Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cupboard Cooking Challenge: Eggplant and Artichoke Heart Pasta Casserole

J and I spent the weekend in San Luis Obispo hanging out with my family and visiting the sweet little town where Bubs goes to college. Such a fun time and amazing memories were created! (I will share these soon!) We didn't get back until late Monday after a long weekend away and I was not really interested in going grocery shopping. Bubs' birthday is this weekend so J and I will be out of town again at my parents' house... This means, only three days of cooking this week. Because there isn't much cooking going on, I felt like grocery shopping was going to be a waste... And the Cupboard Cooking Challenge was born!

Basically this is how the challenge works:

  • No grocery shopping for the week. 
  • All meals must be made from what you already have in the cupboards (and fridge!) 
Yep, it's the easy... Except you'll be shocked because it's never truly that easy!

A side of mini caprese salad always makes everything better!

  • 1 Eggplant (I bought it last week and was so lucky it didn't go bad over the long weekend!) 
  • 1/2 bag of pepperoni 
  • 1 bag/box of the pasta of your choice (or what's left in your cupboards) 
  • 1 can artichoke hearts (for some reason I can't get enough of these lately!) 
  • 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese 
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce 
  • Dash (or many) of black pepper 

The idea for this recipe came from Food Network's latest magazine,
The Italian Issue, that had this sweet little meal making flow chart! 

  1. Cook a pound of pasta (I used penne) in a pot of salted water about two minutes less than directed on the package. 
  2. While the pasta is cooking slice the veggies and meat. (You want a total of about 3 cups of chopped ingredients)
  3. Drain the pasta and let sit. 
  4. Add 1/2 of the jar of sauce in a LARGE pot. (This is where you're going to mix everything so please make sure it's big enough!) 
  5. Add the meat and veggies and let cook for five minutes. 
  6. If you want to add red pepper flakes, fresh herbs, ricotta cheese, this is the time to do so! 
  7. Add the pasta to the pot. 
  8. Add 3/4 of the cheese to the pot. 
  9. Stir contents together adding additional spaghetti sauce as you see fit. (I am very liberal about this) 
  10. After all of the contents is stirred together, put it in a greased casserole dish. 
  11. Cover with the rest of the grated cheese. 
  12. Bake at 450 f for about 15 minutes, until the cheese on top is melty and bubbly. 
  13. Remove from oven, let cool for five minutes. 
  14. ENJOY! 
(Just 15 minutes later!)
Random note for all my dear readers:
J is a booger because he thinks my sweet name for him is too short. Want to know what he thinks I should call him? Jet. Like a turbo jet? I think NOT. It's J. Period. This is my blog. J start your own if you want to be a stinking, fuel-wasting Turbo Jet.
(I really do love my dear J, but he was watching over my shoulder after giving me a hard time about the nickname... So this is what he gets!)