My hibernation has reached an all new level thanks to little Andy. I seriously only leave my house once a week. The funny thing is, I don’t really care all that much because it is so flippin’ freezing outside. Luckily, I packed my freezer with meals months in advance in preparation for my antisocial new mom laziness.
I had fully intended upon eating all these soups, stews, chilis, and pastas right when we got home from the hospital. I was thinking it would be so easy and so cheap. And in reality it would have, but Mike and I were livin’ it up with take-out and fast food almost every night. The reason we did that was, well, no clean up!
In addition to Mike being my personal fast food and coffee gofer, his family and my friends brought over a ton of prepared meals and snacks. So, why would I bust open my supply in the freezer if their food was already defrosted and/or cooked?
So, now, finally, after a month and a half of being home with Andy, we have started to break into my freezer foods, starting with this dish!
Don’t let this cheesy masterpiece fool you; it is loaded with all sorts of good for your vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, spinach, and zucchini. It is the perfect meal for the new mom who is looking for something fast yet healthy. I wish I had another dish of it left in the freezer.
Alas, on to my next frozen dish!
Veggie Loaded Baked Pasta
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- ½ Cup Roughly Chopped Onion
- 2 Carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 Stalk Celery chopped
- 1 Bell Pepper seeds and stem removed and chopped
- ¾ Cup Diced Zucchini
- 2 Cups Chopped Fresh Spinach
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 26 Ounce Jar of Marinara
- 1 Pound Cooked Medium Whole Wheat Shells
- 4 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella Balls / Ciliegine halved
- 2 Cups Low-Fat Shredded Mozzarella
- Olive Oil
- ½ Teaspoon Dried Oregano
Add onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, and zucchini to a food processor. Pulse a few times until very finely chopped.
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat for a minute. Add the finely chopped vegetables and sauté for ten minutes until tender and cooked through. Stir in the marinara, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and spinach. Cook for five minutes over low heat.
Add pasta and sauce to a large baking dish, mix well. Press the halved mozzarella balls into the pasta, distributing evenly. Top with shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle oregano over the cheese and drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes uncovered in the oven. Let cool for five minutes before serving.
If freezing: Bake pasta as usual and then freeze. To reheat, thaw out pasta morning of and then cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes until heated through. Frozen pasta will last for a month.