I have a confession to make — between the over 5,000km of driving we did through Yukon and Alaska and attending BlissdomCanada I haven't cooked (even the Canned Soup Mom
version of cooking) in at least 20 days. Thankfully our freezer was well stocked with meatballs
, chicken strips
, and teriyaki beef
but still my kids and my husband were craving the smells that come from a kitchen in action. As I was making my grocery list I asked my nine-year-old daughter what she would like me to cook for her this week (my first full week home this month) and she said this baked pasta. Little does she know it's the easiest baked pasta I've ever made and when you add peppers and spinach it's packed full of all the good things you want your kids eating for dinner.
Simply sauté the peppers.
Add the beef and brown until cooked through.
Add the spinach—don't stress I promise it will wilt!
See totally wilted in under 3 minutes.
Add cooked pasta.
Pour half pasta into baking dish.
Top with half the cheese.
Pour the other half of the pasta in.
Top with the rest of the cheese.
1 box shaped pasta (approx. 500g)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small peppers, thinly sliced
1 to 1 1/2 lbs extra lean ground beef
2 cups fresh baby spinach, unpacked
1 jar tomato sauce (approx. 650mL)
2 1/2 cups cheese, grated (I used 3 cheese mozzarella, provolone, parmesan blend)
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, add oil to saute pan and cook peppers at medium-high heat until softened (approx. 3-5 minutes).
Add beef and cook until no longer pink (approx. 7-10 minutes).
Reduce heat to low and cook until spinach is wilted (approx. 2-3 minutes).
Remove from heat, add sauce and stir to combine.
Add cooked pasta and stir to combine.
Add half of pasta mixture to baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
Top with half of cheese.
Add remaining pasta mixture and top with remaining cheese.
Cover and bake at pre-heated 350F oven for 30 minutes.
HEALTH TIP: Use whole wheat pasta instead of white.
NOTE: I do not add any extra seasoning when I use pre-packaged sauce. Depending on which sauce you use you may like to add some garlic and herbs/seasoning when cooking the peppers.
BONUS: Just like lasagna this dish tastes even better after sitting overnight, so use your working/busy momma ninja skills and make tomorrow's dinner after the kids have gone to bed tonight and simply heat in the microwave.
My kids love this in a thermos
for school lunches.
BONUS #3: This freezes well in individual or family-sized portions.
PS: My daughter, who asked for this for dinner, is currently reading over my shoulder as I type and said (and I quote): "I can't believe I eat all of those vegetables I don't even like when you make it like that."