The first day of November!  Fall is certainly here, with winter following quickly.  If you are looking for an easy and delicious cold months meal, here is a great one!  I made this the other day, and my son, Jim, had leftovers for breakfast!  That’s a recommendation if I ever heard one.

This recipe is easily duplicated and frozen, and is a full meal with protein, veggies, good fats and some cheeses.

Baked Pasta

  • One package of rigatoni, spirals, or even broken spaghetti pieces (I use gluten-free rice or veggie pasta – delish!). Cook according to directions and keep warm.
  • Two pounds ground beef
  • Two of your favorite veggies: a head of chopped broccoli, several sliced zucchini or yellow squash, 2 cups or more of peas, corn, edamame – whatever you and your family love!
  • 3-4 minced or sliced cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 cups sliced mushrooms – any kind – experiment with different varieties!
  • 1 jar tomato or spaghetti sauce (see earlier Blog recipe for homemade tomato sauce)
  • 1-pound ricotta cheese
  • 1-pound mozzarella cheese, sliced or cubed
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves or ground basil

In olive oil in a large pan, sauté garlic till browned.  Add mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes.  Add ground beef and brown.  To this skillet, add the cooked pasta, veggies, tomato/spaghetti sauce, ricotta cheese and half the mozzarella cheese.  Add whatever seasonings you like – sea salt, pepper, oregano, Italian mix, etc.  Thoroughly mix.

Rub olive oil onto a 11 x 17 casserole dish – or two smaller casseroles – and add mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove dish(es) from oven, add rest of mozzarella, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and add basil leaves.  Put back into over for 10 minutes to melt cheese.  Enjoy!

Try this today!  To Your Vitality!