I made this healthy spicy, sausage pasta bake last weekend, and it was a winner! I liked it even more than I thought I would. I find it to be filling, so I don’t need a large serving. It’s pretty spicy, but you could sub regular diced tomatoes for Ro-Tel to tone it down a bit.
Part of what makes this dish healthier is the turkey sausage. I’ve recently run across a new grocery store find that is changing the way I cook and eat. It’s Jimmy Dean fully cooked turkey sausage crumbles. It’s so easy because they are already cooked for you, plus they taste really good, and are really lean! I keep a bag in the fridge to throw in my omelets or breakfast casserole. They have 70 calories, 4 g fat, 1 g carbs, 11 g protein for a 1/2 cup serving.
And I promise I’m not getting paid or perked to mention the sausage. Jimmy Dean doesn’t even know I exist – not that I would complain if they did somehow find out I exist and sent me some free sausage coupons.
Since I was already saving time not having to cook the meat, and using a frozen veggie mix that was already chopped, I did take a few minutes to make my own red sauce. However, if you really wanted to throw this together in a hurry, you could just use a can of Spaghetti sauce, and I bet no one would ever know.
I also saved some time by not pre cooking the pasta. I will say that the pieces that stuck out a little at the top were not completely soft, but I don’t think anyone noticed. I certainly didn’t mind. You could pre-cook the pasta if you are concerned.
Keywords: bake entree Italian
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ bag frozen stir fry veggies (I used the pepper and onion blend)
- ½ Tbsp minced garlic
- 10 oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes
- 2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 13 oz dry, whole wheat penne pasta
- 9.6 oz bag of Jimmy Dean turkey sausage crumbles (or just regular cooked sausage)
- 1 cup half and half
- 5 Tbsp parmesan cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- ½ to 1 cup water
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Heat olive oil in bottom of a large skillet. Then add the frozen stir fry veggies and garlic. Sauté for 5 or 6 minutes.
Next add the can of Ro-Tel tomatoes, the tomato sauce, and the Italian seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. (For me it was none. We’re not big on salty food.) Stir and cook until mixture almost bubbles. Then reduce heat and simmer for 5 or 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then remove from heat.
In a large bowl mix the pasta, the sausage, the sauce mixture, and the half and half. Then add the parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Spread the mixture in 13 by 9 casserole dish. Evenly pour water over the top to ensure noodles have plenty of moisture.
Bake for 45 minutes or until noodles are soft.