Thursday, January 17, 2013

Baked Rigatoni

This week I am labeling Thursday with a theme! I hope to keep this up the whole year because this is a theme I can get with. Every Thursday I will be sharing a recipe with you all that comes from my ever-growing cookbook collection. In the challenge of trying to eat healthier while still retaining the simple cooking methods that I love (one-dish meals rock!), I will be sharing recipes that I find family pleasing and good for you too.

To credit where credit is due, I got this idea from Stacy Makes Cents. Please check out her blog because it is the real deal! I love it!

Today's recipe is from the cookbook, Saving Dinner: The Menu, Recipes, and Shopping Lists to Bring Your Family Back to the Table by Leanne Ely. The cookbook has been a lifesaver and I have a tendency to buy copies of it for those people I think need it.

This recipe is one of my family's favorites from it, but they never remember me making it because they always ask what I am making. I tell them. They don't remember. They eat and they remember. They love it. Silly kids.

Baked Rigatoni

1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 cup oats
1 jar or 4 cups spaghetti/pasta sauce
1 cup cottage cheese
3 cups rigatoni, cooked
1/2-1 cup shredded mozzarella or pizza blend cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

If you haven't started already, get your water boiling for the rigatoni. When the water is boiling, dump the rigatoni in. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then start the meat.

In a large (12-inch) skillet, brown ground beef. When browned, drain any grease and, if you would like, use a paper towel to blot the meat to get more fat out. I personally like the flavor and with the beef I have from the local farmer, I rarely have to drain the fat.

Add the oats to the meat and mix well. Mix in the spaghetti/pasta sauce and cottage cheese. Mix well. Add in the cooked rigatoni and mix well again.

Here is where I take the fork in the road. If I have company over, I will put the mixture in a 11"x7" greased pan. If I am feeding the hungry minions, I mean kids, I will leave the mixture in the skillet. Sprinkle both cheeses on the top of the mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly and melted. Serve!

This feeds 6 people, but might be wise to have some bread and a green salad to go with it. Especially if you have growing kids.

Some substitutions and additions:
Italian sausage for ground beef
Marinara sauce for spaghetti/pasta sauce
Romano or Pecorino cheese for Parmesan cheese
Additions: cooked spinach, mushrooms, garlic, onions

I rarely mess with this recipe because I have kids who are not found of unknown things in their food. They like it when I stick to the recipe and do not make many additions, but they do make exceptions for garlic. Good kids.

Some of you might also be wondering about the oats. The oats are an odd ingredient in this recipe, however, they add fiber and replace some of the bulk from the meat. You will hardly know they are in there. I use quick-cooking oats or rolled oats depending of what I have on hand at the moment. The quick-cooking oats cook up faster and are much less noticeable. I prefer the rolled oats because they are better for us as a grain.

Please let me know what you think of this! We love it and I hope you do too!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

LivingInTheShoe

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