This Creamy Tomato and Spinach Baked Pasta is a perfect family friendly holiday dinner, not to mention perfect for #MeatlessMonday!
Can you believe it’s almost December? I absolutely love this time of the year, don’t you? It seems like everyone is in a better mood, the neighborhood homes are all decorated and you can’t turn on the radio without hearing Jingle Bells or Frosty The Snowman on at least 5 radio stations.
Even though it’s the “most wonderful time of the year” it can be very busy as well! There are presents to shop for and wrap, decorations to put up and lots of holiday parties to attend, many which need food or drinks brought to them. The last thing I sometimes want to do is spend much time in the kitchen making dinner.
This is where my Creamy Tomato and Spinach Baked Pasta comes into play. With just 5 ingredients and minimal prep, this meal will save the day when the dinner bell rings!
This recipe is so easy, I almost feel a little silly for sharing it. I thought it up one day while making a more complicated Italian dish and thought, “gosh, you know this would be a lot simpler if I did x, y and z!” Even though that dish turned out great, I love coming up with short cuts for times when I’m really busy, yet still want to have a “real meal” and not peanut butter crackers for dinner 🙂
For this recipe, start out by boiling your noodles. I prefer rotini (the spiral shaped pasta) because it will help all of the creamy tomato sauce cling to it. After your noodles are cooked, drain and set aside. In the same pan you cooked the noodles, add one jar of your favorite pasta sauce. Then stir in 4 oz. of cream cheese. I prefer the 1/3 less fat version. Once the cheese has melted, stir in a 1/2 package of frozen spinach. Note – Make sure the spinach is really well drained or your sauce will get runny and no one wants runny sauce 🙂
Just like that you have your sauce finished! Stir in your noodles and pour into your baking dish. Sprinkle on a little cheese and it’s ready to bake!
If you’re looking for help getting dinner on the table during the busy holiday season, give this recipe a try! It’s not only quick to make, but the red sauce and green spinach makes for a festive meal as well!
- 12 oz. (about 4 cups) whole wheat rotini noodles
- ½ package (4 oz) ⅓ less fat cream cheese
- 1 (24 oz) jar marinara sauce
- 5 oz. (1/2 package) frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
- ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 2.5 qt. baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Cook noodles according to package directions. I cook mine on the low end of time, so they don't become mushy after baking. Drain and set aside.
- In the large pot you cooked the noodles, add the tomato sauce and place over low heat. Stir in the cream cheese until melted, followed by the spinach. Add in the noodles and stir until they are all coated.
- Pour noodles into prepared pan. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 15 minutes, until cheese is melted.
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