But a'ha!! You may have noticed on my last meal planning post, pasta bake was on the list. Lovely-sister-in-law has struck on a recipe that my boys love and it is now part of the rotation and is all the things I thought a good pasta bake would be (see above sentence!).
The recipe originally came from a Donna Hay Kids magazine and goes like this:
Squiggly Pasta Bake by Donna Hay (via Lovely-sister-in-law).
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
400g beef mince
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 x 400g cans whole tomatoes
sea salt and cracked black pepper
300g cooked spaghetti, warmed
1/2 cup pouring cream 125ml
2 cups grated cheddar
3 cups grated mozzarella
Heat the oil in a non stick fry pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and beef and cook, breaking up lumps, for 5 minutes or until browned. Add the paste and tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180c. Combine pasta, cream and cheddar. Place half the pasta in a 3.5litre capacity baking dish. Top with 1/2 cup mozzarella and half the beef mix. Repeat with remaining pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella and remaining beef. Top with remaining mozzarella and bake for 25mins or until golden brown. Stand for 10 mins before serving. Serves 4-6
You can make the pasta bake with just about any pasta - the spaghetti is great (and is where this recipe gets it's name, from all the squiggy pasta heaped in the pan), but I recently used this pasta, which had the added benefit of when cooked, looking like large witchetty grubs - which caused much mirth among the boys :)