Fit, Flavorful, Fast Dinner Ideas – Ragu and My Funny Family

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I have to admit, making long complicated recipes is NOT a family tradition. I do it sometimes, but not on typical nights when I am trying to fit in running, working out or watching the kids play their sports – you know, HAVING FUN!  Instead, I tend to fly by the seat of my pants and let creativity reign, based on what I happen to have in the fridge, produce bin and pantry. So, I guess you could say dinner traditions in my family of five are rooted in being quick and easy yet fresh and flavorful – you’ll see this with the two RAGÚ pasta sauce recipes I’m sharing today (Eight-Minute Egg & Zucchini Ragu and Low-Carb Chicken Club Zoodles).

Ragu pasta sauces are simmered in tradition and the perfect meal solution for my busy nights.

jen and dean college

Yeah, here we are in 1986 — the early Ragu days.

One ingredient that is always on hand help me pull off a speedy supper is RAGÚ® Pasta Sauce. When I say I’m a fan, I mean it – I’ve been eating the RAGÚ® Traditional Sauce (and now Organic Traditional) for 30 years beginning when I first met my husband in college (It’s the only sauce we eat)! Who has time for homemade, really?!

I appreciate how RAGÚ® does all hard work, and when I pop open the jar it tastes just like grandmother’s secret recipe that had been simmering all day.  That’s because RAGÚ® has super high standards and uses no artificial anything or high fructose corn syrup – it’s slowly simmered to add layers of insane flavor, just like Assunta’s (the single-mom founder) original recipe from way back in 1937.

So, this first vegetable pasta recipe is seriously made in eight minutes – Egg & Zucchini Ragu. It’s my go-to meal solution when totally slammed but in need of a nutritious meal packed with protein and fresh veggies. By the way, did you now that a serving of Ragu pasta sauces is the equivalent of two servings of veggies?!

Eight Minute Egg & Zucchini Ragu

Eight Minute Egg & Zucchini Ragu

  • 2 large zucchini, spiralized or cut in julienned strips
  • 1 cup Ragu Organic Traditional Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 to 4 eggs (depending on appetite)
  • Salt and Red Pepper flakes, to taste
  • Garnish – snipped basil

Directions: Place zucchini in microwave-safe bowl, top with lid slightly cracked. Steam in microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes or until softened, but not mushy.  Add pasta sauce and microwave for an additional 30 to 45 seconds, stirring well after to combine. Heat olive oil in small skillet and cook eggs sunny side up, until yolks set to preferred consistency. Top eggs on pasta and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with snipped basil. Serves 2.

Low Carb Chicken Club Zoodles

My second under ten minute dinner fix (Low Carb Chicken Club Zoodles) is a yummy use for nights when I have some slowcooker chicken already in the fridge (I make big, big batches at once) or have swung by the store for a rotisserie chicken.  I love to use zucchini in place of traditional noodles to keep the grains and carbs down – I like to eat a higher protein diet and prefer most of my carbs to come from fruits and veggies.

Low Carb Chicken Club Zoodles

  • 2 large zucchini, spiralized or cut in julienned strips
  • 1 cup Ragu Organic Traditional Sauce
  • 12 ounces shredded slow cooker or rotisserie chicken with skin removed
  • 4 slices par-cooked bacon
  • 1 ounce shredded cheese of choice

Directions: Place zucchini in microwave-safe bowl, top with lid slightly cracked. Steam in microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes or until softened, but not mushy.  Add pasta sauce and chicken and microwave for an additional 60 seconds, stirring well after to combine. Wrap bacon in paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds or per package instructions. Sprinkle top of pasta with bacon and cheese before serving. Serves 2.

davis spoon balancing 2015I have another family dinner tradition to share – and it’s just being silly. With three now teenage boys, it can get pretty crazy and rowdy at the dinner table. More than one time, I’ve spewed water out my nose – the utensil balancing contests always crack me up.  We’ve been doing it for years, as you can see – youngest son holds the record number of spoons and forks balance.  Yes, we’re weird – but these are indelible (if insane) memories to enjoy along with the RAGÚ®  Pasta Sauce.

So, what are your favorite family dinner traditions – recipes or activities? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

5 thoughts on “Fit, Flavorful, Fast Dinner Ideas – Ragu and My Funny Family

  1. Girl, I love you and I love that family of yours. And I’m thinking, since it’s usually just me and the child during the week, we should become honorary members. We will bring the RAGU!!!

  2. What a delicious idea!! I love making zoodles, but I doubt my hubby would ever try them. I keep my fingers crossed, but he never seems too interested. My nephew on the other hand – loves them!

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