Heinen’s 4PM Panic | Pre-Holiday Pasta Bar

3 mins read

This week, with Thanksgiving approaching, you might find yourself with a house full of family and/or guests in the days prior to Thanksgiving Day. With all the cooking we will all be doing on Thursday I’m hoping to keep it simple in the days preceding. My gang usually loves a full table of taco fixings so they can create their own dishes so I thought what if I did the same thing with Pasta?  It was pretty easy. Most of the sauces were ready made, fresh selections at Heinen’s. Check out the salad bar for roasted vegetables.

To help make life easier, tips for an easy pre-holiday Pasta Bar are of the focus of this week’s Heinen’s 4PM Panic.

    Choose your favorite, Spaghetti, Angel Hair, Ziti, Rotini, Ravioli, Tortellini, Macaroni.  We also used a gluten free Spinach Fettuccini.
    Marinara, Meat, Alfredo, Primavera Cheese Pesto, or brown Butter Sauce.
    Parmesan Cheese, Meatballs, Sausage, Steamed Veggies, Sauteed Greens, Grilled Chicken, Crushed Red Pepper, Roasting Red Pepper, Basil, Bacon, Fresh Herbs, Bread sticks or garlic bread and a big green salad are also a great side.


Cook pasta according to package directions. Heat sauce and any other ingredients that need to be cooked. Lay out all ingredients and serve with garlic bread and salad. ENJOY!!!

If you’re serving a crowd the pasta noodles can be cooked al dente before the guests arrive. Before placing them in the serving bowls drain and toss with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil – This prevents the pasta from becoming a big gob and sticking together.

Colorful and unique shapes of pasta make the bar fun and interesting – and don’t forget to pick up a gluten free option to accommodate guests with any special dietary needs.

The idea behind serving the pasta this way is that heated sauces will be warm enough to heat the noodles once they are tossed together, even after the noodles cool. This method is ideal if your guests will be consuming the pasta shortly after it is served. I was kind of skeptical of this method at first thinking someone would complain of cold pasta, however, this worked beautifully. The sauces can be held in a crock pots at a temperature a little warmer than normal and as the guests are ready to create their own pasta dishes – everything is warm and fresh.


Walking around Heinen’s looking for options sparked so many ideas. How about…

  • Mini grilled cheese sandwiches with pasta sauce.
  • Large tortellini would be great on a skewer to dip into individual servings of sauces.
  • Breaded eggplant.
  • Cheese fondue for the pasta and toppings on a skewer.
  • Brown Butter with Garlic and Clams.


Ever wonder what pasta goes best with what sauce?

  • Penne + chunky sauces, bolognese and baked pasta dishes.
  • Farfalle  + pesto, mac and cheese, creamy sauces.
  • Fusilli + thicker sauces, meat sauce, pasta salad.
  • Spaghetti + classic marinara, pesto, olive oil and butter sauces.
  • Linguine + alfredo, clam sauce and marinara.
  • Shells + Large, stuffed with meat, sauce and cheese.   Medium, Pasta salad. Small, Mac and cheese.
  • Orzo and Ditalini + Olive oil sauces, cold salads, wine sauces and soups.

About the Author

Photographer Sally Roeckell specializes in contemporary lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on food photography. Her Blog, Table and Dish is a website devoted to celebrating and curating the many ways that food binds us. Sally hopes that her recipes and images will inspire you to gather your friends and family in the kitchen to make memories, use the time to connect with busy kids, chat over mixing bowls, get messy, laugh, sing, set the table, clear the table, pass the salt, debate the days topics and pray.

You can follow Sally here as a weekly contributor to 365Barrington and at Heinens.com as well as via Table and Dish on Instagram and on her website at TableAndDish.com.

Have you heard about Heinen’s Tasteful Rewards™ program? Sign up for free to receive exclusive weekly specials via email and earn Heinen’s rewards. As a Tasteful Rewards™ membership benefit, Heinen’s will donate up to 1% of your qualified purchases made between September and April to a local school of your choice through their Teaming Up for Education Program. CLICK HERE to sign up for Heinen’s Tasteful Rewards™ and, trust me, this is one email that will always please your palate!

Heinen’s Grocery is located at 500 N. Hough Street, between E. Main Street and Route 14 (next to Meatheads) in Barrington, Illinois. They’re open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit Heinens.com.


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