Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pasta Bake

Cheesy.  Pasta.  Bake. 

Sometimes I crave cheese, pasta, and meat.  It's typically when I'm tired.  So after an entire weekend outside in the sun, I was super tired and super hungry.  I searched the Internet for recipes with cheese and pasta and found exactly what I wanted.  The original recipe was only meat, cheese, pasta, and red sauce.  Luckily for me I have a husband who LOVES his veggies so we made the dish much healthier!!  It makes me so happy!  When we went to the grocery store to get meat, we scoured the veggie section trying to decide exactly what we wanted to put in the pasta bake.  We decided on green peppers, zucchini, squash, and some delicious looking sweet and mild cubanelle peppers.  He also picked up some broccoli and cauliflower to snack on pre-dinner.  So cute!

clockwise from the top: yellow peppers, green bell peppers, squash, zucchini, and chopped fresh basil.
 Pasta Bake
1/2 box spaghetti noodles, 1/2 box rotini noodles
1 small zucchini
1 small summer squash
3-4 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
1 1/4 pounds ground beef (leaner beef is preferred)
salt and pepper
20 basil leaves, chopped
3-4 cups your favorite red sauce
1 package Italian blend cheese

How to do:
Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
All at once, you have four tasks to complete at once.  They are the following:

1. In one pan/skillet, brown meat mixed with the onion.  Set aside.

2. In another, mix zucchini, squash, peppers, and garlic for 2-3 minutes just softening.  Add the basil at the very end.  Set aside. 

3. Cook your pasta as directed on the box, shortening the time by a couple of minutes.  My pasta said to cook 7 minutes, so I cooked it 4.  It will keep cooking as it bakes.

4. In another pan, make your pasta sauce.  Set aside.

Once everything is completed, pour into one big bowl.  Stir it up as best as possible. 
Pour half of the pasta mixture into the pan.  Sprinkle half the cheese over the pasta.  Pour the rest of the mixture on top, followed by more cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden and bubbly!

I attempted to make garlic bread to go with our pasta. 
This is how it turned out.  Oopsie!  I was reading The Pioneer Woman's blog and forgot about the bread until I felt my eyes burning from the smoke. 

Good thing we had roasted green beans too!
Everything (except the bread) turned out delicious and it was just the hearty comfort food my tired, sunburned self needed.  Thank god I won't have to wear a bathing suit again until next weekend!
Pasta bake servings, roasted green beans, non-toasted bread with butter

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