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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Quick & Easy Pasta Bake

*See at end of recipe on how to save money with ingredients.

This easy casserole takes no time and very little effort to make and everyone loves it.

You can easily make it more nutritious by using lean, organic meat, low sodium sauce, whole grain pasta and low fat cheese.

Pre-heat oven to 350°

You will need:

1 pound cooked ground beef, drained and rinsed
1 package of pasta, cooked and drained
1 large jar of “doctored” spaghetti sauce (see below how I “doctor” my sauce)
2 cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese

Combine meat, sauce and pasta in a 13 x 9” baking dish.

Bake for 15 minutes

Remove and sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with a salad and garlic bread. Freeze remaining, if any, for leftovers another night or make a double batch at the same time and you will have another meal ready for someone else to defrost and heat when you’re too tired to cook.

*Doctored Sauce – I always add to any pre-made sauce. Even if they say, “It’s In there” I always improve it.

It’s simple and add the amount you want. Here’s all I do:

Just add garlic powder; dried, minced onions; oregano and McCormick Italian Herb blend to your sauce in a pan. Heat for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Mix in meat before adding to pasta.

*Here’s how I save time & money with this recipe:

I bought several one pound packages of organic ground beef ( I cannot stress enough the importance of service beef that is without chemicals and hormones in it) when it was marked down due to expiring in a couple of days. I cooked it up and put one pound portions into individual plastic containers, labeled and dated and then put in freezer.

When you want some cooked ground beef, turn upside down, run under warm water for a few seconds till it “releases”. Then put in a glass bowl to defrost in microwave for a few minutes, break up with fork. Plastic is not safe to heat in microwaves due to chemicals being released into food, that’s why I just put it in a bowl to re-heat.

I bought name brand sauce when it was on sale combined with coupons. I am able to stock up on a few jars for less than half the normal price.

Pasta – buy fun shapes for your family. Bow tie shapes are our favorite for casseroles. Bought on sale combined with coupons got large boxes for less than .50¢ a box! I stocked up.

Cheese – Again bought on sale when the sale hit to almost 50% off regular price. This type of sale comes around about once a month at most stores. Check for coupons both in newspapers and online for the name brand.

Always try to only use your coupons when the item goes on sale. This maximizes your savings making it possible to buy your items for a lot, lot less.

In addition to coupons you get from the Sunday paper, here are some links to free online coupons you can print:


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