Easy Add Ins to Dress Up Your Pasta Dinner

I’ve recently been learning how to cook, and I’ve been trying out a lot of new dinner recipes. My favorite dinner so far was an accidental butternut squash alfredo pasta that I made. Unfortunately, I don’t always have time to cook a meal like that. I also don’t always have time to go grocery shopping with a planned list, which is why I really loved the AmazonFresh free trial. After giving it a try and seeing how much time it saved me and how convenient it is, I fell in love! After the free trial, it’s only $14.99 per month. The convenience is completely worth that monthly price to me.

Most nights that my husband is home, he doesn’t get home until 6pm or later. I also nap almost everyday after work, and I don’t wake up until 6pm or 7pm. By the time we’re all home and awake and ready to eat, I don’t always have a lot of time to cook before we have to get ready for bed. Usually I’m throwing together a last-minute dinner, and my go to is always pasta and a jar of sauce. It’s something that my kiddo will actually eat, my husband and I both like it, and it’s really quick and easy.

Dress Up Your Pasta Dinner

I make pasta enough that I started to feel like I needed to find ways to mix it up. My solution has been to add in whatever I can find in the fridge or freezer. I’ve learned that almost anything can pair with pasta without adding too much cook time. I try to find a vegetable and a protein that I can add in so that it’s more filling for my husband and son. Most recently, I threw in some zucchini, mushrooms, and chicken. It made for an easy and delicious dinner that only took 15 or 20 minutes to make.


It was literally as easy as cutting up the zucchini and mushrooms and tossing them in a frying pan. Then I cut up the chicken and tossed it in a separate frying pan. I boiled the pasta and warmed the sauce as usual, and then I tossed it all together. This was such a hit and I can’t fully express how easy it was!

We try to eat a lot of fresh and local foods, but this is one reason why I always keep frozen veggies in the freezer. I always buy them when they’re on a good sale and then just keep them in there for nights when I need an easy and filling dinner.

What to Add to a Pasta Dinner

There are so many different things you can add to pasta, but here are some of our favorites!


  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Broccolli
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Capers (I don’t know if these are actually a vegetable?)


  • Chicken
  • Ground Turkey
  • Beef
  • Bacon
  • Salmon
  • Sausage
  • Tuna
  • Shrimp

These are all things that can generally be found in our freezer or pantry, or they’re fresh things that we always have on hand. They make such easy additions to an otherwise plain pasta and sauce dinner! I try to mix up combinations and try new additions, but it really just depends on what we already have.

What are your favorite quick and easy things to add in to pasta? Share in the comments!

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