Creamy Baked Penne by BreeLinne.com
I always ask my husband the same thing when I make something new…”Would you eat it again?”
It’s my way of determining if he likes it enough to request it again, and usually I can tell which dishes will not meet that criteria. For the most part, they are usually meals that somehow fall into the category of things he thinks he doesn’t like, which I’ve talked about a couple of times before.
Lemon, soup, cheese, pie, gingerbread, berries. So weird.
To his credit, he has expanded his palate a bit since we’ve been married. He’s since realized that he actually loves cheese (duh), and he has grown to enjoy most soups. He even, without prompting, remarked how much he liked the lemon garlic green beans I made the other night…yes! He still won’t eat strawberries (gah), but we’re making progress.
This penne is progress.
Because there’s one last thing on that crazy list of his: meals with meat sauces. Stroganoff, spaghetti, goulash, etc….he is not a fan.
I will eat these dishes with abandon…quick, easy, tasty, and makes excellent leftovers. But since my husband doesn’t like them, I’m usually ok with not preparing them, because I have so many other recipes to try out on a weekly basis.
Sometimes though, I have a pound of ground beef in the freezer and just want to make something with a simple and easy meat sauce, hoping that my husband will eat it.
He definitely ate this. And had seconds. And ate it for lunch the next day. See, progress!
Creamy Baked Penne
1 lb penne
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb ground beef or turkey
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 cans diced tomatoes
3 oz reduced fat cream cheese
Splash of milk (optional)
1/3 c parmesan cheese, shredded
1/3 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook penne according to directions.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. When hot, add the chopped onion and the salt. Saute until slightly brown, then add the ground beef and continue to cook until meat is cooked through. Add the spices and the garlic, and cook a minute or two longer.
Pour in the tomatoes, and let get warm. Reduce heat slightly, then add in the cream cheese in small chunks. Stir periodically so that the cream cheese will melt and be dispersed throughout. Finally, toss in the parmesan cheese, and stir until combined. If the mixture is still a little too thick, add in the splash of milk and stir.
At this point, you can add your penne if you would like, but I have found that I like to put the penne in the bottom of my baking dish (13×9) and then pour the mixture on top, making sure all the pasta is coated. I seem to tear less pasta this way, and it just looks prettier coming out of the pan.
Top with shredded mozzarella and bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
This was, as I’m sure you could guess, very much kid approved too. It’s delicious. Try it!!
Bree Perez was born and raised in the Texas Hill Country. She moved to Fort Worth 15 years ago to attend TCU. As a visual person, she misses the beauty of the Hill Country, but Fort Worth’s charming personality and endless lists of family-friendly things to do has won her over. She graduated from TCU with a degree in Photography. She is a wife, mother, and though Bree firmly believes in living in the present with your kiddos, she also will forever and always be a memory-preserver. Slightly introverted, yet with a deep desire for meaningful social interaction, Bree hopes this website becomes a trusted resource amongst local moms. And if you need someone to talk about beautiful, messy motherhood with, Bree is shamelessly interested. Visit her photography website HERE.