Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cheesy Pasta Casserole

OK, as much as we all like from time-to-time to feel the satisfaction of lovingly crafting a time consuming, complicated 4- star meal, most days all I want to accomplish is a quick, nutritious, and delicious meal that my kids will eat without complaining!

This dish fits the bill - very quick, very easy, very delicious. And yes, it passes the kid taste test.

Any pasta will do though in this case I used Cavatappi  or “Corkscrew” pasta - it's like macaroni but different enough for the kids to take notice. The tight spiral locks-in the flavor allowing the shape to pair with both simple and sophisticated sauces. In this case, it was a simple meat sauce. And since my kids love cheese and creamy foods I added preshredded, extra stringy cheese to the pasta and sauce and then a bit of sharper cheddar to the top. Of course, you can spice it up if you or your kids like some heat. Chopped onions or other veggies like carrots also work well in this dish.

1 lb of lean ground beef
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning (optional)

1 - 2 jars Newman's Own Marinara Sauce (depends on how saucy you like it)
1 cup pregrated cheese
1/2 cup grated cheese for top

500 g package of corkscrew pasta

What to do
  1. Mix salt pepper and Old Bay seasoning with beef.
  2. Brown beef over medium heat until cooked through.
  3. In large casserole dish add beef and sauce.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions on package.
  5. Add pasta to casserole dish.
  6. Add 1 cup cheese.
  7. Stir well.
  8. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  9. Place in preheated 350 degree oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes until heated through, bubbling at the sides and cheese in melted.
Note: If you don't have 30 minutes to spare throw it all in a big sauce pan and, over medium heat, warm until cheese is nicely melted and creamy.
From cheesy

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