Meaty Baked Pasta

Meaty Baked Pasta

Well, baked pasta is far from anything new.  This little version is my own yet very similar to many that are out there.  It’s more of a reminder of how wonderful a baked pasta can be.  There are a few steps involved so I wouldn’t call it the best weeknight meal.  However, Meaty Baked Pasta is just what the family calls for on the weekend.  

With this pasta casserole, you will find a meaty sauce that includes ground beef and Italian sausage, a light and creamy ricotta cheese layer that helps to balance the acid in the tomato sauce.  More sauce hugged pasta with chunks of tomato that is broiled oozy with mozzarella and parmesan.  It’s the kind of dish you know you should stop eating, but just can’t.

It serves many with even a few leftovers.  If planning ahead, you may want to assemble in two casserole dishes, bake one and freeze the other for a later meal when time is not your friend. 

Meaty Baked Pasta is homey, satisfying and best of all cheesy!  It’s not diet friendly, so I won’t pretend that it is.  Everything in moderation, right?  Enjoy!

Meaty Baked Pasta is hot and cheesy from the oven in a blue casserole dish with handles. There is a serving spoon half tucked into the pasta. The dish rests on a cork pot holder that is draped with a white and navy towel. Fresh basil sits in the background.
Meaty Baked Pasta
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    8-10 people 40 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    40 minutes 5 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    8-10 people 40 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    40 minutes 5 minutes
    Meaty Baked Pasta is hot and cheesy from the oven in a blue casserole dish with handles. There is a serving spoon half tucked into the pasta. The dish rests on a cork pot holder that is draped with a white and navy towel. Fresh basil sits in the background.
    Meaty Baked Pasta
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      8-10 people 40 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      40 minutes 5 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      8-10 people 40 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      40 minutes 5 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: people
      Instructions
      1. Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften, stirring often.
      2. Add ground beef and Italian sausage. Cook until browned and no longer pink, breaking apart any large chunks and stirring often. Dab out any excess fat with a paper towel.
      3. To the meat add marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and chili flakes.
      4. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 20- 25 minutes to meld flavours.
      5. While meat sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions using well-salted water. (about 1 tbsp regular salt to 4 litres of water). Drain pasta and set aside.
      6. Preheat oven to 350℉.
      7. In a small bowl stir together ricotta, half of the mozzarella, half of the parmesan, dried basil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
      8. Lightly spray a 9"x13" casserole dish with non stick spray. Add half the cooked pasta and half of the meat sauce to the casserole dish. Stir to combine. Spread with ricotta cheese mixture.
      9. To the pot with the remaining pasta add remaining meat sauce. Stir to combine and pour over ricotta cheese layer. Top with remaining half of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
      10. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes until bubbly. Broil for 2-3 to blister the cheese. Remove and allow to rest 3-5 minutes prior to serving.

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      Chili Tortilla Roll Ups

      Chili Tortilla Roll Ups

      Do you love crispy finger food?

      I do!  Chili Tortilla Rolls are perfect for any game day being crispy, cheesy and hearty enough for a gathering of game day fans.  

      These tasty rolls can be made up ahead of time and cooked when you need them for a nice crisp exterior.  Once assembled they also freeze well and will keep in a sealed container for up to a month.  They’re also a great way to use up leftover chili that you might have.  I have included a thick chili to use for these rolls, but any hearty chili can be used. 

      Served with the little extras like guacamole, sour cream and salsa makes them a game day hit. 

      Looking for other finger food snacks?

      Check out these great recipes!

      Catalina Wings

      Buttermilk Ranch Onion Rings

      Jalapeño Rings with Cumin Dip

      Chili Tortilla Roll Ups
      Print Recipe
        Servings
        20 rolls
        Servings
        20 rolls
        Chili Tortilla Roll Ups
        Print Recipe
          Servings
          20 rolls
          Servings
          20 rolls
          Ingredients
          Servings: rolls
          Instructions
          1. In a medium pot or dutch oven heat oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions and green pepper and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powders and cumin and continue to cook for 1 minute.
          2. Add ground beef and cook until beef is browned, stirring occasionally and breaking apart the chunks.
          3. Stir in remaining ingredients and allow to simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes to meld falvours. Chili should be relatively thick, but add a tablespoon or two of water if needed.
          4. Place one tortilla shell on a flat surface and spread with approximately 3 tbsp of chili leaving a 1" border around. Top with 1 tbsp of cheese. Moisten the top inch of the tortilla with water. Starting from the bottom, roll tortilla shell up a third of the way. Fold in sides 1 1-1/2" and continue to roll forward, enclosing all the chili in a tubular shape.
          5. Continue with remaining shells, chili and cheese until all have been rolled.
          6. Using a 2" skillet or shallow pot, add enough canola oil to come up 1". Heat over medium until hot. Place about 6 chili rolls in hot oil with seam side down (don't overcrowd). Cook for about 2 minutes until golden. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove with tongs to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil. Cut in half diagonally and serve with guacamole, salsa and sour cream if desired.

          Affiliate Disclosure

          I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
          Bacon Jam Mozza Burger

          Bacon Jam Mozza Burger

          Did someone say bacon? Yes indeed, and you won’t want to let Father’s Day go by without firing up the grill for this amazing Bacon Jam Mozza Burger. Thick ground beef chuck patties topped with mozzarella and plenty of sweet and smoky bacon jam. Trust me, dad will be happy!

          So let’s talk meat shall we?  Even though the bacon jam in this recipe makes a statement, it’s the beef that’s gonna make or break your burger experience. We’ve all eaten the pre made frozen hamburger patties and we’ve all made hamburgers from regular ground beef, but let me tell you, there’s a better way to go.  

          Ground chuck my friends is the meat of choice for your beef burger.  Specifically, ground  chuck with a 20% fat ratio. This is a highly recommended ratio because it lends to a nice juicy burger without being overly fatty, which isn’t required with ground chuck because you can cook it to your liking of medium, medium rare…..not the well cooked mandatory standard for frozen patties or burgers made from regular ground beef that need to be cooked to a minimum of 160℉ for food safe reasons. Most butcher shops will carry ground chuck or will be super happy to grind it for you.  Even in my small community, where it is hard to find fresh bean sprouts, I was able to source ground chuck at Sylvan Quality Meats.  A simple call ahead landed me several pounds of ground chuck at an 80/20 ratio, neatly packed in 1 pound pouches.  

          So back to the burger….probably the two most significant differences between burgers made with ground beef and those made with ground chuck is flavour and tenderness.  Ground chuck yields a beefier taste and is tender due to the fat ratio and the fact that you can cook it similar to a steak, medium rare, medium etc.  This ability to serve the burger with a little pink in the centre lends to a more tender burger.   You could say beef steak rules apply in this case.  Plus, there’s no filler, additives, or excess salt, just good quality beef with tasty toppings.  What’s not to love about that? Enjoy!

          Recipe source for Bacon Jam Mozza Burger has been inspired by: Epicurious Whiskey Bacon Jam

          Bacon Jam Mozza Burger
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            4 people 30 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            60 minutes 3 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            4 people 30 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            60 minutes 3 minutes
            Bacon Jam Mozza Burger
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              4 people 30 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              60 minutes 3 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              4 people 30 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              60 minutes 3 minutes
              Ingredients
              Bacon Jam
              Servings: people
              Instructions
              Bacon Jam
              1. Chop bacon into 1/4" dice. Heat a large sauce pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add diced bacon and cook uncovered until crisp and rendered, stirring often. Scoop out bacon onto a paper towel lined plate, leaving behind approximately 2 tbsp of bacon fat.
              2. Reduce heat to medium and add chopped onion. Cook uncovered until softened and starting to caramelize, approximately 10 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients including cooked bacon and heat to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook for approximately 30 minutes until mixture is "jammy"
              3. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. If you like a chunkier texture, serve bacon jam as is. If you prefer a jammier texture, add 1/2 the bacon jam to a food processor and pulse several times to break down bacon. Stir together with unprocessed half and serve. Yields an approximate 1 1/4 cups of bacon jam and will keep refrigerated in a sealed container for up to one week. Rewarm gently prior to use once it has been chilled.
              Burgers
              1. Preheat grill to medium high.
              2. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Weight ground chuck into 6 ounce portions. Form each portion into 4 1/2"-4 3/4"patties using a press or your hands, making sure not to overwork the meat. Using your thumb, make an indent in the centre of each pattie. Place formed patties onto parchment lined tray and lightly brush both sides with oil. Sprinkle both sides generously with kosher salt and cracked black pepper.
              3. Place patties onto grill and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes per side for medium or 140-145℉. Flip patties only once. Remove from heat onto a plate and top with cheese. Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for about 3 minutes, giving the meat time to rest and the cheese time to melt.
              4. While burgers are resting, toast buns and warm bacon jam. Assemble burgers with bacon jam and other toppings as desired and serve immediately.

              Grilled Steak Salad

              Grilled Steak Salad

              Grilled Steak Salad is just that!  Tender, juicy, spiced rubbed steak thinly sliced and served with crisp mixed greens, goat cheese and zesty Catalina dressing.  It’s low in carbs, high in protein and filling enough for lunch or dinner.  

              For this recipe I used sirloin steaks that were about 1” thick.  They’re relatively lean and price friendly compared to their classy cousin the tenderloin. Either steak works here, choose what suits your mood and budget.  Fattier cuts like ribeyes are not the best option even though all that marbling makes for the ultimate juicy grilled steak, it sorta defeats the purpose of eating a salad for the main course.  Kinda like drinking diet pop while eating a hamburger and fries. I’m sure you get my point. 

              Of great importance is to “rest” the meat.  The resting allows all the juices to be reabsorbed back into the muscle of the meat, helping to retain its moisture and therefore tenderness and juiciness.  Cutting a steak or roast without letting it rest will spill out all the meat juices that have accumulated towards the centre of the meat from the heat of cooking.

              Once your steak is cooked and rested to perfection, those slightly charred and thinly sliced pieces are fantastic drizzled with a vibrant Catalina dressing.  Of course homemade is preferred and you can get the recipe here Catalina Dressing  It’s easier than you think and you probably have everything on hand already.  Enjoy!

              Recipe source for Grilled Steak Salad:  Compelled To Cook

              Grilled Steak Salad
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                2 people 25 minutes
                Cook Time
                10 minutes
                Servings Prep Time
                2 people 25 minutes
                Cook Time
                10 minutes
                Grilled Steak Salad
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  2 people 25 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  10 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  2 people 25 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  10 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Servings: people
                  Instructions
                  1. In a small bowl stir together first 10 ingredients. Sprinkle steaks generously on both sides with spice rub, pressing gently to slightly adhere. Drizzle with oil and rub paste evenly over steak. Cover and set aside at room temperature while grill preheats.
                  2. Preheat grill to medium high.
                  3. Clean and dry mixed greens ( I like to use a salad spinner). Clean and slice vegetables, subbing in others as you like.
                  4. Grill steak to desired doneness. 4-5 minutes per side for a medium 1" steak. It will depend on thickness of steak. Remove steak and cover with foil and allow to rest at least 5 minutes.
                  5. While steak rests, arrange mixed greens on plate and top with sliced vegetables and crumbled goat cheese.
                  6. Slice steak across the grain and arrange on salad. Drizzle with Catalina dressing and serve immediately.
                  Recipe Notes

                  I recommend using homemade dressing, you just can't beat it.  Here's a link to my Catalina Dressing.

                  Catalina Dressing

                   

                  Hearty Hamburger Soup

                  Hearty Hamburger Soup

                  Hearty Hamburger Soup is loaded with barley, veggies and ground beef. A great soup with tons of flavour and almost stew like. It’s a soup you’ll be making again and again. A super simple recipe that makes a huge pot, and like most simmered things, it actually tastes better the next day after the flavours really meld together.

                  While there’s plenty of hamburger soup recipes out there, this one comes from my little collection of Best of Bridge cookbooks. They’re old and dated but contain some great everyday recipes that are simple and easy to make. Plus they have cute little quotes at the bottom of each recipe, invoking a smile every time I flip through them.

                  Although I am not a huge fan of using canned soup to make soup, I can’t help but love the rich flavour the consommé brings to this hearty pot of goodness. It’s a delicious soup and a wonderful meal served with crusty bread. Enjoy!

                  Recipe for Hearty Hamburger Soup adapted from The Best of Bridge

                   

                  Hearty Hamburger Soup
                  Print Recipe
                    Servings Prep Time
                    10 people 15 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    2 1/4 hours
                    Servings Prep Time
                    10 people 15 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    2 1/4 hours
                    Hearty Hamburger Soup
                    Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      10 people 15 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      2 1/4 hours
                      Servings Prep Time
                      10 people 15 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      2 1/4 hours
                      Ingredients
                      Servings: people
                      Instructions
                      1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook, breaking apart until starting to brown. Drain any visible fat. Add garlic and onion and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
                      2. Add remaining ingredients to pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer on low for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
                      Recipe Notes

                      I used Campbells brand soups in this recipe.  Makes about 4 litres of soup and freezes very well.

                      Grilled Lamb Koftas

                      Grilled Lamb Koftas

                      For those who don’t know, another passion of mine is overland travel, camping and the combination of both in our Jeep. My husband and I are self contained and have everything we need in the confines of a Jeep Rubicon with a roof top tent. We have hot water, power, fridge/freezer and the necessities required to live well for days when in the middle of nowhere. It’s quite amazing how much you can pack into a jeep with a little planning and the right gear, not to mention a pretty smart husband. We have the ability to go places that RV’s just can’t, which allows us to head into the hills for solitude and relaxation. It’s a shame our Canadian summers are so very short and there aren’t enough vacation days to do all that we want most years. Most of the time during the summer months it’s weekend getaways to the Rocky Mountain foothills and in the fall a longer trip to Canyonlands Utah. Grilled Lamb Koftas is Compelled To Cook’s first outdoor post and the weekend’s meal on the grill. Showing you that camping, whether it be tenting, or RVing does not mean a sacrifice on great food.

                      For a weekend getaway Grilled Lamb Koftas are perfect. Easy to mix together and take little time to grill to perfection. No need to worry about making side dishes and salads, just stuff the juicy lamb koftas into a pita and top with your favourite sprouts, lettuce, onions and plenty of Minted Yogurt Sauce. I’ve used a combination of ground beef and ground lamb and added greek yogurt and chickpeas to the meat to add moisture and texture. They’re nicely spiced but not overpowering, making them great for the whole family. Enjoy!

                      Recipe source for Grilled Lamb Koftas: Compelled To Cook

                      Grilled Lamb Koftas
                      Print Recipe
                        Servings Prep Time
                        6-8 servings 30 minutes
                        Cook Time
                        12 minutes
                        Servings Prep Time
                        6-8 servings 30 minutes
                        Cook Time
                        12 minutes
                        Grilled Lamb Koftas
                        Print Recipe
                          Servings Prep Time
                          6-8 servings 30 minutes
                          Cook Time
                          12 minutes
                          Servings Prep Time
                          6-8 servings 30 minutes
                          Cook Time
                          12 minutes
                          Ingredients
                          Minted Yogurt Sauce
                          Lamb Koftas
                          Servings: servings
                          Instructions
                          Minted Yogurt Sauce
                          1. Stir together all ingredients and chill until ready to use.
                          Lamb Koftas
                          1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and gently mix with your hands until well combined but not overworked. Cover and chill for up to one day in advance. Shape approximately 2 1/2 ounces of meat mixture into a 3" long log, making 13-15 in total. Thread onto skewers and chill until ready to grill.
                          2. Preheat heat grill to medium and grill lamb skewers for approximately 12 minutes turning to brown all sides. Meat should no longer be pink and the internal temperature should reach a minimum 160℉. Split pitas and fill with 2 koftas. Top with Minted Yogurt Sauce and desired toppings such as lettuce, sprouts, and onions.
                          Recipe Notes

                          Recipe makes approximately 35 ounces of mixture and can be made into burger patties as well.   I used metal skewers, however if using wooden skewers be sure to soak in water according to directions prior to use.