Pizza Pasta Bake

This is a homemade version of a meal I prepared all the time while I was in college.  The meal I made at that time, came in a box and you just boiled the pasta, then stirred in the meat sauce, sprinkled on cheese from a packet and baked it. {*cough*Banquet Homestyle Bakes*cough*} I thought it was fantastic at the time and it easily served myself and my 3 roommates.  But looking back now, I’m sure it was full of preservatives and other “fake” ingredients.

So with this homemade version, I still get to take a trip down memory lane to my college days, but I feel better knowing what ingredients go into the meal.

Pizza Pasta Bake

Ingredients

1/2 pound ground beef {or ground sausage or turkey}

1/2 package of turkey pepperoni, coarsely chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 jalapeno peppers, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

dash of red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1 cup tomato sauce {homemade sauce recipe found here}

2 Tbsp water

approx 1 heaping cup dry short pasta such as elbow macaroni {Sorry measurement is vague, but I just used 3 handfuls of macaroni – just call me Rachel Ray I guess!}

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a baking dish and set aside.

Boil water and cook pasta.

Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a large skillet with the onion and peppers.   Cook until beef is no longer pink, then drain.  Return to skillet {off heat} and stir in the pepperoni, seasonings, 2 Tbsp cheese, tomato sauce, water, and cooked pasta.  Stir everything together and spread into prepared baking dish.  Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serves 4

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