On a quest for healthy shells and cheese...

When I was a child, my number-one requested dinner was shells and cheese. I loved the day-glo yellow cheeselike product that smothered the tuna and peas my mother mixed in, her attempt to add some nutritional value. I found the little shell pasta perfectly shaped to hold pools of sauce, and could eat three servings in one sitting. Unfortunately, as an adult, no matter how fondly I remember this popular kids' meal, the reality just doesn't measure up....more

Much healthier!

Chicken Noodle Soup. It's good for the family, good for the soul, good for the "sickies," and brings comfort and warmth and togetherness and love. No matter the scenario, when made correctly, it brings nourishment. My scenario? Last week, Barilla® sent me a few boxes of their Whole Grain Pasta to try. I knew I'd make spaghetti with the spaghetti noodles, but decided to try something different with the shells (conchiglie). I wanted to make a Slow Cooker Roasted Chicken Soup with Pasta....more

An easy change that made sense.

A few years ago I decided I wanted to make a change to get more whole grains into my family’s diet. The change has been slow. It’s hard to change old habits for myself and for those I love. I started by turning away completely from white bread and white rice. I have also introduced other types of grains into our meals. One of the easiest changes that we made recently was to switch to whole grain pasta. Since pasta is always at least one of our go-to weeknight meals, it made good sense....more

The pasta was delicious!

I've mentioned before that I love making pasta for a quick and simple lunch when I'm tired of our usual peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (Click here for a simple pasta recipe that is perfect for lunch!) I try to buy good quality, healthy pasta when I can. Generally the kids don't notice, but every now and then I'll test one out and they give me "the look." You guys know the look, right? That whole "I can't believe you attempted to make me eat healthy, I feel so betrayed, don't you loooooooove me anymore?" look. You get that look, too, right? My kids can totally rock that look....more

So many reasons to switch...

Several times over the last few years, Joe and I have tried to switch to whole grain pasta. There are so many reasons to switch. Whole grains are healthier in general. The USDA's MyPlate guidelines recommend making at least half of your grains whole grains. Whole grains contain more fiber than processed grains, and there is some evidence they can improve cardiovascular health. Unfortunately, our switch to whole grain pasta has not, to this point, gone very well....more

Pasta fills more than half of my pantry.

Most days you will find me making numerous pasta dishes for my three guys. Pasta is not simply a staple in our home, it's a way of life. I may be a diehard southern girl down to my roots, but I also grew up highly influenced by my Irish-Italian grandmother from Connecticut. She happens to be the lovely lady who passed along the ginger gene as well. There are only three quirky redheads in our family who inherited the McGraw complexion. Everyone else inherited the Greco-Civitelli olive skin and dark hair....more

Tastes more like regular pasta.

When I first started introducing whole grains to my kids, I have to admit I was a bit sneaky. I'd use white whole wheat bread in French toast, sandwiches and grilled cheese. I also made fried rice using brown rice since I figured my kids would think the rice was brown because of the soy sauce. Over time my kids have gotten used to heartier whole grains, whole grain bread and whole grain pasta. In fact, last fall, one of my sons actually reported back that he chose the brown bread over white bread for his sandwich at school because he had a cross country meet that afternoon....more

Making recipes healthier.

When I was pregnant with Z-man I craved Lo Mein like nobody's business. I could eat Lo Mein every day and still not get enough. Not much has changed since then; even though he's seven years old I still crave Lo Mein on a regular basis. Recently I came across a Chicken Lo Mein recipe that looked really good and asked Teacher to make it one night for dinner. The recipe was pretty healthy to begin with, but Teacher made it even healthier by using Barilla® Whole Grain spaghetti instead of the lo mein noodles the recipe called for....more

Would my family like it?

A couple of weeks ago I received a nice package in the mail. Inside were several boxes of Barilla® Whole Grain Pasta and a charge to use the pasta in some of my favorite recipes. Would my family like it, would we enjoy the added health benefits?...more

Increasing my fiber intake.

When you're trying to shed some pounds (more on my story coming very soon), you have to make each meal count. More bang for your calorie buck, I say. For me, that means increasing my fiber intake at each meal. Since both my husband and I are runners, we regularly work pasta meals into our dinner rotation, particularly the night before our long runs. We used to slurp up regular semolina spaghetti noodles like nobody's business, but over the past couple of years we gradually made the switch to whole grain pasta....more