Eggplant Casserole

This is quite a pain to make, getting lots of pans dirty, but everyone here adores it, so I will make this for a special request. Since we are feeding teenaged boys and preschoolers, we reduced the cayenne pepper and upped the amount of pasta from the original recipe. 

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1 large eggplant, cut into 1/3 inch thick rounds

1/2 C olive oil, plus more as needed

salt and fresh ground black pepper

1 C chopped yellow onion

1 lb. Italian sausage, removed from casings

2 Tbs tomato paste

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 tsp Italian spices

1/2 C chopped black olives

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 C minced fresh basil

4 Tbs butter

4 Tbs flour

2 C milk

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 C grated Parmesan

16 oz. Ziti, cooked

1 C grated mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease 9x 13 casserole and set aside. Heat 1/4 cup oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant in batches, seasoning on both sides with salt and pepper, and cook until golden, adding more oil as needed. Transfer to a plate as they cook and set aside. Heat 2 Tbs oil in another large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot but not smoking, add onion and sausage, stirring until sausage is browned and onion is soft, about 6 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown, about 1-2 minutes. Add undrained tomatoes, Italian seasoning, olives, 1 tsp. Salt, and crushed red pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer, uncovered, until the flavors marry and the sauce slightly thickens, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Add basil and adjust seasoning to taste. Meanwhile melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until sauce thicken and forms a light roux, about 2 minutes. Wisk in milk and cook until thick and smooth, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper, to taste . Arrange half of eggplant on bottom of casserole, overlapping as necessary. Top with half of cooked pasta, then half of sausage-tomato sauce. Then make another layer of eggplant, pasta and tomato sauce. Pour on white sauce then top with mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake 1 hour, or until puffed and golden brown.

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Large Batch of Spicy Pizza Sauce

I really like this recipe because you do not even have to cook it, it makes a ton, freezes beautifully, and makes a last minute pizza a realistic possibility. Adjust the pepper to your family's tolerance. At this level my little ones will eat it and it just barely makes our lips tingle.

LARGE BATCH OF SPICY PIZZA SAUCE                for 30+ pizzas

5 (12 ounce) cans tomato paste

7-1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

1-3/4 cups and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon minced garlic

1-1/4 cups honey

3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon anchovy paste 

2 tablespoons 

1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder

2-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

2-1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram

2-1/2 teaspoons dried basil

2-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1-3/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 1/2 tsp. salt 

Combine all ingredients. Let sit 30 min. before spreading on pizza. Freeze in muffin tins, then transfer to freezer bags.

Spaghetti Sauce

I like to divide this into smaller containers and freeze for quick meals.

SPAGHETTI SAUCE                                                                   makes 12 cups

1 lb. ground turkey sausage

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 ½ C. chopped onion

12 oz. tomato paste

3- 28 oz. cans tomato puree

2 C. water

4 tsp. minced garlic

4 bay leaves

2 Tbs. sugar

4 tsp. basil

2 tsp. oregano

4 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

2 tsp. salt

In large pot, cook and stir turkey, seasoning and onions until brown; drain fat. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Partly cover and simmer 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (If desired, simmer in a crockpot.).

Deep Dish Quiche Pizza


(from the MOMYS)

8 oz. cream cheese

8 eggs

2/3 C. heavy cream

1/2 C. Parmesan

2 Tbs. chives

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

4 C. shredded Italian cheeses

1 tsp. garlic

1 C. pizza/spaghetti sauce

2 C. mozzarella, shredded

suggested toppings:

turkey pepperoniblack olives



Beat cream cheese and eggs until smooth. Add cream, Parmesan , herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. In 9x13 dish, layer Italian cheeses, then egg mixture. Bake at 375° for 30-45 min. (until set). Spread on sauce, mozzarella and favorite toppings. Bake until bubbly and brown. Allow it to stand a bit before cutting. 

Italian Spinach Sausage Pie


1 lb. bulk turkey sausage

6 eggs

2-10 oz. Pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

2 C. shredded mozzarella

3/4 C. Ricotta

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. pepper


1 C. White flour

1 C. Whole wheat flour

1 tsp. salt

3/4 C. Cold butter

5-6 Tbs. Cold water

Cook sausage and set aside. Separate 1 egg and set the yolk aside. In mixing bowl beat the egg white and remaining eggs. Add spinach, ricotta, salt, garlic, pepper and sausage; mix well. For pastry, cut butter into dry ingredients. Add water as needed. Divide dough in half. Roll out and line bottom of 10 inch pie plate. Add filling. Roll remaining pastry to fit top, trim, flute, and seal edges. Cut slits in top. Beat 1 Tbs. Water with reserved egg yolk, brush over crust. Bake at 357 for 50-60 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. 

White Chicken lasagna

WHITE CHICKEN LASAGNA                                      serves 24 (2 pans)

1 lb. Lasagna noodles

1/2 C. butter

2 onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 C. flour

2 tsp. salt

4 C. chicken broth                                       

3C. milk

6 C, shredded mozzarella, divided

1/2 C. grated Parmesan

2 tsp. basil

2 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. pepper

4 C. ricotta

4 C. chicken, cooked and chopped*

4- 10 oz. Pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

Saute onion and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in flour and salt; simmer until bubbly. Gradually add milk and broth, stirring constantly, cook for 1 minute. Stir in 4 cups mozzarella and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Add spices, remove from heat, and set aside. Combine ricotta, chicken, and spinach. In two 9x13-inch pans, layer sauce, noodles, cheese- sauce, noodles, cheese- noodles, sauce. Make sure uncooked noodles are completely covered with sauce. Sprinkle with parsley and remaining mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 35-40 min. Or freeze. 

  • If starting with raw chicken, pressure cook. 

Baked Ziti with Ground Beef

Another easy kid favorite that feeds a crowd and freezes well. 

BAKED ZITI WITH GROUND BEEF         makes 3- 9x13 pans, each serving 8

3 lb. ground beef

1 1/2 C. chopped onion

3 bell peppers, chopped

3-15 oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained

3-8oz. cans tomato sauce

1 1/2 tsp. basil

1 1/2 tsp. oregano

1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. pepper

24 oz. ziti, or similar pasta, such as penne, cooked and drained

5 C. Shredded mozzarella, divided

Saute beef, onion and bell peppers until beef is lightly browned. Drain excess fat; add tomaotes, sauce and spices. Stir well. Stir in pasta  and 3 cups cheese. Transfer to two 9x13-inch pans. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350° 25-30 min, or until hot and bubbly. Or freeze before baking. To cook, thaw overnight in fridge, then cook as directed. 

Baked cavatelli

This is a good one to have in the freezer for those crazy nights when you don't have time to think about dinner. Add a salad or green vegetable and even the food police would be happy.

BAKED CAVATELLI                                                        serves 12-16

(Makes two pans and freezes well)

5 C. wagon wheel or corkscrew pasta

2 lb. bulk Italian turkey sausage

1 1/2 C. chopped green onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

30 oz. tomato sauce

28 oz. jar spaghetti sauce with mushrooms

2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

3 tsp. Italian seasoning, crushed

1/2 tsp. Pepper

1 tsp. anise seed


Cook and drain pasta and set aside. In large skillet, cook sausage, green onion and garlic until tender and no pink remains in meat. Combine cooked pasta, sausage, onion mixture, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, half of mozzarella, and seasonings. Toss gently to combine. Bake in  2- 9x13 covered casseroles at 375° for 25 min. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake 5-10 more min. or until heated through. (To freeze: sprinkle remaining half of cheese on top before freezing, cover tightly and freeze. Thaw before baking and test to make sure middle is heated through. It may take longer to cook.)

Spinach and Cheese Calzones


freezes well w/o sauce

6 strips bacon, diced

1 C. chopped onion

1 tsp. salt

20 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

2tsp. Italian seasoning

2 Tbs. garlic powder

30 oz. ricotta

2 C. (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella

1/2 C. Parmesan

2 loaves bread dough (or use this recipe)

2 jars (27 1/2 oz.) pasta sauce, heated (or homemade)

Cook bacon in large skillet or pot, then add next 5 ingr. Cook over med-high heat, stirring constantly, until bacon is browned. Remove from heat. Combine Italian seasoning and next three ingr.; stir into spinach mixture. Divide dough into 8 portions; roll each into a 6-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Spoon about 1/2 cup filling onto each circle; lightly brush edges of dough with water. Fold in half, pressing edges to seal. Place calzones on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° 15-20 min. Serve with pasta sauce.

Summer Spaghetti Meat Sauce

A sneaky way to get more veggies inside the children. 

SUMMER SPAGHETTI WITH MEAT SAUCE                                    serves 14

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef

1 1/2 C. diced onion

1 C. diced yellow or orange pepper

1 1/2 C. diced red pepper

2 tsp. minced garlic

2 C. shredded zucchini (about 2 large)

1 tsp. oregano

2 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper or 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper

1/4 C. sugar

2- 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes, undrained

1- 14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes, undrained

12 oz. tomato paste

hot cooked spaghetti

Brown meat; drain. Add fresh vegetables and spices, cook 5-10 min. until tender. Add sugar, canned tomatoes and paste; bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 1 hour, or until thick. Serve over pasta or freeze for later.

© Being Fruitful, 2012