A new spin on pasta sauce

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 3 cheese pasta Pasta is such a downfall of mine.  I love cheesy pasta, saucy pasta, pasta salad even dry pasta…it doesn’t really matter to me.  I would eat it every meal if I could.  The Hubby loves pasta as well so I am always trying to experiment a little and bring pasta to the next level when I can and it often becomes our go to meal on those busy days.   The Hubby’s favorite pasta is with a red sauce, so I am always looking for a great new way to make a red sauce a little different but still delicious. 

Well, not too long a go The Hubby comes in from work and asked what was for dinner and I just quickly said pasta.  You see it had just been one of those days where nothing seemed to go just right and I was running very behind on dinner, so when he asked pasta seemed the easiest option as I always have it on hand.  When I finally got into the kitchen and started gathering all the ingredients I realized I didn’t have enough of any one cheese to make a cheesy pasta sauce but I did have a little bit of several cheeses so I decided to throw them all in and see what we could come up with.  It turned out to be one of the best throw together meals EVER!  I served it with a Basil Crusted Chicken but it is great on its own or with some grilled shrimp as well.

Now I know that some people are not into goat cheese at all.  The Hubby was a lot like that when we first got married but over time as I snuck it into dishes here and there he has learned to love it.  The goat cheese is not overpowering in this dish at all, it just adds a bit of tang which is perfect against the acidity of the tomatoes while also adding a lot of creaminess and depth to the sauce.  If goat cheese is not an option then feel free to use additional parmesan or romano and then add in 2-3 tablespoons of cream to help achieve the creaminess of the sauce.  Just make sure to taste the sauce and adjust seasonings as needed as the goat cheese also adds a good amount of a salty kick to the dish without adding in a lot of actual salt.

3 Cheese Pasta Sauce
Serves 8
A 3 cheese pasta sauce with a surprising ingredient, goat cheese and then 2 other cheeses that make it full of flavor and very creamy
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tsp olive oil
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 10.75 oz Tomato Puree
  5. 2- 15 oz cans tomato sauce
  6. 1 tbsp. sugar
  7. 2 tbsp. dried basil
  8. 1 tsp dried oregano
  9. 1 tbsp. salt
  10. 1 tbsp. pepper
  11. 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  12. 4 oz goat cheese
  13. **2 oz shaved parmesan cheese
  14. **2 oz grated romano cheese
  15. 12 oz whole wheat pasta of choice, we used a small fettucine, cooked
Optional Toppings
  1. Additional crumbled goat cheese
  2. Fresh Basil leaves, torn
  3. Additional parmesan or romano cheese
  4. **You can also use a combo of Italian grated cheeses if so desired
Instructions
  1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat
  2. Add in onion and cook through until soft, 5-7 minutes
  3. Add in minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often to make sure garlic does not burn
  4. Pour in tomato puree, sauce, sugar, basil, oregano, salt, pepper & red pepper flakes
  5. Stirring to combine
  6. Let sauce heat through and thicken up, 10-15 minutes, over medium-low heat
  7. Add in crumbled goat cheese, parmesan cheese and romano cheese, stirring until cheeses are melted and well combined
  8. **Add in desired pasta and toss to coat
  9. Serve immediately
  10. ENJOY!!
  11. **If you would like to freeze some of the sauce do not add pasta into sauce, rather ladle sauce over pasta and then freeze any remaining sauce
Each serving (without pasta) is 3 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 106 Calories from Fat 58 Total Fat 6.4g Saturated Fat 4.0g Trans Fat 0.0g Cholesterol 18mg Sodium 779mg Potassium 153mg Total Carbohydrates 5.7g Dietary Fiber 1.0g Sugars 3.0g Protein 6.8g
  3. Vitamin A 10% - Vitamin C 8% - Calcium 21% - Iron 6%
  4. Nutrition Grade B
Each serving (with pasta) is 9 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 339 Calories from Fat 98 Total Fat 10.9g Saturated Fat 6.1g Trans Fat 0.0g Cholesterol 27mg Sodium 1698mg Potassium 579mg Total Carbohydrates 44.7g Dietary Fiber 6.6g Sugars 10.3g Protein 16.8g
  3. Vitamin A 26% - Vitamin C 22% - Calcium 33% - Iron 21%
  4. Nutrition Grade B-
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
This sauce also freezes great, just let it cool completely before putting in the storage container and use it within 3 months to ensure the best taste and quality.    You could also use this sauce on a pizza or even on a meatball sandwich…this possibilities are endless!

Hope this will make it to your family’s dinner table sometime soon!

cupcake-crop

 

  Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

 

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Lasagna for Dessert? YES!!

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oreo lasagnaThere are certain foods I CANNOT have in my house because I will eat all of it and  this dessert is full of one of those sinful treats…OREOS!  I love all Oreo’s and yes I think I have tried most of the varieties….but my favorite is the original.  There is just something about the chocolate wafers and that delicious creamy middle…I just love them.

The Hubby loves Oreo’s as well, so when I told him about this dessert he was so excited and asked me to fix it right away, & has asked me to make it several times since, so it is definitely Hubby approved.  The last time I made it was when my mother-in-law was staying the night with us and I wanted something that was pretty, special but also very easy and something I didn’t have to bake…its just too hot to have the oven on…so this layered dessert was the obvious choice.  I didn’t tell The Hubby that I was making it as I was afraid he would try and sneak a piece (or two) before I served it, but he was so excited when I pulled it out of the refrigerator.

I love this dessert so much because you can make it a day in advance, or even a couple of days, and it is perfect.  This would be perfect for a pot luck dinner or an end of summer get together.  Trust me this dessert will be making an appearance at a small group dinner I am sure.

Oreo Lasagna
Serves 16
A creamy, rich and delicious way to have a little lasagna for lunch
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
4 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 package oreo cookies
  2. 4 tbsp. butter, melted
  3. 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  4. 1/4 cup sugar
  5. 2 tbsp. skim milk
  6. 12 oz fat free cool whip
  7. 6 Snack Pack Fat Free Chocolate Pudding cups (or make 1 package of chocolate pudding)
Instructions
  1. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick spray
  2. In a food processor, or in a zip closed bag, crush the Oreo Cookies (I used the bag version and it was super easy without all the clean up of the food processor)
  3. Set aside 1 cup of crushed Oreos for topping
  4. Combine remaining crushed Oreo's with melted butter
  5. Press buttered Oreo's into the bottom of the prepared dish
  6. In a small bowl whip the softened cream cheese using a handheld mixer until light and fluffy
  7. Mix in sugar, milk and 1 1/4 cups of cool whip until well combined
  8. Spread cream cheese layer over the Oreo crust until smooth and even
  9. Layer chocolate pudding in an even layer over the cream cheese
  10. Spoon remaining cool whip over pudding and gently smooth
  11. Sprinkle on mini chocolate chips
  12. Place in refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours but overnight is best
  13. Serve & ENJOY!!
Notes
  1. Each serving is 8 WW+ points
Nutritional Info
  1. Calories 309 Calories from Fat 127 Total Fat 14.1g Saturated Fat 7.0g Cholesterol 20mg Sodium 265mg Potassium 46mg Carbohydrates 42.9g Dietary Fiber 1.0g Sugars 28.4g Protein 3.5g
  2. Vitamin A 6% - Vitamin C 0% - Calcium 7% - Iron 6%
  3. Nutrition Grade - D
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
Lasagna is not just for dinner anymore!

cupcake-crop

 

  Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

 

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Breakfast at its Best

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crescent breakfast casseroleThere is almost nothing better than a great breakfast casserole on a Saturday or Sunday morning and this casserole takes it to the next level.    The name alone makes me smile…anytime there is a crescent roll involved I am a happy, happy girl. 

The first time I made this dish was when my mother-in-law stayed the night with us and we were going to church the next morning.  I knew I wanted something special for breakfast, but also something quick and relatively painless, so a casserole was the obvious choice.  But as you know some breakfast casseroles can be dry, without a ton of flavor or just plain boring, well that is not the case with this dish at all. 

The crescent roll base adds a wonderful bit of buttery flavor to the dish without the added butter, and then the sausage, egg and cheese combo makes it dynamic.  You could use a sage breakfast sausage or even a chorizo to add even more of a zing to the dish.  You could also use pepper jack cheese or any combo of cheeses you prefer.  This dish is so great because you really can make it your own.

Crescent Roll Casserole
Serves 16
A breakfast casserole loaded with all the best breakfast foods
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb breakfast sausage
  2. 1 package Crescent Rolls (I used Pilsbury)
  3. 1 cup Mexican blend cheese
  4. 5 eggs
  5. 1/4 cup skim milk
  6. 1 tsp salt
  7. 1 tsp pepper
  8. 1 tsp rosemary or oregano
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray, set aside
  3. Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat, making sure to break it up as it cooks, letting it brown completely
  4. Remove sausage from pan and place on a plate with paper towels to let excess oil drain off
  5. Unroll crescent rolls and pinch together the seams
  6. Place into bottom of the pan, spreading it out as necessary to make it fit
  7. Spread cooked sausage over crescent rolls
  8. Sprinkle cheese over sausage
  9. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper & rosemary
  10. Pour egg mixture over cheese
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is golden and eggs are set
  12. Let stand for 5 minutes
  13. Cut & Serve
  14. ENJOY!
Notes
  1. Each serving is 5 WW+ points
Nutritional Info
  1. Calories 204 Calories from Fat 134 Total Fat 14.9g Saturated Fat 5.3g Trans Fat 0.1g Cholesterol 84mg Sodium 584mg Potassium 117mg Total Carbohydrates 6.3g Sugars 1.7g Protein 10.1g
  2. Vitamin A 2% - Vitamin C 1% - Calcium 7% - Iron 6%
  3. Nutrition Grade D+
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
This weekend treat your family to this super easy but special breakfast casserole.  FYI…to make it even easier on you prepare the sausage the night before so all you have to do is put it all together in the morning and then bake it up real quick.

cupcake-crop

 

  Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

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