Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cooking with Pasta

Following are some different ways that I like to prepare pasta:

  • Our favorite pasta sauces are the usual jarred red sauce, pesto sauce (I buy seasoning envelopes on sale, puree with spinach and/or broccoli), and alfredo sauce (again, I get these in envelope mixes for really cheap). Sometimes we will have a pasta bar to choose and mix sauces. Yum.
  • Angel Hair with olive oil, basil, oregano and parmesan cheese. Also good tossed with veggies or tomatoes.
  • Lasagna casserole in a pan: To 16 oz. cooked pasta, add a jar of your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce, mixed with 16 oz. cottage cheese and about 1-2 cups mozzarella (lasagna in a pan!). If you don’t have cottage cheese, then just mozzarella works well, as does cheddar, or any of the above with some parmesan. Spinach and/or chicken (or ground beef, of course) add a nice touch to this combination. Broccoli would be good, too.
  • Pasta with a white sauce and veggies and parmesan cheese.
  • Quick homemade mac-n-cheese (one of my kids' favorites!)– simply cook a pound or so of pasta, and slowly stir in a can of evaporated milk and a cup or two of cheddar cheese. (You can also make a white sauce, but this is SO much easier, and still tastes good!) Be sure to stir until the sauce thickens. To this, you can add ham, veggies (peas are really good)…you could even get creative and make a chili mac casserole or some other Mexican creation….
  • Pasta with browned butter (real butter, not margarine) and shredded parmesan (not the canned kind)…a Spaghetti Factory wanna-be meal that tastes SO good!)
  • Tuna casserole – SO easy…just add 1-2 cans tuna and 1 can cream of chicken or mushroom to a pound of pasta. I sometimes toss in a handful or two of mozzarella, and/or some parmesan (cheddar would work, too). There’s no need to cook in the oven, unless you want a crust on the top (bread crumbs with butter and/or parmesan would make nice toppings).
  • Easy lasagna – Spray 9X13 with vegetable spray. Put a thin layer of pasta sauce on the bottom of your pan, then layer as usual (noodles (they make no-cook lasagna noodles now, but you can use regular ones and just cook longer), sauce, cottage and/or ricotta cheese (not necessary...I rarely have this on hand, so I rarely use it), mozzarella…and you can add meat or spinach or broccoli to the sauce). The trick with this recipe is that you use UNCOOKED noodles, and then add about 1 to 1½ cups water for every 8 oz. of lasagna noodles. I usually use the jar for the pasta sauce, and do about a half jar full of water (experiment with this). Cover with foil and bake at 350º-375º (less than an hour for no-cook noodles, one hour to an hour and half for the others). Just keep your eye on it…I’ve added more water sometimes and at other times, I’ve taken the foil off to let some of the water evaporate if it seems a little soupy. My husband loves this recipe! (If you don’t want to use commercial sauce, I’ve never found a lasagna sauce I like better than this one: 6 oz. tomato paste, 2½ cups tomatoes, 1 t. salt, ½ t. pepper, ¼ t. oregano, 2 t. sugar. You can add a pound of ground beef that has been cooked with garlic cloves, if desired. Cook and simmer 20 minutes. You can double or triple this recipe and freeze it for future use!)
  • Stroganoff: cooked ground beef (I get it in a can from the cannery), 1 can cream of mushroom soup, and 1 c. sour cream (or cream cheese, or plain yogurt) simmered together and served over egg noodles.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Just found your blog from Mormon Mommy Wars. Thanks for the kick in the right direction. I've always made my stroganoff the very same way, but we also add a packet of onion soup mix (esp. good with the beefy onion soup from Lipton), and it really tastes spectacular for the amount of actual work involved. I've even put it all together except the sour cream, then frozen it for later use. I just thaw, then stir in the sour cream. SO easy.

Thanks again for sharing.