Simple Dinners for School Nights

As the school year starts to close in on busy families, parents are gearing up to get a whole lot busier. Band practice, school events, sports, you name it – all of these extracurricular activities keep families on the go. Pile this on top of helping with homework and all parents can agree, they need some quick options to make sure everyone is well-fed and has the fuel to take on another school year.

Italians are notorious for their love of food and at Jim Alesci’s Place this culture of gathering around the table is what has helped us build our family and our business. Since many of our customers often ask about the ease of preparing certain Italian dishes, we thought we’d compile list of healthy meals for our busy parents. What are our top, quick recipes for the busy season ahead? Here are a few:

Pasta with Zucchini and Toasted Almonds:

Summer and fall in NEO are great times to find fresh zucchini in an abundance. We love this recipe and our family lives by using fresh ingredients. All you need is some refrigerated linguine, fresh zucchini, toasted almonds, assorted veggies (we LOVE using cherry tomatoes, shallots, garlic, and fresh herbs), and some fresh pecorino Romano cheese. Once you have your ingredients, you can sauté your veggies with butter or olive oil, don’t forget your seasonings, and add this all on top of your cooked linguine. Top with grated cheese and dinner’s served.

White Pizza with Tomato and Basil:

Come and get a nice pizza crust at Alesci’s and top this with our homemade pesto, shredded fresh mozzarella cheese, along with dollops of ricotta cheese. Make your own pesto from fresh summer basil or buy some homemade pesto in our store, either way, once this pizza is topped with fresh tomatoes and sprinkled with seasonings, your family won’t want to wait before it’s done in the oven. This recipe definitely draws a crowd to see what’s cooking and is a healthy, quick option that kids will love.

Asparagus and Chicken Carbonara:

Use your classic Chicken Carbonara recipe and add a little asparagus to bring out this authentic meal’s flavor. Once your pasta and chicken are done cooking, add oil or butter to a pan, with onions, and then stir in your cooked ingredients, seasonings, and veggies. All done.

Bow Ties with Tomatoes, Feta, and Balsamic Dressing:

Kids love bow tie pasta, but this is one meal that they will devour before they can play with their food. All you need is some fresh grape tomatoes, seedless green grapes, fresh basil, white balsamic vinegar, capers, Dijon mustard, and crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese. Cook your pasta and while that’s on the stove, mix your other ingredients in a bowl with vinegar. Once the pasta is done, combine the ingredients and drizzle with Balsamic vinaigrette. Delicious and done.

Pasta with Eggplant, Pine Nuts, and Romano:

Why not take advantage of the abundance of seasonal eggplant as the summer comes to a close?! With wide ribbon pasta, fresh eggplant, grape tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, herbs, and fresh pecorino Romano cheese, this recipe is sure to please the whole family. Just cook your pasta, broil your veggies (with olive oil, of course), combine, sprinkle cheese and nuts on top, and you’re ready to eat. See? Easy!

While not every parent is a pro in the kitchen, these recipes should provide some easy, fast, and healthy options for the family. For the parents who steer clear of the kitchen as much as possible, Jim Alesci’s place also offers some homemade, prepared foods that are perfect for the whole family. Stop by, ask some questions, and take a look around. We are here to help keep your family full!