Monday, May 16, 2011

Colorful Mondays #3

I've been an advocate of filling your plate with colorful foods for a long time, way before we started the Colorful Mondays thing. And it's been fun to hear Big Sister chastise her mom a little bit if the dinner plates are lacking something green. How many times do you hear a 10-year-old ask for more green foods? She and I had fun looking at these food color charts to find foods she has not tried yet.

Big Sister and I went to the grocery store last night to buy ingredients for tonight's dinner. And while we were there, we saw these colorful foods in the freezer. We were ahead of the marketing geniuses!

Tonight's pasta (we don't use the word "casserole" around here) is quick and easy. And it's so, so good. Plus, I can mix earlier in the day and have it ready to slide into the oven when everyone gets home. It started with a recipe on the Betty Crocker website. We made it several times and kept changing it to match what was in our kitchen. (I never did find smoked mozzarella in my store) until we ended up with this recipe. And we stopped when we got to this version. Feel free to change it again to suit you!

Baked Penne with Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Spinach

3 cups uncooked penne pasta (9-oz.)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with oregano, garlic & basil, undrained
1 cup refrigerated Alfredo sauce (I use a 10-oz. container of Buitoni)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
fresh baby spinach (about half of a 5-oz. bag)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-1/2 qt. casserole with PAM. (This is one size smaller than a 9x13.) Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. In a 2-qt. saucepan*, heat tomatoes to boiling. Reduce heat to medium; cook uncovered about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add Alfredo sauce to tomatoes. Add cheese and stir until melted. Mix tomato sauce and pasta. Add in a big handful of fresh spinach and stir. Pour into casserole dish.

Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes, or until hot in the center.

*I do like to use a non-stick saucepan for this. The melted cheese is pretty sticky.

One day I'd like to actually try the original recipe. Jessica has made it several times and says it delicious.

Baby Sister likes bright colors in her dish, too.

Apples, carrots & sweet potatoes--all homemade.


  1. A pastaterian delight! I got a good chuckle when I scrolled down enough to see the littlest diner.

  2. You even make her food look pretty! (Do I detect the shape of ice cubes in that nutritious little feast?)


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