This simple recipe template produces the easiest weeknight pasta dish ever… Kitchen sink pasta is tasty and nearly foolproof!
There’s a meme floating around on social media showing a woman face down on a chair captioned: “Why do they want dinner every single night?” Perhaps you’ve seen it? It makes me laugh every time it pops up, because I can totally relate…
My weeknight dinner formula (easy protein + simple side + salad or fruit) helps combat this feeling, as does the occasional declaration of a make-your-own-dinner night (leftovers, cold sandwiches, pizza rolls, even cold cereal, it’s all good!). But I also have one fallback “recipe” that’s literally the easiest ever pasta to throw together — I like to call it kitchen sink pasta.
Actually, I’m not sure I can even truly call it a recipe. It’s more of a recipe template that starts with two basics pantry staples you probably already have on hand: dry pasta and jarred pasta sauce. Of course, it helps to start with an excellent pasta and sauce, like the Barilla Blue Box Penne and Barilla Tomato & Basil Sauce pictured.
I’m always looking for products made with simple, high-quality ingredients at the grocery store, and Barilla products fit this criteria to a T. Plus, I truly appreciate their commitment to keeping their products GMO-free!
Kitchen Sink Pasta Recipe Template
Okay, so start by cooking the pasta according to the directions on the package. Make sure to salt the cooking water well — it does make a difference!
PRO TIP: Did you know you can make pasta in your Instant Pot? Using this Instant Pot pasta method can really cut down your pasta cooking time!!
And then I add three things to this easy weeknight pasta sauce:
- diced onions — Red, white, Vidalia, it doesn’t really matter. I take one of whatever I have on hand, dice it up, and throw it in a skillet with about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.
- diced veggies — Typically these are whatever looks like it’s not going to last much longer in the fridge: bell peppers, zucchini, squash, greens, you name it. Tossing food turns my stomach, so I try to use it up like this as much as possible. I add about two cups of diced veggies to the onions and cook until the onions are starting to turn translucent.
- ground meat — Use beef, chicken or turkey; choose your favorite! I just push the onion and veggie mixture out around the edges of the pan, and add the ground meat to the center, cooking and crumbling it until it’s cooked through. I also like to season the meat while it’s cooking with a little garlic powder, oregano, and salt & pepper for extra flavor.
When the meat is cooked through, add the whole jar of pasta sauce. Crank the heat up to high until the sauce starts to bubble, then turn it down to low and simmer until the pasta is done. This ridiculously simple pasta recipe can be made start to finish in well under 30 minutes!
Easy Weeknight Pasta Dish
Do you see now why I call it “kitchen sink pasta”? My kids always ask me “what’s in it tonight?”, and I reply with “everything but the kitchen sink.” :)
This easy weeknight pasta dish is the perfect way to use up all of those odds and ends that might get thrown out otherwise. Often I’ll just chop up veggies that are getting past their prime, toss them in a freezer Ziploc bag, and freeze them. Then I just add a few cups of the frozen veggies to the pan with the onions. You can even cook the ground meat ahead and freeze in portions, as well!
P.S. In case you’re wondering, for this batch I used up a Vidalia onion and yellow bell pepper (both going slightly soft) and a package of ground chicken. It was delicious!
10-Minute Zucchini Pasta Recipe
Want a change of pace from regular pasta? Learn how to make zucchini pasta with just 3 ingredients! Start with a bag of frozen zucchini noodles, and you can have this easy zucchini noodles recipe on your table in under 10 minutes… Low carb, gluten-free & Whole30 compliant.
Or this olive oil and garlic pasta sauce is ALWAYS a hit. Serve it over spaghetti for another super simple weeknight dinner option!
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