone will love it!

This recipe serves four to six people easily.

To get started with this recipe, you’re going to need:

  • 8 ounces whole wheat penne
  • 1 (12-ounce) package frozen broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil, such as canola
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half into 4 cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms, such as baby bella
  • 2 to 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese or neufchâtel, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To get started on this recipe, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 200°F.

Next, grab a large pot and add water to it.

Bring it to a boil, and add a substantial amount of salt.

In the heavily salted water, you will add the penne and broccoli, cooking it for about eight minutes or until the pasta is al dente.

Set aside two cups of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and broccoli.

Do not rinse the pasta.

Return the pasta and broccoli back to the pot and set aside.

In a large skillet, you’re going to heat your cooking oil over a medium-high heat.

Next, grab your chicken breasts and pat them down with paper towels.

Season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper to your liking.

Place your chicken in the skillet seasoning side down.

Season the side facing up, then let your chicken cook without turning it.

When the chicken starts to become golden around the edges, let it remain in the pan for another two minutes before checking to see how it is cooking.

Your goal is to achieve a deep golden brown, so make sure to be patient before turning your chicken over.

Flip your chicken over and take the temperature of your chicken breasts with a thermometer.

This will help you gauge if the chicken is almost done or already cooked to the proper temperature.

Your thermometer should read between 155°F and 160°F.

When your chicken is done cooking, place it on a baking sheet and cover it with tinfoil.

Place the baking sheet in the oven to keep your chicken breasts warm.

Next, grab a skillet and add butter to it.

Add in the mushrooms and season with salt while they cook.

Cook your mushrooms for 7 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden and tender.

Add garlic to the skillet and cook for 20 to 30 seconds, then dd the cream cheese.

Stir the ingredients until the cream cheese has fully melted.

Next, whisk in one cup of the starchy pasta water a little bit at a time.

You’ll add the parmesan after in the same manner, whisked in a little bit at a time to really give your sauce flavor.

Next, grab the pot with the pasta and broccoli in it and add the contents of your sauce to it.

Toss the pasta in the sauce.

Feel free to add some more pasta water to the pot if the sauce isn’t creamy enough.

Taste to see if your pasta needs salt or pepper.

Lastly, you’ll remove the chicken breasts from the oven and slice them into strips.

Serve your pasta and broccoli with chicken strips and a sprinkle of parmesan.

4. Chili with Pasta and Cheddar

When it comes to chili, this is a food that can invoke memories of all sorts.

If you can remember a great moment that comes to mind when you’ve got a delicious bowl of chili in your hand, then you are a part of this collective experience.

Chili is the perfect dish for a Super Bowl watch party or any other great event in your life.

It’s also the perfect dish for a night in while you bond with your spouse and kids.

You can expect this chili to vanish once its made because the combination of ingredients will have everyone asking for more.

Did I mention the Wisonson cheddar cheese is on this bad boy?

You’re whole crew is gonna love it.

This recipe has everything that comprises a perfect chili, and its combined with delicious buttery noodles to make a great side dish or dinner.

This recipe serves a hungry six to eight people.

To get started on this dank chili, you’ll need:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 (16-ounce) can red kidney beans
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels

To serve your chili you’ll need:

  • Aged sharp Wisconsin cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta

To make the chili, you’re going to need a heavy bottomed stock pot.

Over a medium heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil.

Next, add your ground beef to the pot and season reasonably with salt and pepper.

Break up the meat while you cook it, making sure that its browned well before removing it from the pot with a slotted spoon.

This will take about eight minutes.

Set the ground beef aside, then add another two tablespoons of olive oil to the pot.

Add in chopped onions and cook them about 10 minutes, then add the celery, carrots and cook them for about 5 minutes.

Make sure to season these veggies with salt and pepper.

Add in your peppers and then cook these for about 10 minutes more.

Next, stir in your tomatoes, tomato sauce.

Add one and a half tablespoons of chili powder, cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper.

If you like chili with a lot of heat, add more cayenne pepper.

Add in your bay leaves and then replace your ground beef in the pot.

Bring all the combined ingredients to a boil, then down to a simmer.

Simmer the ingredients for two hours.

When the time has passed, you’ll add in cilantro, corn, and beans with an extra 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder.

Cook for another 20 minutes.

The last thing to prepare is the pasta.

Grab another pot and boil water, then add in your pasta and cook until it is al dente.

Serve your chili over the pasta with a hefty amount of grated Wisconsin cheddar.

5. 20-Minute Spicy Tomato-Mushroom Tortellini

If you love a perfectly balanced tortellini dish, this is a great recipe to try.

Tortellini is delicious, and the little cheese pasta pieces are empowered by the tomato sauce in this dish rather than overpowered.

Paired with earthy mushrooms, the tomatoes in this dish are perfectly matched to light up your tastebuds.

For this dish, you’ll want to use San Marzano tomatoes, which have a rich flavor.

These Italian tomatoes are the focus of the dish, so you’ll want to invest in the imported ones to really get it right.

When it comes to your tomato paste, you want to stick with the Italian tomatoes as well.

This dish is centered round the sauce, so going for quality tomatoes will really bring it all together.

If you choose to reheat this dish, make sure to add a tablespoon of water because it is prone to drying out.

This recipe serves up to five people.

To get started on this dish, you’ll need:

  • 19-ounce package cheese tortellini, frozen
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 1/2 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Italian tomatoes
  • Parmesan

To make this dish, you’ll want to grab a deep skillet and heat two tablespoons of olive oil.

Over a medium high heat, add in your onions and garlic.

Sauté these ingredients together until they’re translucent, then add your mushrooms in and sauté until they soften.

Next, add in some red pepper flakes for heat to your liking.

Next, add some tomato paste to the pan and stir.

Add the canned tomatoes next and stir, then turn the heat down to a simmer for 15 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, you’ll want to prepare your tortellini.

Follow the directions that are on the package.

When the tortellini is done and drained, toss the past with olive oil.

Talk about half of the sauce and mix it with your tortelini, then serve with a sprinkle of parmesan.

6. Creamy One-Pot Pumpkin Pasta

If you love pumpkin in your dinner dishes, then this pumpkin pasta is a perfect dish to try when the cold months creep up.

This is a one pot dish, meaning that you won’t have a to of dirty dishes to clean when your meal is over!

This is a perfect dish for the whole family, and it is bound to keep you warm.

This rich pasta can incorporate different noodle shapes to make it just a tad bit fancier, but if you want to work with just what you have on hand, that’s ok too!

You can play around with this dish and add whatever you’d like to it, don’t be afraid to switch up the cheeses, add nuts, or try different herbs.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can add some lemon juice or a sherry vinegar to amplify the flavor even more.

This particular recipe is great for four to six people.

To get started, you’ll need this ingredients:

  • 12 ounces dried pasta of your choosing
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 3 to 4 large garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to garnish

To top off your pasta you’ll need:

  • Toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Olive oil
  • freshly chopped herbs, such as sage or parsley

To make this pasta, you’ll want to grab a 3 quart skillet and put your dry pasta inside it.

Add water, garlic, olive oil, two teaspoons salt, red pepper flakes, and a generous amount of black pepper, and bring to a boil.

Stir the pasta frequently so it doesn’t stick to the pan.

Cook for about 9 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.

Take the skillet off the heat then add the pumpkin purée, cream, and Parmesan.

Toss all the ingredients together until the sauce is smooth and creamy.

After a couple minutes, expect the sauce to start thickening up.

Top your pasta with toasted pumpkin seeds, grated Parmesan, and a swirl of olive oil.

7. Pan-Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Smoky Tomato Sauce

If you want a pasta dish that offers you a lot of opposites together, creating a magical dinner that marries the best of all things pasta, then this is your recipe.

This dish has a little bit of everything including bright fresh flavors while being savory and extra comforting.

This dish is one for the books, and the smokey flavors mixed with the fresh veggies and uniting lightness of the tomato sauce will keep you want more.

If you want to skip the pureeing process, you can simply grab a can of pureed tomatoes from the store!

This dish is a great one for any time of year and pairs well with a nice white wine or IPA.

If you want to incorporate some fresh herbs, basil is the perfect one to make your pasta really pop.

This is a perfect dish to make on a busy weeknight, it doesn’t call for intensive building but rather quick and easy steps you can fly through.

If you’re really looking to cut down time, you can easily substitute frozen cauliflower for fresh cauliflower you have to chop yourself.

This dish serves around four to six people.

The ingredients that you’ll need to make this dish are as follows:

  • 4 thin slices prosciutto
  • 12 ounces dry short pasta of your choosing
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen cauliflower florets, (or 1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley or basil leaves
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

To make this awesome pasta dish, you’ll start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil, add salt as it begins to heat up.

While this begins to boil, you’ll want to heat up a 12 inch cast iron skillet over a medium-high heat.

If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use any large high-side skillet in place of it.

In your skillet, you’re going to cook your prosciutto until its lightly browned underneath.

This will take about 2 minutes, then you’ll want to flip and cook the other sidebar the same amount of time.

After the prosciutto has cooked through, remove it from the skillet and place onto a paper towel to drain.

Don’t wash the pan, and set it aside.

Turning back to your boiling water, add your pasta and cook until its al dente.

Set aside a quarter cup of the pasta water.

Drain the pasta of the remaining water and set it aside.

Do not cool off the pasta.

Bring the skillet back to your stove and add oil over a medium heat.

When it starts to simmer, add the cauliflower and some salt, stirring it in the pan to coat it.

Cook for about eight minutes, or until the cauliflower starts to turn develop sear marks.

The cauliflower should be tender, but it shouldn’t be cooked all the way through at this point.

You’ll want to bring the heat down and add some garlic and the red pepper flakes, sautéing the ingredients for about 30 seconds.

Next, you’ll want to add in the diced tomatoes and add some more salt.

Stir all the ingredients together and let them simmer for around three minutes.

The last thing you’ll do is toss in the pasta and combine the ingredients together.

When you’re ready to serve, you’ll add the prosciutto over top and sprinkle on some parsley or basil, and some parmesan.

8. Vegan Beet Pesto Pasta

If you like to incorporate meatless meals into your week, and like to dabble in vegan cooking, then this beet pesto pasta is a perfect dish for any weeknight.

Beets are a vegetable that not everyone is closely acquainted with, but if you[‘re looking for a good introduction by way of an excellent dish, this is the one to try.

There are different varieties of beets to try, but for this recipe you’re going to want to use red beets.

The gorgeous reddish purple color that this variety of beets adds to any dish will make you fall in love, and the earthy flavor will delight your tastebuds.

The process of making this dish is simple and will result in a luscious meal that is lavish in color and mouth watering flavors.

For a color balancing enhancement, add some shredded pecorino overtop, although this step will make the dish vegetarian as opposed to vegan.

If you have a gluten intolerance, this is a great dish to use gluten free pasta, but regular pasta works just as well.

This dish can be served warm or cold, its delectable no matter what temperature it is served at.

The recipe serves around six people.

To get started, you’ll need these ingredients:

  • 1 pound regular or gluten-free spaghetti
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup raw slivered almonds
  • 2 large cooked and peeled red beets, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Minced fresh chives, for garnish

It’s a pretty straightforward ingredient list.

To get started with this dish, you’ll want to boil some water, then add some salt followed by the pasta.

Cook the pasta until it is al dente.

Using a food processor while your pasta cooks, throw in the almonds and garlic.

Process these ingredients until they are finely chopped, and then add the beets, olive oil and vinegar until you have a fine sauce.

Add salt to your liking.

When your pasta has finished cooking, simply toss the spaghetti in the almond garlic beet sauce.

When you’re ready to serve it, you can choose to rinse the pasta if you want a room temp or cold pasta dish, or store leftovers in your fridge and forget reheating it!

9. Skillet Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is a dish that goes over well with almost anyone.

This dish is a classic, and being able to proudly execute a recipe that doesn’t cause you to dirty up your entire kitchen is a plus.

When it comes to making mac and cheese at home, you want the process to be as easy as possible.

This recipe lacks the fuss of extravagant macaroni and cheese dishes, but doesn’t lose the taste or quality of it.

This dish is a great option for any day of the week, and works as a perfect cheap and quick meal for those busy tired nights.

You can skip the boxed mac and cheese and grab a cast iron skillet for a creamy rendition of this family favorite.

You’ll be able to take your cast iron and toss it right into the oven to develop the crispy crust that makes mac and cheese so satisfyingly delicious.

This recipe is perfect or four people.

What you’ll need to get started are as follows:

  • 8 ounces dried jumbo elbow macaroni, conchiglie, or pipette pasta
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup panko or other breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

This is an exciting recipe to execute, as you make it you’ll find yourself anticipating the end result, which will always be amazing.

To get started on this delightful dish, you’ll want to move your oven rack to the middle, and then preheat your oven to 400°F.

While your oven preheats, you’re going to want to start cooking your pasta.

Simply bring a pot of salted water to a boil over a medium-high heat.

Toss in your pasta and cook it until it is al dente.

Remove the past from the stove and drain it of its water.

Next, you’re going to want to grab your cast iron skillet and melt your butter in it.

The skillet should be around 10 inches.

Use a medium high heat to melt your butter, you don’t want it to burn.

After the butter has melted, take a tablespoon of it and add it to a bowl.

In this bowl, mix together your breadcrumbs and thyme.

Set this bowl off to the side, you’ll need it later.

Next add flour into your skillet and whisk it for about one minute.

As you whisk, slowly incorporate the milk.

Its important to whisk while you pour in the milk because you don’t want this sauce to clump up.

Once the milk has been stirred in and your sauce starts to develop, grab a wooden spoon and stir it constantly until it thickens.

You should be stirring for about two to three minutes.

Remove the skillet from your stove and add your cheese to the sauce, a little bit at a time.

You want the cheese to melt and the sauce to be smooth.

After that has been done, add your mustard, salt and paprika, followed by the pasta.

Make sure to fully coat all the pasta in the cheese sauce.

Once this is finished, add the breadcrumb and thyme mixture over top of the macaroni.

Take your cast iron skillet and throw it in your oven.

Bake this dish for about 15 minutes.

The sauce should be bubbling in the skillet and the top of your mac and cheese should have a golden color to it.

Once this begins to occur, you can remove the cast iron skillet from the oven and serve the mac and cheese straight away!

Its the perfect quick cheese fix, and this dish will leave you wanting to add it to your weekly dinner repertoire.

10. Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake

There are fewer things in life that are quite as satisfying as a dinner dish with a good spicy kick.

Getting fully loaded on a spicy buffalo chicken and cheese pasta is the perfect way to spend a cold afternoon.

This delicious dish is a perfect center piece for a family dinner, but can also be made in larger batches for school events or gatherings with your friends.

This recipe will win over everyone in your family, even if they aren’t usually the kind for too much spice.

This is also a good alternative to cooking up just buffalo wings.

With the added pasta and the same tasty buffalo sauce, this dish will be for more satisfying than a simple chicken wing dinner.

For a particularly gratifying experience, pair this tasty dish with an ice cold beer!

This dish serves up to six people easily.

To get started making this crowd pleasing pasta, you’ll need:

  • 1 pound dried rigatoni or penne pasta
  • 1 1/4 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 1 cup sour cream, preferably full-fat
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot sauce, plus extra as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese (optional)
  • 3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

This dish will really take you where you want to go, all you need to do is preheat your oven with your rack set in the middle to get started!

Turn your oven up to 375°F, then grab a 9×13-inch baking dish and evenly coat it with your preferred cooking spray.

While your oven preheats, boil a large pot of water and add some salt to it.

Add your pasta and cook it until its underdone, just around a minute or two from being fully cooked.

Drain the pasta of any excess water and then return it to the pot.

In a medium sized saucepan, bring milk to a simmer over a medium heat.

While this is simmering, whisk in the sour cream and cream cheese, followed by the buffalo sauce and some salt.

Make sure this is nice and smooth, then mix in the Monterey Jack cheese and blue cheese slowly, making sure that it melts and becomes smooth.

The best way to do this is by the handful, don’t be hesitant in taking your time.

Add the cooked and shredded chicken to the pot that has the pasta in it, followed by the buffalo cheese sauce.

Stir all these ingredients together, then place the mixture in your greased baking sheet.

In a separate bowl, combine your breadcrumbs and butter together.

Sprinkle this mixture over the pasta in your baking dish, then place it in your oven.

You’ll want to bake your buffalo pasta in your oven for about 30 minutes.

When the dish is ready, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes.

It’ll be way too hot to consume when it comes out of the oven!

Feel free to serve this dish with a side of hot sauce and bleu cheese crumbles for an extra fun time.

11. Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad

When it comes to having the perfect summer pasta salad, this dish is an exquisite dish to bring out.

It functions as a cure all during the summer months.

This dish is a perfect side for the outdoor get togethers you’ll experience, an easy lunch on busy days, or the perfect cold meal on a hot day.

This is a perfect summertime dish, and making it doesn’t overpower your day.

Thanks to the easy-to-find ingredients, this pasta cooks up quickly and is packed with flavor.

This pasta keeps for a few days, so it’s possible to make this and utilize it as a nice mid day treat when you’re busy doing all the fun summer activities!

Don’t hesitate to put this dish together for a beach trip or bring it to a backyard barbecue, its perfect for all the occasions.

As a side, this recipe can serve up to ten people, as a main dish it’ll serve about four to six people.

To get started on this delectable summer pasta salad, you’ll need:

  • 2 (9-ounce) packages fresh cheese tortellini
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (about 4 cups), halved
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar fire-roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (1 heaping cup)
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto

The ingredient list for this pasta salad is short and sweet, and the cooking process is just as simple!

To get started on this dish you’ll need to boil a pot of water with salt in it.

Cook your tortellini pasta according to the instructions on the package you’ve chosen for this meal.

When the tortellini is done cooking, drain the pasta from the water in the pot.

Run the pasta under cold water to cool it off, and then gently shake out any excess water.

Make sure to drain your pasta well so that it doesn’t make your meal watery.

Next, you will take your cooked pasta and combine it with the tomatoes and peppers in a large mixing bowl.

Toss all of the ingredients together, and then add in the pesto and mix the ingredients again.

Serve this cold pasta salad up on a hot summer day for the perfect meal!

12. Broccoli and Feta Pasta Salad

Simple, tasty, easy.

Those are the things you want when you make a pasta salad, and this recipe totally delivers all of the above.

When it comes to pasta salads, they are a flexible choice that can be made in a flash, and a cold dish is perfect for any summer day.

Its easy to make elaborate and ingredient laden pasta dishes, but sometimes its fun to steer clear of adding in all of the fixings and keeping your meal basic.

Although pasta salads are great summer dishes, they can also be thoroughly enjoyed in the fall and winter months as well.

This simple recipe calls for just a few ingredients, but they are flavorful and packed with nutrients.

The beautiful thing about pasta recipes is that its easy to incorporate some different ingredients together to really drive the point home when it comes to flavor.

Feel free to throw in some pasta favorites like protein packed chicken or fresh herbs to make a perfect lunch for any day of the week.

With the crunch of broccoli and the salty tastiness of the olives and feta, you can expect this dish to be so satisfying, you’ll make it again!

This recipe serves up to six people if you serve it as a main course.

If you’d like to serve it up as a side dish, this recipe will feed eight to ten people easily!.

To get started on this dish, you’ll need these ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried rotini or short pasta, tri-color preferred
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium head broccoli, cut into 1/2-inch florets
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt

To get started on this simple summery pasta salad, you’ll want to bring a pot of water to a boil.

Add salt to the water, followed by your pasta.

Cook this pasta until it is al dente, or follow the instructions on the packaging.

In a bowl, add three tablespoons of oil, vinegar, and some pepper, then set it aside after mixing it together.

When you pasta has finished cooking, drain the water ad then run it under cold water to cool it down.

Drain the pasta again, making sure to shake off any excess water.

Place the pasta off to the side in a large mixing bowl.

Next, grab a large sauté pan and place it over a medium heat.

Simmer a tablespoon of oil in your saucepan, and then add broccoli to it.

Cook the broccoli until it is nicely crisp and tender, for about 7 minutes.

Add your cooked broccoli to the pasta bowl you’ve set aside.

Next, crumble some feta into this same bowl, add your olives, and stir everything to combine.

Add your dressing to the bowl and toss the entire pasta salad, making sure to coat everything in the bowl.

You can add salt and pepper to taste.

If you want the flavors to really combine, make your pasta a day before serving it, and serve it chilled.

13. Garlicky Shrimp Scampi

If you’re a shrimp lover like many out there in the world, then you can appreciate a good pasta dish that incorporates this tasty ingredient.

Shrimp can be versatile, and preparing a scrumptious shrimp scampi can help you highlight the awesomeness of shrimp.

You could always go the route of making a shrimp scampi from the frozen food section of your favorite grocery store, but the truth is making it from scratch is just as simple.

This is a fast and simple recipe, so you can expect to get everything together and served in a flash.

You can easily use frozen shrimp for this dish without worrying about sacrificing quality.

You may also be surprised at the fact that this dish heats up very well, making it a perfect next day lunch.

If you’re following this recipe, it will serve up to six people.

To get started on this delectable shrimp scampi, you’re going to need:

  • 1 pound linguini
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled & deveined (21 to 25 count)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 shallots or 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine (like a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Parmesan

To get started on this dish, you’ll need to cook your pasta al dente in some boiling water in a large pot.

Follow the instructions on your pasta package to make the perfect linguini.

When your pasta has finished cooking, reserve a quarter cup of the pasta water, then drain the remaining water from your pasta.

Leave the pasta in your strainer while you prepare the other ingredients, allowing it to fully drain.

In a deep skillet, bring three tablespoons of olive oil and three tablespoons of oil together over a medium to high heat.

Next, you will sauté your shallots and garlic until they are translucent.

In the same skillet, add in your shrimp and cook them until they are pink.

Take the shrimp out of the skillet and set them aside in a bowl.

In your skillet, add your lemon juice and wine.

Bring the ingredients in your skillet to a boil, and then bring them down to a simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.

Add in the rest of your olive oil and butter, and stir to combine.

Raise the heat back up to a medium-high temperature.

Next, you’ll want to add in your parsley, cayenne, and lemon zest, stirring the ingredients together until everything is combined.

After this is done you’ll want to do this next part kind of quickly.

Add your pasta, the pasta water, and shrimp to the skillet.

Toss everything together until the water has fully evaporated and then serve.

14. Lighter Baked Mac and Cheese

When it comes to making a hearty casserole, you can’t really beat the magic of a good mac and cheese.

This dish can be really heavy thanks to it being a comfort food that is meant to hit that spot that other food can’t quite like should food.

Mac and cheese that is full of veggies and hits the cheesiest notes in all the right places is always going to be extremely gratifying.

Thanks to the veggies that comprise this dish, it has enough nutrients to warrant a next day lunch consisting of the same dish.

This macaroni and cheese can be considered lighter because of the cheeses that are used.

This dish doesn’t call for a roux, but the base is just as creamy thanks to the cottage cheese, sour cream, and shredded cheese that comprise the base.

The best part about this dish is that it doesn’t require you to fuss on the stove top making your cheesy sauce, but it still hits the spot that a labor intensive Mac and cheese does.

If you have reservations about the kind of cheese, you have nothing to worry about because it all melds into one delicious sauce.

If you want to lower the calorie count of this dish even more, choose to opt in low fat cheese options.

Before you throw this whole dish in your oven, all you have to worry about is the pasta preparation.

This recipe serves up to eight people.

To get started making this dish you’ll need:

  • 12 ounces macaroni (2 1/2 cups dry macaroni)
  • 12 to 16 ounces baby spinach (7 to 8 large handfuls)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (12-ounce) jars roasted red peppers, drained and diced
  • Fresh pepper, to taste

To begin this dish, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 350°F.

Grab a 3-quart casserole dish with spray it with a cooking spray.

On your stove, boil some salted water and cook your macaroni.

You want your pasta to be al dente, then drain it immediately.

Do not rinse your pasta, you want it to be nice and hot.

In a large mixing bowl, add the spinach to your pasta and mix it together.

Let the spinach wilt in the heat of the pasta.

Simply cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate.

Shake the bowl to continue mixing in the spinach.

If your spinach doesn’t completely wilt, it’s fine.

Next, whisk the eggs.

After they are combined evenly, add in the 2 cups of the cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, and salt.

Next, pour this mixture over you pasta and spinach.

Throw in the diced red peppers and stir everything so its evenly coated in the egg and cheese sauce.

Take the contents of your macaroni and cheese bowl and pour it all into the nonstick coated baking dish.

Cover the baking dish with tin foil.

You can leave this to be baked the next day, or you can immediately throw it in the oven.

You’ll want to bake the casserole for a full thirty minutes.

After this time has passed, you’ll want to sprinkle the rest of the half cup of cheese over the contents of your baking dish.

Replace the baking dish in the oven and bake it for another twenty minutes without a cover on it.

The cheese should bubble in the dish when its ready to come out of the oven, and it should be fully melted.

If you’ve left the baking dish in the fridge overnight, then you’ll want to bake the macaroni and cheese for forty five minutes initially as the contents will be colder.

You should make a point of letting the dish cool for a few minutes before serving!

15. Feta & Eggplant Pasta Salad

When it comes to pasta salad, having a few variations on hand can allow you variety which can be exciting when it comes to food.

This pasta salad is a fun and simple dish that is perfect during any season, but is particularly satisfying in the summer time.

This dish is a quick one to make, and after a day of being in the sun, you want to get a meal in without adding to the heat by turning on the stove.

When you think of pasta salad, you probably typically think of a side next to a larger main dish.

If you make a point of highlighting some exceptional ingredients, you can scratch that notion and make pasta salad the focal point of your meal.

This recipe calls for hearty eggplant and slew of fresh ingredients to make this delicious a delight to enjoy.

With just the right amount of salty feta to add bright notes to this dish, you can expect this pasta salad to have a tangy punch that leaves you wanting another mouthful.

Try to steer clear fo bowtie pasta for this dish because they don’t tend to cook evenly, and you’ll end up with mushy ends and al dente centers.

This can result in your pasta falling apart when you toss it, and although not the biggest deal, it takes away from the presentation and the satisfaction while you eat.

Tube shaped pasta is a good shape option, but you are welcome to use whatever you have on hand or whatever you prefer.

This recipe, if served as a main course, can feed four to six people easily.

To get started with this dish, you’ll need these ingredients for the salad:

  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 1 (4-ounce) block feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

For the vinaigrette, you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To make your pasta salad, you will start by placing the rack in your oven in the center, and then preheating your oven to 400°F.

Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.

Next, you’re going to grab a large pot and boil salted water.

On the baking sheet, you’re going to place the eggplant cubes on it and the drizzle the eggplant cubes with olive oil.

Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and pepper and then mix the contents of the ingredients together to coat the eggplant cubes.

Roast the eggplant cubes in the oven until they are golden and tender.

This should take about 30 minutes.

While the eggplant is in the oven, you should take the time to prepare your pasta.

Cook your pasta until it is al dente, then drain the pasta from the cooking water.

You’ll want to run the cooked pasta under cold water to cool it down.

After its been cooled off, drain the pasta again by shaking it and getting rid of any excess water.

Next, you’ll want to make your vinaigrette.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, the minced garlic, salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta, eggplant and vinaigrette.

Toss all of the ingredients together, and then add your feta cheese, parsley and basil.

Toss the salad again and then serve.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to selecting a perfect pasta dish, you can find a lot of different options to try your hand at any time of year.

Although pasta salads are traditionally considered a summer dish, you are welcome to try a pasta salad in the dead of winter if you crave it.

Try to use the freshest ingredients you can for pasta dishes that really pop, but if you’re in a time crunch there is nothing wrong with canned tomatoes or frozen veggies.

Pasta dishes are also good to play around with, you can easily add in a favorite ingredient to any of these dishes or add some protein for added nutrients.

Whatever you decide, these recipes are all worthwhile options for those looking to make a cheap, healthy, delicious meal.

Justin Stewart

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