I have to admit I do not cook pasta very often, except in the summer as it makes an easy and inexpensive dinner. With today’s rising food prices, I think about what we eat. This is actually quite easy as my husband shops the bargains.

Often I don’t know what I will be cooking. Creating dishes that will last for two meals makes me happy because I feel like I have the night off on the second night. I do buy whole grain pasta as that eliminates the guilt.

Using leftover meat and veggies is economical and costs just a few dollars. There are no side dishes with the meal as it is a one plate extravaganza. Serve the salads with a glass of chilled white wine and dinner is ready.

To make up for the pasta guilt, using a ton of veggies creates a nutritious meal. I am going to share a vegetarian pasta and a favorite beef and broccoli pasta with you. As always, my recipes are easy to follow and budget friendly.

Pasta with Veggies

Ingredients

12 ounces of any type of pasta cooked according to directions

1 cup of chopped collard greens of swiss chard

1 cup of chopped spinach

1 cup of chopped chinese celery

1/2 cup of chopped parsley

1 cup of thinly sliced carrots

1 cup of chopped yellow neck squash

3 chopped garlic cloves

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup of water or vegetable broth

1 cup of pumpkin seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Dressing

1 cup of low fat sour cream

Juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon each of tarragon, oregano and marjoram

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce

Directions

  • In a large frying pan heat the oil.
  • Add all of the veggies and garlic and cook until tender.
  • Add water or veggie broth as needed.
  • Set the veggies aside and cool.
  • Thoroughly blend all the dressing ingredients together.
  • Mix the veggies and pasta together.
  • Blend the dressing in with the pasta and veggies and mix thoroughly.
  • Stir the pumpkin seeds in gently.
  • Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

*The salad will keep in the fridge for about three days.

Beef and Pasta Salad

I make this salad when I have left over beef, but since I love meat this doesn’t happen very often.

Ingredients

A 12-ounce package of any shape pasta cooked following the directions on the package

2 cups of sliced cook beef of any kind

1 cup each of raw chopped broccoli, celery and sweet red peppers

1 cup of sliced water chestnuts

1 cup of chopped cilantro

Dressing

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup of wine vinegar

2 tablespoons each of ginger, turmeric, curry powder, cumin and garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Add all the veggies to the cooled pasta and blend well.
  • Blend all the dressing ingredients together, except for the water chestnuts, and stir.
  • Slowly pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
  • Blend in the water chestnuts.
  • Chill the salad for at least two hours.

*The salad will keep in the fridge for two days if you used left over beef.

**You can substitute with chicken, pork or shrimp if you don’t have beef.

Do you have any pasta recipes that you enjoy? Do you find yourself looking for more economical meals these days? Do you enjoy cooking simple recipes for the summer? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Carol StanleyCarol Stanley has many interests in life including writing, reading, cooking, biking and speaking. However, she feels most passionate about her painting which she says keeps her centered and content. Her art appears on Fine Art America. You can also visit Carol’s website at http://feelbettereveryday.blogspot.com where her book, Feel Better Every Day, is available for sale.

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