We are a family that loves to indulge in pasta, it's one of our favorite dishes. If I am being honest though we tend to eat a lot of foods that aren't the best for us and cut out a lot of healthier options, simple because they are labeled as healthy. I was really excited to take part in the Barilla Whole Grain Challenge which consisted of basically switching out our regular pasta for whole grain and giving our honest thoughts. I knew though, the only way to get my families honest thoughts was to just serve pasta as I normally would and hide the boxes.
I've been trying hard to make little changes to my families diet and one of those changes was adding more whole grain. It's been said that diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. To me that is certainly worth a few small and simple changes to my meal planning. To help get me started in my challenge Barilla sent us a wonderful Taste & Share Challenge Kit, including: Italian Sea Salt, Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, 5 assorted whole grain pastas, an apron, pesto and Canned Cherry Tomato's for preparing sauce.
OK, so I accepted the challenge and wanted to incorporate some of the products in my challenge kit into some of my recipes. For dinner last night I served Pesto Pasta and a Olive Oil Cherry Tomato Sauce served over Spaghetti with meatballs.
4 Tablespoons Pesto
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
* I substituted the salt with the Italian sea salt from my kit
1 box linguine
Cook pasta in a large pot and drain when done.
In a saute pan mix olive oil, onion, pesto, S&P. Cook on med/low until onions are soft,
toss pasta and mix in large bowl and serve immediately
That was my secondary dish as my youngest son doesn't like regular gravy/sauce.
For the big boys in the house I prepared thin whole grain spaghetti in an Olive Oil Cherry Tomato Sauce -
1 cup olive oil
3 gloves chopped garlic
2/3 cup finely chopped onions
1 can whole cherry tomato's
1 can crushed plum tomato's ( I use it with added basil)
8 stems of basil
Combine oil and onions in large sauce pan over low heat about 10 minutes until the onion soften, add garlic simmer another 10 minutes. Stir in cherry and plum tomato's, add basil.
Partially cover and cook on low for about an hour, discard basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
It was now time for the taste test. Would anyone notice with the boxes neatly tucked into the trash that they were eating whole grain? My husband did ask about the color of the pasta. I told him I accidentally dipped the sauce covered spoon in the pasta water and it stained the noodles..lol - Hey, he believed me!
Dinner went great, everyone had seconds and everything was delicious. The olive oil and tomato's blended together perfect, making a big difference in my sauce. In fact that was the only noted difference, my sauce was better then usual. I'll take the compliment. Thanks Barilla!
After dinner I informed everyone that they ate and loved whole grain pasta. My husband might have snarled at me a bit, but he knew he could say much since he ate three plates full.
Want to take the Barilla Whole Grain Pasta Challenge? You can do this two ways, first by finding a code on a box of Barilla whole grain pasta, then head to Facebook, like Barilla and share with two friends. Your friends you shared with will receive $1.00 off their next box and you will get $1.00 off your next two boxes.
"Barilla has made it an even easier for you to take the Whole Grain Taste & Share Challenge! For a limited time, visit: http://on.fb.me/TryWholeGrain, enter box code 1129 and select two of your Facebook friends to share Whole Grain with. You'll be instantly eligible to print a $1/2 coupon and your friends will each receive a $1/1 coupon good for any variety of Barilla Whole Grain pasta."
“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Barilla and received a Taste & Share Challenge Kit to facilitate my review, kits to giveaway, and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”