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Cheesy Pasta Bake – Freezer Friendly, Hearty Meal

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Cheesy Pasta Bake Meal - Freezer Friendly & Hearty, Quick Meal

We have been making different versions of this Cheesy Pasta Bake for several years and it is our go-to meal for having people over for dinner & feeding a crowd as you can easily double or triple the recipe. It’s also our favorite freezer-friendly meal as it’s quick & easy to make and you can freeze & then thaw or even just pop it into the oven when you need a hearty meal on a busy school night.

This makes it an awesome meal to make for others as most folks like pasta (you can leave out the meat if they are vegetarian) & this recipe makes a good-sized amount to feed most families & still have leftovers. We have made this meal so many times for friends who have just had a baby, recovering from an illness or surgery or just needing some extra support.

This is a great dish to add in some healthier ingredients, too, if you want to add in some cut up zucchini or squash or other veggies to make it even more hearty & filling. You can also shred zucchini & throw that in as well (I still have tons of zucchini from my garden, and trying to find ways to get my girls eating more veggies, so I try to add in shredded zucchini where I can.) I just add it in to the sauce as it’s simmering. We also used homemade marinara sauce from the tomatoes in our garden in this batch as well, which is nice because you can have the extra spices & seasonings to flavor it how you want & know what you are putting into your sauce.

Barilla Pronto Pasta with Cheesy Pasta Bake

We lead a very busy life, but still want to make time for the important things such as sharing meals with friends & blessing others with a meal during difficult times, so I am always looking for shortcuts in the kitchen. This is already an easy dish and fairly quick to put together. But then I learned about Barilla Pronto – and learned that I could really trim the time & make this dish even faster!

Barilla Pronto is a one-pan pasta. No need for a number of pots & pans to wash at the end – you can make the whole dish in just one pan if you want. No more waiting for the water to boil, you just dump the pasta & water in together & then after a few minutes, you can add in your sauce & any other ingredients, without needing to dump the water & transfer the sauce in.  Barilla Pronto pasta also requires no waiting for water to boil & no draining needed! {Personally, I *love* the idea of cutting down the dishes – especially the big pots since they take up so much room, while working in the sink. Somedays, it feels like all you do is dishes, doesn’t it?!}

Freezer Friendly Dish::

Cheesy Pasta Bake as a hearty, quick meal & freezer friendly

As I mentioned, this Cheesy Pasta Bake makes an excellent meal to freeze. Often, we will make 2 batches at once (or even more) and have one dish for dinner, while freezing the other dish before baking. That way, we have another meal for later – just thaw & throw it in the oven or cook as frozen (as long as it’s not glass). I love to head to the dollar store or Cash & Carry to stock up on foil pans. You can buy them for a dollar or less and these are great to keep the pasta dish stored in the freezer and you can easily stack meals on top of each other if you buy the lid or just cover in foil.

I also use the foil pans for making meal for others – as much as it is a blessing as it is to receive a meal when you’re in need, it can be a little overwhelming to remember which dish belongs to whom (if you received several meals) and then have to make a point to return those dishes. It’s still quite frugal to give them a meal in disposable containers like the foil pans & then they don’t have to worry about clean up & getting those dishes back to you. You can even put a salad & dessert in the foil pans & bring along a loaf of bread & it makes for a great, hearty meal to give to someone.

Recipe using Barilla Pronto Pasta:

Barilla Pronto Pasta

Making this dish with Barilla Pronto pasta is very similar to how you’d make it with regular pasta (the recipe directions below are just using regular pasta and there are just a few simple changes if you use Barilla Pronto pasta). For the biggest timesaver, you really can just use one pot if you’d like (if you’re not using the sausage). If you are wanting to have meat, just cook the meat first & set aside while you cook the pasta.

You’ll then get out a big skillet & pour the pasta and the cups of water all together. You don’t have to wait till the water is boiling, but instead you can mix the pasta and water together. When the pasta is ready, no draining needed as the water will have disappeared! Just add in the sausage and the sauce & mix it all together. You could finish your meal just by simmering on the stove for about 10 minutes with cheese on top. The Barilla Pronto does prep faster & easier  and then you can customize your pasta dishes by adding your sauce, seasonings, vegetables & more.

Steps to Making Cheesy Pasta Bake

We love the taste of baked pastas, so after we put it all together in the skillet, we then transferred the dish into a regular cooking dish. Then, put it in the oven at 350 degrees and bake covered for 15 minutes & uncovered for 5 more minutes, giving the cheese time to melt & become gooey, perfect for a delicious pasta dish.

If you’re making this for a freezer meal or for someone else, you can just put the entire dish into the foil pans & keep it stacked in the freezer or bring it to someone to use & just give instructions on how long to cook for.  That’s the beauty of the Barilla Pronto – no need for extar dishes on busy school nights. Plus, you can store these well in the freezer. It’s “Al dent” – perfection in just minutes with Barilla Pronto pasta.

Find more recipes using Barilla pronto pasta recipes on the Barilla website.

If you’re interested in trying out Barilla Pronto pasta, head to your nearest Kroger store (that’s Fred Meyer for those of us in the NW) & you should be able to find all 5 varieties of Barilla Pronto::

  • Linguine
  • Spaghetti
  • Rotini
  • Penne
  • Elbows

Printable Recipe for Cheesy Pasta Bake:

Make sure to print off this recipe so you can add it to your recipe collection.

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Cheesy Pasta Bake Meal - Freezer Friendly & Hearty, Quick Meal

Cheesy Pasta Bake – Freezer Friendly & Hearty Meal with Barilla Pronto! #OnePotPronto


Ingredients

Scale
  • Box of pasta (your choice – we like ziti, penne or rotini)
  • 2 jars of spaghetti sauce (28 oz)
  • 2 cups, shredded Mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 lb of Italian Sausage
  • 1 tsp fresh, chopped basil
  • 1 tsp fresh,chopped oregano
  • 1/2 tsp fresh, chopped rosemary (herbs are to taste)

Instructions

  1. Remove sausage casing and saute the sausage until it is golden brown, crumbling it as you go. Set sausage aside.
  2. Add 2 jars of sauce and fresh herbs to the sausage.
  3. Reduce heat to medium- low and let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. In separate pan, prepare pasta per package instructions.
  5. Once prepared, add sauce and sausage mixing thoroughly.
  6. Spoon 1/2 mixture into baking dish.
  7. Layer 1 cup of mozzarella cheese on top and 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese.
  8. Spoon remaining mixture into dish.
  9. Top with remaining mozzarella & parmesan cheeses.
  10. Bake covered for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
  11. Uncover & finish baking for 5 more minutes to melt the cheese.

 More Easy Dinner Recipes:

 

Have any of you ever tried Barilla Pronto pasta – what did you think & what did you make?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Barilla®. The opinions and text are all mine.