It’s starting to get cooler. And as those chilly temps roll in, you’re likely craving more warm, home-cooked meals of the creamy, cheesy, comforting variety.
Unfortunately, though, mom’s lasagna or mac and cheese can be loaded with calories, saturated fat, and refined carbs, not to mention intimidating to make.
But this easy recipe for a Baked Pasta Casserole will give you your fix. It’s hearty, healthy—and unbelievably satisfying.
- 1 16-oz. box whole-grain pasta (bite-sized shapes like ziti, farfalle, rotini, or penne work best)
- 1 24-oz. jar of marinara pasta sauce
- 2.5 cups low-fat/part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 lb. lean meat or protein, cooked (85% lean ground beef or turkey; shredded or cubed chicken breast; or Italian chicken/turkey sausage are all good)
- 2 cups raw spinach (you can also use broccoli, mushrooms, zucchinni, or squash—just cook them in a little bit of olive oil first)
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta
1. Cook pasta until “al-dente” or slightly undercooked (it will finish cooking in oven), then drain pasta and add it back to pot.
2. Mix in jar of pasta sauce, ricotta and 2 cups of shredded cheese, then add cooked meat and veggies.
3. Transfer mixture to a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish, top with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.
4. Divide into 6 servings, then freeze leftovers (each portion separately) so you can enjoy for weeks to come.