Pasta with Homemade Sauce

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For a busy (and traveling) mom, a quick meal is a beautiful thing.  Here’s one of my favorite standbys – two, really.

A quick meal that does double duty is even better. Why cook twice when you can stretch one dinner into two instead?

NOW:  Pasta with homemade meat sauce;  LATER:  Baked cheesy pasta


2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped fine or crushed
1 16-oz. can tomato puree
1 16-oz. can crushed tomatoes
Fresh basil
1 l.b lean ground beef, separated and boiled
2 lbs. dried pasta, such as mini rigatoni
Pinch sugar

In a 4- to 6-quart pot, heat the oil.  Add the onion and saute until clear; stir in the garlic.  Do not let garlic brown.  Add the puree.  Add a handful of basil (use a steeper if you have it).  Bring to a boil.  Add the beef.  Turn the heat to low and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes.

About 15 minutes before the sauce is done, bring eight quarts of water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente (usually one minute less than is stated on the package).  Add 2 tablespoons of  salt.  Drain the pasta and separate it into two bowls.  Stir a small amount of sauce into each bowl to prevent the pasta from sticking.

Serve Bowl No. 1 tonight with sauce, Parmesan cheese and fresh veggie sticks.


  • Double the recipe; freeze sauce in small containers.
  • Replace beef with tuna, veggie burger or ground turkey
  • For zest:  add large, chopped green pepper to sauce; remove when sauce is done.
  • Replace ground beef with veal chop or beef with bone-in

LATER:  Baked Pasta

1 lb. cottage cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. parsley
Bowl No. 2 of pasta with sauce
1 lb. mozzarella cheese

In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten egg, Parmesan and parsley.

Spray nonstick oil on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Spread a layer of pasta on the bottom of the pan. Spread a layer of the cottage cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle mozzarella on the cheese layer. Spread meat sauce on top of cheese. Repeat each layer once, and end with a sprinkling of mozzarella on top. Cover and freeze.
To serve, bake at 400 degrees for 65 minutes.

OPTIONS:  Layer in sliced meatballs or zucchini.

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About The Author

Kim Orlando
After years of traveling every week for business, Kim sought out other moms who traveled to understand how they dealt with the guilt, the scheduling and their family relationships. Advice from the trenches made travel–and life–much easier and often much more fun. Kim realized that other traveling moms would appreciate these insights, too, and was born. Just a few years later, TravelingMom is among the best known family travel web communities with the leading travel writer network. The advice and insight of this community is sought out by national news networks, travel companies and traveling moms who need to know.

She has been selected as the travel expert for Wyndham’s Women on Their Way, Mom Talk Radio and has been featured in Good HouseKeeping, NY Times Travel,, Hannah Storm’s CBS News Blog, JuJu Chang’s Moms Get Real and The Montel Williams Show.

Follow her on Twitter @KimOrlando

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