Almost Healthy Pasta Bake

March 20, 2008

In our house this year we’re keeping track of how many 5-pound cheese loaves we eat. We just finished our third (and it’s only March!) Since we ran out of cheddar, a staple of our diet, I couldn’t make the chicken broccoli casserole that Hubby requested. I came up with this. The sauce I used had mushrooms in it (which some people pick out and throw away), so I threw in some steamed carrots and spinach and pureed the whole thing with my trusty stick blender. It was a bit thick, but very tasty. If not for the gobs of cheese, this would be a very healthy meal.
1 12-oz box whole wheat rotini
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 lb ground beef
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp (about) Italian seasoning
1 tsp (?) oregano
1 jar (26 oz) pasta sauce
2 carrots + handful spinach, steamed and pureed
2 tsp sugar
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce

Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain, set aside. Brown ground beef, drain. Add Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic and onion; cook until onion is translucent. Add pasta sauce, carrots and spinach, sugar, and tomato sauce. Puree any chunks for picky eaters. I have no problem tricking my family into eating veggies, no matter what age they are.

Preheat oven to 350. In a 9×13 baking dish, place a light layer of sauce, half of the cooked pasta, half of the sauce, and half of the cheese. Repeat. Sprinkle top with fresh ground pepper. Bake for 20-30 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

Serve with french peasant bread, and fruit salad (or another veggie!). Everyone loved this.

By Becky

Becky is a mom to 4 kiddos and wife to an awesome guy. She's a food fanatic and loves creating and improving recipes. Bread is her weakness and delicious food is her passion!