Busy Mom Family Meal Planning
It’s such a relief when you know what’s for dinner-even when your family plans change at the last minute-at least you’ve got a PLAN, so you can adapt to whatever happens!
This recipe is part of my Monthly Menu Planning for Busy Moms. Tuesday night’s menu theme was Pasta. Pasta is a great base ingredient for other foods. And it’s a fantastic and fun way to get your spouse and especially the kids to eat more of their veggies or introduce new ones.
Dried pasta keeps forever on your pantry shelf and takes only 8-10 minutes to cook. A great tip on adding some flavor to your pasta is to add the salt late. Pasta cooked without salt tends to have a flat taste. Add the salt just as the water starts to boil. Otherwise, the salty flavor will become too concentrated as the water evaporates during heating.
I found a similar recipe on a fellow FoodBuzz blog and made my own version with the ingredients I had on hand. It was quite tasty and I was able to introduce Spinach in a different way to the kids.
Smoked Brats, Spinach and Cheese Pasta Bake
1 (1 pound) package whole wheat spiral pasta noodles
1 pound smoked Brats
1 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 can (28 ounce) Itlalian style peeled tomatoes
1 package pre-washed spinach leaves
1 cup Cheddar Jack Cheese (leftover ingredients from Monday night’s recipe)
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta, set aside.
In a large skillet, cook smoked Brats, onion and garlic over medium heat until browned and onions are tender. Add salt, pepper and tomatoes with their juices. Chopping tomatoes and stirring. This is where one of my kitchen tools come in handy. The Mix n Chop is a great tool to have in the kitchen. Perfect for chopping foods while their cooking and it’s great for mashing potatoes.
Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Combine cooked pasta, sausage mixture and spinach.
Place half of the pasta mixture in a 4-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray. I used my Deep Covered Baker for this recipe. I can cook just about anything in it. It retains heat so my just-out-of -the-oven foods stay hot longer. Top with half of Cheddar Jack cheese mixture. Repeat with pasta mixture, Cheddar Jack Cheese and top with Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly.
Would you like to join our Family Cooking Club? Share recipes and tips with others? Join the Family Meals Matter Cooking Club on Facebook.
Inspiring More Families Around The Dinner Table More Often. Eating out is Expensive….Eating With Family Is Priceless