Rachael Ray hit a chord with today's cooks when she started promoting 30-minute meals.
So many of us work outside the home during the week and don't have time to monitor the oven while a roast cooks or spend 20 to 30 minutes chopping, dicing, browning and mixing a casserole before letting it cook another 30-45 minutes. Instead, we want recipes that are quick, but we want them to be good.
I'm always looking for a good, satisfying meal that I can put on the table quickly when I get home from work.
A few weeks ago, I ran across a recipe for Bow Tie Lasagna on the hugely popular Web site, www.thepioneerwoman.com. The recipe is featured on Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond's sister site, Tasty Kitchen. Ree tagged this recipe a 16-minute meal, and, you know what, you really can make it that quickly or at least close to that!
The trick, of course, is to be organized. Don't do your shopping on the way home from work. Have the ingredients at home. Often, I'll place non-perishable recipe items for the night's meal on the kitchen counter during my lunch break or even the night before. I also leave the printed recipe on the counter so I don't have to hunt for it when I get home from work. And I work in advance as often as I can. For instance, my husband and I have gotten in the habit of washing and tearing lettuce and storing it in a zippered bag so when we're preparing weeknight meals and want a fresh salad, all we have to do is taking the bag of lettuce from the refrigerator. We add a tomato and bell pepper from our garden and have a quick, fresh salad.
Anyway, back to the lasagna dish.
I've made this recipe three times now and find it very simple to prepare: Start the water boiling for the pasta, then brown the beef while the bow ties cook. Once the pasta and ground beef are ready, it's only a matter of mixing the ingredients together and letting the cheese melt.
Serve the dish with a fresh salad and a loaf of bread. I often splurge on my breads and try any number of options from the bakery at the grocery store.
This dish is no ways as heavy as a regular lasagna recipe that uses much more cheese. It only calls for 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup sour cream.
My family really enjoyed this simple dish and frowned when I made it the second time because I was making it for someone else's family and not for them!
I think one reason we liked it so much was the pasta sauce. Instead of using my old standby brand and flavor, which I still love, I bought an entirely new pasta sauce, Paul Newman's Sockaroni, which gave the entire dish a different flavor.
We had leftovers when I made this dish for my family. I really enjoyed them warmed over for lunch the next day. Again, no heavy meat and cheese dish, just a nice change from the regular fare.
I feel certain I will keep this recipe as a regular in my family's meal rotation. I might even try it with ground turkey next time.
Bow Tie Lasagna
- 1 pound ground chuck*
- 5 cups bow tie noodles (cooked)
- 3 cups spaghetti sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
After noodles are cooked, drain and drizzle with olive oil. Mix in spaghetti sauce. Add cooked beef, seasonings, cheese and sour cream. Fold together and allow it all to combine and melt, over low heat, for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
* I made a few changes. I used lean ground beef, oregano instead of Italian Seasoning and reduced fat sour cream. I cooked my beef in a large skillet and mixed the other ingredients in the skillet instead of the pasta pot; it was tight fit! I cooked the entire package of bow ties and had enough left over for a small pasta salad.