Sausage and Pepper Baked Ziti

My family loves baked ziti and I was craving comfort casserole. This recipe feeds many so cut in half or make 2 portions and freeze one. Make it meatless and leave the sausage out.

Ingredients:

2 pounds of ground italian sausage, I used sweet

1 package of chopped peppers, I purchased these in the produce department

1 cup onion, chopped

1 16 ounce box of ziti

2 jars of your favorite marinara (spaghetti) sauce, use what you need. I had about a half a jar leftover

1 32 ounce container of ricotta cheese

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (the dry kind that you shake out)

3 Tablespoons chopped parsley

3 eggs

1 package/container Parmesan shreds (grated)

2 pounds grated mozzarella cheese

In a skillet, brown sausage with peppers and onions. While your sausage is cooking, you can boil the ziti noodles. Cook according to package directions. Drain grease from sausage and drain pasta. Put pasta in a bowl and toss with a small amount of marinara sauce. Set both aside.

In a medium size bowl, add ricotta, eggs, dry Parmesan and parsley and mix thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

I used a large 9 x 15 casserole dish, prepare with nonstick cooking spray. Spread some marinara sauce on the bottom of casserole dish.

Layer half of your ziti in the bottom of your pan. Add a layer of the ricotta mixture and top ricotta with the sausage and peppers.

Top sausage and peppers with marinara sauce and grated Parmesan.

Add half of your mozzarella cheese on top of the Parmesan cheese.

Repeat layers. Bake 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Serve with a salad, garlic bread and glass of vino. Manga! Enjoy!

Taco Pasta Casserole

The comfort of a casserole meets my love for tacos. My recipe is way and economical. Can’t get much better than that. Most of the items used in this recipe you probably have in the pantry or refrigerator.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds of ground beef

1 diced onion

Garlic salt and pepper to taste

1 package of taco seasoning mix

7-8 ounces Velveeta cheese

2 16 ounce jars of salsa or picante sauce, divided

1 pound box of seashell macaroni, cooked to package directions

2 or more cups of grated Monterey Jack and cheddar or your favorite cheese

Garnish (optional)

Sour cream

Pico de Gallo

Scallions

Olives

mmmm

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown beef and onion. Season meat with garlic salt and pepper. Boil pasta while beef is cooking. Drain beef. Add taco seasoning packet, Velveeta cheese and a cup of salsa. Keep warm on stove. Drain pasta and add beef mixture. Stir to mix. Add salsa to the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan. Add additional salsa to beef and macaroni mixture so it is not dry. Pour beef and macaroni mixture in casserole dish. Generously cover top with grated cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly. Serve with refried beans and rice. Enjoy!

Dinner In 30 Minutes

I really wasn’t trying to make a dinner in 30 minutes but when I did, I thought I would share it. This recipe isn’t written in stone, you can change the pasta to low carb or gluten free. Change the dressing to one of your favorites. My cost for dinner was under $20 because of the ingredients I already had at home. However, if you were to go buy everything from start to finish, it would still be under $25 in my area.

Ingredients for Main Course:

1 package of Bow tie pasta, or your favorite low carb, gluten free

*1 package of chicken tenders, cooked or rotisserie chicken, cut in bite sized pieces

1/2 cup pasta water

**Olive Garden Salad Dressing, or your favorite dressing, you add how much you like. I didn’t drown my pasta in dressing.

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, make garlic bread. Cut chicken in bite size pieces. I also made my bag salad.

Garlic Bread:

Sliced bread

Garlic butter or spread

Parmesan cheese

Paprika

Spread prepared garlic spread or butter on sliced bread. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese and sprinkle paprika on top of cheese. Broil under butter has melted. Timing depends on how close the rack is set close to the broiler. The closer it is, the faster your bread will cook or burn. You must keep an eye on it.

Salad:

I bought a Caesar Salad in a bag. No shame in that. The kit included dressing, Parmesan cheese and croutons in the bag. The package I bought was two for five dollars. Can’t beat that. These salads literally take a few seconds to make. Cut open the bag, dump in the ingredients and toss.

*Believe it or not, chicken tenders I purchased were $9.00. A rotisserie chicken is under $5 at Sam’s Club, a little higher at my grocery store.

**Cant find Olive Garden dressing or like it, a good substitute a good Italian or Balsamic Italian Dressing, whatever you prefer.

Another helpful money saving hint, my grocery store often has buy one get one free pasta. I often stock up on pasta when that happens.

My cost:

Chicken Tenders $9.00

Pasta $1.69 (free from my pantry)

Bread $3.00

Garlic spread $3.60 (I used what I had)

Salad $2.50

Salad dressing $3.99 (already had in my pantry)