52Weeks · Casserole · Italian · Quick Weeknight Recipes

Gives a Smile

4 Cheese Pasta Bake

mushroom_spinach_bake 

Nothing like a dairy challenge to get my husband involved with planning a meal – so thank you /52weekofcooking for that!  He tossed around lots of ideas, and at least one of them will be making an appearance in a few weeks, but for today I’m sticking with a super cheesy pasta dish that comes together in record time.  In fact, if you have some pre-made sauce in the freezer this delicious dish can be on the table well within an hour of getting home!  This was also my first time testing out some treats from Gourmet Garden, which I got as part of a blog challenge I’m participating in come February.   As for the cheeses, well I just grabbed whatever I thought would work – and then grabbed a few more!

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Needless to say one must really enjoy cheese in order to enjoy this dish, so if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant this might be a good recipe to skip.  It can be easily adapted for gluten free by switching out the whole grain pasta for a gluten free variety, of which there are more and more available!  For even more vegetables, I love that there are more and more vegetable flavored pastas – tho it does keep me from making my own.   For a super healthy option, switch out the pasta entirely for spaghetti squash – just reduce the cooking time to 25 minutes to prevent the squash from becoming totally dried out.

I have to say, using the Gourmet Garden pastes really sped up the process – and the flavors were fantastic!  I only wish more of the pastes were vegan, with the collection I got only the ginger was whey free and while that isn’t a HUGE issue for me it would still be nice.  However the convenience of the products is insane and I love that the ingredients are all organic, plus it tells you right on the container how many fresh cloves, bunches, etc went in to the container.

 Note:  I received a bunch of Gourmet Garden pastes and herbs as part of the #TripleS blog challenge, which starts February 2nd.  I was not required to use the products, or post anything about them outside of acknowledging that I received them, so all opinions and experiences are my own.    

Home Cooking · Italian

Take the Sky

Stuffed Crust OOP Pizza

Stuffed Crust Pizza

 

Time for another fridge cleaning adventure!  This time I had some left over mushrooms and pineapple from a stir fry, olive and onion from a lentil soup dish, and a lot of cheese from some baked pasta dishes.  I decided that instead of just tossing all of the cheese on top of the pizza I would stuff the crust with a variety of the cheese.  I was more than a little nervous regarding this venture since dough and I don’t always get along.  I used my bread machine to prep the dough, going with my sour dough oregano standby.  Once I rolled the pizza out I debated between the standard under roll to form the crust or to try rolling over, which is the one I went with in the end since it seemed the easiest for stuffing crust.

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I was thrilled when I took the pizza out of the oven and realized that all of the cheese stayed within the crust.  I had horrible images of trying to take a slice off the stone and there being a huge hunk of cheese left behind.  The combination of cheeses gave a variety of textures, with the stringy mozzarella, the sharper Parmesan, and the creamy provolone.  This crust is so versatile, I can’t wait til April’s pizza night!