Saturday, January 19, 2008

Recipe: Southwest Pasta Bake

At the beginning of January, when we kicked off the Fitness Challenge, I said that once a week I'd post a healthy recipe. There's a good reason why we are at the end of week three and I have yet to post a recipe, but I'm not sure you care to hear about my botched crab cakes.

Last weekend we made this Southwest Pasta Bake and we've been eating it all week long. Luckily, if there is one good thing about pasta/spaghetti sauce recipes, it's that the longer they sit the better the flavor.

This recipe came from the Taste of Home's Light & Tasty 2004 Annual Recipes. If you've never been to the Taste of Home store in Glendale, WI, you should make a trip. You can get three books for something like $10. It's the reason Collin has banned me from buying any more cookbooks! Shhhhh, don't tell him I came home with another one this year. How could I pass up the Appetizer cookbook??

Southwest Pasta Bake
8 ounces uncooked penne or medium tube pasta
1 package (8 oz) fat-free cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup fat free milk
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound lean ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar (16 oz) picante sauce
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup (4 oz) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 can (2 1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
1/4 cup sliced green onions

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add milk; beat until smooth. Stir in spinach and oregano; set aside. In a nonstick skillet, cook beef and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; 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 13x9 inch baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray, layer half of the meat mixture and all of the spinach mixture. Top with remaining meat mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees 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.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals 333 calories, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 41 mg cholesterol, 996 sodium, 38 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 26 g protein.

Now, I'm going to be the first to admit this might not be the healthiest recipe I could have given you, but after the crab cake ordeal I had to go with something I knew would actually turn out.

Also, you'll notice ours doesn't have any black olives. Collin isn't a fan. Additionally, I have to admit that I didn't use fat free cream cheese, but I used reduced fat and that worked out well.

Lastly, I realize I am not likely to receive any awards in presentation and Good God! there is alot of butter on the bread.

Now I'm off to finally clean the champagne off our dining room floors.


Rachel said...

mmmm...I think I'm going to try this. It looks yummy.

Aubrey said...

We almost made it tonight. We are having some friends over from Maine and thought this looked great. But I'm making individual pizzas instead. I should really get that crust going now...

Tessie said...

Do you know that I once bought a lot of like 100 Taste of Home magazines on Ebay? True story. Of course, I consult them pretty much...NEVER, but I can't help myself.