An easy, healthier pasta dinner: Cheesy Beef and Pasta Casserole
My husband just about flipped when I served this for dinner the other night… and not in a good way! He has been eating light, and he’s been trying his hardest to avoid eating an overload of carbs. We’re pretty much carboholics around my house.
I did my best to change his thinking. I explained that it was a lightened up recipe in the first place, there’s a good bunch of ZUCCHINI in it, and I’d be serving a very large side salad to go with a smallish portion of pasta. He eyed me suspiciously, but eventually he gave in to the carb craving.
Eating pasta, you see, can be manageable for a diet. Just wait until the NEXT day before you go back for seconds 🙂
Cheesy Beef and Pasta Casserole
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large zucchini, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3/4 pound lean ground beef (7% fat or less)
- 4 cups cooked whole wheat penne (about 2 1/4 cups dry)
- 2 cups low fat marinara sauce (2g fat or less)
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, zucchini, garlic and red pepper flakes-- cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened-- about 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables to a bowl and set aside. Add the beef to the pan and cook, breaking it apart with a spatula, until browned- 8 to 10 minutes. Drain off any accumulated oil and discard.
- Add the cooked vegetables, penne and sauce to the pan and mix to combine. Spoon the pasta mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake until the cheese is melted and the filling is hot and bubbly- 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle fresh basil on top and serve.
- Nutritional information per serving (serving size about 1 1/4 cups) Calories: 318, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 4, Cholesterol: 42.5mg, Sodium: 425mg, Potassium: 228mg, Carbohydrates: 34g, Fiber: 5g, Sugars: 6g, Protein: 23g
- Weight Watchers POINTS: Freestyle SmartPoints: 7 (or if you use ground turkey in place of beef, then 6 points), SmartPoints: 7, Points Plus: 8 , Old Program: 6