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Stop Using Store Bought Pasta Sauce!


There is no packaged food I hate more than jarred pasta sauce. I'm sure some of the brands can be ok, but overall it just gives a bad name to pasta. Growing up, I would look forward to pasta night all week, but when I went to college I quickly found out that pasta was a utility meal for most people, some sustenance to devour quickly on a lazy night. There is nothing worse than overcooked pasta all stuck together in a serving bowl with microwaved jarred sauce on the side. ON THE SIDE! I could go on about this all night, but normally I'm not a complainer, I'm a FIXER. Today I offer the college kids 5 recipes for pasta sauces that don't even need to be cooked on their own! Gather the ingredients, mix them in a baking dish with the par-cooked pasta, and bake for a half hour.

I made two of these varieties for the photos today. This one is the buffalo chicken version. I recently made this for my friend who hates blue cheese and I totally forgot to mention that there was blue cheese in it. Whoops! He loved it though and is probably gonna freak out when he sees this.

I also made a more standard tomato version. Seriously, just mix in the pasta and put it into the oven!

Optional parm topping.

The buffalo one all mixed together.

Tasty stuff!

None of these are gourmet pasta dishes by any means, but they are flavorful, fun, and super easy ways to make pasta. If you want to get more involved in pasta making, I have a seemingly endless archive of pasta.  Also, feel free to have fun with these recipes and load them up with random stuff from your spice cabinet.  Just make sure the liquid level is the same!

Tomato Spinach Sausage
2 28oz cans diced tomatoes
2 cups baby spinach - stems removed
2 spicy italian sausages - casings removed
1 cup parm cheese
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon each- salt and pepper
2 cups of the pasta cooking water AFTER the pasta cooks in it.

Buffalo Chicken
3/4 cup cayenne sauce (like franks red hot)
3 cups milk
1/3 pound blue cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 pound raw chicken, diced into 1/2 inch chunks

Mac and 4 cheese with whatever veggie you feel like (this is from last bro week)
8 oz marscapone
8 oz camembert
4 oz monetery jack
4 oz parm
1 cup cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oregano
3 cups chopped veggie(asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, bell pepper, whatever)
1 cup pasta cooking water AFTER the pasta cooks in it

Cheeseburger mac
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 pound 95% lean ground beef
2 tablespoons worcestershire
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 cups pasta cooking water AFTER the pasta cooks in it

Chicken Teriyaki Alfredo
3 cups milk
1 cup cream
1/2 pound chicken diced to 1/2 inch, marinated overnight with 1 cup teriyaki sauce
1 clove garlic, grated
1 cup baby spinach, stems removed
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Universal instructions
Preheat the oven to 350. Boil 1 pound of pasta in salted water for ONLY 5 minutes EXACTLY. Strain, reserving any pasta water if needed. Mix the pasta with all the ingredients in a baking dish. If using sausage or ground beef, make sure it is well separated and mixed in. Bake for 35 minutes, making sure it is bubbling away after the first 15 minutes. Pull from the oven and stir well before serving (except for the mac and cheese one)


You didn't forget to mention anything...

I'm not even mad. It was amazing.

That buffalo chicken pasta almost makes me drool. Definitely need to make that this weekend.

I think my (college-age) sister would love that buffalo chicken pasta (minus the blue cheese). Definitely going to send her the recipe. Pasta is my thing. I could always eat it and I always look forward to it. I made fresh sauce the other night with tomatoes and peppers from my garden!

Just making sure I read this right, you don't have to add any pasta water for the buffalo chicken recipe?

The pictures were misleading. I was expecting this to fit in an 8x4 pan. I had to transfer to a lasagna pan so it'd fit. A bit much for an afternoon lunch for one. =c)

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