In an attempt to make up of our night of consuming melted cheese and chocolate for dinner, I decided to go with a Cooking Light recipe tonight. This is quick and easy and could be prepped ahead of time and then popped in the oven about 20-30 minutes before dinner, plus it contains lots of good stuff. Quantities listed are what the recipe says; quantities in parenthesis are what I actually used.
8 oz uncooked ziti
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (1 small)
1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper (2 peppers)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomaotes with basil, garlic, and oregano OR 2 cans tomatoes plus Italian seasoning/basil/oregano to taste
4 cups baby spinach (1 bag or approx 12 cups--yes, I know, that seems like a lot, but it wilts and I'm sneaking spinach into my family's diet. It's noticeable, of course, but they don't realize how much of it they're eating)
1 1/4 cups (5 oz) shredded, smoked Gouda cheese, divided. If you don't like the smoke taste you can use regular Gouda, or you can use a different kind of smoked cheese like smoked cheddar, but the smoked Gouda is yummy.
Preheat oven to 375.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil.
Add onion and pepper. Saute 5 minutes. Add garlic to pan, saute 2 minutes or until onion is tender.
Stir in tomatoes (and seasoning if needed) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add spinach, one handful at a time. Cook until spinach wilts and repeat until all desired spinach has been added.
Remove from heat. Add pasta and 1 cup cheese to tomato mixture, tossing well to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.
Even the Big Geek, who is a huge carnivore, likes this. And, as I said, he has no clue how much spinach he's eating.
Of course, I realized tonight that he also didn't know that ziti was pasta. He acted like he didn't know what I was making when I mentioned the plan for dinner, and then at the table I asked if he remembered having it before.
"Yeah, but you didn't mention the pasta before."
"Ziti IS pasta."
So he learned something, we all had a nice dinner, and everyone ate his or her spinach for the day. :)