Easy Baked Pasta

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I grew up in a big family, one where all 5 of us kids had big appetites. We ate a lot of fast meals. Okay we ate a lot of cheep meals like hot dogs, fish sticks, Kraft dinner and occasionally we had lasagna.

It’s no wonder that all of us have a favorite meal and it just happens to be lasagna for all of us. This was not a very cheep meal but it wasn’t expensive either.

I make lasagna from time to time now as an adult. Still one of my favorites. In my attempt to eat less pasta, gluten or trade regular pasta for healthier options, I have tried zucchini noodles, gluten free pasta and blue menu or whole wheat pasta. I do love zucchini noodles, can handle gluten free pasta however my family does NOT like any of these.

Healthy lasagna noodles just don’t taste good! So I started using whole wheat pasta or blue menu pasta in pasta dishes. This is how I came up with this Easy Baked Pasta, that tastes like lasagna but with healthier pasta.

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5 from 2 votes

Easy Baked Pasta

Easy baked pasta recipe that is layered with cheddar and cottage cheese between layers of penne and meat sauce.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course

Equipment

  • large frying pan or large pot
  • 9 x 13 baking pan

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Ground-beef
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 container Cottage cheese
  • 2 jars Pasta sauce
  • 1 tsp Tex-Mex seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tbsp Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Chili powder
  • 3 cups Penne pasta

Instructions

  • Turn oven on to 350 degrees
    Chop onion and brown in frying pan
    Add in the ground-beef and cook until no longer pink
    Add in the seasonings: Tex-Mex, oregano, thyme, garlic and chili powder
    Add in the 2 jars of pasta sauce ( I like to use 1 Ragu and 1 Classico)
  • Mean while boil the penne pasta until cooked
    Drain pasta
  • Place 1/3 of the cooked pasta into the baking pan
    Add 4 good scoops of meat sauce on top of pasta
    Sprinkle a little cheddar cheese on top and mix well
    Spoon out the cottage cheese on top of the pasta with meat sauce
    Layer another 1/3 of the pasta with meat sauce on top of cottage cheese without stirring it in
    Sprinkle more cheese on top (saving the rest for the top)
    Layer the rest of the pasta and meat sauce on top
    Followed by the remaining cheddar cheese
    Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and done.
    Let cool 5 minutes and cut than serve 🙂

Notes

The pasta often bubbles quite a bit.  I place a piece of tinfoil under the pan to catch any drips.   A tray would work too. 
This can be made ahead of time and baked right before serving.

I believe YOU will love this recipe! Let me know when you try it and what you think of it?

MAX

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5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness, this looks so delicious, I’m not surprised you make it all the time. We prefer penne or fusilli to lasagne or spaghetti too, it’s much easier to eat as well as cook. I’m bookmarking this recipe to try in future, thank you so much for the step by step and photos too! Lisa

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