Happy National Pasta Day fellow carb lovers!

Today is a glorious day, one where you don't have to feel guilty about carbo-loading for no reason. The hard part is choosing what kind of pasta to have. There's penne, rotini, spaghetti – and those are just noodle styles! Then you have to figure out your flavors.

Sometimes it's easier to just head to a fancy Italian place to get your pasta fix. But those are also pretty expensive, and might use ingredients that your kid won't touch. Luckily, I have the diet of a 12-year-old. So, here are a few options you can make that won't start a battle over dinner, and definitely won't break the bank.

They may not be the most original, but they are effective!


  • 1

    Buttered Noodles

    This is probably the easiest pasta dish of all time. All you need is a box of noodles and half a stick of butter (assuming you're serving multiple people). You cook the noodles to your satisfaction, and while they're draining, toss some butter into the still-hot pot. It'll melt, you toss the noodles back, and dinner is done! All in under 15 minutes too.

  • 2

    Pasta Salad

    Pasta Salad was always a favorite of mine back when I was a swimmer. Our team used to have pasta parties where this (plus breadsticks) was all that was on the menu.

    For this, you just need some Italian dressing. Once the noodles are cooked to preference, run them under cold water for a few minutes. Then, add the dressing as needed.

    For extra tastiness, toss in a few cheese cubes! Your kid will love searching for the cubes in the pasta and typically won't say no to cheese.

  • MarianVejcik


    It's a classic dish. Whether it's for date night or dinner with the family, spaghetti is a winner. It might be a bit more expensive if you choose to make the sauce with your own ingredients, but if not, it's just a few bucks. With $5, you'll likely even have room in the budget to buy ground beef for meatballs!

    Tip to make it even more fun for the kids: put the spaghetti in a taco shell. Spaghetti tacos are surprisingly delicious. If that seems too daunting, just try two slices of toast. Spaghetti sandwiches are much less messy.

  • 4


    Pro tip: it becomes much easier (and much cheaper) to make lasagna if you use raviolis. That way you get multiple ingredients at once and it's easier to eat. This is also the perfect meal to use as an introduction to Garfield for your kids.

  • 5

    Mac and Cheese

    There's no way to wrong with mac'n'cheese. From Star Wars shapes, to Velveeta shells, to plain old elbow noodles, it's a kid favorite.

    But there are some really easy ways to make it a bit more grown up. Use the extra $4 you have leftover (seriously, a box is about a dollar) and grab some chicken to toss in there.

    If you already have bread at home, you can put some bread crumbs on your bowl only and add some texture.

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