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Kitchen Sink Pasta | Super Easy Weeknight Dinner Template

This simple recipe template produces the easiest weeknight pasta dish ever… Kitchen sink pasta is tasty and nearly foolproof!

Kitchen Sink Pasta -- this simple recipe template produces the easiest weeknight pasta dish ever… Tasty and nearly foolproof! | easy pasta dishes | healthy pasta dishes | simple pasta dishes | pasta dish recipes | 30 minute meals | get the recipe on unsophisticook.com

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.

Kitchen Sink Pasta -- this simple recipe template produces the easiest weeknight pasta dish ever… Tasty and nearly foolproof! | easy pasta dishes | healthy pasta dishes | simple pasta dishes | pasta dish recipes | 30 minute meals | get the recipe on unsophisticook.com

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 -- this simple recipe template produces the easiest weeknight pasta dish ever… Tasty and nearly foolproof! | easy pasta dishes | healthy pasta dishes | simple pasta dishes | pasta dish recipes | 30 minute meals | get the recipe on unsophisticook.com

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! And then I add three things to the 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 easy weeknight meal can be made start to finish in well under 30 minutes!

Kitchen Sink Pasta -- this simple recipe template produces the easiest weeknight pasta dish ever… Tasty and nearly foolproof! | easy pasta dishes | healthy pasta dishes | simple pasta dishes | pasta dish recipes | 30 minute meals | get the recipe on unsophisticook.com

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!

Kitchen Sink Pasta -- this simple recipe template produces the easiest weeknight pasta dish ever… Tasty and nearly foolproof! | easy pasta dishes | healthy pasta dishes | simple pasta dishes | pasta dish recipes | 30 minute meals | get the recipe on unsophisticook.com

Kitchen Sink Pasta

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This simple recipe template produces the easiest weeknight pasta dish ever… Kitchen sink pasta is tasty and nearly foolproof!

Ingredients

  • 1 (16-oz.) box Barilla Penne
  • 1 (24-oz.) jar Barilla Tomato & Basil Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups diced veggies (peppers, zucchini, etc.)
  • 1-lb. ground meat (beef, chicken, turkey)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, making sure to salt the water adequately.
  2. Add the olive oil to a large skillet, and sauté the onion and veggies over medium heat, until the onions start to turn translucent.
  3. Push the veggies to the perimeter of the skillet, and add the ground meat to the center. Sprinkle meat with garlic powder and oregano, and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook and crumble until cooked through, then mix the veggies and meat together.
  4. Add the entire jar of pasta sauce to the mixture, and turn the burner up to high. When the sauce starts bubbling, turn the heat down to low and simmer until the pasta is finished cooking. 
  5. Serve warm, topped with grated Parmesan cheese to taste.

How much did you LOVE this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #unsophisticook!

how to make zucchini pasta with 3 ingredients

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.

This is a sponsored conversation on behalf of Barilla; all opinions and text are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this site!

Kitchen Sink Pasta -- this simple recipe template produces the easiest weeknight pasta dish ever… Tasty and nearly foolproof! | easy pasta dishes | healthy pasta dishes | simple pasta dishes | pasta dish recipes | 30 minute meals | get the recipe on unsophisticook.com
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Cindy

Saturday 5th of August 2017

This sounds delish!! I make this very similar. I add a can of tomato sauce to the Barilla sauce to help stretch the sauce and when all is done and the Penne is al dente, I add a package of mozzarella cheese. Stir until melted. This is one of my husbands favorites and I like it because it is so easy!!