Megan’s Favorite Cheesy Baked Tortellini

Ingredients:

Olive Oil

2 c Marinara Sauce

1/3 c Mascarpone Cheese

¼ c chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

1# purchased cheese tortellini (or gnocchi)

2 oz thinly sliced, smoked Mozzarella

¼ c freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven 350 degrees

Lightly oil 8x8x2 baking dish

Whisk the marinara sauce, mascarpone cheese, parsley and thyme in a large bowl to blend

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender.

Drain

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.

Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish.

Top with the smoked Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the cheeses on top melt, about another 10 minutes.

Serve

Baked Mostaccioli

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion 
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground Italian sausage
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28- ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups grated low moisture mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup unseasoned Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound Mostaccioli

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. 
  2. Make the meat sauce: Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onions until they are softened, 3 – 4 minutes. Add in the ground sausage and cook until the sausage is no longer pink. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Drain any excess grease and add in the marinara sauce. Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer while you complete the next steps.
  3. Make the cheese mixture: In a large bowl combine the egg, ricotta, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, mozzarella, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
  4. Make the breadcrumb topping: In a small skillet melt the butter on medium heat. Continue cooking and stirring the butter until it becomes a golden brown. Remove the skillet from the heat and add in the Panko, garlic powder, and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
  5. Boil the pasta: Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain thoroughly. Add the pasta to the meat sauce and stir to combine evenly.
  6. Assemble: Add half of the pasta mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Spread the ricotta cheese mixture evenly on top. Spread the remaining pasta on top. Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs evenly on top.
  7. Bake: Cover the pan with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 – 10 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Notes:

Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Million Dollar Spaghetti

Ingredients

  • ▢ 8 tablespoons butter, sliced
  • ▢ 2 pounds ground beef, lean
  • ▢ ½ cup cottage cheese (or Ricotta)
  • ▢ 8 ounces cream cheese
  • ▢ 3 cups Mozzarella, grated
  • ▢ 1 cup onions, diced
  • ▢ ¼ cup sour cream
  • ▢ 1 pound spaghetti, broken into thirds
  • ▢ 3 cloves garlic
  • ▢ 48 ounces marinara sauce
  • ▢ 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ▢ ½ teaspoon cayenne

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°
  • Cook spaghetti in salted, boiling water – don’t overcook!
  • Drain. Add 12 ounces (½ a jar) of marinara sauce to the spaghetti and set aside.
  • Add onion and ground beef to pan.
  • Saute until beef is cooked and onion is almost translucent.
  • Add garlic, smoked paprika, and 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning; cook for a minute or two more.
  • Drain excess fat from pan.
  • Add half the sauce to the meat mixture and stir well. Set aside.
  • Heat the cream cheese in the microwave until soft.
  • Mix ½ cup of the Mozzarella, sour cream, cottage cheese, and cream cheese with 1 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning.
  • Blend until smooth and well mixed.
  • Place 8 squares of butter in the bottom of the 13×9-inch pan.
  • Cover with half the spaghetti.
  • Spoon the cheese mixture over the spaghetti and gently smooth into a layer.
  • Sprinkle with 1-½ cups of Mozzarella.
  • Cover with the remaining spaghetti.
  • Add the meat sauce in a smooth layer.
  • Add the remaining sauce over the meat.
  • Cover with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
  • Check and if the cheese is getting too brown cover with aluminum foil and bake 10-15 more minutes – or until the center registers 165° on an insta-read thermometer.
  • Remove from the oven and let stand 5-10 minutes.

Notes

Expert Tip: I like to break the spaghetti up into thirds before cooking. The smaller sized noodles make it easier to cut and serve.

  • This is a good dish for sneaking in vegetables if you have veggie-haters at your house. Chop them and add in with the meat and sauce mixture.
  • Let the million dollar spaghetti casserole sit for about 5-10 minutes after you remove it from the oven. This gives it a chance to solidify a little and it won’t fall apart (much) when you cut into it to serve.
  • Use a lean ground beef. I like the 90/10 mix.
  • This is amazing for potlucks! It doesn’t have to be steaming hot to be good AND it’s easy to take with you. Plus it makes a ton. I’ve never brought any leftovers home – the dish is always clean.