It's always very handy to have a few recipes in your recipe repertoire for easy do ahead meals. I especially like these types of things for Sundays, because I am usually starving by the time I get home from church. Sundays is normally the day I make a do ahead casserole that I can just heat up . . . or I use the slow cooker. It's what works for me!
This is one of my favourite make ahead casseroles. It is not Todd's favourite make ahead casserole . . . because, as you know . . . the silly man HATES pasta! (I think it's a texture thing, but don't quote me on that!) I LOVE pasta, as you also know . . . and so every once in a while I just have to have some! Yes, today was torture Todd with pasta day!
Actually I do try not to torture him with it very often . . . and usually when I do make pasta, I am sure that I have something in the cupboard I can just heat up for him like a steak and kidney pudding (YUCK!) which he adores. It's only fair.
There is this program on Saturday mornings called oddly enough, Saturday Kitchen! (Took a genius to name that I think!) They usually have a celebrity guest on board, and they are asked what is their food heaven and food hell. Then they draw and it's up to the draw whether they will have to experience their food heaven or hell.
I would hate that myself . . . although I am thinking that pretty much anything would be food heaven in James Martin's presence . . . but I digress. (Look at those eyes ladies! Now that's what I call a tasty dish . . . and he is the master of desserts!)
My point is . . . Pasta is Todd's food hell and my food heaven . . . and steak and kidney pie would be his food heaven and my food hell, coz there would be no way on earth you could EVER tempt me into eating kidney. Sorry. I'm squeamish about that. After learning about them in cooking school, I am never eating a kidney.
Anyways . . . this casserole is my idea of food heaven. It's make ahead. It's easy. It's pasta. It's cheesy. It's delicious. What more could you ask for! It's like an easy, meatless lasagne . . . without any fuss.
*Tasty Pasta Bake*
A delicious pasta bake that you put together the night before and then bake the next day to serve. The perfect make ahead dish.
16 ounces of uncooked pasta
1/4 cup of sour cream
8 ounces cottage cheese (1 cup)
4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 cup)
1 small onion, peeled and minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
28 ounces pasta sauce (tomato and basil, Bolognese, whatever you have. Homemade is best
but jarred works well also) (2-400g jars)
1 cup of chopped vegetables (peppers, mushrooms,olives etc.)
4 ounces grated cheese (a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella works fine) (1 cup)
Cook your pasta in lightly salted water, just until al dente. Drain well, rinse, drain again and then set aside.
Stir together the sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, onion, Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and pepper. Set aside.
Butter a 9 by 13 inch glass baking dish. Layer in the ingredients as follows. 1/'2 of the cooked pasta. The cottage cheese mixture. Any vegetables you are using. The remainder of the pasta. Pour over top the pasta sauce. Sprinkle with the grated cheeses. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 1/2 hour before you want to cook it.
When you are ready to cook it, preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Place the casserole dish into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Delicious!
Note: the leftovers taste even better and if you wish you can make this in two casseroles and freeze one for a later date.