When I was growing up our family ate a lot of pasta, whether because it was considered good for us or because it was cheap I don’t know…nevertheless it was not something I enjoyed. I never fully appreciated a good pasta meal until I was much older, but even while growing up Spicy Macaroni Casserole was always a favorite.
I’ve made some slight changes to the original recipe to make it a tad healthier (and less spicy) for the girls. I added whole grain pasta (instead of white), added some chopped green peppers and shredded carrot for extra nutrients, and use light mozzarella cheese to control the fat content. But every time I put that first forkful in my mouth I’m taken back to a time when I didn’t have to do my own cooking/dishes and I can still taste the love Mommaw puts in every dinner.
Spicy Macaroni Casserole
- 1 lb. Lean Ground Beef/Turkey/or Pork Sausage
- 1 Medium Onion
- 1 Medium Green Pepper
- 2 Medium Carrots
- 1 16oz can Tomato Sauce
- 1/2 Teaspoon Basil
- 8oz Shredded Low-Fat Mozzarella Cheese
- 17 oz package whole grain pasta (macaroni, penne)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Prepare pasta as directed on packaging.
- Brown hamburger-add chopped onion and wilt, add green peppers-drain. Add tomato sauce, basil, and carrots and allow to simmer (this allows the flavors to combine and the carrots to soften).
- Using a casserole dish, alternate layers: meat mixture, macaroni, and cheese. Bake uncovered in 350 oven for 30-45 minutes or until cheese is brown.
- Serve with tossed salad and garlic bread.
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that I can start it and then walk away. The bake time allows me to pick up the house and do that last load of laundry before dinner.
Do you have a family recipe that you have changed for the healthier?
*Note: I added some cheddar cheese at the end of cook time because I ran out of mozzarella. We are going to add a little more tomato sauce next time, it was a little dry.*
Disclosure: Ronzoni Pasta sent me two boxes of Ronzoni Smart Taste whole grain pasta. The penne pasta was used in preparation of the above recipe and appears in the pictures above.