Syndicated column for week beginning January 7, 2013.
January’s cold weather makes my family hungry. Of course, any weather makes my family hungry, so I suppose that’s not news. But in cold weather, they want hot and filling foods.
Since January is always a time for us to review our budget, and evaluate where we can save some money, we end up eating a lot of soups and casseroles. See, the grocery budget is the first place we look to save some money. Easy to do if you’re living on steak and lobster, right? Well, we’re not.
No matter how careful I am with the grocery budget, I’m always thinking that I’ve spent too much money at the grocery store. My husband says, at least we’ll eat the food. I suppose that it’s better to spend money on food than on frivolous things.
Anyway, I’ve learned that casseroles are a good way to stretch your grocery money. The other good thing about casseroles is that I can usually get two meals out of one dish. I made up this casserole the other night and I’m thinking it might even go into a third meal.
Meat Lovers Pasta
8 oz Pasta (rotini)
1 lb. ground Sausage
1 lb Sausage Link
½ lb Pepperoni
48 oz Pasta Sauce
1 c Parmesan cheese
2 c shredded Mozzarella/Cheddar Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Brown the ground sausage. Slice the sausage link into half inch chunks. Drain pasta and sausage. Mix pasta, sauce and meats in large pan. Place in 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle the cheeses on top. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly, usually about 35 to 40 minutes.
Make It A Meal: Serve with green salad and garlic bread.
Variations: Add some sliced onions, green peppers and mushrooms.
Approximate Nutritional Information: Servings Per Recipe: 12. Amount Per Serving: Calories: 367, Total Fat: 24g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 1187mg, Total Carbs: 18g, Protein: 18g.
I like using the rotini pasta for this dish. Rotini makes the dish hearty enough to hold up to all the meat. However, you may substitute any pasta you have on hand.
This dish has a strong appeal to the meat eaters in my family. Sometimes I like to notch it up just one more step for them. I’ll sprinkle bacon bits on top the cheese. Now, the folks in the family who like a lighter meal are intimidated by all that red meat.
That’s where serving a good green salad on the side comes into play. I like to chop up some ice berg lettuce, add a couple handfuls of fresh spinach and some of the left over broccoli from the previous night’s meal. Ranch dressing is a creamy way to offset the strong tomato flavor of the pasta
When I make up this casserole, I can count on having enough left over to cover supper for another evening. If you plan on eating the left over portion in the next day or two, simply store it in the refrigerator. If you want to save the extra for another week, then I’d suggest wrapping the food tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and freeze it.
I’ve made up two smaller (8 x 8 inch) pans and baked one. The second one was wrapped and went straight into the freezer. Then, the following week or two, when I needed a meal and didn’t have time to put a lot of effort into dinner, it was ready to bake.
Noel Lizotte is breaking free of corporate stress with convenience cooking! This recipe is similar to ones printed in her cookbook Apron Free Cooking which is available on the website www.apronfreecooking.com. She also writes a monthly column at www.culinarychat.net.
This column is also part of BlogHer’s January NaBloPoMo challenge, to write a post each day. You can read more blog posts here.