Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cheesy Tomato Pasta Recipe Invention

The other night, I felt kind of like those three kids in the Lemony Snicket movie -- out of ingredients, but needing to create something good for dinner anyway. I had pasta, a can of diced tomatoes, and an 8-ounce bag of shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, as well as a bit of leftover Parmesan cheese I could shred, and that was really about it ;-). I was honestly in the mood for takeout, specifically that new Pizza Hut Tuscani pasta, but with those ingredients, I figured I could make a reasonable facsimile.

And it turned out pretty good! Kids loved it (and even ate leftovers...that alone is a mark of a good dinner).

Cheesy Tomato Pasta

1 16-ounce box pasta, cooked and drained (I used penne, but anything will work--ziti, rotini)
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used just plain diced ones, but they make onion garlic and Italian flavored ones. I love having these on hand for flavoring stuff)
scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (skip this or reduce if you are using the flavored tomatoes)
dash ground pepper
8-ounce bag Colby-Jack cheese, divided
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 by 13 casserole dish with Pam. Mix pasta, tomatoes, salt, Italian seasoning, pepper, 6 ounces of Colby-Jack cheese and all of Parmesan cheese, then add to casserole dish (or if you are lazy like me, and don't want to wash an extra dish, mix it in the casserole dish ). Bake for 30 minutes, then sprinkle with remaining Colby-Jack. Bake for five more minutes.

Serve and eat :-).

I served this with Cheddar Brats and homemade garlic bread. We were going to have veggies, too, but in the middle of making those, our house was struck by lightning -- no kidding -- and I just decided any cooking with electricity was just a tad too scary, so we had dinner as is. :-). It's been REALLY STORMY to say the least in the Midwest lately (I have been out of the flood zone, thank God), but the lightning zap scared the jeepers out of us. We lost two TVs, the Playstation, a DVD player, the phone system, and so far, I think that's it. Everything else was on the lightning proof surge protectors. They are worth their weight in gold, that's for sure!

Tomorrow, I'll post my recipe for a raspberry lemonade that I am totally addicted to now. It's become my nightly "dessert." :-)

Have a great one!

Read: Duma Key by Stephen King--loved it, though I may never vacation in Florida again, LOL
Reading: Speak no Evil by Allison Brennan
Listening to: Eagles, Greatest Hits and Queen, Greatest Hits (that American Idol cutie, Michael Johns got me hooked!)

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