Pasta Bake

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Hello!  So, this week’s recipe is a pasta bake.  It’s really just a basic mostaccioli bake.  I made very slight modifications to this recipe.  First, I added canned sliced black olives in addition to fresh mushrooms in my meat mixture.  I also used ground chicken as my choice of meat, in addition to using some homemade marinara sauce that I had leftover.

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I boiled my pasta while I sauteed my meat, chopped onion, black olives, and fresh mushrooms.  Time saver!  Also, please excuse my slightly dirty stove….

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Now comes the fun part!  Dump everything together in giant bowl, along with your cheese and mix!  Pretty easy!  I’d recommend adding the pasta in doses, kinda like you do with flour in a mixer.  This makes it much easier to mix together without half of it ending up on the counter.  I still had a couple pieces of pasta fall out onto the counter, even with doing it in batches.

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Dump everything into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, cover with cheese and then let it ride.

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Bam!  There it is in all of its cheesy glory….mmm….

I must say, though, this turned out to be a bit more bland than I was expecting.  I’m not really sure if it was any one thing or a bunch of things combined.  I did forget to add some olive oil and minced garlic to my meat mixture when I cooked it, which I normally do.  I’d also suggest adding some more herbs to it, like basil or oregano.  I also felt like there was either too much cheese mixed in with everything or it didn’t cook long enough.  The pasta mixture just didn’t seem like it came together cohesively.  I could still see individual strains of cheese in it, instead of it all being melted together.

The really nice thing about this recipe is that it’s completely malleable to whatever your tastes are.  You could mix up the veggies a bit (maybe add some peppers or something) or use most any kind of meat (I’d avoid fish, though).  It’s really a blank slate for you to create with.  Have fun with it!

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