Wednesday, October 31, 2012

5 Ingredient Pesto Pasta Bake


Last year, Hurricane Irene took a toll on our neighborhood. Many old trees fell, including two that cut off both entrances to our street when they fell. Thankfully, no one was injured and all houses were left in tact. We were without power long enough that we had to empty out the fridge and standing freezer. It hurt to throw all that food away, but since that time, we used that as a lesson to greatly reduce how much food we purchase and keep in the house.

When the reality sunk in that Hurricane Sandy would be hitting us, and hitting us harder than Irene, we went into all out preparation mode. Since we have an electric stove, we have to be creative in how we heat food, should the power go out.

We filled the propane tank for our grill. After Hurricane Irene, that was our main source for making anything heated. It was comical to watch my dad heat water and coffee beans in a cast iron pot to make his coffee. This time, we also purchased several containers of sterno to go along with chafing dishes that we already have. Sterno lasts hours and gets food HOT.

Which brings us to a lesson learned: make coffee ahead of time so all we have to do is reheat it in a chafing dish or pot.

We also boiled pasta ahead of time, so it just needed to be stirred into canned/jarred spaghetti sauce that was being heated.

Since I'm avoiding gluten and dairy, I purchased packages of dried, sprouted quinoa and lentils that can be reconstituted in water, and boxed almond milk (which tastes WAY different from real almond milk) to make chia seed pudding.

We also made sure we had plenty of "room temperature" fruits and veggies on hand.

Now that Hurricane Sandy has blown through and is on her way out, we have some food to eat. Namely pasta. This is an easy dish I put together to take to work. I used linguini noodles, since that's what we pre-boiled, but you can use any cooked pasta shape you want. I grabbed two big handfuls of cooked noodles to use in this, somewhere around 3-4 cups. You could also turn this into a heartier meal by including some cooked sausage, chicken, or ground beef. This is a great "leftover" meal that doesn't taste like you've repurposed leftovers.


5 Ingredient Pesto Pasta Bake
1 can of 98% fat free cream of _______ condensed soup (celery, mushroom, or chicken)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomato pesto (or any pesto you like)
1/2 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
1 clove of garlic, minced
3-4 cups cooked pasta (I used linguini)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or any melty cheese blend)
1 tsp dried basil

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine condensed soup, pesto, milk, and garlic. Once thoroughly combined, stir in the pasta.

Spread the pasta mixture into a casserole dish, top with shredded cheese, sprinkle on dried basil, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Pull foil off and bake for another 10 minutes to brown the cheese.

Let rest for 5 minutes, cut, and serve!

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