A simple dinner that is ready in under thirty minutes! This pasta dish with a creamy tomato-basil sauce is packed with vegetables such as zucchini, mushroom, and sweet bell peppers.
The first is quinoa. Which, if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know probably can sense that about half of my dinner recipes include quinoa. Because it’s literally his favorite thing to eat and the rest of us really love it too. And the second is any kind of pasta with a red sauce. Give that boy some spaghetti and he will out-eat anyone. It’s pretty amazing really.
The same goes for veggies. And so I’m learning how to effectively “hide” vegetables into a dinner. I feel pretty sneaky and super proud all at the same time. This dinner has quite the amount of veggies snuck in and he gobbled every last bite of it. #momwin
Coat veggies in a red sauce, mix ’em with pasta, and I’ve got a winner dinner in both of our minds.
I mixed one can of this tomato-basil sauce with one can of alfredo sauce and BAM! Dressed-up and fancy pasta for the win. Oh, and I won’t tell anyone it took you a total of 20 seconds to make this incredible tasting sauce. A sauce that people are going to think you slaved over for hours. 😉
Anyways, you un-screwed two lids and mixed them together and you have the sauce. Awesome. So what other steps are there before dinner is ready?
The great news about this dish is you can pretty much pick and choose whatever veggies you want in here. I love the taste of zucchini and mushrooms with a red sauce, but if you have other veggies in mind then do whatever you like best! The pepper adds some nice crunch and flavor, but it too can be changed out for something else.
Try some corn, add some beans, seriously whatever you think sounds good with pasta and a creamy tomato-basil sauce. It’s the beauty of this dish.
Then some fresh cracked salt + pepper, shredded basil, and we are ready to call this good.
Unless of course you need cheese with everything (ahem. that’s me), and then you’ll want to mix in some shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese. Or both. Because YUM.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 and 1/2 cups chopped zucchini ~2 small zucchinis
- 1 and 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms ~1 small package
- 1 cup chopped red pepper ~1 large pepper
- 1 box pasta shells
- 1 jar (24 ounces) Tomato and Basil Sauce I use Bertolli
- 1 jar (15 ounces) Garlic Alfredo Sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Italian seasoning to taste
- Red pepper flakes optional for some heat
- 1 and 1/2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend*
- Fresh basil optional
In a large pot or a deep skillet, add in the olive oil and minced garlic. Stir around for about 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
Add in the chopped zucchini, sliced mushrooms, and red pepper.
Cook until crisp tender and then remove from heat and set aside.
In the same pot, cook the pasta shells according to package directions.
Drain and return to the pot. Turn on the heat to medium heat and add in the sautéed vegetables along with both the tomato & basil sauce + garlic alfredo sauce in the large pot.
Stir everything together and add seasonings to taste. Definitely add salt and pepper, then Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes if desired and to taste preference.
Stir in the cheese and mix until well melted. (Add less or more cheese as desired to personal preference - taste in between adding each 1/2 cup)
Coarsely chop some fresh basil and mix it in if desired.
*We've also tried this dish with no cheese and LOVED it! If you aren't a big cheese fan or want to save some calories, try it without cheese first and see if you like it 🙂
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