I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Mom Central for the National Pasta Association. I received pasta samples and a stipend to facilitate the creation of pasta recipes as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
Now that Halloween has passed and the temperatures seem to have permanently dropped, I realize that I have to admit that the holidays are truly right around the corner.
However, as well as making plans for family gatherings, purchasing and wrapping gifts, figuring out what my kids will do during their time off from school and more, it's time to focus on the food. After all, what would the holidays be without delicious meals?
Around here, there are traditional items that grace our dinner table (did you know that 46 million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving?) as well as those that are not. The combination of planning a meal that kids will enjoy with one that is filling for those non-meaters in our family nearly always leads to a dish that anyone and everyone is sure to enjoy: pasta!
I've said it before and I'll say it again, we love pasta!
Pasta can fit into our busy lifestyle with easy, quick, and wholesome meal possibilities, while consistently being a budget-friendly option that is versatile enough to please every palate during any occasion.
And, over the past few months, I've had a great time learning even more about all of the great aspects of pasta thanks to the recipes, nutrition information, contests and promotions, cooking tips, pasta facts and more found at PastaFits.org.
If you've already visited Pasta Fits, then you know that it is a nutrition and culinary education and resource initiative sponsored by the National Pasta Association. Whether you have questions about the health benefits of pasta, are interested in finding new shapes to introduce to your family, want inspiration for all sorts of tasty recipes, or much more, PastaFits.org has the answers!
Recently, in my quest to come up with a few new, delicious ways to incorporate pasta into our holiday meals, I spent some time reading the Sauce Tips that Pasta Fits has listed. I found quite a few that I knew needed to be incorporated into my creations, including:
- When creating an impromptu pasta dish, remember that "less is more" and limit the number of ingredients that you use.
- Instead of creating sauce out of cream and butter, start with a base of broth, vegetables, or vegetable purees and add fresh herbs for flavor.
- Use a blender or a juicer to create your own combinations of vegetable purees. Then just bring to a simmer with your favorite herbs and spices and toss with pasta.
- Don’t be afraid to substitute ingredients. If you plan to use zucchini in a pasta sauce, but the eggplant looks particularly good, substitute the eggplant.
Butternut Squash with Goat Cheese Pasta
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
1 onion, diced into ½-inch pieces
Salt and pepper, for seasoning
16 oz pasta
6-8 ounces goat cheese
1 cup chopped fresh basil
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with vegetable oil cooking spray. Arrange the squash and onion in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for to 40 to 45 minutes, flipping halfway through.
While vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to al dente directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Put the pasta, goat cheese and pasta water in a large serving bowl, stirring until all of the cheese has melted. Add the squash and onion as well as the basil. Toss well and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with Parmesan and serve.
No matter if you are bored with your weekly schedule of meals or just want to find some new recipes to wow your friends and family this holiday season, you'll want to head over to the Pasta Fits website to discover all sorts of information, tips, recipes and more that your whole family is sure to love.
Pasta is great to pair with fiber-filled vegetables and beans, heart healthy fish and oils, antioxidant-rich tomato sauce and protein-packed poultry and lean meats and PastaFits.org has all sorts of great ways to do just that! You'll also want to connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to stay up-to-date on all things pasta and to share your love of this much-loved brain and muscle fuel.