This morning I made a big batch of Baked Rotini Pasta w/ Meat Sauce, a pre-'baked' and freezer-friendly recipe, to take to my friend who is having her 5th child over the weekend. I figured she could pop the pan in the oven and feed her family tonight (so she didn't have to worry about making dinner), or throw it in the freezer and then heat it up sometime over the next week or two. I love making Italian dishes for make-ahead meals; they are so comforting and filling, heat up great, and the leftovers store and re-heat well too! Plus, who doesn't like pasta?!
When the pasta dish was finished, I stuck it in the fridge since my plan was to head over to my friend's house around 1pm with the pre-made meal and a batch of brownies (yum!). But at 11:30am my phone rings... she's in labor and on the way to the hospital! So I wrapped up the pan with some foil and stuck it in the freezer... it looks like dinner will have to wait until she is home from the hospital with her little one. I hope the brownies make it that long.... ;)
This pasta dish is very easy to make and it only calls for a few ingredients. Every time I make it, it gets rave reviews!!
Baked Rotini Pasta with Meat Sauce
- 1 lb. ground beef (you can use 93/7 or 80/20 or even ground turkey)
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. crushed garlic
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 (28 oz.) jar pasta sauce
- 1 box (13.25 oz.) whole wheat rotini pasta (any shape pasta will work)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
Fill a large pot with enough water to boil the pasta. Add a few drops of olive oil and a pinch of salt to the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once water is boiling, add the pasta. Cook for 10 min., stirring occasionally.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and 1) bake now... OR... let the pasta cool, cover the pan with aluminum foil then 2) put it in the fridge or 3) put it in the freezer.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake thawed pasta for 20-30 min. or until hot in the center. Bake frozen pasta for 45-60 min. or until hot in the center.
Nothing is better than being able to pull a meal out of the freezer, pop it in the oven, and have a delicious dinner ready with no effort! This dish would also be great for a large dinner party or a pot luck. :)