Saturday, February 21

Updated Chipotle Pizza Casserole

The last time I made this Chipotle Pizza Casserole was around December 20th 2012. Where did the time go? The unfortunate part about food blogging is being focused on learning how to cook different recipes with new ingredients constantly, that I rarely remake anything even if they are really good. The two exceptions are spaghetti and pizza my son's favorites. 

This updated chipotle pizza casserole is amazing. My oldest has already asked when we are going to have it again probably because its a mix of his favorite foods and flavors spaghetti and pizza in one dish. Yum! I am glad I looked back and updated this slightly spicy, meaty, veggie laden (shhh!),  cheesy feast. 

P.S. It makes two casseroles... hello yes. Having my little guy hit 5 months old I am now thankful I have an extra dinner already cooked and in the freezer. This casserole makes enough to feed a family of 4-5 twice. Can I be in love with a food item? Not sure. If I could. This would be it. 

Why did I want update this dish? At first I thought the orginal recipe had a typo (not many meals I make create two casseroles and/or only have 1/2 lb of meat) and I also wanted to see if I could still get my family to eat and enjoy a variety of veggies. So I wanted to experiment on my family, while eating healthy and sticking to my food budget. 

What did I update? Oh everything. Cheese - I cut it down approx 1- 1&1/2 oz. Meat - I used lean ground beef instead of ground turkey. Veggies - I doubled the amount of broccoli and used a quick homemade tomato pasta sauce that had eggplant & red pepper. Pasta - I used a veggie pasta instead of one made with white flour. This also made the recipe pop with color because the noodles are green and orange and red. Wine -  I used red wine instead of white. Last I left out the water that the recipe called for - it didn't seem to need it. 

The ingredient list: 

A whole box pasta (mine was 12oz veggie pasta rotini - corkscrew shape)

1/2 lb of ground beef
4 cups of homemade pasta sauce
1 Tbs olive oil
6 oz frozen broccoli (1/2 of a bag)
1/4 tsp salt plus salt for the pasta water 1tsp or so
5 oz of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, and squeezed dry
4 tsp Italian seasonings
2 tsp minced garlic
8 oz / 1 small package of monterey jack cheese shredded 

1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese 
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp pepper
3 1/4 oz (1 package of pepperoni)
1 chipotle in 1/2 tsp adobe sauce, finely diced 
1/4 cup red wine, pinot noir

Please enjoy this updated version with better pictures and simple step by step directions. Since half of this meal was made while holding a baby, all the seasonings this time were eyeballed them instead of exact measurments. This is a very forgiving recipe.

5 Easy Directions
Step 1 - Cook the ground beef in olive oil. Half way through cooking add in the garlic and all of the seasonings. When beef is done deglaze with the red wine. 

Step 2 - Grab the largest bowl you have and combine the meat mixture, pasta sauce, 1 cup of the cheese, the chipotle pepper diced, frozen broccoli pieces, pepperoni, chopped (previous frozen) but defrosted and excess water rung out spinach.

Step 3 - Cook the pasta according to directions on the box, and add it to the bowl. Use tongs to combine the hot food. 

Step 4 - Gently dump the pasta mixture into two rectangle baking dishes and top them with the remaining shredded cheese. 

Step 5 - Bake both dishes for 25 minutes uncovered at 300 degrees, and then increase the heat to 350 for more 5 minutes. Let it cool 5-10 minutes then start digging in! 

*If freezing the second casserole be sure to cool it completely. Wrap it with heavy duty tin foil, and label the top of the tin foil with the cooking temp and times so you aren't scrambling around for the information later. 

from my Az kitchen to yours,

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