Monday, September 6, 2010

Meatless Mondays

My friend Trish recommended that some of my readers might eat less meat than my husband and I and would therefore appreciate more veggie dishes.  Great point, Trish!

I've been following the movement among public health leaders to encourage individuals to cut out consumption of meat at least one day of week with Meatless Mondays.  In our household, we are trying to eat less meat and increase our vegetable intake, this dish fits the bill.

Baked Penne
Serves 4

12 oz can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 bell pepper (any color), diced
1/2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh oregano
1 tsp garlic, minced
13.25 oz dried whole wheat penne
16 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/8 cup parmesan cheese, finely shredded

Chop vegetables and herbs.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a pot and simmer for about 10 minutes.

While the sauce and vegetables are simmering, you can boil the pasta, according to package directions.  Drain the pasta and combine it with the sauce.  Mix well.

Pour about a third of the pasta and sauce mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 9 baking dish.  Top with about a third of the mozzarella.

Repeat the layers with the remaining pasta and cheese.  I usually make the top layer of cheese a bit thicker, so plan accordingly.  Top finally with parmesan cheese.

Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for about half an hour, or until the sauce is bubbly.  To create a nice looking top, pop the casserole under the broiler for no more than 5 minutes.

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