The brilliance of one-pot pasta dinners is that you get family-favorite flavors without the mess of dirtying up multiple pots, pans, and utensils.
Most one-pot pastas require you to cook the pasta inside the dish’s sauce, but we have a combination of pasta options here: A few cook the pasta in the sauce, a few cook the pasta first and add it back later, and a few rely on one of our new favorite convenience ingredients—microwaveable pasta.
We start with one of our new fall favorites—and a featured dinner on this week’s Quick & Healthy Meal Plan—Roasted Fall Vegetables with Creamy Penne. This dish technically requires two dishes to cook, but only barely. You’ll roast the vegetables on a sheet pan, and then combine them quickly with cooked pasta and a container of refrigerated Alfredo sauce. The crispy bits of Brussels sprouts, creamy butternut squash, and salty bacon are the perfect complement to cheesy Alfredo.
The great thing about cherry tomatoes is that they’re available virtually year around because they grow so easily just about anywhere. They’re little bright bursts of acid and tang, which are welcomed reminders of summer as we move toward cooler months. We use a pint of multicolored cherry tomatoes to turn quick-cooking refrigerated tortellini into a decadent family dinner for this Two-Tomato Tortellini. To make this truly one pot, cook the pasta, drain it, and then use the same dish to make the sauce. Add the tortellini back and let warm for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.
Skillet Spinach-Tomato Mac and Cheese is a family-friendly one-dish dinner you’re going to find is on repeat regularly once you make it. Heat cooks down an entire bag of spinach to a cup or so, and that’s easy to hide in your macaroni and cheese. Kids will be happy to have their favorite dish, and you’ll be happy you’re sneaking in some vegetables and green goodness.
Spinach can produce a lot of water when it’s cooked down. After you wilt the spinach, set it in a bowl. Drain any excess water before you toss it back into your pasta to prevent watery macaroni and cheese.
The great thing about our Kid-Friendly Meal Plan is the wide variety of dishes we feature each week. From sandwiches like Sloppy Joes to vegetable-packed pastas like this Colorful Chicken-and-Bacon Pasta, you can feel good serving your kids—and yourself—the delicious dinners from this plan.
We’re using the term “pasta” a bit liberally here, but truthfully, it’s a very close second. Instead of noodles, we cut ribbons of flour tortilla for these Cheesy Skillet Burritos—which we featured on the Quick & Healthy Meal Plan—and then cook those down into the meat mixture for a pasta-like texture. Corn tortillas will fall apart and disintegrate in the moist meat mixture, so use flour ones for the best results.
Temps turn cooler across the country right about now, so comforting bowls of ragù are one of our favorite ways to warm up at dinner. We cut the beef in this Beef-Eggplant Ragù with Elbow Pasta with eggplant to add filling fiber, plus other vitamins and minerals. To make this truly one dish, cook the pasta, and drain it. Then use the same pan to make the ragù mixture. Add the elbow pasta back just before serving to warm it up again.
Super simple suppers like these one-pot pastas are a hallmark on our more than 20 meal plans each week. Even on plans that skip pasta, we’ve created genius ways to use rice, quinoa, and other grains to make one-dish dinners that come together with less stress and mess, like this Mediterranean Chicken-and-Bulgur Skillet.