Tag Archives: spaghetti sauce

Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

18 Mar
Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

This is a very quick and easy dinner to throw together, especially if you have your favorite homemade spaghetti sauce stashed in the freezer (nevermindthefacthatIjustgotlaidoffanddon’tneedtimesavingrecipesrightnow). And if you make the ricotta in the morning (or even use store-bought) then you are way ahead of the game! And pssst, did you know making your own ricotta is super easy? I sure didn’t!

Prior to my life-changing event on Friday, I was always looking for dinner shortcuts. When I saw my friend Debbie’s post for Baked Pasta with Meatballs and Spinach, I knew it was something I totally wanted to make, but didn’t have the time to bother with making meatballs. So I did the next best thing and used the meatball ingredients as the base for the pasta. In hindsight, if I had made this in my large cast-iron skillet, I could have just popped it straight from the stove top into the oven! (I didn’t have the foresight, but I’m going to remember this for sure next time.)

Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta
Adapted from The Mountain Kitchen

2 cups dried pasta (I used Mostaccioli)
8 ounces ground hot Italian sausage
6 ounces baby spinach
Ground pepper, to taste (some red chile flakes would be great too)
4 cups homemade spaghetti sauce, or your favorite jarred
1 cup shredded mozzarella (not bagged variety)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (homemade or store bought)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage in a large skillet (cast iron if you have one!) until cooked through. Drain any grease, if necessary. Leaving the sausage in the pan, add 1/4 cup water and the spinach, stirring until wilted. Season with ground pepper, to taste.

Sausage and Spinach

Sausage and Spinach

Add the spaghetti sauce to the skillet, combine, and bring to a simmer.

Sauce Mixture

Sauce Mixture

Pour into a large casserole dish (or leave in in the skillet if using cast-iron), then stir in the cooked pasta, half the mozzarella and half the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella and place dollops of the remaining ricotta over top.

Casserole Ready to Bake

Casserole Ready to Bake

Place in oven for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven to broil and cook until golden brown on top, about 5 to 7 more minutes. Serve immediately. WOW, so much flavor for so few ingredients!

Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

BONUS! Here’s Debbie’s recipe for Homemade Ricotta:

Homemade Ricotta

4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or lemon juice

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Add 2 layers of cheesecloth (I used meshed cotton veggie bags) over a sieve or strainer on top of a bowl. Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and bring to a full boil, stirring occasionally. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t overboil! Turn off heat and stir in the vinegar or lemon juice and let it sit for a few minutes. Pour the mixture over the cheesecloth and allow it to drain for about 25 minutes. Then place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Store unused cheese in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

29 Oct
One-Pot Lasagna Soup

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

This is a soup I’ve wanted to make for ages, and FINALLY got inspired to just do it. Soup? Check. Easy? Check. One pot? Check. One hand? Check, dammit. I get my traction device off in less than two weeks, woohooo! But in this seemingly long entrapment from my injury, I have found that one can be quite resourceful while dealing with a disability. Did you know you can break dried lasagna noodles into even pieces one-handed? Simply place the noodle in a glass bowl then push the edge of the noodle hanging out over the lip of the bowl. Snap! Keep moving it up and snapping off the end. See? Easy-peasy! (Newcomers to this site can read about my injury here.)

My recipe here came from several internet-inspired sources. As always, feel free to adapt, as that is pretty much all I’ve been doing lately. Without further ado…

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground hot Italian sausage
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
6 cups homemade or low-sodium beef broth, divided
1 24-ounce jar good-quality meatless spaghetti sauce
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
Ground black pepper and salt, to taste
1 bay leaf
10 uncooked dried lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
Fresh Mozzarella slices
Ricotta cheese scoops
Fresh-grated Parmesan cheese

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, cook the ground beef, sausage, and onion over medium heat until meats are browned and onion is translucent. Add the garlic and stir for a minute more. Drain grease, if necessary.

Add 4 cups of the beef broth and the rest of the ingredients except the cheeses, stirring to separate the noodles. Bring up to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about a half hour until noodles are soft and soup has thickened, about 30 to 45 minutes. Add the remaining two cups of broth, as needed during that time, until soup is desired consistency.

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup

Discard bay leaf and add Mozzarella and Ricotta cheeses to the pot, then let sit without stirring until starting to melt. Ladle scoops of soup and melty cheese into bowls and garnish with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with garlic bread and a side salad.  This is good. Really good. We are talking seconds and thirds good. Trust me.

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna with Paul’s Spicy Sauce

10 Oct
Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna with Paul's Spicy Sauce

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna with Paul’s Spicy Sauce

So my back-yard neighbor keeps giving us zucchini and squash from his garden. I swear we are cooking and eating it as fast as we can! He had given us some pattypan squash twice and some other hybrid now, which I’ve used for a side dish both in soup and roasted with potatoes. (I took photos, maybe a future post? Dunno.)

But then we got this GINORMOUS zucchini.

Zucchini Grande

Zucchini Grande

At that point I thought, “OK, it’s time to use this big time in a big pan of lasagna.” Subbing sliced zucchini for lasagna noodles has been around for quite some years, and since I got my cheap-o mandoline slicer last year I decided the zuke would be a perfect use for that big bad-ass zuke. (Ha! I’m getting a bit crass in my 50s, huh?)

Sooo, I wanted to grill the zuke first, because of all the thousand (exaggerated) Pinterest posts about this, they were all saying it came out too watery. But one post caught my eye that grilling the zucchini first worked way better than doing the salting and resting thing.

WELL. That didn’t work out so well. We had run out of propane, and hubby was supposed to get it but he didn’t. So it ended up doing the salting and resting thing. It came out a bit watery, but the taste was AMAZING! I went back for seconds and thirds. I think I want to make a soup out of this instead of a lasagna next time. That way I can have a really thick soup instead of a watery lasagna? What do you think?

This has a super-short ingredient list (for me at least) so it’s sure to please!

Anyways, this is what I did:

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna with Paul’s Spicy Sauce

1 very large zucchini
4 cups spaghetti sauce, preferably homemade. (I used Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti sauce >—here.)
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
15 ounces Ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

Slice your Big-A zucchini 1/8-inch thin with either a mandoline slicer or a knife. You’ll want enough to cover two-layers in a 9- x 13-inch pan. Lay the slices on racks and lightly salt each side.

Sliced Zucchini

Sliced Zucchini

Let rest for 1/2 hour, then use paper towels to mop up the moisture from the slices. (Alternatively you could dry-roast them on a grill.)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the Ricotta and Parmesan cheeses along with the large egg until combined.

In a 9- x 13-inch pan, spread about a cup of the spaghetti sauce over the bottom.

Layer zucchini slices to cover.

First Layer of Zucchini

First Layer of Zucchini

Now spread half of the Ricotta cheese mixture over them…

First Layer of Cheese Mixture

First Layer of Cheese Mixture

and top with a third of the Mozzarella cheese.

First Layer of Mozzarella

First Layer of Mozzarella

Next spread all the spinach over top…

Spinach Layer

Spinach Layer

and top with 1 1/2 cups sauce.

Spicy Sauce Layer

Spicy Sauce Layer

Repeat the layer of zucchini…

Second Layer of Zucchini

Second Layer of Zucchini

cheese mixture and another third of Mozzarella…

Second Cheese Layer

Second Cheese Layer

and the rest of the sauce.

Second Sauce Layer

Second Sauce Layer

Top with a final layer of Mozzarella.

Lasagna Ready to Bake

Lasagna Ready to Bake

Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna Out of the Oven

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna Out of the Oven

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

 

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

21 Mar
Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

If you have some yummy spaghetti sauce on hand and want to make something different than plain ol’ spaghetti, this is a winning recipe! It’s not overly difficult to make (aside from stuffing those pesky shells) and makes a really nice meal that has all your veggies in it!

I pretty much used my recipe for my Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups, but just changed some of the cheese amounts. I feel pretty proud of this recipe, as all the online versions I found for it made anywhere from 24 to 30 shells — way more than I wanted! I went with my gut feeling, and figured 16 shells would do the trick with the amount of stuffing I use for my roll-ups. I was SPOT ON! Woo hoo! I served this with green salad and baked garlic bread. We ate half one night, then finished the other half the next, but you can freeze the leftovers if you want.

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

16 uncooked Jumbo shell pasta
3 cups Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce, or other prepared sauce
1 15-ounce container Ricotta cheese
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella (I used a block of low-fat and shredded it with a grater)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
2 teaspoons minced garlic
10-ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large egg, beaten
Ground black pepper, to taste
Salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Additional shredded Mozzarella, for topping

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook the noodles to al dente according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking, combine the Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic, spinach, egg, pepper, salt or Mrs. Dash, and a pinch of nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Stuffed Pasta Ingredients Ready to Mix

Stuffed Pasta Ingredients Ready to Mix

When the noodles are done, drain the noodles, let cool a bit, then lay them on parchment or wax paper in a single layer.

Cooked Pasta Shells

Cooked Pasta Shells

Spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish. Stuff 1/4 cup or so of the cheese and spinach mixture into each pasta shell and place into the dish.

Stuffed Shells Wanting Sauce and Cheese

Stuffed Shells Wanting Sauce and Cheese

Pour 2 cups of spaghetti sauce over the stuffed shells. Grate additional mozzarella cheese over the top of the shells, then cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and turn on the broiler. Broil for about 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Stuffed Shells Ready to Cook

Stuffed Shells Ready to Cook

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a green side salad and garlic bread. You can freeze the remaining shells in Ziploc bags for a quick and easy future meal. My family loved this so much we ate the rest of it up the next day!

p.s. (Please let me indulge you with photos of my daughter’s rose she got at her dance team’s end-of-year potluck celebration! That was a long journey to get through dance season with the football and basketball schedules!)

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese2

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

3 Apr
Spinach and Lasagna Roll Ups

Spinach and Lasagna Roll Ups

About everyone and their brother has made this and posted it on Pinterest, BUT not everyone has made it with Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce! Paul whipped up another big batch of his sauce the other night, and I took the liberty of crafting these cute lasagna roll ups before the sauce got all bagged up for the freezer. Recipe here.

I do have a complaint of about 90% of the recipes I looked at. Most of them said to use 2 tablespoons of filling for each noodle. No-way, no-how would 2 tablespoons cover a lasagna noodle. I used at least 1/4 cup for each noodle before rolling them up. Just don’t roll them until you’ve exhausted all the filling, then you can rob Peter to pay Paul if the last couple of noodles are shy of filling.

Spinach Cheese Mixture Spread on Lasagna Noodles

Spinach Cheese Mixture Spread on Lasagna Noodles

Cooking a lasagna this way isn’t necessarily a time-saver, but you do end up with an easy way to package and store leftovers for the freezer. My husband said “This is really good!” so I gathered he liked this version of lasagna. So did my daughter, but she wasn’t very hungry and only ate one. More for the freezer!

NOTE: This can be made vegetarian by subbing in a marinara sauce for the meaty spaghetti sauce.

p.s. I’m traveling out of town this weekend to meet up with about 15 wild and crazy friends, so there will be no weekend post.

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

12 uncooked lasagna noodles
3 cups Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce, or other prepared sauce
1 15-ounce container Ricotta cheese
2/3 cup shredded Mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
2 teaspoons minced garlic
10-ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large egg, beaten
Ground black pepper, to taste
Salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
Pinch of ground nutmeg
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella, for topping
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan, for topping

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups Ready to Bake

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups Ready to Bake

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook the noodles to al dente according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking, combine the Ricotta, garlic, spinach, egg, pepper, salt or Mrs. Dash, and a pinch of nutmeg in a medium bowl.

When the noodles are done, drain the noodles, let cool a bit, pat dry with paper towels, then lay them on parchment or wax paper in a single layer.

Spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking pan. Spread 1/4 cup or so of the cheese and spinach mixture onto each lasagna noodle. Roll the noodles and place seam-side-down into the pan.

Pour 2 cups of spaghetti sauce over the lasagna rolls. Top each roll with 1 tablespoon of Mozzarella and 1 teaspoon of Parmesan, then cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, uncover and turn on the broiler. Broil for about 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a green side salad and garlic bread. You can freeze the remaining roll ups in Ziploc bags for a quick and easy future meal!

Spinach and Lasagna Roll Ups

Spinach and Lasagna Roll Ups

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce

15 Jan
Spicy Spaghetti Sauce and Noodles

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce and Noodles

I’ve mentioned numerous times in my posts about my husband’s spaghetti sauce. While it’s not completely made from scratch, he adds just the right amount of spiciness, meats, and veggies to make this taste “just like homemade.” One of the tricks is to use a quality jarred marinara sauce (and lots of garlic and pepper!) Another special ingredient is Hot and Spicy Italian Sausage. Our local grocery store mixes this up themselves. But if that is not available in your area, you can mix cayenne pepper into ground Italian sausage to your liking. Sometimes he adds a yellow or red pepper to the sauce, but we didn’t have one for this go-round.

Lots of Garlic and Pepper

Add Lots of Garlic and Pepper!

Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce

3/4 pound Spicy Italian Sausage
3/4 pound ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 jars quality marinara sauce
2 jars homemade canned tomatoes or 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 to 6 ounces mushrooms, sliced or chopped
1 small red or yellow bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
A bunch of ground black pepper, to taste
2 bay leaves

Lots of Mushrooms

Add Lots of Mushrooms Too!

Brown the sausage, drain, and set aside. Wipe the skillet, then brown the ground beef with about a quarter of the chopped onions until cooked through. Drain and set aside. In a large pot or deep-sided skillet, pour in the marina sauce and the rest of the ingredients, plus the sausage and ground beef mixture. Stir to combine, then bring up to a simmer. Turn down to low, partially cover the sauce, and simmer for at least a couple of hours.

Simmering Spaghetti Sauce

Simmering Spaghetti Sauce

Remove bay leaves and serve over cooked spaghetti noodles and grated Parmesan cheese. (Don’t forget the garlic bread!) Freeze the extra sauce in quart-size zip-top baggies for a quick and easy future meal!

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce and Noodles

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce and Noodles

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Crunchy Creamy Baked Spaghetti

24 Oct
Crunchy Creamy Baked Spaghetti

Crunchy Creamy Baked Spaghetti

First off, I think it’s almost impossible to get a good picture of a casserole. I don’t care how cute your dishes are or what your background is, casseroles do not lend well to photography. So you’ll just have to trust me that this is a delicious must-try spaghetti casserole! My new go-to place for recipes is Pinterest, and I found this one there recently. It is rare I follow a recipe to the tee, and this one is no exception. I made several adaptations, but I’ll post the original recipe for you, well, because it’s nice to do that for other bloggers!

We all went back for seconds on this one. The combination of the cream cheese inside and the crunchy fried onions on top with lots of melted gooey cheese underneath just screamed comfort food! The other extra element of this was my husband’s homemade spaghetti sauce with spicy cayenne sausage, burger, mushrooms, onions, and red bell pepper. I really have to capture that recipe of his one day, because he usually makes about four quarts of it at a time and it is sooo good! If you start with a good base spaghetti sauce, this recipe will not fail you. I also used a lot of different cheeses on top before the fried onions.  This recipe also lends well to making ahead and refrigerating or freezing before reheating. My only regret with this recipe is not using a smaller casserole dish. The recipe called for an 8 x 12 dish, but I used my 9 x 13 lasagna pan instead. It made a pretty “thin” casserole so I just should have gone with my gut feeling to just use my standard 2-quart glass casserole dish instead of the lasagna pan. But it all came out good. Yummy, creamy, crunchy good!

Pan of Baked Spaghetti

Pan of Baked Spaghetti

Crunchy Creamy Baked Spaghetti

8 ounces uncooked spaghetti noodles
1/2 cup shredded/grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion  (I added a couple of chopped green onions to that too)
1 tablespoon butter
1 8-ounce brick of Neufchâtel cream cheese (1/3 less calories than regular!)
Spray oil
4 or 5 cups of good spaghetti sauce, with meat in it (or not)
About two cups of various grated cheeses (I used Parmesan, Mozzarella, and Colby Jack)
1 small container French-fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees if you are going to serve right after cooking. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, add the carrots, onion, and butter to a covered microwavable dish and cook about three minutes. Take it out (it’s hot!) and let it sit while you then add the Nefuchâtel to a small bowl and microwave for about one minute to soften. Add the veggies to the cream cheese and mix well. Once the pasta is done, drain and layer evenly in the bottom of a 2-quart spray-oiled casserole dish. (Notice I did not say lasagna pan.) Next spread the cream mixture on top of that with a spatula. That can get a bit tricky. Make sure the cream cheese mixture is nice and soft, and take big spoonfuls then blob it around on top of the spaghetti then use a spatula (and fingers) to gently spread a nice even layer.  Pour the spaghetti sauce evenly over it next, and then start adding all kinds of shredded/grated cheese to the top of that. I put a bunch of different kinds on top. If I were to guess, I bet I used at least two cups.  Now either refrigerate or freeze, or pop that baby into the oven and cook for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is nice and golden and melted. In the last five minutes before serving, add the French-fried onions to the top and cook five minutes more. Dinner is served.

Here is the link to the original recipe. She named it “Scooter’s Spaghetti” after her friend who gave it to her.  🙂

http://www.salad-in-a-jar.com/family-recipes/scooters-spaghetti

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