Yummy Pasta Bake

Monday, May 03, 2010

I really love pasta bakes. They are easy, you can prep them ahead of time, and pop them in the oven whenever you are ready. You can use whatever meat, pasta, and veggie combination you have on hand. The possibilities are endless. They also can be easily frozen. Oftentimes I will keep a pasta bake in the freezer in case I need to donate a meal - like when one of my friends had a baby. You never know when you are going to need an emergency casserole. Pasta bakes are also great because they make a lot of food which generates leftovers. The leftovers can be frozen and saved for another meal on another day! AND you can load them up with good veggies! YUMMY!

Yummy Pasta Bake

  • 1 lb ground meat (I used ground chicken, but you can use ground turkey, beef, pork, whatever you like)
  • 1 (16 oz) box short pasta - like rotini, farfalle, penne, etc. (I used Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Rotini)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil or butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 can white beans (like Great Northern or Cannellini beans)
  • 1 cup pureed squash or cauliflower (or both)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 lb baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tbsp. italian herbs
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray. In a large skillet with deep sides, heat the olive oil and then add the onion, zucchini,mushrooms, and green pepper. Cook until veggies start to sweat and onion is translucent. Add the ground meat, the granulated garlic, and the italian herbs and cook, stirring frequently until the meat is cooked through. Add the wine and cook another minute or two more until reduced. Stir in the diced tomatoes, the pureed squash or cauliflower the sour cream, the beans, and the spinach. Stir until spinach is adequately wilted and then cook for about 3 more minutes. Add pasta to casserole dish, then transfer meat and veggie mixture to the casserole dish and mix in with the pasta. Stir in the parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the top (and more parmesan if desired). Bake for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

If you want to make this meal vegetarian, just leave out the ground meat!

Until tomorrow, happy and HEALTHY cooking!


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