Sometimes at the end of the week I’ll end up with really weird things left over. A tiny little bit of cheese, a handful of chopped onion, you know what I mean. Random odds and ends of food that didn’t get used up. Instead of tossing this all away there are two things I always make with these left overs: frittatas and pasta.
Sometimes at the end of the week I’ll end up with really weird things left over. A tiny little bit of cheese, a handful of chopped onion, you know what I mean. Random odds and ends of food that didn’t get used up. Instead of tossing this all away there are two things I always make with these left overs: frittatas and pasta. Today we’re talking pasta.
There’s this delicious restaurant in Phoenix called Oregano’s and they have the best pesto bake ever and really inspired this. Theirs is still a little better, but this gets pretty close. It’s hard to go wrong with cheese and pasta. Plus, I added broccoli and theirs doesn’t have any veggies. Mine is healthier (sort of…I added a LOT of cheese).
If you have some precooked pasta in your freezer (and why wouldn’t you since it makes weeknights so easy), this is the easiest thing in the world to make. I can never get enough pesto bake.
Easy pasta bake for any day of the week.
- 2 cups cooked pasta
- 6 oz mozzarella cheese
- 1 large head broccoli chopped into bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup pesto
- parmesan for topping
- Preheat oven to 425 degree F.
- Cut a little more than half of the mozzarella into small cubes (about 1/2 inch).
- Combine the pasta, cubed cheese, pesto, and broccoli in a 9x9 baking dish.
- Add the rest of the mozzarella on top.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the broccoli is cooked through.
- Top with parmesan cheese while cooling so it melts on top.
I really failed at measuring and timing for this recipe so this is mostly guesstimates. Pasta bakes aren't difficult though, so you'll be fine. 🙂
Calzone recipes are good for a lot of things (like filling hungry bellies), but they were especially handy last week. I was traveling for work for a few days.
Calzone recipes are good for a lot of things (like filling hungry bellies), but they were especially handy last week. I was traveling for work for a few days. It was exciting because it was my first business trip and I felt super official plus I was going to Washington and got to see a few friends while I was up there.
Whenever I’m gone though, I worry about my boyfriend. It probably doesn’t help that one time I was away he ended up in the hospital getting stitches after tripping on a dog toy (don’t worry, he’s perfectly fine aside from a few scars). Someone tell me I’m not alone in worrying about things at home while traveling! How do you deal with worry?
In preparation for being gone, I always make sure there are lots of easy meals for him to prepare himself. One less thing I can worry about! Usually I buy frozen meals or make things he can just reheat in the microwave really easily. This time I tried something new.
I made calzones the night before and half-baked some of them. I then froze them so he could stick them in the toaster oven or regular oven and have fresh baked calzones. I fully baked some as well (so we could have them for dinner) and so he could microwave them if he was feeling extra lazy.
Homemade and fresh calzones are easy to make and easy to store.
- Pizza dough
- Mozzarella cheese
- Ricotta cheese
- Filling of your choice (I like onions, jalapenos, and I'll add bacon for meat eaters)
- Tomato dipping sauce
- Prepare pizza dough if needed following the instructions.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F with a baking stone in it if using.
- If using my pizza dough recipe, divide dough into 8 equal portions after the first rising.
- Roll out the dough to be about 1/4 inch thin (about 6-ish inches in diameter).
- Fill with toppings and add cheese on top so it melts throughout the inside.
- Seal the edges by rolling them or by pressing them with a fork.
- Lightly cut the top with three strikes.
- Sprinkle the baking stone with cornmeal if using. If not using, lightly grease a baking sheet.
- Place the prepared calzones on the baking stone or baking sheet. Calzones do not spread much so you can place them fairly close to one another.
- Bake for 7-8 minutes.
- Remove if half baking and allow to cool before freezing.
- If fully cooking them, brush tops with olive oil. Place back in oven and bake for another 7-8 minutes until tops are golden brown.
- Allow to cool slightly to avoid burning your mouth and then serve immediately with a side of tomato dipping sauce.
Total time excludes preparing the dough.