Coincidence or not? For the second weekend in a row, I have logged into my blog account in order to write a post that I should have written two months ago, only to discover that the next recipe on my blog backlog was one that I was making again that very day! Last weekend it was Creamy Tomato Soup; this weekend it is the Penne Beef Bake casserole.
I snagged this recipe from a Taste of Home cookbook over the summer. The infusion of vegetables in the pasta casserole was attractive to me, and I am always on the lookout for beef recipes that are lean and healthy. I am your typical chicken-and-fish woman, but my husband is your typical red-meat man. While John will happily eat chicken and fish, even he has his limits.
This recipe makes a huge casserole – perfect for when you are wanting leftovers to last a few days (and the leftovers were even tastier the second day!). The casserole is divided into 8 servings, each of which is very filling. In fact, there is so much veggie-pasta-meat goodness in the dish that I overflowed my 3.5-quart Dutch oven the first time I made it! When I prepare the casserole again tonight, I plan to use my wok in place of the Dutch oven.
I served the casserole with a side green salad and garlic toast. John and I ranked the Penne Beef Bake a solid 3.5 stars. And considering that I am cooking it again tonight, we obviously liked it well enough to have a second time!
Penne Beef Bake
1 package (12 oz) whole wheat penne pasta
1 lb lean ground beef (90% lean)
2 medium zucchini, finely chopped
1 large green pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 jar (24 oz) meatless spaghetti sauce (with less than 6 g sugar per serving)
1½ cups reduced-fat Alfredo sauce
1 cup (4 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
¼ tsp garlic powder
1. Cook penne according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook the beef, zucchini, pepper, and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, Alfredo sauce, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, and garlic powder. Drain penne; stir into meat mixture.
2. Transfer to a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, 3-5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Yield: 8 servings. Per serving, 10 PointsPlus.