Robin's Healthy Take: 5-Ingredient, 20-Minute Pastas

The holidays can be stressful, but I find the first week of January equally demanding.  Everything seems to go from 0 to 60 in about 5 seconds: My boys are back in school (a little reluctantly) and everyone’s back at work.  Since I'm dashing around catching up with everything, I like to have some quick, healthy recipes in my back pocket.  These 3 pasta recipes have 5 ingredients, less than 500 calories and are ready less than 30 minutes.

I made all the recipes with penne, but you can make any of these with a pound of your favorite pasta shape.

Baked Ziti: Pour about 1/2 cup of your favorite pasta sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish; top with half of the cooked pasta, 1 cup of ricotta cheese, half of one eggplant that’s been pan-seared in olive oil and seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, 1 1/2 cups of pasta sauce and 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese.  Repeat these layers again (pasta, ricotta, eggplant, sauce, mozzarella).  Cover with foil and bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 10-15 more minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbly.

Curried Noodles: Whisk together 2 cups of chicken broth and 2 tablespoons of hot curry paste in a saucepan; set pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer; stir in 2 lightly beaten eggs and cook thirty seconds; stir in cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of chopped scallions and heat through; season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Garlicky Penne: Cook 3 cloves of minced garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until soft; mince 2 ounces of anchovy fillets and add to the pan with 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes; add 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer; stir in pasta and heat through; season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Last weekend, I made a stellar Beef and Corn Casserole, also with 5 ingredients: Cook 1 pound of lean ground beef in a large skillet until browned; drain away fat.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups prepared salsa, 1 cup frozen white corn, 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend and 1/2 cup light sour cream; mix well; season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish and top with 1/2 cup of shredded Mexican cheese blend.  Bake at 375ºF for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.

Now send me YOUR favorite 5-ingredient recipes!!!

 Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

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