Saturday, January 22, 2011

Salsa Al Pomodoro Maccheroni!!!

Hello again!  I wanted to share another recipe with you!  Changing our diet this way has actually inspired me to try and create new things in the kitchen from both my brain and that of others'!  I had previously "lost that lovin' feelin" in the kitchen.  I think it was because everything was old news to us and nothing made me feel spectacular or anything so I had no interest in cooking or uncooking for that matter.  For me it was a pain to think ahead and remember to thaw out meat and prepare it, being very careful not to contaminate anything with the bacteria of raw meat.  It always grossed me out so I was very careful and things took extra long!  I was also sick all the time and it just wasn't something that interested me!  Now, I feel great and have lots of energy as well as interest in making the foods that taste so great and supply that energy!  Win-Win-Win (Hopefully, you watch 'The Office' and understand the whole triple win thing! ;-) )  Anyway, I have been trying to come up with recipes on my own instead of taking those from others and altering them.  It's just something I always wanted the ability to do.  Some of them turn out and....well....others don't!  This recipe turned out great!!!!! 

When I was planning this week's menu I had originally planned to use elbow pasta hence the 'maccheroni' but we ate that earlier this week, haha, so I used spirals instead!  I suppose you could actually call this recipe 'Salsa Al Pomodoro Rotini' then!  It really doesn't matter what style of pasta you use.  Though, spaghetti types will be more difficult to assemble and eat!

Salsa Al Pomodoro Maccheroni!
8oz pasta (If using gluten free pasta this will be the entire box.  Traditional pastas have 16oz so use half!)
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 clove garlic
2 handfuls organic baby spinach
1 can mushrooms pieces and stems (you could also use 1/2-3/4 cup fresh mushrooms)
1/2 cup shredded goat cheddar (optional)

First, boil water for your pasta and partially cook it......don't overcook because the pasta will cook a bit more in the oven.  Preheat oven to 350.

While you are waiting for the water to boil, add the garlic, spinach and mushrooms to a chopper or food processor and chop finely.  You can really use any veggies you want.  This is what I used but peppers, olives or any other veggies you want can be added to your sauce!   
Add the chopped veggies to the jar of pasta sauce and stir together in a bowl!  Tip:  I always and I mean always hide vegetables in my pasta sauce!  It makes any jarred sauce taste great and nobody will even bat an eye.  You will probably get a "Wow, this sauce is amazing! Where did you get it?"  comment as I did the first time!  What they don't know can't hurt em' right!?!?  ;-)

Line a 9x9 baking dish with foil and spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of the pan.  I line my pans with foil for two reasons!  One, it's easier to clean up and two, I can't afford to replace every gluten contaminated pan that we have and I'm not taking any I line it with foil!

The thin layer of pasta sauce.

Next, take your partially boiled pasta and drain it.  Then add it as the next layer in your dish followed by the shredded goat cheddar, if using.  If you don't want the goat cheddar you can add a thin layer of nut cheese or half a thinly sliced zucchini.  The zucc would be great and I would have added that to mine for sure if I had one! Yum  You could also completely omit this step and go to the next if you like!

Add the rest of the sauce to the top and bake for 20-25 minutes in preheated oven.  The idea is just to heat everything through so it should only take about 20 minutes!
After cooking!

There it is, Salsa Al Pomodoro Rotini!  This was so easy and very delicious!

This recipe could very easily be doubled and added to a 13x9 pan with an extra layer OR you could make 2 9x9 pans and FREEZE one for later!  I love recipes that pay you when you're in a bind and remember that you froze a recipe for just such an occasion! The cooking instructions would be the same on the frozen meal, just thaw before you bake!  Have a fantastic weekend!

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