One day closer to our monthly shopping trip and we dined on a wonderful pantry-based dinner. This dish is a variation of one of our all-time favorites – Cheesy Pasta Casserole. I originally intended to do a standard baked mostacolli, but them I realized I was out of ricotta and running low on mozzarella. So I decided to improvise and combine the cheesy pasta casserole ingredients with a basic mostacolli method.
It turned out great. The texture was rich and creamy with the ground beef providing a nice counter balance. And the whole thing was just full of cheesy, saucy flavor. I think this might become my preferred method for this dish, replacing both regulars.
Creamy Baked Mostacolli
- 1/2 lb. mostacolli/penne noodles
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 1/2 c. sour cream
- 2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
- 1/2 – 1 lb. ground beef, cooked
- 2 t. Italian seasoning
- 1 t. sugar
- 1/2 t. garlic powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. black pepper
- 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, return to pot and add cream cheese and sour cream. Stir until cream cheese is melted. Add tomato sauce, ground beef, seasonings and 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella. Stir to combine and transfer to a casserole dish.
2. Cover pasta mixture with remaining shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly and cheese is melted.
We started our day with either homemade waffles from the freezer or leftover banana bread. For lunch, the two oldest picked up lunch at school and the rest of ate leftovers and oranges.
I know I said I’d start getting into our grocery budget today, but…well, sometimes life happens and I just don’t have the time today. I will say that our budget is $450 per month for the 6 of us, although I try to come in lower than that most months. This is quite a large increase from our budget just over 6 months ago, so I’ll explain why we had to up it tomorrow.
Until then, I’d love to know how you decide on a grocery budget and what, if anything, means you need to lower or increase your budget.