Years ago I was a stay-at-home-mom and my neighbor across the road worked. Like many neighbors, our interaction was mostly limited to waving at the end of the driveway as one of us was coming or going. We lived across from each other for years. One week I noticed that she was at home during the day. I knew that was not typical. Then I realized I had seen her at home every day for about a week.
I hadn't heard anything about her being sick. We wondered if she'd had surgery. Or, maybe there had been death in her extended family. Finally, I called her and told her that I'd been seeing her at home at lot and I asked, "Do I need to bring you a casserole?" (Somehow that was nicer than asking, "Are you sick? Did someone die?")
She laughed, knowing exactly what I meant but said she was okay and her family was fine. Turns out she had lost her job. (Quickly found a new one, thankfully.) Her family got supper that night anyway.
Tuesday night's easy recipe came from my mother's Modern Maturity magazine about a gazillion years ago. I have used it so many times. One cousin told me years ago that this was one of her favorite dishes to take to friends who need a meal because it was so quick to put together. (She's the best at taking dinners to someone who has had surgery, who is sick, had a new baby, etc.) I'll give you the recipe and then tell you about the changes I made in it last night.
16-oz box pasta, cooked (I used penne)
1 large jar marinara sauce (about 26-28-oz.)
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2-1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cups cottage cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Mix pasta, marinara sauce, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, 1 cup of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Put half into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Spoon cottage cheese over the top, spreading gently. Put remaining pasta mix over the cottage cheese layer. Top with 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Because I had made a lot of salads this week and pizza over the weekend, I had dabs of vegetables in the fridge. So I diced the one zucchini and a handful of mushrooms and added that to my chopped green pepper, onion and celery (salad leftovers.) I sauteed the chopped vegetables (about 2 cups) until tender and added that to the pasta/sauce mixture.
It's plenty good made exactly by the recipe. Added extra vegetables were tasty, too. And I get gold stars for using up leftovers and getting more vegetables into our meal!