Did you miss me? I took a break from posting last week as we were on vacation in the country – as in visiting family in Wisconsin. It was a wonderful break from the heat and humidity of Middle Georgia and I loved it. Temperatures were in the mid 80’s all week, hardly any humidity, and a refreshing breeze. I think I was outside more last week than I have been since the weather here at home started to get summer-like back in April. Feet propped up, book in hand and life was simple and easy. That is when I wasn’t out and about shopping for antiques or at the lake with family.
My in-laws live in a small town that still believes in doing things as a community and being a farming town, Fourth of July festivities centered around family, community, and celebrating America. Small town holiday parades included fire trucks galore and farmers drove their tractors with pride in the parade while the entire town cheered them on from the sidelines. Patriotic pride was never so evident as it was with this community and the fireworks outlasted and beat any big city ones that I have ever seen; not to mention the spread of food at the cookouts. It’s no wonder, this is the place I love being during that holiday.
But now, it’s back to the summer in Middle Georgia- it’s hot ya’ll! I absolutely hate it. I’m scouring my cookbooks for more meals that won’t heat up my kitchen and are still simple to make. While today’s recipe does use the oven, it’s only for about 20 minutes; which isn’t too bad. I enjoy making this Meatless Veggie Pasta Bake because it’s so easy to change up the vegetables. Don’t have (or like) yellow squash? Use zucchini, bell peppers, or any other vegetable in place of the squash. Change up the pasta too, I don’t always have ziti on hand so I use whatever I have in the pantry. For those of you who aren’t fond of meatless (like my husband), you can easily add cooked ground beef or sausage, chicken, or smoked sausage. My kind of meal – simple and adaptable for everyone.
- 12 oz. ziti pasta, uncooked (12 oz. = 5 cups)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 - 3 medium yellow summer squash, cut into ¼ inch slices and quartered
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 can (24 oz. each) Hunt's® Chunky Vegetable Pasta Sauce
- 10 oz. Alfredo sauce (use a little more than half of a 16 oz. jar)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (reserve half for the top of the casserole)
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray 13 x 9-inch baking dish with non-stick spray; set aside.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt.
- Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash, salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until squash is crisp-tender and starting to brown, stirring frequently.
- Stir in both sauces and let it get hot, about 1 minute; stirring occasionally.
- Add the cooked pasta and 1 cup cheese to vegetable mixture; mix lightly.
- Stir in the fresh spinach and let it just begin to wilt.
- Spoon into prepared dish; top with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake 20 – 30 minutes or until cheese melts and mixture is hot.
Recipe adapted from Ready Set Eat
Don’t forget to enter the Picnic Giveaway on the blog! It’s open until July 15, 2016.