You’re in a hurry. We all are at some point. As the school year ramps up and starts building steam, it’s only going to get busier! And, face it, when things get rushed, what’s the one thing that usually suffers the most? Dinner. 

Over the years, we’ve taken on more and more in our lives and so have the kids. So, what went from a leisurely “What’s for dinner tonight?”, “I don’t know…let’s thing about it for awhile.” becomes, “WHAT CAN WE MAKE THAT’S QUICK?” or even, “What’s on the way?”

We are looking down the barrel of two busy nights per week that can stretch into more as the year progresses. I’m not going to throw out any crock pot meals that you have to somehow carve time from your also busy morning to get cooking. Nope. I’ve got three recipes that can all be made in 20-30 minutes or less.

Now, let’s get this out of the way FTC Disclaimer: “I have partnered with Life of Dad and Barilla Pasta for this promotion. But the recipes and opinions contained herein are all me.”

One thing that has always been important is family mealtime. I like being able to sit down and talk about our days. It helps me stay in touch with what all is going on at school, my wife’s job…etc. It gives us a chance to sit down and shake the ‘rush’ of the day off. Is every meal perfect? Far from it. But, I still value that time. And, it seems that as the kids get older, time is getting shorter and shorter supply.

Dinner is even more important than ever! I want my boys to know what a family meal is like. I don’t want them thinking that a family dinner comes from a fast food bag. I want them to know what good food is. And it gets hard when we’re under a time crunch. Pasta has long been one of my favorite standbys for its ease of preparation and the fact that I love pasta.

I was asked to make a quick and easy recipe.

I made three.

One for each type of sauce base. Pesto, Alfredo, and Tomato.

I’m going to rundown the recipes, you just decide which one you want to make first.

#1. Barilla® Collezione Bucatini al Pesto


1 box Barilla Collezione Bucatini pasta from their Artisinal Collection. (You can substitute Barilla Blue Box Spaghetti if you can’t find Bucatini)

1 Jar Barilla Traditional Basil Pesto

1 lb. Shrimp

Cooking oil



Salt and Pepper


Make sure your shrimp is peeled and de-veined. Pat it dry with a paper towel.

Start boiling your water. You’re going to want to salt your water. I fought this for years, but after finally giving in, it really does make a difference. Someone said it should be as salty as your lover’s tears. Seemed a bit dramatic for pasta…but there you go.

While you’re waiting for you water to boil, get your saute pan ready. Once it’s heated put a tablespoon of oil in and spread it around until it coats the pan. Put your shrimp in the pan and add your garlic. I didn’t put a quantity on the garlic because some people uses cloves of garlic, I use heads. Also, you know how much garlic you like! But yeah, a tablespoon of minced garlic should do the trick. Turn your shrimp over and then add a couple of tablespoons of butter and lower the heat.

Once your water is boiling drop that pasta in!

Make sure you ease it into the water and stir it around as it softens so that it doesn’t stick together. (The first time I cooked spaghetti, I put it in the pan and got busy with everything else, and ended up with a cigar sized clump of spaghetti that fused together into an inedible mass.)

Your pasta should be al dente in about 7-8 minutes.

Once your shrimp is done, (the meat should be firm and white) remove it from the heat.

When it’s done, drain your pasta.

Put it back in the pot and mix in your Barilla Classic Basil Pesto sauce.

Some will say to oil your pasta after draining it, but since we’re going with a pesto sauce, it already has plenty of oil in it. That’s why we want to be quick about it. I used about two tablespoons of sauce, but your mileage may vary. If you want it saucier, add more sauce!

Plate it up. Add your shrimp and serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan!

And there you have it. Bucatini al Pesto.

Fun Fact: Bucatini’s name comes from Italian: buco, meaning “hole”…because it has a hole that runs through it!

#2 Barilla® Collezion Orecchiette with Sausage


1 box Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette (If you can’t fine Collezione, you can totally substitute Blue Box Shells.)

1 jar Barilla Roasted Garlic Sauce

1 lb. Italian Sausage (Whichever kind you prefer. You can cook bulk or links. I prefer links, but you do you!)


Grated Parmesan Cheese

This one is super simple, but the pasta takes longer to get al dente.

Get your water ready for a good boil!

Heat your saute pan. Slice your sausage if you have the pre-cooked links. Otherwise you can cook up your crumbles instead.

Once your water starts to boil, toss in your pasta. Remember if you substituted Barilla® Medium Shells, the cook time won’t be as long!

Toss your sausage into your saute pan and cook! Don’t get the heat too high, or the fat in the sausage won’t render properly. I like to do this over medium heat to get a slower sizzle on it. And because the Collezione Orecchiette takes longer to cook, you have a few extra minutes.

Once the pasta is done, drain and toss with sauce and the sausage.

Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan and eat!

#3 Creamy Chicken Linguine Alfredo

This one is so fast, your head will spin. I mean, not literally…but this one is the fastest recipes I know.


1 box Barilla® Linguine

1 jar Barilla Garlic Alfredo

1 Rotisserie Chicken

Alright, you know the routine! Let’s boil that pasta! (Remember, salt the water!)

While the water is coming to a boil, break down that chicken. Depending on the size of your family, you shouldn’t need to do the whole bird. In fact, our family of four can get by with just half of a breast.

Put your pasta in to boil. Make sure to stir it around so it doesn’t stick.

And take heart that you will be eating in about 10 minutes!

Seriously, after your pasta is done, drain your pasta and put it back in the pot. Put in the desired amount of sauce and toss to coat. Top with chicken!

For this dish, I steamed up some asparagus because it tastes SO GOOOOD with the alfredo sauce drizzled over it. Just saying!

So, there you have it. 3 recipes that take less than 30 minutes and they are so much better than fast food or grabbing ‘what’s on the way’. Just because you’re in a hurry doesn’t mean you have to eat like it.

And these aren’t the only things you can do! Barilla’s classic line offers up 38 types of pasta and 14 sauce varieties.

Here’s what you do: Pick a protien. Pick a pasta. Pick a sauce. BAM! You’re on your way to some stress-free dinners! And with Barilla cooking up perfectly, your family will come back and ask for more! At least, mine did. And here I was hoping I was going to have leftovers for lunch the next day.

To learn more about the different lines of pastas and sauces offered, or to just peruse their recipes:

Barilla Blue Box Pasta & Sauces –

Specific Product:              Pasta & Sauces (tomato, alfredo, pesto)  





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