Dinner time can sometimes sneak up on me. When the kids are in school we rush around getting to music lessons and finishing homework before dinner. Now that summer is approaching we are outside having fun with all that extra daylight and I am not really thinking about what to cook for dinner.
So, when the dinner hour starts to approach and I hear my kids and my husband start asking me, "What's for dinner?", I panic a little. Then I go into my pantry and I always see the ingredients for my go-to meal that everyone loves... PASTA! I can whip up a quick pasta dinner that satisfies my entire family (even my picky eater) and be in and out of the kitchen in less than 30 minutes. Now that makes this Mom very happy.
One of my favorite pasta sauces to use is Francesco Rinaldi. I love having a good quality jar pasta sauce that has authentic Italian flavor. Francesco Rinaldi's mantra is "Made by Italians". Their sauces are made using the finest tomatoes and freshest herbs. I have been using the Francesco Rinaldi brand for over a decade and they have a long family history in the US for 35 years. So, if you are looking for a quality sauce, it's definitely a good jar sauce to try.
I also love a good deal when I grocery shop. I buy Francesco Rinaldi not only because it tastes great, but it is always budget friendly. The tomato based sauce can go on sale for a dollar a jar. When I see it go on sale, I stock up! When I say stock up, that means I am that lady buying 20 jars. You may think that's a lot to buy in one shopping trip, but those 20 jars go fast at my house because I cook with jar pasta sauce often. So, before I know it, I'm back in the spaghetti sauce aisle buying more jars of spaghetti sauce.
I like to use jar pasta sauce when I cook a meal because it's an easy way to make a fast and delicious meal when all the time consuming "simmering" for that great authentic taste has already been done for you. Then all I have to do is just give it my own spin for any meal I make. It's not just for pasta dishes in my household. I also use it as a pizza sauce and a base for rice dishes like my mother's Spicy Cacciatore.
I have tried all the Francesco Rinaldi tomato based pasta sauces, but I have never tried the Francesco Rinaldi Alfredo Pasta Sauce line. So, when I saw the Four Cheese Alfredo Sauce at Walmart during my last shopping trip, I bought three jars. It's still budget friendly so that makes me very happy. The Alfredo Sauce line was right next to the regular tomato pasta sauces in the Spaghetti Sauce aisle at Walmart.
The Alfredo Sauce line includes the following flavors:
I decided I wanted to debut the Four Cheese Alfredo with a very special recipe. So I made this Ziti with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage in Cajun Style Alfredo Sauce. My family loves shrimp and my son is crazy about Cajun Andouille sausage. We all like our food on the spicy side so it was fun to add a Cajun kick to this Four Cheese Alfredo Sauce.
This sauce was spicy and full of cheese flavor. I loved using the ziti style pasta too because the tube shaped really filled up with the sauce and each bite was a burst of flavor.
My mother-in-law is in town and she also tried my Ziti with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage in Cajun Style Alfredo Sauce. She asked to eat it for both lunch and dinner because it was that good. You can say I scored big points in the daughter-in-law department thanks to Francesco Rinaldi today.
1 box (12-16oz) ziti shaped pasta
1lb of cleaned shrimp
1lb Andouille Sausage sliced
1 jar (15oz) Francesco Rinaldi Alfredo Pasta
1 medium onion chopped
1 sweet bell pepper (red, orange or yellow) finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic grated or finely minced
2 Tbs of olive oil
2 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp onion powder
Salt to taste
red chili flakes- red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 cup of starchy cooking water from the pasta
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
2 large handful of fresh baby spinach
Step 1 Before making your sauce: Boil pasta per package instructions in salted water. Stop cooking the pasta 1-2 minutes shy of the full cooking time. You will finish cooking the pasta off in the Creamy Cajun Sauce. Remember to reserve your pasta water before draining. Drain pasta and set aside.
Step 2: Making the Sauce:
Heat 2Tbs of olive oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add the onions, Andouille Sausage, bell peppers and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Then add the grated garlic, chili flakes (red pepper), paprika powder, dried thyme leaves, dried oregano leaves, dried basil leaves, onion powder and salt to taste. Saute for 1-2 minute.
Lower heat to medium and add the shrimp, Alfredo sauce and reserved pasta water. Note: use pasta water to rinse out the jar (get every drop of sauce from the jar).
Finally add the baby spinach, the cooked ziti pasta, and Parmesan cheese. Toss well with the sauce
Allow the pasta to cook for another 2-3 minutes on medium low heat. Serve hot and enjoy.
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