Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A very sneaky casserole

Last night, I had a special Girls Night at church, so I needed something quick, yummy, and easy for the kids to eat with Cody. This was sort of a combination of Rachael Ray's Not Lasagna Casserole and Baked Ziti. PLUS, I added some carrots for that hidden punch of vitamin A! Cody said the boys ate 2 huge bowls of pasta, and he and Cloe enjoyed it too! I have no idea how I'm going to feed these little boys of mine when they have those huge growth spurts in the future! Here's the recipe:

1 lb. mini penne pasta (Barilla just came out with mini pasta--it's perfect for kids!)
1 small can petite diced tomatoes
1 small can crushed tomatoes
1 lb. browned ground meat (I used what was already done in the freezer 1/3 sausage, 1/3 hamburger and 1/3 ground turkey)
1 chicken bullion cube (I love Knorr bullion)
1 cup small curd low-fat cottage cheese (they'll think it ricotta :))
1 super large carrot finely grated
1 cup of mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
dried basil
onion powder
salt & pepper

Boil pasta just shy of being al dente. Drain and place in baking dish or 9x13 pan. Pour both cans of tomatoes, browned meat, and grated carrot over pasta and stir it all together. (Now the rest gets pretty ungourmet-like!) Break up the bullion cube and sprinkle over the top. Sprinkle salt, pepper, onion powder and basil over the top. Mix seasoning in with pasta mixture. (Now taste a noodle and add more of whatever you think!) Place dollops of cottage cheese around the pasta dish and "poke it" down in the pasta. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and a little golden.