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Now that the kids are back in school and with all of our family activities, I am trying to balance our evenings. Between homework, and running kids to and from activities it is hard to find the time to make dinner. Now that my kids are feeling the pressure of being back to school it is important to me that they have a hearty filling meal at dinnertime for them. So, I am always on the look out for meals that are not only delicious but fast and easy.
I love when I find products that cut my dinner preparation time in half. I recently found Barilla® Pronto™ pasta and sauces at my local Wal-mart store. While at the store I was reading the packaging to see what this new Barilla® Pronto™ pasta was. While reading I found out that you don’t have to wait for the water to boil, no draining of water is required and it is great for one pan meals! Normally when I make pasta dishes I have to wait for the water to boil and end up with 2-3 dirty dishes so, all of these concepts were very appealing to me. I immediately added the Barilla® Pronto™ penne pasta and also a jar of Barilla® pesto sauce to my cart. Did you know For every box of Barilla® Pronto™ purchased at Walmart between 7/31/2016 and 10/31/2016, Barilla® will donate 10 meals to kids in need through No Kid Hungry, up to half-a-million meals.*
Not only is the Barilla® pesto sauce packed full of nutrients I also thought since my garden is in full bloom it would be great to add some garden fresh vegetables to my Pasta dinner dish. I went to my garden and picked out some zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and sweet peppers. My kids love to get involved in picking, washing and dicing the vegetables so I let them help me.
Where this is a one pot recipe it comes together rather fast! I have precooked chicken that I prepare in advance by cooking it, dicing it and freeze storing it for nights that I need a quick meal. Once I decided to put my meal together using the Barilla® Pronto™ pasta and sauce I pulled out the chicken from the freezer and began dicing my vegetables.
I started cooking the pasta and continued chopping vegetables and got ingredients ready for the cheese sauce. I followed the exact cooking directions on the box of Barilla® Pronto™penne pasta.
After the Barilla® Pronto™penne pasta was done cooking, I left the pasta in the pot and slid it over to one side then I added 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour, I mixed the flour and butter and let it cook for 2 minutes to create a roux.
Next I added 2 cups of milk and incorporated the milk into the flour butter mixture. Then I added 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and mixed everything in the pot together to form a cheese sauce. I poured the entire Jar of Barilla® pesto sauce into the pasta and cheese sauce mix and stirred it until was mixed through.
Last I added the pre-cooked chopped chicken and a few chopped vegetables. I stirred in the chicken and vegetables and cooked them until they were heated through. Now if your kids are anything like mine they are not huge fans of a lot of vegetables. I made sure I chopped up some of the vegetables really small and only added a few to the pot to start.
Once I had my kids plates dished up I added more vegetables to the pot and served my husband and I. I like to find ways to sneak vegetables in my kids meals but I enjoy a little more in my own meal.
I love the fact that I can throw in my vegetables, chicken and pasta all at once to cook!
- 1 box Barilla® Pronto™ penne pasta
- 1 jar Barilla® pesto sauce
- 2 T. butter
- 2 T. flour
- 2 cups Milk
- 2 cups Cheddar Cheese
- 2 cups pre-cooked chicken diced
- 1 small zucchini diced
- 1 small yellow squash diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes diced
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Slide pasta to one side of the pan and add 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour, mix the flour and butter and let it cook for 2 minutes to create a roux. Add 2 cups of Milk and 2 cups of cheddar cheese stir over medium high until for 2-3 minutes until cheese melts and forms a sauce. Add Jar of pesto sauce and stir until incorporated. Add diced pre-cooked chicken, zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes, mix with pasta and cheese sauce cook until vegetables and chicken are heated through.
$1.00 can provide a child 10 healthy meals. This amount is based on individual experiences of grant recipients. Contributions will be used to reach the highest number of children facing hunger in America. Share Our Strength is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.
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