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Southwest Pasta Bake

 Southwest Pasta Bake
Fat-free cream cheese and reduced-fat cheddar make this creamy casserole lower in fat and calories. It's a good way to get our kids to eat spinach in "disguise". —Carol Lepak of Sheboygan, Wisconsin
8 ServingsPrep: 20 min. Bake: 35 min. + standing

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 package (8 ounces) fat-free cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pound ground beef
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    With Johnsonville Italian Sausage.

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  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) picante sauce
  • 1 can (8 ounces) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions

Directions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small
  • bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in milk. Stir in spinach
  • and oregano; set aside.
  • In a nonstick skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer
  • pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in the picante
  • sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder and cumin; bring to

2 of 2

Southwest Pasta Bake (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain pasta;
  • stir into meat mixture.
  • In a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray, layer half
  • of the meat mixture and all of the spinach mixture. Top with
  • remaining meat mixture.
  • Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with
  • cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle
  • with olives and onions. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Yield: 8 servings.
Nutritional Facts: 1 serving equals 333 calories, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 41 mg cholesterol, 996 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 26 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 3 vegetable, 1-1/2 starch.