It happens at least once a year — your favorite jarred tomato sauce goes on sale and you stock up — enough to feed an army sometimes. While nothing beats homemade sauce, sometimes the jarred varieties are a reliable substitute for quick weeknight dinners.
It’s certainly a must-have in the pantry, along with pasta and one of Melissa d’Arabian’s favorites — dried beans. But sometimes you can fall into a rut, using it the same ol’ way. Not anymore. Food Network Magazine has taken a household staple and provided 50 different ways to incorporate it into recipes like Spanish rice, minestrone soup and Italian meatloaf.
Looking for a way to liven up baked potatoes? Try Pizza Potatoes (No. 21). Make a deep slit in baked potatoes, then stuff with some pasta sauce, chopped pepperoni and shredded mozzarella, and bake at 400 degrees F until the cheese melts.
Browse the photo gallery for more ideas
Perhaps the ultimate family-friendly meal, lasagna is a no-fail favorite that shines at both Sunday suppers and everyday weeknight dinners alike. All it takes to make a timeless Italian recipe is meat, cheese, pasta and sauce, but thanks to some of your Food Network chefs like Alton, Ina, Paula, Giada and Rachael, it’s simple to transform the classic into an extra-special dish. Check out Food Network’s top five lasagna recipes below to learn the stars’ secrets to easy, deliciously dressed-up lasagna, then browse Food Network’s entire collection of lasagna recipes for more fuss-free meal ideas.
5. Enchilada Lasagna — Alton relies on a homemade enchilada sauce featuring chipotle chiles, fresh garlic, cumin and tomato sauce to marry flavors in his Mexican-inspired lasagna, filled with tender chicken and topped with queso fresco before being baked until bubbly.
4. Turkey Lasagna — Swap out classic beef or pork and replace with sweet Italian turkey sausage to make Ina’s big-batch lasagna, featuring four different cheeses, including Parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta and goat cheeses.
Get the top three recipes
Here in Food Network Kitchens, we love simple, classic recipes. We are also paid to think about food all day. So we’ve taken classic foods and drinks and reimagined them in three, four or five different ways. No standard recipes here, just the occasional technique and pictures. Think of them as picture recipes.
There is nothing better than snuggling up to a big bowl of mac and cheese. We’ve taken this classic comfort food and spun it in four fun and different ways. From French onion to dessert mac and cheese, these twists might change your view on an old favorite.
First, start with the classic version
This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week uses low-fat cream cheese to construct the perfect substitute for cream in this lighter alfredo by Food Network Magazine. It creates a thick, luxurious texture without extra calories.
For more recipe inspiration for healthy weeknight dinners, visit Food Network’s Let’s Get Healthy Board on Pinterest.
Get the recipe: Food Network Magazine’s Low-Cal Fettuccine Alfredo
My most vivid memories of childhood are those ones in which my family is seated around our dining room table. I remember discussing potential Halloween costumes over stuffed green peppers and soldiering through those first cold nights of winter over big bowls of chicken and rice soup.
Different eras of my childhood are so deeply linked to the meals we ate frequently during those years that I still can’t eat those dishes without recalling long-past moments. Avocados and plums taste like my earliest days in Southern California. Fried eggs served on steamed white rice with a side of pickled ginger take me back to the months after my parents returned from a trip to Hawaii.
There’s one meal that we ate a lot during my high school and college years and even a single bite of it transports me. It was chicken breast (quickly cooked with garlic) and sauteed zucchini and baby spinach (often straight from the backyard garden) heaped on top of angel hair pasta (highly valued by my mother because it cooked quickly) and topped with a shower of grated Parmesan cheese.
Before you start boiling your pasta, read these tips:
There are two kinds of people: those who bake and those who don’t bake – their macaroni and cheese, that is. For some, the classic combination of tender pasta and a creamy cheese sauce just isn’t complete until it’s been finished in the oven with even more cheese and perhaps a crunchy topping, but for others, this hearty, comforting meal is ready to eat just as soon as the stovetop mixture is made. For Meatless Monday dinner this week, try switching up your usual macaroni and cheese routine with these no-fail recipes for baked and no-bake versions of this family favorite.
Boasting four different kinds of cheeses — Havarti, Cheddar, American and Parmesan — Food Network Magazine‘s big-batch Baked Macaroni and Cheese (pictured above) is a fill-you-up dinner that will wow kids and grown-ups alike. To prepare, create a thick, rich sauce of butter, dry mustard and the melted cheeses, and mix it with partially cooked pasta. Once in a casserole dish, top the macaroni with extra cheese and a blanket of crunchy butter crackers before baking it until the cheese is piping hot and deliciously gooey.
You’ve made it to the day before Thanksgiving, and by now you’re practically counting down the hours until T-Day, right? Even with all of the prep work that likely needs to be finished before tomorrow, the question of tonight’s dinner remains. While it may be tempting and admittedly easy to rely on pizza or takeout, if you’re planning on pulling off the ultimate Thanksgiving feast tomorrow, you can surely handle a no-fuss made-at-home dinner tonight, especially if that dinner is quick-cooking pasta.
One of the easiest meals to make in a hurry, pasta is endlessly versatile, and when you’re cooking for what’s possibly a houseful of extended family, simple, adaptable dinners are downright necessary. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite pasta recipes, each ready to enjoy in just 25 minutes or less.
Rich and comforting, Food Network Magazine’s Penne With Vodka Sauce (pictured above) is a top-rated pasta that’s packed with decadent ingredients. To prepare, sauté sweet shallots with fresh garlic and just a pinch of red pepper flakes, then add a splash of vodka, tomatoes and smooth heavy cream. Since the sauce will need to cook for at least 10 minutes after the vodka is added, the alcohol in it should cook off, and what will be left is a thick mixture just waiting to be tossed with noodles and nutty Parmesan cheese.
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Learning to make one or two pantry meals was one of the best things I ever did for my grocery budget. These are the dishes that you can easily cook up with the slow-to-perish items that you regularly keep in your fridge, freezer and cupboards. They are lifesavers on those nights when you get home late from work and you’re on the verge of calling for takeout. Knowing that you can throw together a pasta dish or something made from rice, beans and a tasty simmer sauce will keep your fingers from dialing your local pizza joint nearly every time.
I have several recipes that can be made from my kitchen staples and I turn to them regularly, particularly as the days get shorter and colder (who wants to dash out for last-minute ingredients when the wind is whipping?).
One of my very favorite pantry meals has been a quick baked pasta dish. You cook up any short, chunky kind of noodle you have knocking around the cabinet. While it boils, you simmer together onion, garlic, a big can of tomatoes and some frozen spinach. Once the pasta is done, you stir it into the sauce, scoop the whole mess into a baking dish, top with whatever odds and ends of cheese you have in the fridge and bake just until the cheese bubbles.
Before you toast your breadcrumbs, read these tips
‘Tis the season for all things pumpkin, right? This fall, Food Network Magazine is thinking beyond pumpkin bread and pumpkin seeds with a family-friendly recipe for Tortellini With Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce. It’s a go-to weeknight meal that’s as decadent and satisfying as it is quick to prepare. In just 20 minutes, you can combine Alfredo mainstays like cream and nutty Parmesan cheese with the seasonal flavors of nutmeg and pumpkin to create a rich, hearty sauce that pairs perfectly with bite-sized cheese tortellini. When you’re shopping for the ingredients to the make this recipe, be sure to pick up pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling – the two cans can be scary-similar to one another, and the pie filling will be too sweet in this savory dish.
Everybody has their favorite memory of a perfect pasta dish. My own came during a visit to a small restaurant in Rome where I was presented with a plate of Bucatini All’Amatricana, made with the tubular pasta and a spicy sauce containing guanciale (cured pig jowls). As I travel the globe eating the weird and the wonderful, it is often this comforting bowl of pasta that I recall and crave the most.
Pasta is such a familiar ingredient in the United States that it is often all too easy to take it for granted. There are few people who don’t have at least one type of pasta in their store cupboard and if you were to walk down the aisles of any supermarket, you would have to take off your shoes and socks to help you count the fresh and dried varieties now offered.
Despite its ubiquity, however, there is something about a beautifully prepared pasta dish that is very hard to beat and I hope you were as excited as I was by the way that the Iron Chef and their challenger brought a new spin to such a classic ingredient last night.
Given that pasta is, I suspect, so familiar to everyone who will read this, I thought I would stray from the normal format for these features and instead give you 10 interesting things you may not know about pasta.
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