This is a recipe I adapted from my old Better Homes and Garden’s cookbook. You will notice that exact measurements aren’t important – just wing it – keep the proportions roughly the same, and have fun substituting different veggies/pasta/ground meats. This recipe is a great one to get veggies into kids’ tummies without them even realizing it!
- 1-3 Tbsp olive oil
- approx. 16 oz. pasta – rotini or shells work well
- 1 small onion
- 1-2 clove garlic
- handful mushrooms – sliced
- 1 cup zucchini and/or eggplant diced into small pieces
- approx. 16 oz. supreme lean ground beef
- approx. 16 oz. tomato sauce
- approx. 8-10 oz. tomato paste
- fistful fresh oregano, basil, and thyme – chopped (if use dried about 1/2 Tbsp. each basil and oregano, 1 tsp. thyme)
- fresh ground pepper
- (optional splash of red wine)
- 2 eggs or 3 egg whites (reminder: all the fat in eggs comes from the yolk; the white is pure protein)
- 1 cup grated cheese (I usually use used a cheddar – mozzarella or monterey jack mix)
- approx. 1/4 cup parmesan
- 2-3 cups chopped fresh or thawed spinach (if frozen squeeze gently to remove excess moisture – then “fluff separate spinach leaves for mixing)
- Heat water for pasta.
- Heat oil in large pan. Saute items 3-6 until just soft but not overcooked. Set aside.
- When water boils, cook pasta until al dente (just soft but not mushy), drain and rinse.
- Cook ground beef over high heat in same pan for flavor – stir and separate as it cooks to prevent clumping.
- When cooked, lower heat to medium, add sauteed veggies back in.
- Add items 8-11, wine if desired, cook 5-10 minutes until excess moisture is removed.
- While cooking meat sauce mix ingredients 12-15, pour and spread into a 13 x 9 baking dish.
- Preheat oven to 350.
When meat sauce has reach desired consistency, (the casserole will hold together better if the sauce is less runny), pour over pasta mixture in baking dish, sprinkle some parmesan over the top, bake for 30 minutes at 350.