Pasta for Busy Nights

Welcome to May! Mother nature has pressed the reset button; the trees are in bloom and there are flowers lining the streets. Even though the skies are a bit grey, it's hard not to like spring, especially after the long, cold Canadian winter. It's just so nice to see the world alive, after months of cold days and people hiding in their homes.

Before I go on, I should apologize for not getting a post out last week. My world has been a bit crazy lately and there have been some extra drains on my time. It's hard to juggle everything some weeks, I'm sure that you understand. 

My busy schedule did give me this week's post idea though, quick meals. These days I'm noticing more and more people seem to be in the same boat as me, too much to do and too little time to do it in. The lunchroom at my office has an increased number of people buying their lunches because they "just don't have time" to cook. Although takeout is tempting, it can be hard on your wallet and your waistline if you  get it everyday. So that brings us to the heart of the matter, what can you cook when you have no time? Pasta of course!

I'm not actually going to give you a new recipe this week, instead I'm going to give you some links and ideas then you can take it from there. To cut down on prep time buy frozen veggies or pre-washed greens. It can be a bit more expense so watch for sales and coupons and stock up when you can. Jarred sauces can be high in salt and sugar, so make sure to read labels when you are shopping. Also consider alternative sauces like pesto, baba ghanoush and hummus. 

1) If you are short on time, buy some baba ghanoush and make a pasta salad.

2) Grab some canned pumpkin and whip up some pumpkin spaghetti.

3) Tuna noodle casserole makes a great weeknight meal.

4) Cook up your favorite pasta, throw in some cooked shrimp, baby spinach and some pesto. I like making this one in bulk when I have time and freezing it. However if you are in a rush pre-made will do just fine.

5) If you want a Thai feeling, cook up these noodles with a coconut milk based sauce.

6) Buy some cheese tortellini and a frozen Mediterranean vegetable blend, cook and toss together for a no prep meal. 

7) A frozen Asian vegetable blend, bottled peanut sauce and soba noodles make for a quick stir-fry on busy nights. 

8) Grape tomatoes, bell peppers, feta and cucumbers tossed with bottled Greek dressing and penne makes a yummy pasta salad. Add some black olives and tuna to kick it up a notch.

9) Pasta, black beans, salsa, frozen corn, and fresh bell peppers work great for a Tex-Mex inspired packed lunch. Don't forget to add some cheddar to finish it off.