Pantry Staples – Pasta

Sep 16, 2020 | Food Access, Kitchen

By: Monica Schmocker

Pasta — endless varieties of shapes and sizes…equally endless possibilities for creating meals. Using pasta is one of the easiest bases for a meal. You can simply add whatever ingredients you have on hand to quickly have a one-pot meal prepared.

This post contains some of my go-to pasta recipes. Each one can easily be modified to suit your own dietary needs and preferences.

Did you know…?

It is actually quite simple (though time consuming) to make your own pasta from scratch.

Homemade pasta takes much patience and time but if you persevere the end result is well worth it!

Two basic recipes I have used before are a basic pasta dough and ‘Pici Pasta’. The primary difference between these recipes is that the first is made using an egg while Pici pasta is made solely with flour and water.

See the two images below for handmade pasta recipes

Stay tuned for a video tutorial for handmade pasta coming soon!

Keep reading for some recipes…Let us know in the comments what you think!

Butter & Herb Pasta


  • Pasta of your choice
  • Butter
  • Sage
  • Rosemary


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat butter and herbs in a saucepan until nice and fragrant.
  3. Drain pasta. Toss with butter and herbs to coat pasta.
  4. Top with parmesan if desired and enjoy!


  • For a vegan alternative, substitute butter for olive oil or a vegan spread.
  • Feel free to substitute sage and rosemary or herbs or spices of your choice.
  • I prefer fresh herbs for a strong flavor, but dried will work equally as well.

Cheeseburger Pasta Bake



  • ½ box elbow pasta
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter or olive oil
  • oregano
  • garlic
  • basil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ – 1 onion
  • 1-2 cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • ½ – 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cups cheddar, shredded
  • 2 cups colby jack, shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 375 (F)
  2. Boil pasta for less than package directions, to be al dente. (Usually boil for about 5 minutes)
  3. Chop onion
  4. Dice tomatoes (if using fresh)
  5. Slice mushrooms
  6. Heat butter in a large saucepan; add oregano, garlic, basil and ground beef. Brown ground beef.
  7. Add onion, tomatoes and mushrooms to saucepan. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
  8. Combine pasta, ground beef mixture and half of the shredded cheese. Pour into an oven-safe dish.
  9. Top with remaining shredded cheese, cover and bake for 10 minutes.
  10. Uncover dish and bake another 10 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and serve.


  • Ground beef can be substituted with ground turkey or chicken or a vegan alternative.

Spaghetti Lentil Bolognese


  • Spaghetti
  • ½ – 1 onion, diced
  • Garlic
  • 1-2 carrots, chopped
  • mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 1 can (6oz) tomato paste
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • Herbs (fresh or dried): oregano, basil, thyme
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Add onion, carrots, mushrooms, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, lentils and water (or vegetable broth) to a large pot.
  3. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Season bolognese with salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Toss with spaghetti and serve.


  • If you are using canned tomatoes, you can reduce the amount of water slightly to account for the tomato juice.

Cheater’s Mac-n-Cheese

If you need a quick and easy meal, this Cheater’s Macaroni is your best friend. All you need is elbow macaroni, or any kind of pasta you have on hand, and cream cheese. If you want a little something extra toss in your favorite spices or seasoning blend. This meal is super flexible and can be on the table in less than 10 minutes!


  • macaroni pasta
  • cream cheese (plain or flavored)
  • spices (optional)
  • salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  2. While pasta is draining, melt cream cheese in same pot. Once soft, stir in cooked macaroni and any spices desired.
  3. Enjoy!


  • I usually use a jalapeño cream cheese along with paprika or a cajun blend seasoning for an extra kick.
  • If you want an extra cheesy taste, stir in some shredded cheddar while melting the cream cheese.
  • Let me know what variations you come up with in the comments!


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