Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Don't want to hear about freezer meals? Move on...

Freezer meal, freezer meal - blah blah blah.  I know.  You are tired of hearing my proclaim my love of them.  Well - that's not going to stop any time in the near future.  Freezer meals save my sanity.  They cause my daughter anxiety.  What?  Why are we mixing all these ingredients up?  I want my noodles boring and plain without any possible ounce of flavor on them.

Um… I mean… Bronwyn isn't a huge fan of casseroles.

I want to pack my freezer with meals that I want to eat.  I want to open the freezer door and say "oh wow - what are we having tonight!" instead of "ugh… I guess we'll have that tonight…"  wah wah….  More wow less wah.

I saw this recipe and figured it was pretty easy and simple.  The original recipe calls for a 9x13 dish - but I split it up into two 8 x 8 pans.  I also think there is a mistake on the amount of tortellini.  It says 2 - 20 oz packages… I think it probably should say 20 oz total - but I did the 40 and it worked out pretty well.

My casserole size is starting to need some work.  Considering Nicholas has his 96 percentile weight to maintain - he eats a lot.  Bronwyn?  Well, she eats what we make deals with her on, and then us… there's very little left.  I'm testing out square containers and deeper rectangles - I'll let you know what I find that works.  I'm sure you'll love to hear more about my crazy freezer meals.

Easy Cheesy Baked Tortellini

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 (25.25 oz) jar DeLallo Marinara Pasta Sauce
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 (20 oz) packages refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
Freshly chopped basil, for garnish, if desired

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook and additional two minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until spinach wilts and shrinks down. Stir in the pasta sauce and diced tomatoes. Add the oregano, dried basil, red pepper flakes, and fresh basil. Stir and season with salt and black pepper, to taste.

3. Pour 1/2 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Add half of the tortellini to the dish and spread out evenly. Top with more sauce, just to cover the tortellini. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese over tortellini and sauce. Next, sprinkle 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese over the mozzarella cheese. Add the rest of the tortellini to the dish in an even layer. Top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the top. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.

4. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil from pan and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Note-this pasta dish freezes well. Split into two 8 x 8 foil pans to freeze.

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