Sandy’s Baked Macaroni

Ah, such a nostalgic 70’s dish. Use a large spoon to scoop up a serving and eat alongside garlic bread and a green, crunchy salad.

1 box ziti pasta
1-1/2 lb. ground beef
2 jars marinara sauce (I use Paul Newmann’s)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium-sized bag shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and take out a large baking pan, set aside.

Meanwhile, cook pasta as package directs and in a separate skillet, brown the ground beef, drain.  Into a large bowl, combine all the ingredients up to the grated cheese and mix well. Spread into large baking dish, sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake about 30 minutes, until bubbly. Remove foil and bake 5 minutes longer. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Slow Cooker Tomato Meat Sauce

Serve over your favorite pasta now, freeze some for later. This makes a big batch so you’ll need a big crockpot. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano over top.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
4 minced garlic cloves
2 pounds ground beef
Five of the 29 oz. cans of tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried basil

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet then add onons and cook about 5 minutes – until softened, add garlic and cook another minute. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, lightly grease the crockpot. When beef is browned, scrape into crockpot, add the tomato sauce, cover, set on low and cook for 8 hours – At the four hour mark, add the spices then cook 4 more hours.


Spinach Pesto with Penne

I try to come up ways to use those baby spinach bags I buy from the produce section, and this worked out quite well. It’s a great way to get your spinach. You do need a food processor or blender for this.

3 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed
2 cups fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 stick melted butter
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, crushed or 1 heaping tsp. minced
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 lb. penne pasta

In a food processor, combine the first 8 ingredients and process until smooth. Leave in processor and set aside.

Cook the pasta until desired taste. Drain, but reserve 1/3 cup of hot cooking water. Place pasta back into pot. Carefully blend the hot liquid into puree and then scrape out onto pasta. Mix & toss. Serve immediately.