Penne and Beef in less than 30 minutes: The perfect meal for a busy family


Disclosure: I have partnered with Barilla and Life of Dad as part of the #InTheKitchenWIthDad campaign and have been compensated. The words in this post and my appreciation for Barilla pasta are my own.

Back to school coincides with soccer season, which means I have about 30 minutes to get food on the table. My oldest son leaves for practice at 6:00pm and doesn’t get home until around 9:00pm. If we eat before practice, dinner comes at 5:00pm – the early bird special. Since he arrives home from school around 4, there’s not much time for a sit-down relaxing meal. Often times, we eat without him and he eats before bedtime. It’s a hectic schedule and a big reason soccer season is the most stressful time of the year.

But wait, I’ve got 3 more busy kids.

My 11-year-old has Tae Kwon Do class and gymnastics and my 5-year-old is also taking up the martial arts. Thankfully, my 2-year-old is currently undecided in the activity department. Somewhere (I’m not sure exactly where), I fit cooking meals into our busy lives.



Like most busy families, pasta is the go-to meal in my house. Lucky for us, our local Costco carries Barilla pasta in bulk. My pantry looks like a Barilla factory with the many varieties of pasta to choose from. There isn’t a more perfect meal for a busy family than spaghetti. It’s quick, easy, and everyone loves spaghetti. Many times, we overlook the other great meals that one can cook with pasta. Usually, we throw in sauce, meat, and call it a day. And who can blame any parent for doing that? I’m here to provide another option; Penne and Beef.



1 16oz box of Barilla Penne Pasta

1 lb ground beef

1 ½ tsp minced garlic

1 24oz jar of Barilla Marinara Sauce

16 oz beef broth*

1 ½  tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp Worchester sauce

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

2 cups fresh spinach

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

*I make the broth with beef bouillon. One cube for each cup of boiling water.


  1.      In one pot, boil water and add pasta according to the directions on the Barilla package.
  2.      In a pan, cook ground beef until the pink meat turns brown. Drain grease from meat then add garlic, tomato puree, broth, Italian seasoning, Worchester sauce, salt, and pepper and cook on medium. For the final two minutes of cooking, pour in spinach.
  3.      Drain pasta and add contents from the other pot and mix. Dump two cups of shredded cheese in the pot.

(If you want to make it look fancy, after draining and mixing everything together, pour into a casserole dish and spread cheese on top. Place the dish in the oven until cheese melts. But, who has time to make meals look fancy?)


Every parent has that go to meal that can be made quick and is appreciated by everyone. There’s no reason that meal should be plain and boring. If you are looking for creative ideas to spice up your quick and easy pasta dish, here are options.


For more information, follow @BarillaUS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


To see other dads culinary skills, search for the hashtag #InTheKitchenWithDad.


What are your go-to fast and yummy pasta dishes?

1 comment

  1. We also do pasta dishes when we want it to be fast. I don’t think I ever tried adding worchester sauce to any pasta dish, but will think of it next time 🙂

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: