Saturday, February 2, 2008

Up and running!

After a super long week without internet, we are back! It was a long week not being able to "keep up" with the life of emails, study materials, online ads, coupons, & deals! I guess I've just gotten so spoiled with the convenience that the internet provides for my life! We did have some great meals, though! One of our most favorite meals lately has been Rachael Ray's Not Lasagna Casserole. It has 3 different meats, lots of tomatoes, a hidden carrot and ricotta cheese! This is the perfect supper for a cold night. The kids love it and it's one of Cody's favorite meals, too! It's a keeper! (Here's a little sneaky hint--if you don't have ricotta, you can put cottage cheese in the blender until smooth and no one will know the difference. Shhhh....)

Not Lasagna Casserole
1 pound campanelle (curly-shaped hearty pasta), we use Barilla brand
1 pound ground beef, pork sausage, ground turkey MIX (1/3 pound of each--1 brown all 3 pounds together and save the rest for more cooking!)
1-2 large carrots, grated
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, grated
Black pepper
1 large can diced tomatoes (28 oz)
1 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. basil leaves torn or 1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
2 c. ricotta cheese
1/2-1 c. grated Italian blend cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Once at a boil, salt liberally and add pasta. Cook just shy of al dente, leaving a good bite to it (6-7 minutes).

While water comes to a boil, heat 3 T. EVOO over medium high heat. Add the meat and lightly brown it, breaking it up into small bits with the back of a wooden spoon. (take out extra meat at this time if browning 3 lb. together)

Add carrot, onions, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until veggies soften, about 5-6 minutes. Add tomatoes and stock to veggies and meat and bring up to a bubble. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in basil.

When the pasta is ready, drain it and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and toss to coat. Transfer to a 9x13 casserole dish and gently stir in ricotta cheese. Top with shredded cheese.

Bake 15 minutes until the top crusts up a bit. YUM!