Pasta Lunches

Pasta Make-overs
Servings: 1 Start to Finish 15 mins

Make It

Mini Bird's Nest:

1. In a small bowl toss 3/4 cup cooked whole grain angel hair pasta (about 1 ounce dried pasta) with 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon fresh basil slivers. Use a fork to twist the center of the pasta mixture until it starts to form a mound. Transfer the pasta mound to a round storage container. Spread the mound apart in the center to form a nest. Add a few halved cherry or grape tomatoes around the edge of the nest and 6 tiny fresh mozzarella balls (1/2 ounce) to the center of the nest.

2. Nutrition analysis per serving: 229 calories, 6 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 13 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 10 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 2 g total sugar, 3% Vitamin A, 12% Vitamin C, 45 mg sodium, 10% calcium, 5% iron

Mini Cheese Ravioli:

3. Cook 1/2 cup mini cheese ravioli according to package directions, adding 2 tablespoons chopped carrot to the boiling water with the pasta. Add 2 tablespoons fresh or frozen corn kernels, then drain and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Serve warm in a thermos or chill.

4. Nutrition analysis per serving: 273 calories, 11 g protein, 42 g carbohydrate, 8 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 50 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 3 g total sugar, 52% Vitamin A, 4% Vitamin C, 414 mg sodium, 9% calcium, 11% iron

Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce and Parmesan Cheese:

5. Halve and scrape seeds from a 2 1/2-pound spaghetti squash. Place one half, cut side down, in a microwave-safe 2-quart baking dish. Cover and wrap the remaining half and chill up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Add 2 tablespoons water to the dish; cover with plastic wrap, pulling back one corner to vent. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender, turning dish once if no turntable is present. Cool slightly, then scrape the strands from the squash using a fork. Toss squash with 3 tablespoons warmed marinara sauce. Serve warm in a thermos. Pack 2 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese separately and top squash with cheese to serve.

6. Nutrition analysis per serving: 131 calories,6 g protein, 20 g carbohydrate, 4 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 7 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 10 g total sugar, 18% Vitamin A, 14% Vitamin C, 403 mg sodium, 189 mg calcium, 2 mg iron

Bowtie Pasta with Peas, Celery, and Cheddar Cheese:

7. Cook 1 ounce (1/3 cup) dried whole grain bow tie pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well. Toss pasta with 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed, 1/4 cup chopped celery, and 1/2 ounce reduced-fat cheddar, cut into small cubes. For dressing, stir together 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon milk, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon dried dill, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a dash pepper. Add dressing to pasta and toss.

8. Nutrition analysis per serving; 208 calories, 13 g protein, 27 g carbohydrate, 6 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 14 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 5 g total sugar, 22% Vitamin A, 14% Vitamin C, 466 mg sodium, 19% calcium, 11% iron

Peanut Noodles:

9. Cook 1 3-ounce package ramen noodles (any flavor); discard seasoning packet. Drain. For sauce in a small saucepan whisk together 1/2 cup no-salt-added chicken broth, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, and 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Add to noodles with 2 tablespoons each red sweet pepper strips and halved sugar snap peas; toss. Serve warm in a thermos. Enough for 2 lunches.

10. Nutrition analysis per serving: 302 calories, 11 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, 15 g total fat (5 g sat. fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 2 g total sugar, 7% Vitamin A, 24% Vitamin C, 494 mg sodium, 1% calcium, 10% iron