Holy cow…I had one fantastic meal tonight!
Earlier this evening, Jay and I had my parents over for dinner. I always know it’s a safe bet to go Italian when my parents are around, so I decided to go that route. Italian food is always ok in my book, too.
Here’s the spread:
A simple veggie salad
Store-bought garlic bread (which was absolutely COVERED in garlic butter, and absolutely AMAZING at that!)
And the main course: Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, & Cheese
This meal was out-of-this-world! I’m telling you, if you are looking to make an Italian, one-dish casserole at any time in your life, this has got to be it.
I found the original recipe on myrecipes.com, which actually turned out to be a Cooking Light recipe. I followed the original recipe fairly closely, with a few modifications to better suit our tastes. Here’s my version:
Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, & Cheese
- 1 (1-pound) package uncooked ziti (short tube-shaped pasta)
- 1 pound sweet turkey Italian sausage links
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- Cooking spray
- 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese
- 3/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350°.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain the pasta, and set aside.
Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage, onion, and garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and marinara sauce, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Combine cooked pasta, sausage mixture, and basil. Place half of the pasta mixture in a 4-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Top with half of mozzarella, fontina, and half of Parmesan. Repeat layers.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. ENJOY!
Lots of salad, drizzled with my current salad dressing obsession.
I tried my best to keep my portions in check with the pasta, to try to curb any tummy troubles. So far, so good (knock on wood!) But I easily could have eaten five times this much…it was that good.
Garlic bread (x2)
Again, I also probably could have eaten half the loaf of garlic bread, but I knew I had to save room for dessert…
How could I not save room for THIS???
I created this low-fat chocolate strawberry trifle, which really couldn’t have been simpler to make. I simply layered a store-bought chocolate angel food cake, sugar-free chocolate pudding, frozen strawberries, non-fat strawberry yogurt, and fat-free whipped topping.
In case you want to try to re-create it for yourself, here’s the exact amounts I used:
Low-Fat Chocolate Strawberry Trifle
- 1 store-bought chocolate angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 boxes sugar-free chocolate instant pudding, prepared with skim milk
- 1 6oz. container non-fat strawberry yogurt
- 3/4 bag frozen sliced strawberries (not in juice/syrup)
- 1 tub fat-free whipped topping
Layer all ingredients in the order above into a trifle bowl. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. ENJOY!
Luckily, I was quite happy with the way it turned out, it was a hit with everyone, AND there’s plenty of leftovers. Mwaaahahaha.
I may or may not have gone back for seconds…I’ll let you decide.
So finally, before I go it’s time to announce the winner to the “Gift Card & Cookies Giveaway”
*Please email me with your shipping info, along with your cookie of choice to sweettoothcourtney[@]gmail[.]com.
Hope ya’ll had a great Tuesday!!
Question for the Evening:
Do you have a favorite go-to recipe when company comes over to eat?
baked pasta makes me so happy. there’s nothing like warm, melty cheese!
Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles says
Delicious food! Love the trifle idea – can’t go wrong with cool whip! :)
yum food looks deelish, cant go wrong w. Italian its always yummy !
Your meal looks divine- Italian is always a delicious, yet fail-proof, option!..I especially love your healthified trifle :)
mmmMMMmmmMmmm that dessert looks sooooo decadent… heaven!!! I can almost taste it lol
Italian food is always great for company! Who doesn’t love salad, bread, and cheesy pasta! and of course dessert! I love planning meals! I also love appetizers because they’re just fun!
Oh that all looks so great!
I have a go-to appetizer. It’s basically a baked cheese dip, but with some unusual ingredients and you serve it with melba toast crackers…I might have to post the recipe soon.
I don’t do much entertaining, but if I did, this menu looks perfect! Love the looks of that trifle!
Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl says
I just found our trifle dish hanging out in the laundry room (???), but it reminded me that I need to use it more often! This looks fairly simple and very yummy :)
Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) says
Wooow that trifle looks AMAZING!! Courtney you are a culinary GENIUS! :D
Chicago Cuisine Critique says
That baked pasta looks great. I just made something similar, that I have yet to post the recipe for. Looks like you are right, great minds do think alike. ;)
DANG Court, you went ALL out! Everything looks delicious. Baked pasta dishes are some of my top favorite foods :)
That dessert..WHOA..I seriously don’t even know where to start! DELISH!!!
Christina @ This Woman Cooks! says
Mmm what a great dinner, love the trifle you made! Glad I found your blog today, I love it!