tomato sauce

Pizza Pasta

Who enjoys having fun with their food? I do! Let’s face it, I’m not in the running to win a Michelin star. Although I think I get 4 stars on this! (One from each of my kids). We have growing athletes in this house, so we eat a lot of pasta. And I don’t know one kid who doesn’t like pizza! Let’s just get crazy… As if we needed further proof that easy weeknight meals can be as amusing as they are tasty.

Serves 6-8

As organic as possible:

1 lb Penne pasta or pasta of choice

1 – 14 oz. jar/can or homemade Pizza sauce

1 – 15 oz. jar/can or homemade Tomato sauce

1 tsp Sugar

1 tsp dried Oregano

Salt and Pepper to taste

6 oz. Pepperoni, sliced *reserve 12-15 slices for topping, quarter the remaining

2 cups shredded Mozzarella or Italian cheese blend, divided

1/4 cup (approx) of freshly grated Parmesan

*Optional diced veggie “toppings”such as onion, green pepper, mushrooms, etc.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook pasta according to package instructions, less 1-2 minutes. *I like to salt my water when it comes to a boil, before adding dry pasta. Drain and return to pot.

In the meantime, in a sauce pan, combine pizza and tomato sauces, sugar (to balance tomato acidity), oregano,  quartered pepperonis, and any diced/sliced veggies. Stir until combined and warmed through. Taste for further seasoning, i.e. salt & pepper.

*Side note: this could easily be a vegetarian dish by omitting the meat! 😉

Pour the sauce mixture into the pot of noodles and stir. Place half of the saucy noodles in a large baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese on the first layer of noodles and repeat with remaining noodles and shredded cheese. Strategically place the full slices of pepperoni around the top of the pasta dish, followed by the grated Parmesan, to create your piece of art. Kiss your grouped finger tips and throw your hand in the air while shouting “Bellissimo!”

Place the loaded baking dish into the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the top pepperonis are starting to brown on the edges. Yum!

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*It might also be noted that I reserved some of the saucy noodles, which I placed in a separate small baking dish for my dairy-free son. (Which you may or may not need to do yourself.)

Pizza Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Penne pasta or pasta of choice
  • 1 - 14 oz. jar/can or homemade Pizza sauce
  • 1 - 15 oz. jar/can or homemade Tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 6 oz. Pepperoni, sliced *reserve 12-15 slices for topping, quarter the remaining
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella or Italian cheese blend, divided
  • 1/4 cup (approx) of freshly grated Parmesan
  • *Optional diced veggie "toppings"such as onion, green pepper, mushrooms, etc.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions, less 1-2 minutes. *I like to salt my water when it comes to a boil, before adding dry pasta. Drain and return to pot.
  3. In the meantime, in a sauce pan, combine pizza and tomato sauces, sugar (to balance tomato acidity), oregano, quartered pepperonis, and any diced/sliced veggies.
  4. Stir until combined and warmed through. Taste for further seasoning, i.e. salt & pepper.
  5. Pour the sauce mixture into the pot of noodles and stir. Place half of the saucy noodles in a large baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese on the first layer of noodles and repeat with remaining noodles and shredded cheese.
  6. Strategically place the full slices of pepperoni around the top of the pasta dish, followed by the grated Parmesan, to create your piece of art.
  7. Kiss your grouped finger tips and throw your hand in the air while shouting "Bellissimo!"
  8. Place the loaded baking dish into the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the top pepperonis are starting to brown on the edges. Yum!
https://sadiesnest.com/pizza-pasta/

 

Easy Mostaccioli

“Don’t take a picture” she said, “the cheese is stuck to the top of the foil.” My much loved friend AnnMarie knew I’ve hardly been able to walk, let alone cook for my family. She texted me a couple days ago to ask me what I’d like to eat and what night she could bring dinner over. Of course I told her I would share no such information, but thanked her for the offer. Naturally Annie, being her beautiful self, said she’d be over in 2 days. She walked through the door with enough meals for a week, plus a blueberry pie. I was ravenous that day, and cheesy pasta is like the epitome of comfort food. She loaded up the refrigerator and freezer dividing the organic meals, explaining this is the cheese for the broccoli rice casserole; these are the shells for the tacos; placing buns for hot dogs in the bread basket… The mostaccioli was warm and ready to serve, the whole house smelled amazing. I thought to myself, “Are you kidding? It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”

As organic as possible:

2 lbs ground Beef

Salt & pepper to taste

3 jars (approx 24 oz each) of your favorite store bought or homemade pasta Sauce

1 lb Mostaccioli (or penne) noodles

1 lb (16 oz) shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Brown the meat with a little salt and pepper in a large skillet. Add the pasta sauce and get it hot; let it simmer for about 20 minutes. In the mean time, cook the pasta according to package directions- less a couple minutes. (They will be a little firm, but soften in the oven while baking). When the noodles are done, mix them in with the sauce. Pour everything into a 9X13 pan and sprinkle on all of the mozzarella cheese. Bake it in the oven for about 25 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Serve with a good crusty bread immediately to your hungry family, or cover with foil and deliver to someone in need. Either way, it’s delicious and they will be forever grateful.

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Turkey Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes were kind of a staple growing up in my house. It’s game night and the cheerleaders are coming over for dinner, what are we going to have? Sloppy Joes! We had a big test in school today, and I could sure go for some comfort food, what’s for dinner? Sloppy Joes! Or it’s been a particularly busy day, mom hasn’t had time to prepare a huge meal for dinner, what should we have? Sloppy Joes! To be fair to my mom, maybe we had them 2 times a month at most, but it always felt like the best answer to me. Yummy comfort food, great for a crowd and easy to pull together. That just so happens to be my favorite kind of food to feed my family today. Here’s just a delicious and healthier twist, because eating healthy should be comforting too!

As organic as possible:

Olive oil cooking spray
1 medium Green bell pepper, finely diced
2 lbs ground Turkey
1 1/2 T granulated Onion
1 1/2 T granulated Garlic
1 tsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground Black pepper
1/2 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1 14.5 oz can Tomato sauce
1/4 cup Ketchup (I use organic with a cane sugar, and I think it gives the mixture a little depth of color and flavor, but for die-hard clean eaters feel free to omit)

Whole grain Hamburger buns

Coat a large frying pan with olive oil spray over medium heat and add the green pepper and turkey. Start to separate the turkey with a wooden spoon (or utensil of your choice) and add the granulated onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano. Continue to incorporate spices into meat mixture as it browns.

(Side note: For Sloppy Joe’s made with beef, I prefer to use freshly diced onion and minced garlic. However, I like the concentrated flavor of granulated onion and garlic for ground turkey. Also, I like to flavor the meat as it is browning- I think it tastes better. Could you add the spices to the turkey after it has been strained -so you don’t lose any- along with the tomato sauce and ketchup? Yes… but I wouldn’t.)

When turkey is mostly cooked through (because turkey has a tendency to dry out, and it will continue to cook in the sauce) strain the majority of the excess fat- a little keeps some flavor… (Who knew Turkey Sloppy Joe’s were so technical?) Add the tomato sauce and ketchup. Stir until combined and saucy. Allow to simmer on low for at least 15-20 minutes.

Serve on whole grain buns, because there is no reason to cut corners on our healthy meal. And if I may, I suggest a side of baked sweet potato fries because they are awesome.

Pizza Bagels

This is proof that food can be fun. I have some cherished childhood memories of my dad making pizza bagels. It’s the kind of food he’d make for us while mom was away at a baby shower or something. It seemed exciting because, well for one, we were cooking with dad. Second, it was all things we were familiar with and knew we liked. Pizza! For another, it really seemed like we were getting creative. Taking something made for one thing and turning it into something completely different. Kids eat that kind of stuff up! (Figuratively and literally… and so do adults.) It really doesn’t get much easier!

As organic as possible:

Makes 8 servings

4 plain or everything Bagels, cut in half

1 – 14.5 oz jar or can of favorite prepared or homemade pizza sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

4 oz Pepperoni

*Any other topping you like (my kids pretty much stop right there)

 

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Place bagel halves, open faced, on a baking sheet. Spoon on desired amount of sauce on each bagel. (Side note: This is a lot of fun for kids (big and small). And everyone can adjust the toppings to their preferences.) Place a handful of shredded mozzarella on top of the sauce. Sporadically or methodically place pepperonis on top of the cheese (keeping in mind they will shrink in size when they cook).

Place the pizza works of art into the oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Leave it until it starts to brown if you prefer. This is your show. But do allow them to cool slightly before you bite into them, because the sauce will be surprisingly hot, and if you burn your tongue on the first bite, you will ruin the rest of your dinner. …And tasty pizza bagels are too tasty and fun to not enjoy!