Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ravioli Casserole

I got an awesome freezer meal cookbook from my mom titled "Girlfriends on the Go: A busy mom's guide to make-ahead meals" by Suzie Roberts. And since I've been feeling crummy, I decided to try out some of the easy recipes to help lower our food budget (fast food isn't very friendly! ;) So far, they've been delicious. I'm so glad that I can put together a few meals in one day and be able to have a homemade dinner to feed my family, even if I don't feel up to cooking! This one is similar to lasagna, but for any of you lasagna lovers out there, you know lasagna can be really expensive if you don't find every ingredient on sale. This is a less expensive version, and my husband said he even likes it better than plain old lasagna. This recipe is also very easy to mix-up as you can use different types of ravioli (or make your own if you feel ambitious!), different sauces, and you can even add cooked ground beef, cooked ground Italian sausage, or even sneak some veggies in it. The full recipe makes quite a bit. I could easily half the recipe and still have enough for dinner plus some leftovers for one or two lunches for me and my husband. So if your cooking for a small family, either only make half the recipe or freeze the other half. It'll be worth it!

Ravioli Casserole
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 package (25 oz.) frozen cheese ravioli, cooked and drained
2 cups small curd cottage cheese (that's about 16 oz.)
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (this seemed like too much, so I used 2 cups and it was great!)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Spread 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce in 9x13 pan. Layer with half of the ravioli, 1-1/4 cups sauce, 1 cup cottage cheese, and 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 30 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

If you want to freeze it, place your casserole in a disposable aluminum pan (the $1 store is a good resource for purchasing them), cover it with foil, and label it with the instructions on baking it. Before you use your meal out of the freezer, be sure to thaw it in the refrigerator or else the cook time will need to be more than doubled :(

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