Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pasta Bake

I love this recipe because it is super easy, super cheap (if you buy stuff on sale) and everyone in my family loves it. Can't beat that!

A few years ago one of the spaghetti sauce makers started marketing a "pasta bake" sauce. You put pasta in a pan, added the jar of sauce and one jar of water, covered the pan and baked it. I thought, you should be able to do that with just sauce, shouldn't you? I tried it and it worked like a charm.

Get out a 9 x 13 pan and put some pasta in it. You don't want to use spaghetti noodles here, you want something sturdy. I like penne (a tube shape with angled ends) but you could use rotini or rigatoni or even macaroni noodles. I can't give you an exact amount but it should roughly be two layers of pasta. It will look like this:(these are really bad pictures today. I apologize and wish I could do better. It has to do with the light in my kitchen. Well, and my my horrid picture taking skills!)

Once you get the pasta in there, add one jar (or can) of spaghetti sauce. Preferably the sauce you got on sale for 79 cents a can. Then fill that same jar (or can) with water and pour that in, too. Stir it up so the spaghetti sauce is mixed well with the water. Then cover with tin foil and bake at 350 til the sauce is almost absorbed and the pasta is tender. This took about 45 minutes tonight but you just have to keep an eye on it. When it is just about done, uncover it and sprinkle it with shredded mozzarella cheese. Take it out when the cheese is melted and bubbly.

This is really good reheated the next day, too. (Guess what I'm having for lunch tomorrow?)
You could, of course, add cooked ground beef, or italian sausage or cooked, chopped chicken. I don't because of my vegetarians. But if your family likes it - go for it. If you get your meat on sale, it will only add a couple of dollars to the total cost.

I figure I used about $1 worth of pasta, the sauce was 79 cents or so, and about $1 or $1.25 of cheese. That means that this meal, which feeds all six of us (everyone had seconds) with leftovers, costs around $3.00! I served it tonight with cheese biscuits and home canned applesauce. My whole meal was probably $5.00. Yeah! And took me about 10 minutes worth of work.

Best part? No one whined!



Nancy said...

I have a recipe very similar to this -- add eggs, cottage cheese -- that is a 'go to' recipe for me. Easy enough that even the kids can put it together.

Lynn said...

I am going to have to try this. It would be a nice quick meal.

Joy said...

Just found your blog ... from another blog ... from ... well, that's how this blogging world works, I suppose! I'm really glad I found you and am looking forward to your great tips. :)

Jaz DeWills said...

Hi! I found you through MPM, and I've now subscribed through RSS. What a wonderful blog you have here! I used to buy that pasta bake sauce, and I've been wondering if it would just work with regular sauce - I'm trying to be a lot more frugal with my cooking these days, but I love the "work-free" aspect of the oven pasta. Thanks so much for clearing that up for me, I'll be making this next week!

Amy said...

Thanks for this. It is so simple but so tasty. I used a cheap tomato sauce a few months back and my Japanese husband thought it was the best thing ever. The other night I used a jar of four cheese sauce I was given by a friend, served it with some fresh herb leaves, and he was even happier.