I had all our meals figured out but we had some fun thrown our way so our dinner plans changed a bit yesterday and that’s totally great! So dinner yesterday got bumped to lunch today with leftovers for the rest of the week. In the past that would have derailed our meals completely, but we just revamped our meal plan.
Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomato and Cheese
This is the recipe I picked for this week, mainly because I had leftover sausage that I froze from our last Italian food night but I wanted to try something that was more along the lines of a casserole. What better than a version of baked ziti! This was a really easy “pantry” dish to make; we literally had everything to make this and it’s a huge plus when it comes to throwing something together for dinner. I was a solo cooker for this one since I made it during the day while Nick was at work. I started browning the sausage, onion and garlic while the water for the pasta came to a boil. I threw in the noodles and finished up crumbling the sausage. Once the pasta was done cooking and drained, I transferred the sausage mix to the pasta pot (I needed something bigger than the frying pan I was using) and added in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and salt and pepper. Once that came to a boil, I let it simmer for a bit, I added the ziti to the pot and mixed it all together. I layered it into a casserole dish, using only half of the pasta mix and topping it with Mozzarella and Parmesan, then doing the same with the other half of the pasta. Then it was time for it to go into the oven and turn into a pan of bubbly, cheesy awesomeness.
PROS: It’s super easy and with only a few ingredients, it’s one of those recipes that can easily be replicated on a weeknight quickly without making a stop at the grocery store on the way home. This dish rocks my socks! This is everything that I love about Italian food: cheesy, spicy (hot Italian sausage…good!), the little bit of crunch from the cheese and pasta from baking in the oven, so good! It’s a definite keeper in our monthly meal rotation! You will have leftovers! And everyone knows that pasta is so much better the day after too. This would also make a great casserole to take to a potluck. You could even make this completely meatless too. Definite keeper!
CONS: Not a darn one! Seriously. I can’t think of a thing! Win Win!!