Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ranch Pesto Pasta Bake

A few days ago I was looking at my Facebook page and saw a link on a friend's status.  Jill has a blog called Cooking What I Pin  and each time she posts I wander over and look at her latest Pinterest conquest.  When I saw this I knew I would be making it soon, just not as quick as I did.  

We had just returned from Portland to meet our new granddaughter (BTW she is the most beautiful, smartest, most athletic, and most loved baby in the entire world.  I know some of you will disagree, which is fine.  Joining the Granny Club is the best thing in the world and I would think any of you who are members would be insane to not think the same of your Grands.)  Time was short and dinner needed to be cooked pretty darn quick and per usual I had not gone to the store and had nothing  defrosted.  Thanks to Jill we actually had supper that was not the take out variety. ( The best part of this recipe is it contains ingredients I have on hand all the time.)

Ranch Pesto Pasta Bake

1 pound pasta ( I used rigatoni) cooked and drained
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup pesto
28 ounce can well drained diced tomatoes
2 cups  grated Mozzarella, divided in half

In a large bowl, stir together the ranch dressing, pesto, tomatoes and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese.  Add the pasta and gently toss to evenly coat.  Put it in a baking pan. ( I used a pyrex 9x13 hit with a couple of sprays of Pam) and evenly sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the pasta. Cover with foil.

Pop it into a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake an additional 5 minutes. ( Or do like I did and just put it in the microwave.  I cooked it 3 minutes on full power then an additional 4 minutes on 25 percent power)

I served it with an iceberg wedge and French dressing.  Personally I dislike French dressing, but I am trying very hard to limit food waste and The Hub had bought it and opened it.  So bad salad dressing was what we had. (Mumbles something about hoping this stuff disappears soon! )

Everyone here loved it.  I can always tell whether something is a success by the number of times Son3 refills his plate.  I think he ate the first then grabbed 2 additional servings.  He has asked that we add this to our  regular food rotation.

Next time I plan to add some additional vegetables to the mix.  I think some julienned onion and zucchini would add a vegetable serving without altering the delicious flavor.  I will also reduce the mozzarella topping to 1/2 cup and add 1/4 cup grated parmesan.  Mozzarella is not our favorite cheese so I think the sharper parmesan would be a little more in keeping with our preferences.  I might also add some cubed cooked chicken next time just to see how that tastes.

I would suggest you try this for a quick meal.  Use your imagination and add whatever sounds good to you.  Let me know the results of your experiment.  Play with your food!

1 comment:

  1. Yea! I'm glad you tried it...and that it was a success! And, I loved seeing pictures from your visit. I imagine you didn't put her down the entire time!