Mom of two Mischievous Monkeys: Build your own pasta {Easy dinner for busy families} #shop

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Build your own pasta {Easy dinner for busy families} #shop

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

It's the start of a new year, and like many people I have made some goals for the coming year. One of those is to continue to work on eating healthier. I would like to find new ideas for the kids lunches/snacks and find fun ways to encourage them to eat healthy foods.

As adults we want more sophisticated foods than the grilled cheese, pizza and french fries our kids would be more than happy to eat all the time, we also need meals that are quick to prepare to fit into our busy lifestyle. For us pasta is always something that everyone loves and is quick and easy to prepare.

This was perfect timing to take part in a #CollectiveBias shop for Presidents Choice Blue Menu Products. As I cruised the aisles I was surprised by how many Blue Menu Products I found that I had never noticed before, even though I have long been using these products. I really like that there is a wide variety of blue menu products that help contribute to eating healthy with less fat and sodium, increased fibre, and other nutritional benefits yet not compromising on taste.

I chose to have a Build your own pasta {surefire hit with the kids} dish night, allowing everyone to customize their food to their liking and providing the "fun factor" to get the kids excited about their dinner. My daughter even declared that she loved broccoli and {with a slight bit of coaching} ate about half of it. Thankfully I already had some precooked gluten free pasta in the fridge for myself.

One of the new items we tried was the roasted garlic seasoning mix paired with the scallops. I am a huge garlic fan and will quite often add in at least a few cloves of fresh crushed garlic to our meals. The PC Blue Menu roasted garlic seasoning was a great substitute when in a time crunch. It added a great zest to our sauteed scallops while not being overwhelming. 

 To round out the meal we added steamed asparagus and broccoli, bacon, Alfredo sauce, Parmesan cheese, and sauteed mushrooms to give plenty of choice for everyone.

 The kids enjoyed picking out their toppings and as you can see it was easy to customize for the kids simpler taste and more sophisticated adult tastes.

Some of my other stand by ideas to conquer the dinnertime rush are:
  • Using a crock pot {or two} to prepare simple meals that can be ready at the end of a busy day such as a whole chicken or roast along with mashed potatoes in a second crock pot. Steam up some frozen veggies and dinner is ready. This can also result in some leftover meat that is great for being turned into stir fry or casserole with some quick add-ins.
  • Cooking dinner the night before. Quite often I will both prep and cook a casserole the night before to allow for easy reheating paired with a salad the next day.
  • Double duty - I like to make things such as chicken fingers for dinner one night with enough extra to used in a wrap with lettuce and veggies for a grab and go meal. 
  • Prep ahead - When I buy meat in bulk I like to cut and marinate meat for stir fries and then freeze so it is ready to cook when needed.
Dinner time can be a fun, family event even with a busy schedule with a little bit of planning ahead of time.

Alfredo pasta with bacon, scallops and vegetables

Printable Recipe

1 bag scallops
Jar Alfredo sauce
Fresh garlic or garlic seasoning
16 stalks asparagus
One head broccoli
6 pieces of bacon
One box pasta
6-8 mushrooms
Grated Parmesan Cheese


Bring water to a boil for pasta and cook according to package directions when ready. Saute bacon in skillet. Remove bacon, let cool and break apart or cut into pieces. Saute mushrooms in frying pan and grate Parmesan cheese. 

Cut up one head of broccoli into smaller florets and snap ends off asparagus and cut into bite size pieces. Peas would also make a great substitute for the broccoli or asparagus.  Then simply steam the vegetables, I use my steamer basket on the stove top, bu this could be done using your microwave.

Just before pasta is done saute the scallops for a couple minutes each side in the leftover bacon grease (removing some if there is too much), shaking on the garlic seasoning or adding fresh minced garlic.

Heat pasta sauce and once the pasta is cooked serve it in a big bowl alongside the toppings and let everyone create their very own pasta dish!


  1. That's such a good idea - having "customized" pasta dishes! Love it!

  2. I can't eat scallops but this recipe sure does sound yummy! #client

    1. You could try it with chicken! It would be an easy substitution and would taste great too!

  3. You make it look so easy! :-)