Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Southwest Pasta Bake


I liked this dish- it was pretty tasty. I have two things to say about it: 1)I think it needs a little bit more noodles, like 12 oz. or so instead of 8 oz. so they don't get lost in all the other yummy stuff in the dish and 2)It does take a bit more time to prepare because of all of the different steps...but still not too long. (maybe 30 min or so) Other than that I have nothing bad to say about it! It was yummy and something different for me to try! Personally, I think it comes out looking very pretty too. I love the southwest flavor, mixed with the creamy cheesy goodness. I will definitely make this again, just with more noodles next time. :)

Ingredients
8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
1 package (8 ounces) fat-free cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar (16 ounces) picante sauce
1 can (8 ounces) no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 can (6 ounces) no-salt-added tomato paste
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
1/4 cup sliced green onions

Directions
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in milk. Stir in spinach and oregano; set aside.
In a nonstick skillet, cook beef over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in the picante sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder and cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain pasta; stir into meat mixture.
In a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray, layer half of the meat mixture and all of the spinach mixture. Top with remaining meat mixture.
Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with olives and onions. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 servings.

Gluten free: use GF pasta noodles.

Original recipe from tasteofhome.com

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