Thursday, November 15, 2012

Italian Mac and Cheese - Freezer Swap Recipe

Italian Mac and Cheese

This is the perfect pasta on cold night. Pull it out of the freezer the night before and cook for about 40 minutes. You have a nice dinner with no prep work :)

I think that is a win-win.


2 lbs ground beef
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes 
6 oz can tomato paste
26.5 oz pasta sauce
2 carrots peeled and shredded
1/2 onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped 
1 cup chopped frozen spinach (fresh baby spinach works great too)
1 lb box of medium shell pasta
16 oz reduced fat cottage cheese
16 oz shredded part skim Mozzarella
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
salt and pepper and sugar to taste


Fill a large pan with water and set it over medium high heat to boil.  Brown the ground beef and drain.  Add 2 tsp of oil to a large pan and saute the carrot, onion and green pepper until just tender.  Add the spinach and heat through.

Once the water is boiling in the other pot add the dry shells and stir.  Boil the pasta to the least amount of time recommended on the box.  To the large pot with the veggies add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and the tomato sauce.  Mix well.  Add a tsp or two of white sugar if the sauce tastes too sour.  Sprinkle in t tsp Italian seasoning.  Add the browned ground beef into the tomato sauce mixture and stir well.  Remove from heat.

This is a very thick sauce.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain the shells and return them to the pot.  Add in all the cottage cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese.

Now lay out three 8x8 pans.  Put 1/3 of the shells and cottage cheese mixture into each pan. Now add 1/3 of the beefy marinara sauce to each pan. Top each pan with 1/3 of the shredded Mozzarella cheese. 

Now cover each pan with foil and label.  Put one pan in the oven to bake for dinner.  Since all the ingredients are fully cooked you can bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. 

The other two pans go into the freezer for later use.  Thaw in the refrigerator for two day. Then bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. 

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