Save on Pinterest

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
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 35 min. + standing
  • Makes
    8 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 package (8 ounces) fat-free cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 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 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 a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain pasta; stir into meat mixture.
  • In a 13x9-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.
Nutrition Facts
1 serving: 341 calories, 10g fat (4g saturated fat), 49mg cholesterol, 870mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 4g fiber), 27g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 vegetable, 1.500 starch.

Recommended Video