I decided to plan my meals for the week.
What? You don't do extensive meal planning around the sale ads, Andrea?
I usually don't. I just buy what's on sale, some staples, and throw it together with the freezer cow or canned or dried beans as a base.
As you can imagine, this is not a very sustainable way to cook for a family of 6 + daycare kids. After so many lunches and suppers of pasta/rice/beans + sauce with a vggie on the side, even Mom is ready to run for the Chinese place up the street.
So, I planned 7 dinners this week that I plan to make a large amount of in the hopes of not having to cook lunch every day as well. Five of these came from Cooking Light Magazine. I always have to adapt recipes to fit family/finance/time constraints - so I will try to relate those points in the hopes of helping you do the same.
Today's recipe got a 100% positive rating from the family!
Cheesy Pasta Bake (adapted from Cooking Light Magazine March 2012)
2 x 12oz boxes Smart Taste Penne Pasta
16oz ground Turkey Breast
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 large Onion - diced
3 tsp jarred minced Garlic
1c. vegetable stock (recipe called for red wine)
1.5 cans Hunt's Traditional Pasta Sauce
1/2c chopped fresh Basil
3c. shredded Mozzarella
3oz shredded Parmesan
Preheat oven to 350.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, add oil, garlic, onion, and meat in a frying pan, cook until onions are clear and meat is no longer pink. Add vegetable stock (or wine) and cook until the sauce reduces (or about 7 minutes).
Drain pasta and return to pan. Add the basil, sauce, and meat mixture. Combine.
Divide mixture between two 9x13 pans sprayed with cooking spray. Top evenly with the cheeses. Bake uncovered for 20 - 25 minutes or until the cheese is browned. Makes 12 servings.
You could certainly use dried basil if you so desire - the basil was probably the most expensive item here. Don't use 1/2c of dried basil - 1TBSP will do. This recipe breaks down to about $1 per serving. Yep, that's right, ONE DOLLAR.
Serve a veggie or big honkin' salad on the side. Garlic bread...oh, yeah!