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3 Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella - MOMables.com

Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Need an easy dinner that your family will devour? Check out this baked pasta recipe!
Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella - MOMables.comAre your calendars filling up with scheduled activities? Ours is. That means I need to be a bit more more organized when it comes to meals.  Not only do I need to have an unending, creative supply of lunches on hand, but also good, filling meals for supper.

This recipe is one of our favorites. It’s easy to make, fills my 3 hungry boys and husband, freezes well and makes great lunch leftovers!

This recipe comes via Jamie Oliver, so you know it’s full of wholesome ingredients.  When I came across it he wrote of how he found inspiration for this dish while visiting a grade school in Italy.

This dish was served to the Italian school children both as a hot and cold lunch.

The day Jamie visited it was served to 1,000 children! Also, did you know that in Italy it is law that the ingredients in school lunches are organic?  Seriously.  I had to look that one up, not believing the first time I read it.

The laws primarily apply to pasta and olive oil, but they also make a point to use mostly local produce, supporting local farmers and agriculture.  How cool is that?  Very cool, in my opinion.



Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Cuisine: Dinner
  • 14 oz whole wheat pasta--orcchiette or penne
  • 2-3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder (or 1-2 dried chilies, crumbled)
  • 3 - 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes, including juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons basil pesto (or 1 large handful fresh basil)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups parmesan, grated
  • 3 - 5 ounce balls of mozzarella, sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion, garlic and chili. Sauté for about 10 minutes on medium to low heat until onions are translucent. Add in the tomatoes, including juice. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Using a food processor or immersion blender, process until sauce is smooth. Add in pesto (or fresh basil), vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the pasta with half the tomato sauce.
  4. Prepare a 9x13 or 8x8 baking dish by rubbing with olive oil. Layer a little pasta in the bottom of the baking dish, followed by a layer of tomato sauce, a handful of parmesan and layer of sliced mozzarella. Continue layering until you've used all the ingredients, ending with a layer of cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbling.

2 Vegetable Tian Recipe

What if I told you that this delicious lunch is made from dinner left overs?

Welcome to our new series: Dinners Transformed.  Because part of eating healthy is having good-for-you food ready, we are going to show you how you can take dinner left overs and create amazing lunches!

I know I can be a regular offender of wasting food because I don’t know how to re-purpose it!  Then MOMables™ asked me to begin this fresh-food series called Dinners Transformed. In this series, I’m going to show you lunch ideas of what you can do with those little leftovers -don’t worry, I will share the recipes too!

This is a Vegetable Tian I made this weekend. One little, lonely scoop of this yummy Tian was left in fridge. I actually have no idea how this scoop survived dinner, because this recipe was soooooooo delicious! It is a must try recipe, trust me, you will thank me later.

If you’ve ever wondered “what am I going to do with one miserable scoop of left overs” then you are in the right place.

I placed the leftover serving of vegetable Tian on a slice of  bread with a little mayo or avocado and now I have lunch made the next day!

Pictured above is a vegetable tian sandwich, cherry tomatoes, watermelon and trail mix.

Vegetable Tian
Cuisine: Lunch
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1-2 russet potatoes
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning salute (or any salt free multipurpose seasoning, like Mrs. Dash)
  • ¼ cup Italian blend cheese (mozzarella & parmesan)
  1. Thinly slice potatoes, plum tomatoes, yellow squash, and zucchini. Set aside. To give the tomatoes a little extra kick, I placed the thin slices on a paper towel to absorb some liquid and sprinkled 1 tsp or the multipurpose seasoning.
  2. Saute your chopped onions and minced garlic in 1 tbsp of butter until onions are soft (about 5 minutes).
  3. Spray a pie pan with non-stick spray and layer onions on the bottom of the pan. If you do not have a pie pan, an 8x8 pan will also work.
  4. Create a spiral layer (or rows if you are using a square dish) of potato, zucchini, squash, potato, tomato, potato, zucchini, squash, potato, tomato, potato, etc...
  5. Drizzle with the 2 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp of seasoning and salt. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400 degrees, covered for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered for an additional 15-20 minutes.


Chicken Parmesan Cups

One of the challenges in family cooking is finding a recipe that everyone will eat and can be adjusted to the proper portions.  This Chicken Parmesan Loaf was a hit with my family.  Rethinking the whole portion-control thing, I made this recipe in a muffin pan for perfect individual-size portions.

This recipe is simple to make without the breading, coating, and frying of traditional Chicken Parmesan recipes.  Zero hassle and 100% authentic tasting.

These individual cups make a great meal for the entire family. Oh, and let’s not forget that leftovers are perfect for lunches too, MOMables style!

Chicken Parmesan Cups
Recipe yields 12 cup-size portions. Tip: For this recipe, silicone or foil muffin liners will work best in lieu of paper liners.
Cuisine: Lunch
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • ½ can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with Italian herbs (oregano, basil, & garlic)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup pasta sauce
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat muffin liners lightly with cooking spray, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, egg, bread crumbs, tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese. Mix with your hands, just like a meatloaf.
  3. Place the mixture into each cup, leaving enough room to add sauce on the top.
  4. Top each cup with 1 to 2 teaspoons of sauce.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a meat thermometer registers 165F.
  6. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on each cup. Place back in the oven until the cheese has melted.
  7. Remove from the oven, and allow each cup to rest before removing the liners, if serving immediately.
  8. Make-ahead tip: This recipe can be frozen after mixing and dividing among the lined cups. Just thaw, top with sauce, and bake following the directions above.



Easy Crockpot Cheesy Potato Soup

This cheesy crockpot potato soup is one of those one-pot wonder soups that hits the spot! Bonus: the whole family will love it!In many parts of the country, springtime is full of rain and fluctuating weather. One day it’s 70 degrees, the next it can be in the 40s.

On those cool, rainy days, there’s nothing we love more at our house than a bowl of soup. Especially when I can cook it in my beloved crockpot!

Slow-cooker meals are my favorite—there’s something so great about being able to throw the ingredients in, walk away for a few hours, and BAM! Dinner is served.

What else is convenient about soup? It packages great for lunch in a thermos! The MOMables™ lunch plans have many—although they are mostly in the winter months.

Below is an easy crockpot recipe for this cheesy potato soup. Ditch the canned stuff, and let’s get real!  You can jazz it up by adding real bacon bits and chives (or dill as pictured).

5.0 from 1 reviews
Easy Crockpot Cheesy Potato Soup
Cuisine: Dinner
  • 1 32-ounce bag Southern-style potatoes (diced potatoes), thawed
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • ¼ cup celery, diced (about 2 ribs)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Optional garnishes: real bacon bits, chives, dill, or green onion
  1. Coat the crockpot with cooking spray.
  2. Add in the potatoes, chicken stock, water, onion, and celery.
  3. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  4. One hour prior to serving, in a small bowl, mix together the flour and milk. Whisk until blended, then add to the pot, and stir.
  5. Change the crockpot temperature to high, and let it thicken for 20 to 30 minutes. It will look cloudy. After the 20- to 30-minute period, the soup should be thickening.
  6. Return the temperature to a low setting. Add the Cheddar, and stir into the pot.
  7. Let the soup cook for an additional 20 minutes. The cheese will melt, and the soup will continue to thicken.
  8. Serve hot, and top with garnishes, if using.

26 Easy to make veggie macaroni and cheese made with carrots

Homemade Veggie Mac and Cheese

Do your kids love macaroni and cheese but can’t get enough veggies in their diet? If so, this Homemade Veggie Mac and Cheese recipe is for you.

Easy to make veggie macaroni and cheese made with carrots
I want to share with you how I began adding an extra serving of veggies to my veggie-averse son’s macaroni and cheese. At first, I read about adding the pureed carrots directly into boxed macaroni and cheese. But what about those of us who don’t wan to use boxed mixes?

Eventually, I settled for the ricotta and sharp cheddar combination because it resembled the creaminess texture my son loves.

I love ricotta cheese because it packs on the calcium and protein he needs to grow (he’s not a big milk drinker either). After much experimenting, I began creating larger batches to freeze ahead. I love knowing I can just go to the freezer and pull out a serving to make an entire dinner!

I will tell you that this doesn’t taste like traditional macaroni and cheese. Sharp cheddar cheese is essential to creating the sauce because it intensifies the cheesy flavor and tones down the sweetness from the carrots.  Medium cheddar won’t cut it and you’ll have a very sweet tasting sauce.

For more creative ways to feed kids veggies, check out our meal plans.

For a homemade traditional version of stovetop macaroni and cheese, check out this recipe.

1.0 from 1 reviews
Better Than Boxed: MOMables Veggie Macaroni & Cheese
Cuisine: Dinner
Serves: 1
  • 1 cup steamed carrots or,
  • ½ cup carrot puree
  • ⅓ cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup cooked pasta
  1. Peel and wash the carrots. Cut into pieces. Steam until tender in the microwave or stovetop.
  2. In a blender/food processor, add steamed carrots, ricotta cheese, sharp Cheddar cheese, and milk.
  3. Pour cheesy veggie sauce over 1 cup cooked pasta.