It was one of my New Year’s resolutions to eat less red meat, and to try to eat healthier not only for myself but for my husband. We eat out wayyy too much but we also know that for now there is just the two of us, so those care free, spur of the moment nights out are probably limited. We have a tradition of going out on Thursday nights – I don’t remember how it started. I think we decided to go out for Mexican and margaritas one Thursday in West Des Moines, and after that we decided that the $11 pitchers (best. deal. ever.) were definitely right up our alley.
Sorry about that little side note. Anyway, the other nights of the week I try to make something home cooked. Last night’s specialty was my version of a tortellini casserole. We have tried many many many different kinds of tortellini, and the next statement is my own personal opinion: please buy refrigerated. We have tried frozen and dry but in my experience the refrigerated kind just cooks better. We prefer Costco’s Five Cheese Tortellini. I should also disclose to you that I am the master of choosing a casserole dish that is too small for the amount of food I am cooking and not realizing it until it is too late. This means that I usually end up doing more dishes that I desire to because I have to put a cookie sheet under the casserole dish so my oven doesn’t become a hot mess (literally).
This is a great recipe to ad lib and add your own flare. This time around, I had to make my own spaghetti sauce because I didn’t have any on hand. I mixed a can of diced tomatoes with garlic and onion and a small can of tomato paste in a medium sauce pan and brought it to a simmer; then add water until it becomes the consistency that you want. When you are making the casserole, alternate layers of sauce, tortellini, and mozzarella. The secret to the creamy, richness of this dish is a layer of 1/4 cup cream mixed with 3/4 cup parmesan in the middle of the casserole. When cooked and dished up, the secret layer adds richness and tones down the tomato-y flavor a tad. You can totally omit this if you want!
I know, I know, this isn’t the healthiest of meals but a small portion is very filling and it makes for great leftovers. It would freeze great for meals in the upcoming weeks also!