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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      Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding

      Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding

      As much as I’m gonna miss summer, I can’t help but be happy about cooking up warm casseroles, holiday squares and hearty soups.  This golden and eggy Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding, with its flecks of vegetables and herbs is EXACTLY why I love the fall.  I could go on about brightly coloured fall leaves, pumpkins, and apple desserts, but in the end, this glorious casserole wins my heart this fall. 

      It’s a dish I’ve made plenty of times, always with great results and never disappointing. The only sad thing is, it makes quite a lot, feeding 10-12 people.  Sad only because the only time I make it, is when I have enough company to warrant a casserole of this size.  So, with that being said, it’s perfect for a crowd, and can be prepped up to one day ahead, helping you manage your time when feeding a small army. 

      If you’ve never had a savory bread pudding, you must give this glorious Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding a try.  It takes a bit of time to prepare, but worth every minute.  Enjoy!

      Recipe source for Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding:  Adapted from Epicurious Savory Bread Pudding with Mushrooms and Parmesan Cheese

      Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding
      Print Recipe
        Servings
        10-12 people
        Cook Time Passive Time
        60 minutes 70-75 minutes
        Servings
        10-12 people
        Cook Time Passive Time
        60 minutes 70-75 minutes
        Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding
        Print Recipe
          Servings
          10-12 people
          Cook Time Passive Time
          60 minutes 70-75 minutes
          Servings
          10-12 people
          Cook Time Passive Time
          60 minutes 70-75 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          1. Preheat oven to 375℉ and butter a 13"x9"x2" casserole dish. Slice crust from bread and cut into 1" cubes to yield 10 cups loosely packed cubes. In a large bowl, toss bread with olive oil, thyme, garlic and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Spread evenly in a single layer on a large baking tray and bake for 18-20 minutes until golden, turning once or twice. Remove from oven and return bread cubes to same large bowl.
          2. Heat butter in a large skillet until foamy. Add celery, onions, green pepper, and mushrooms. Sauté until softened and most of the moisture has been cooked out, about 15 minutes. While vegetables are cooking, whisk together eggs, cream, spinach, salt and pepper.
          3. Pour egg mixture over toasted bread cubes, add sauteed vegetables, parsley and gouda, stir to combine well. Pour into prepared dish, spreading out evenly. Top with grated parmesan cheese, cover and chill for at least an hour (up to one day ahead) to allow bread to absorb the custard.
          4. Preheat oven to 350℉. Bake uncovered for about 60 minutes until set and golden. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10-15 before serving.

          Italian Turkey Kale Rolls

          Italian Turkey Kale Rolls

          With this weeks wintery weather here in western Canada I can safely say it’s casserole season! Which for me is a great because I love saucy and satisfying dishes that warm the house and fill it with mouth watering aroma. So while I’m not actually crazy about the weather, it does give cause to make Italian Turkey Kale Rolls. They’re a tasty way to warm your belly and beat off this weeks chill.

          Ground turkey is spiced up with Italian sausage, herbs and spices then combined with rice and rolled into kale leaves. Baked until flavours meld and the turkey is cooked through then topped with a sprinkling of cheese and given a quick broil. The resulting roll is tender, full of flavour and laden with tomatoey sauce. These tasty rolls are hearty and satisfying without being heavy, not to mention a great way to eat a little kale.

          I would consider Italian Turkey Kale Rolls a weekend recipe as there’s some prep and an hour long baking time. So a lazy Sunday afternoon is in order. The recipe does make 14 large rolls which for many of us will mean leftovers. Easy to portion out and freeze the leftovers to save for another wintery day when your time is limited.  Enjoy!

          Recipe source for Italian Turkey Kale Rolls:  Compelled To Cook

           

          Italian Turkey Kale Rolls
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            14 rolls 45 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            63 minutes 5 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            14 rolls 45 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            63 minutes 5 minutes
            Italian Turkey Kale Rolls
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              14 rolls 45 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              63 minutes 5 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              14 rolls 45 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              63 minutes 5 minutes
              Ingredients
              Rolls
              Servings: rolls
              Instructions
              Rolls
              1. Bring water and salt to a boil, add rice, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool while continuing.
              2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a simmer. Trim the bottom 2-3 inches from kale leaves. Blanch leaves in water for 3 minutes. Remove using a slotted scoop to a cold water bath or cold running water to stop the cooking process. Drain well.
              3. In a large bowl combine ground turkey, Italian sausage, onion, green pepper, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Mix gently just to combine all ingredients. Gently mix in rice.
              4. Preheat oven to 350℉. Lay a kale leaf flat and dab with a paper towel to grab any excess moisture. Scoop a generous 1/4 cup of filling onto leaf and roll leaf over filling, tucking in the sides as mush as possible. If the leaf is not large enough to tuck the sides simply press them around the filling. Place roll into a greased 13"x 9" casserole dish. Repeat with remaining kale and filling, stacking rolls tightly in pan getting 2 rows of 7.
              5. Pour sauce evenly over rolls, cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired and broil 2-3 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes prior to serving.
              Sauce
              1. In a medium bowl whisk together all ingredients and set aside until rolls are assembled.
              Recipe Notes

              I found that it takes 3 bunches of fresh kale to yield the 14 large leaves.  Save the smaller leaves for another use. It may be necessary to trim out about 1" of the center stem from the bottom of the cooked kale leaf to allow the leaf to roll nicely.  Don't worry too much about tucking in the sides as they are packed tightly in the pan and hold their shape when cooked.

              Braised Celery and White Beans

              Braised Celery and White Beans

              Don’t be fooled by the humble celery! Look beyond what is thought to be boring, and used only for mirepoix and stuffing myth.  What lies there is an irresistible crunch and distinctive yet mild flavour. Braised Celery and White Beans lets this veggie take centre stage along side white beans to show off its best assets, the crunch. Even after cooking, the celery retains some of its inherent firmness which gives the otherwise soft ingredients a bit of character.

              The tomatoey sauce provides the perfect bath for everything to soak and simmer together in. The melty and gooey cheese makes the dish homey and comforting. Served with crusty bread, Braised Celery and White Beans is a healthy yet rustic and satisfying meal.

              Recipe source for Braised Celery and White Beans:  Compelled To Cook

               

              Braised Celery and White Beans
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                4 servings 20 minutes
                Cook Time Passive Time
                75 minutes 45 minutes
                Servings Prep Time
                4 servings 20 minutes
                Cook Time Passive Time
                75 minutes 45 minutes
                Braised Celery and White Beans
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  4 servings 20 minutes
                  Cook Time Passive Time
                  75 minutes 45 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  4 servings 20 minutes
                  Cook Time Passive Time
                  75 minutes 45 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Servings: servings
                  Instructions
                  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until just starting to crisp and most of the fat has rendered. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate using a slotted spatula. Reserve approximately 2 tbsp of bacon fat in pan.
                  2. Over medium heat, add sliced shallots and garlic to bacon fat and sauté for 1-2 minutes until the shallots are starting to soften. Add celery and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
                  3. Stir in broth and allow to simmer over medium low heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk cornstarch into canned tomato juice until dissolved. Add to pan along with canned tomatoes. Heat until mixture comes to a simmer and thickens. Stir in cannelloni beans, smoked paprika, fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
                  4. Divide equally between 4 individual coquette dishes or ramekins. Place on a large baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Top each with 1/4 cup of grated cheese and broil until cheese has melted and is golden. Serve with crusty bread if desired.
                  Rustic Tomato Spinach Bake

                  Rustic Tomato Spinach Bake

                  Well, summer is fast approaching its end, but with that comes fresh fall fruits coming off the trees and the last of the garden veggies being dug up and plucked from the gardens. With the coolness in the morning air I’m starting to dream of casseroles. Rustic Tomato Spinach Bake is a wonderful way to use the scads of fresh tomatoes you’re secretly hoarding. It’s an aromatic, homey casserole flavoured with fresh basil, garlic and a good dose of parmesan cheese.

                  The recipe is inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s Scalloped Tomatoes, which she adapted from Ina Garten. Deb from Smitten Kitchen suggests serving with a poached egg and I couldn’t agree more. Tomato soaked bread chunks infused with garlic and laced with spinach are the perfect cradle for a soft runny egg. It’s lunch in heaven for me! I could seriously eat this for lunch all week, and since my husband is not a spinach fan, this may very well come true for me.

                   

                  Although great with a runny egg, this casserole shines with roasted or grilled meats and would also be lovely with a green salad. Enjoy!

                  Recipe inspiration for Rustic Tomato Spinach Bake from Smitten Kitchen’s Scalloped Tomatoes

                   

                  Rustic Tomato Spinach Bake
                  Print Recipe
                    Servings
                    6-8
                    Servings
                    6-8
                    Rustic Tomato Spinach Bake
                    Print Recipe
                      Servings
                      6-8
                      Servings
                      6-8
                      Ingredients
                      Servings:
                      Instructions
                      1. Preheat oven to 350℉. In a large bowl toss together bread cubes and 2 tbsp olive oil. Spread bread cubes into a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 until golden, tossing once or twice. Remove from oven and set aside.
                      2. Add remaining 2 tbsp of oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes until starting to soften. Stir in garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add spinach and toss until wilted. Stir in tomatoes, sugar and salt, stirring to combine. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes until 3/4 of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in fresh parsley, basil and bread cubes.
                      3. Lightly spray a shallow 4-5 cup casserole dish with non stick spray. Pour mixture into casserole and spread out. Sprinkle with parmesan and gruyere. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and starting to brown. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
                      Parsnip Pumpkin Bake

                      Parsnip Pumpkin Bake

                      It’s always on everyone’s mind during the holidays…..what to cook and serve?  Parsnip Pumpkin Bake is a lovely side dish to adorn your Thanksgiving table along side your roast turkey or ham. It uses freshly grated sugar pumpkin, is sweet and savoury with a crunchy nutty topping, making it the perfect side for your roasted meats.  Its sweetness is a great match with ham yet the savoury earthy and buttery taste will be a hit with your turkey.

                      It’s hard to go wrong with this great side dish with its minimal ingredients, simple preparation and make ahead ability. It’s easy and yummy, which should be on everyone’s table not only for guests but for hosts trying to keep their sanity over the holidays.  Regardless of the dishes you choose to make and share with your loved ones, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

                      Recipe source for Parsnip Pumpkin Bake:  Compelled To Cook

                      Parsnip Pumpkin Bake
                      Print Recipe
                        Servings Prep Time
                        6-8 people 15 minutes
                        Cook Time
                        35 minutes
                        Servings Prep Time
                        6-8 people 15 minutes
                        Cook Time
                        35 minutes
                        Parsnip Pumpkin Bake
                        Print Recipe
                          Servings Prep Time
                          6-8 people 15 minutes
                          Cook Time
                          35 minutes
                          Servings Prep Time
                          6-8 people 15 minutes
                          Cook Time
                          35 minutes
                          Ingredients
                          Parsnip Pumpkin Bake
                          Servings: people
                          Instructions
                          Parsnip Pumpkin Bake
                          1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Peel and trim ends from parsnips, cut into 1" chunks. Boil or steam until tender, about 10 minutes depending on size. Drain well and mash with a fork or potato masher until all large chunks are broken down. The parsnips will remain stringy with small bits still visible. While parsnips are cooking, grate a cleaned piece of raw pumpkin flesh using a fine grater. Add grated pumpkin to mashed parsnips along butter, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine. Spread evenly into a small buttered casserole dish (makes about 3 cups). Sprinkle topping evenly over casserole and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and starting to bubble in the center. Remove and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes.
                          Topping
                          1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until butter is broken down and mixture is crumbly.
                          Recipe Notes

                          Be sure to use a fine grater to grate the pumpkin. Recipe yields about 3 cups.

                          Recipe Source:  Compelled To Cook