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Kids Cook Monday: Garlic Cheese Pasta is an Easy Family Dinner

Updated on March 6, 2015

Use Packaged Ravioli or Tortellini for a Quick Easy Family Dinner

For any family with kids, pasta is usually a favorite meal.

At our home, pasta is on the menu at least once a week. Yet, my husband and I have found that the same old spaghetti or macaroni and cheese recipes can get old.

Did you know that in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, you can find amazing pre-made, filled pastas, including ravioli and tortellini? By themselves, or tossed with canned pasta sauce, they can be pretty tasty.

We like to reduce our family's consumption of salt, sugar and fat, while sneaking healthy veggies into a pasta meal that everyone enjoys. With a few creative stir-ins, you can make an easy and healthy meal in less time than it takes to swing by the fast food drive-in.

Garlic Cheese Pasta is a recipe you can have on the table within 15 minutes. Simply add fresh, vegetables, healthy olive oil and - of course - lots of garlic and some Parmesan cheese to your choice of stuffed pasta, and watch it disappear!

The recipe below is for a vegetarian family dinner. For those that want to add protein to the meal, there are additional suggested stir-ins below.

Garlic Cheese Pasta
Garlic Cheese Pasta | Source

Ingredients for Garlic Cheese Pasta

We came up with this recipe simply by looking in our refrigerator one evening for some vegetables to add to a package of ravioli. I had forgotten to pick up tomato sauce and didn't want to go back out to the store!

I starting with the idea of tossing boiled pasta with olive oil and Parmesan cheese, but then considered that veggies like asparagus, tomatoes and spinach would be healthy additions.

In addition, the bright green and red would liven up the appearance of the pasta, creating an attractive dish (of course I am probably the only one in my home that cares what the meal looks like, but I love to take pride in the presentation!)

  • 1 20-ounce package cheese ravioli or cheese tortellini, serving 4-6 (from the refrigerated section of the grocery store)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • 2 cups chopped fresh roma or heirloom tomatoes (about 3 whole tomatoes)
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 4-5 cloves chopped garlic (less or more to your personal taste)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Ingredients for garlic cheese pasta (vegetarian style)
Ingredients for garlic cheese pasta (vegetarian style) | Source

Cook Time for Garlic Cheese Pasta

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: 4-6 servings

Prepare Garlic Cheese Pasta in Less than 15 Minutes!

This family dinner recipe is so easy and delicious, you'll never resort to frozen pizza or chicken nuggets again! You can prepare garlic cheese ravioli in less than 15 minutes.

  1. Start by bringing 6 cups of water to a rolling boil in a 3 quart saucepan.
  2. Add cheese ravioli (or any other choice of fresh, stuffed pasta) and continue to boil for 4-6 minutes
  3. In a separate fry pan or large skillet, heat olive oil, then add garlic, tomatoes and asparagus. Stir fry for 3 minutes, then remove from heat. Add spinach to pan and stir fry until wilted. Stir vegetables together
  4. Drain the ravioli, then add to the pan with the vegetables. Stir to coat completely.
  5. Serve pasta with a sprinkling of sea salt and shredded Parmesan cheese to taste

This recipe makes 6 servings. In my house, we double it to make sure everyone gets enough!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Asparagus and tomatoes for stir fryVeggies set aside before wilting the spinachSpinach before wilting for the recipeStirring the cooked pasta together with the vegetables
Asparagus and tomatoes for stir fry
Asparagus and tomatoes for stir fry | Source
Veggies set aside before wilting the spinach
Veggies set aside before wilting the spinach | Source
Spinach before wilting for the recipe
Spinach before wilting for the recipe | Source
Stirring the cooked pasta together with the vegetables
Stirring the cooked pasta together with the vegetables | Source

Other Stir-In Ideas for Garlic Cheese Pasta

If asparagus is not in season, or your family doesn't like tomatoes, try using 2 cups of sliced, chopped red and green peppers instead. One cup of small broccoli florets is another option to replace the green vegetables.

If you prefer a non-vegetarian family dinner, add 1 cup of cooked chopped bacon, or 1 cup of thinly sliced Prosciutto ham to the cooked and drained pasta.

No matter which stir-in options you decide on, don't forget to add the garlic and cheese! As an alternative to Parmesan Cheese, try shredded Romano or another hard white cheese, instead.

My twins love Garlic Cheese Pasta!
My twins love Garlic Cheese Pasta! | Source

Garlic Cheese Pasta is Inexpensive, Healthy and Less Messy Than Sauced-Based Recipes

I love the healthy quality of this recipe and the fact that it doesn't use expensive, messy sauces. The addition of a little olive oil, garlic and stir-fried vegetables (or other suggested stir-ins above) is enough "sauce" for the ravioli or tortellini.

We serve the garlic cheese pasta with tossed green salad and french bread or rolls. If there are leftovers (not usually the case), the dish is delicious cold, or it can be reheated easily in the microwave.

Check out the smiles on my kids' faces above, and you'll see that this family recipe is a big hit!

The first time my oldest son tried this pasta recipe, he asked, "Did you guys go to the Olive Garden tonight?" after spooning leftover dinner into his bowl. No higher praise could be obtained from a 14-year old boy! And, making our own pasta dinner cost about $10 total for all the ingredients to serve our family of 6, as opposed to the $60 or so it would have cost us to eat out. We couldn't even pick up fast food for our family for less than $20 these days.

Convinced to try this easy family dinner recipe? If you do, please let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Rate this Garlic Cheese Pasta Recipe!

5 stars from 1 rating of Garlic Cheese Pasta

Would Your Family Eat Pasta With Veggies Instead of Sauce?

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© 2012 Stephanie Hicks

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    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      6 years ago from Western NC

      This looks absolutely delicious. I can't wait to try it. Not only that, if it's easy enough for the kids, maybe I can get my husband to make it. ;)

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi duffsmom, we used the sprinkle Kraft Parmesan cheese, but grated would be delicious too! Might want to brush some melted butter on the top of the rolls first to help the cheese "stick." Best, Steph

    • duffsmom profile image

      P. Thorpe Christiansen 

      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Glad to have found this one. Sounds wonderful. Do you use grated parmesan or the sprinkle stuff that Kraft puts out? Love parmesan cheese on anything!

    • CreateHubpages profile image

      CreateHubpages 

      6 years ago

      Pasta is one of my favorite dish.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi livingpah - if you want a change from Indian food, then you might enjoy the Garlic Cheese Pasta! Cheers, Steph

    • livingpah2004 profile image

      Milli 

      6 years ago from USA

      Garlic cheese pasta is really attempting. Thank you so much for giving me an idea for tonight`s diner. I am tired eating an Indian food everyday.

      Voted up and useful!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Moonlake, hope your granddaughters love the recipe! All the best, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks Peggy! I've also found that the more often I serve veggies (especially mixed in with pasta), the less likely my kids are to complain about eating healthy. :) Best, Steph

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      6 years ago from America

      Our granddaughters love this kind of food. Will have to keep this recipe.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What an easy way to make a quick and simple meal even healthier and even more delicious. I have added extra veggies to pasta also but will remember this combination and try it soon. Voted up, useful and will share so that others can enjoy. Your kids really do look happy! :)

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      LOL - have fun Robie!!

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 

      6 years ago from Central New Jersey

      So simple even a kid can do it-- that's meeeeeeeeee and I can't wait to try this--sounds great

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks you Victoria! Frozen ravioli would definitely work for this recipe. (I also wish there was a delicious button for the votes... :) Hope you enjoy it. Best, Steph

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Looks great! Voted up and lots of others; wish there was a "delicious" button! I actually have frozen ravioli (cheese, I think) in the freezer right now, and this recipe looks like such a refreshing change from the usual sauce. Sometimes the best recipes come from creating something with the ingredients we have. Great hub, Steph!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Hendrika, hopefully the delicious smell of the garlic and cheese will convince your granddaughter to try this pasta recipe. All the best, Steph

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 

      6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Thanks for the recipe. My granddaughter loves pasta, but not always vegetables, so I will try this one on her.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Well, I am always looking for easy pasta recipes, so it would be great if you published a hub on your dish too! Thanks for the comment, anginwu - cheers, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Yes, Emily - love the Buitoni pastas! So convenient and delicious, especially with the veggies. Thank you for the comment. Best to you, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      That is so great that your kids love asparagus, cardelean! Mine had to be convinced a little bit at first, but now they love the recipe. Best, Steph

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 

      6 years ago

      Your pasta dish looks very inviting. I've a recipe quite like yours and like you say, it's totally easy and quite healthy since it's not drench in creamy sauce. I can see why your twins love it. Thanks for sharing.

    • emilybee profile image

      emilybee 

      6 years ago

      We love garlic! And those Buitoni tortellinis are yummy! I like your suggestion of adding veggies such as tomatoes and asparagus. Thanks for sharing!

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Great ideas Steph! My kids are asparagus freaks so I know this would be a hit with them. Definitely adding it to my must try list!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks stessily, I have to admit that I find myself in the grocery store, roaming the aisles and produce section asking myself what would taste good for dinner? Fortunately, the best tasting recipes are usually the simplest to make and the most affordable. Add in the visual color, and it is a pleasure to serve pasta dishes like this. :) Cheers, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi kashmir - it really is so easy and delicious. If you love spinach, then by all means, try this recipe. Cheers, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks Maddie - I found myself picking the asparagus out of the bowl last night. :) So delicious! Best, Steph

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi stephhicks,glad i stopped by to read this awesome easy recipe.I love Pasta and Spinach !

      Vote up and more !!!

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 

      6 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Asparagus? Spinach? Pasta? Cheese? How can I say no? (These are a few of my favorite things!)

    • profile image

      stessily 

      6 years ago

      Steph, It's amazing the scrumptious dish which emerges from perusing the refrigerator and not wanting to make a trip to the store! This recipe is great as is, plus its variations are also tantalizing. Garlic + tomatoes + asparagus + cheese ravioli + sea salt + Parmesan cheese = delicious!

      It's helpful that you share these wonderful dishes which are easy and quick to make, on top of being healthy and visually attractive. I think that visual appeal is always compelling in food choices, whether we are conscious of it or not.

      Well done.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks xstatic, you are right that these refrigerated pastas are very affordable. When used as part of an easy dinner like this, you can really feel great from both a health and budget standpoint about your meal. Quick and nutritious are key adjectives to my dinner preparations. :) Cheers, Steph

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      6 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Great Hub and photos too! We often cook this way and it makes a quick and nutritious meal. Some of those pastas in the refrigerated section at one my favorite stores are only about two dollars and combined with vegetables as you suggest make a delicious meal.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Vincent, I enjoyed taking photographs of the beautiful vegetables in this recipe. Wish I could have imparted the wonderful aromas through the Hub, as well. You'll have to make it in your own kitchen to see what I mean. Best to you, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Gordon, indeed! Easy, attractive, healthy and delicious! It's a very satisfying dinner. If you like garlic, you'll love this recipe. Thanks for the comment! All the best, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you Susan - Kids love pasta, and this recipe is so easy and delicious that even my 9 year olds don't complain about the veggies. Hope you enjoy it! Cheers, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks Leah - isn't that funny? He was really complementary of the dinner. Its his new favorite dish. Best, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      LOL - thanks incomeguru! Hope you and your wife enjoy tonight. :) Best, Steph

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 

      6 years ago

      Yummy indeed and the pictures are almost edible. Your talking my language with Pasta, Olive Oil and Garlic anything else added over that is a bonus. I loved every morsel and thank you for sharing. Definitely bookmarking this feast for later.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 

      6 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hi, Steph

      Love it! Quick, easy, attractive, healthy and more - just like all the best meals should be. I am eating more and more Mediterranean style foods and this is definitely something that appeals to me.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You had me at garlic :) This dish looks delicious, healthy, and one that I know my entire family would devour. I often buy the fresh prepackaged pasta as I find it tastes much better. Have bookmarked your recipe to try soon. Thank you for the recipe.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      YUM! This looks absolutely delicious - I definitely have to try it with my kids. I love the fact that your oldest son thought it must have been from the Olive Garden!

    • incomeguru profile image

      Oyewole Folarin 

      6 years ago from Lagos

      My time has not been wasted reading this awesome hub. I think i have to share this hub with my wife so that i can have such today. Shared and voted up!

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