Cheesy Italian Pasta Bake

Every once in a while I go through my old recipe box and come across a recipe that use to be a part of our regular menu rotation. This Italian Pasta Bake is a casserole that use to be my go to recipe for pot lucks, feeding hungry groups of teenagers or to take to a family who needed a meal brought in. It is super easy to make, can be made ahead of time, refrigerated and baked later, reheats well and is easy on the budget. More importantly it’s delicious! I have to admit I am not a huge fan of pasta but I do like this dish.

You can adapt this recipe to your liking, use low fat turkey Italian sausage in place of ground beef, provolone cheese instead of mozzarella, homemade marinara sauce instead of store bought, add some mushrooms and top with a little fresh basil if you have it. It’s cheesy deliciousness!

I have also made a successful lower-fat version using Boca Crumbles and cutting the cheese in half. Of course the original recipe is the best!

Cheesy Italian Pasta Bake

  •  1 pound Kirkland lean ground beef 9%
  • 8 ounces Barilla Whole Grain penne pasta, cooked and drained
  • 32 ounces Classico Tomato Herbs & Spices pasta sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning Mix or to taste
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non stick spray.

2. Brown meat, drain.

3. Stir cooked pasta, pasta sauce, Italian Seasoning and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese in with the meat stirring well to combine. Spread into prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with a little Italian seasoning on top of the cheese for color if desired. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Servings: 8

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1/8 of a recipe (8.5 ounces).

Amount Per Serving, Calories 378.98,Total Fat 14.6g, Saturated Fat 7.21g, Cholesterol 64.37mg, Sodium 745.49mg, Potassium 39.44mg, Total Carbohydrates 32.94g, Fiber 4.85g, Sugar 7.82g, Protein 28.47g,  WWPP 9

Variations: Substitute Boca Crumbles for the ground beef, use half the amount of cheese for a lower fat version. Or try using low fat Italian turkey sausage instead of ground beef, add mushrooms, provolone cheese instead of mozzarella and sprinkle with fresh basil before serving.

Source: Kraft Foods

Nutmeg Notes

Today we had the final inspection on the new Heating & Air system and it passed! I am so happy to have that ordeal over with and not be sharing my house with workers today.

Yesterday the router for our computer system decided to quit working. Well actually it was on and off the day before but yesterday it stopped working all together. When your wireless Internet goes down you realize how much you use it. It was a group effort to get our wireless Internet up and running again. Between our future son in law advising us on what router to go buy and me going to get it – (I am like a fish out of water in a computer store). Then hubby Tom installed the router last night and got all of our computers and printers connected to the sysytem so we are back in business. Today is looking good. 🙂

Yesterday for lunch I made our favorite Mexican Shredded Chicken in one slow cooker and in another, slow cooker black beans were cooking. I used the chicken and black beans to make three soft tacos. They tasted so good, I hadn’t had corn tortillas since starting the 17 Day Diet and they were a real treat!

For dinner it was easy French Dip Sandwiches for the family. They are so quick and easy and can be made assembled ahead of time and held in the refrigerator. Then as everyone trickles in after work or classes they can heat one up in just 15 minutes and microwave the Aujus. I opted for a green salad with chicken and fruit, this time going with pineapple and red grapes – so refreshing!


Add Your Thoughts

I’ve been in a cooking slump lately and could use some inspiration.

What have you been cooking lately? Feel free to leave a link to a recipe you think I might like to try.

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  1. Jody - Fit at 54 says:

    I don’t think you want my boring recipes! 😉 I am very very very simple & nothing like what goes on in your house! 😉

    Congrats on the house being done but UGH 0n the computer.. so glad this is my hubby’s business or I would be SOL! 😉

    1. Tami says:

      I don’t think your recipes are boring Jody! I posted two recipes last week that you had posted on your blog! 🙂

  2. Karen@WaistingTime says:

    I’ve been really into zucchini pizza bites lately!

    Slice zucchini (thickness is up to you, I probably go with about a 1/4 inch since I don’t much like zucchini). Put on cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Salt, pepper, and oregano to taste. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Top with pizza toppings of your choice. (I go with sauce, low-fat mozzarella, and turkey pepperoni). Bake about 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Yum.

    1. Tami says:

      Karen that is a great idea and something I have never tried! Thanks for the great idea, wish I had some zucchini but I didn’t buy any this week. It’s on my list for my next grocery run. 🙂

  3. Renee@Mykitchenadventures says:

    Your Italian Pasta bake is very similar to what I make when I am in a cooking slump! Can’t go wrong with pasta and cheese! lol

    I made some Philly Cheesesteaks with seitan this past week…very good, and very different…meatless. Have you ever used it? Here is a link:

    I just hate when I go through cooking and baking slumps…but they happen, what can you do! 😉

    1. Tami says:

      I have never tried seitan but I heard Dr Oz talk about it on his show. Thanks for the link I want to try and incorporate more meatless meals into our menu.

      Yes, these cooking slumps do come and go but even if I don’t feel like cooking my family is depending on me doing so! Sometimes the cook just needs a break. 🙂

      Thanks for your help Renee.

  4. Gina (The Candid RD) says:

    Funny you should say you’ve been in a cooking slump..I have too! I think it happens to everyone every once in a while. I was caught by this recipe because it sounded so much like something I would never make….so I think I want to make it!
    Lately, to mix things up, I’ve been lovely tempeh recipes, and also recipes with portobella mushrooms (like my last post). It’s been fun making Nick eat vegetarian!

  5. Sharon says:

    I’m not in a cooking slump – I just can’t find TIME to cook right now. I was so excited about my newfound love for cooking last fall and I still am. Got to make it a priority and get back in the groove. That pasta thing looks wonderful. Pasta can be a problem for me – I’m afraid I’d eat it all.

    Funny, I was having internet issues myself yesterday. Kept kicking off and then was very, very slow. Decided it must’ve been our weather since it was entire network, not just one computer. All seems resolved today.

  6. Helen says:

    I make a similar pasta dish but call it Baked Ziti. Whenever I make sauce with meatballs and sausage, once we’ve eaten as much as we’d like, I freeze the leftwovers. (I cut up the sausages and meatballs first.) Usually a few weeks later all I have to do is thaw out my premade frozen sauce, and put the casserole together. Easy peasy.

    I got nuttin’ on the recipe front. I’m in a slump myself but don’t care as I’ll see be on vacation and I’m trying to clear out the fridge and freezer anyway. These days it’s grilling and more grilling 🙂

  7. Dr. J says:

    I’m the last person to suggest any cooking ideas to YOU, but yesterday I made a cooked veggi mix with cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, red cabbage, and onion, then chopped up some San Fran sourdough bread from a recent trip there, and added that to the mix before I cooked it (in the microwave but I’m sure the oven would work) so it was like a casserole, then added fake sausage to one serving and baked grouper to another, but whatever protein source you add probably doesn’t matter. Then sauce it however you like.

    1. Tami says:

      Dr J that is a great idea! Don’t you just love San Fran sourdough bread – it’s the best there is! Lucky for us we live close and now we have a Boudin Bakery in our town so we can get that great San Fran sourdough bread whenever we want. Thanks for sharing your meal idea! 🙂

  8. Susan says:

    Hi. I’ve just found your website and appreciate your sharing recipes. I look all over for inspiration when I get bored with the same ole’ same ole’. I thought I would share…

    Last night I made the Barefoot Contessa’s Roasted Shrimp Cocktail (minus sauce) and served it with baked feta (Trader Joes’s light 1PP/oz) and bruschetta sauce (TJ’s 1PP/2TBS), and a thinly sliced baguette. I made a salad of spinach, strawberries, snap peas, feta, and spicy walnuts – tossed in Brianna’s blush vinaigrette. The whole meal calculated to be 15PP and was amazing!

    1. Tami says:

      Susan your meals sounds amazing. I love that recipe for shrimp and we like it as a main course as well as an appetizer. I will check out that bruschetta Sauce from TJ’s thanks for sharing! 🙂

  9. Jenn @ Cooking Aweigh the Pounds says:

    I made something similar to this with your Melt In Your Mouth Sausage recipe a while back. My boys loved it and the leftovers and delicious the next day. You only need to look back through your own recipes for inspiration! 🙂

    I’ve been in a cooking slump too. I’m on the constant look out for recipes that are easy that makes tons of food for leftovers.

    1. Tami says:

      Great idea Jenn! Those sausages are so good.

  10. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    You saw my to-be-made recipes. So far, I’ve only tried the roasted strawberries (with maple syrup and balsamic vinegar.). Loved the berries, but not the balsamic finish. Ah well, at least I tried it.

    Your casserole looks so good. I’m fortunate that thicker pastas like lasagna and penne don’t agree with me; otherwise I think I’d be in big trouble! 🙂

  11. Veronica says:

    I love pasta and love it even more if cheese is involved-this looks like a winner to me! I think your tacos sound really good too–that doesn’t sound like a slump! But one thing I enjoyed on the 17 Day Diet was Our Best Bites’ Asian Lettuce Wraps: http://www.ourbestbites.com/2011/04/asian-lettuce-wraps/ but this, THIS was the best thing I ate on phase 1 (sooo good): http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2011/09/recipe-for-julienned-zucchini-spaghetti.html

    1. Tami says:

      Thanks for the links, those recipes look amazing!

  12. Biz says:

    I sometimes forget about old stand-bys since my recipe pile is over growing – love that pasta dish – so cheezy!

    Do you have Bonefish Grill where you live? They have an appetizer called bang bang shrimp – so good – I have a skinny version that tastes so close to the real thing.


    Happy Monday!

    1. Tami says:

      Biz I saw your post and thought it looked amazing as usual!

  13. Ann says:

    Well I know when I’m not reading your blog I have a lot fewer new ideas. I know you keep up with a lot of recipe sites I don’t have time to so I use you as a resource. Still catching up……

    And yes…I get in a slump cooking. Especially with veggies. I’m always looking for new ideas for them

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