One of my most favorite things in the world is making a nice meal and having our entire family sit down, all at once, to eat together. There is something about eating a home cooked meal with your loved ones that just makes all of your problems obsolete in that moment.
Especially if everyone likes the meal AND can manage to put their cell phones down during dinner. Now that is a real accomplishment!
There is actually a whole category of foods out there that has been designated as “comfort foods“. These are all foods that make you feel like you are at home. They relax you, fill you up and are something you reach for when you need something to make you feel better. Most comfort foods are full of fats, calories and tend to also be served warm.
As far as the calorie content goes, maybe comfort foods tend to be high in calories because as a kid, you were likely never on a diet and were able to eat as many calories as you wanted. Eating a food in adulthood that is full of calories is more like a special treat. Not worrying about what is inside a food sure is comforting!
I am sure most comfort foods are served warm because they warm you up from the inside, making you feel cozy and happy. Sounds about right! I know that if I had a bad day and was feeling a little down, a nice hot meal would definitely cheer me up.
So of the most popular comfort foods are as follows:
- Macaroni and cheese
- Chicken noodle soup
- Grilled Cheese
- Mashed Potatoes
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Baked pasta with marinara
- Beef stew
- Chicken Pot Pie
Don’t all of these foods sound delicious and, well, comforting? Of course some comfort foods are specific person to person. Maybe your mom always made spaghetti and meatballs as you were growing up and a plate full of that dish is something that make you feel right at home. There is a certain level of nostalgia to a comfort food. They are, after all, named comfort foods because they make you personally feel at home, wherever that may be.
Baked Pasta Recipes
Baked pastas, covered in marinara sauce with a nice crispy top is something that is most certainly a comfort food to me. Yes, my mom did make it when I was a kid and it reminds me of nights at home with my family, laughing at the dinner table while filing our bellies. However, I know I am not alone in thinking that baked pastas are comfort foods. In fact, it is on top ten lists all over the place if you are looking for great comfort food recipes. You can’t deny the popularity of a baked pasta dish.
When thinking about comfort foods and remembering the baked pasta dishes my mom use to make, I immediately wanted to create my own baked pasta. While I may never have the exact same method and flavor as the one from my childhood, I can definitely get close enough and make this comfort food one I adore and also one that my kids will remember later in life.
Easy Pasta Recipes
One more qualification of a comfort food is that it is easy to make. There is nothing relaxing or “comfortable” about being stuck in a kitchen all day making dinner. Any comfort food should take less than ten minutes to put together (ten minutes is my own personal rule but I think it is a great guideline!).
In order to keep this recipe easy and fast, I decided to limit the ingredients. As I jotted down my ideas, I scratched off unnecessary seasonings, excess steps and came up with an idea for an easy pasta recipe containing only 7 ingredients- sounded good to me!
Homemade Tomato Sauce
In an effort to keep this recipe simple, I opted to use sauce straight out of the jar and I have absolutely no shame in admitting it. Sure, I write recipes and pride myself on all my homemade meals but sometimes, a jar of sauce is exactly the right ingredient. There is no chopping vegetables, no waiting for the sauce to cook and no extra mess. You can just crack open a jar, pour it over your cooked pasta and you’re done!
Sure, you can make your own sauce and it will work wonderfully in this recipe. However, make life a little easier and just buy the sauce. Get fancy and buy the more expensive sauce if you’d like but buy it none the less. When you have dinner in the oven within a matter of minutes, you will be happy about your decision.
Kid Friendly Pasta Recipes
One of the biggest concerns I have about each nights dinner is if my kids will eat what I made. It honestly stresses me out especially since one of my kids is quite picky (a habit we are desperately trying to break…she’ll be a foodie someday!). Yet when I pull out this baked rotini recipe, I know that everyone will be happy. My 18 month old will be able to pick up the noodles easily and eat them all by herself, my husband will be excited about the excessive amounts of cheese and my picky 4 year old will gobble it up with out me having to beg or bribe her. Do you know what else that means? It means I will be happy! I will be happy everyone is eating and, yes, I too will be excited to eat this super simple baked pasta.
Baked Pasta Comfort Foods
I hope by now that you are craving this dish. I know that after thinking about it this whole time I am. Warm sauce, gooey cheese, pasta that has that slight crunch from the oven but is still nice and tender…it all sounds like heaven. So give this easy baked pasta recipe a try and I can almost guarantee that it will become a meal that you serve your family all the time. I can also ensure that it will make everyone feel right at home. Maybe someday, your kids will think about Baked Rotini pasta and get a nice warm feeling remembering all the good times they had around the dinner table.
Hope you Enjoy! =)Print
Crumbles of ground beef are layered inside this baked rotini casserole which is cheesy, saucy and tastes like home.
- 1 (16 ounce) package rotini pasta
- 1/2 pound lean ground beef (or turkey)
- 1 teaspoon diced onion
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- In a large pot cook rotini pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain.
- Cook ground turkey or beef in medium skillet until brown.Add the diced onion, salt and pepper.
Mix in half of the jar of spaghetti sauce.
- In a large bowl add the browned beef mixture to the drained pasta and
stir in the second half of the of spaghetti sauce.Pour mixture into a 2 quart baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
- In a preheated 425 degree F (230 degree C) oven bake for 20 minutes.Remove foil, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese and return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Replace the ground beef with ground turkey or ground sausage
- Any short pasta noodle will do so if you happen to have penne on hand- use it!
- Try using a pasta noodle that is whole grain or vegetable based to add a few extra nutrients
- Skip the meat and you will have a delicious vegetarian baked pasta
- Before placing the dish in the oven, you can wrap and freeze it to save for later. It will last up to three months in the freezer. To eat, simply unwrap and bake as directed but add an extra ten minutes to the baking time.