Did you find your Winner Dinners? Last week I talked about what (in my opinion) a winner dinner is…..
  • can be made ahead (earlier in the day and refrigerated until time to bake or eat)
  • easily doubled or tripled or quadrupled
  • freezes well
  • can be used for more than just the first meal (for example: baked chicken leftovers can be made into chicken quesadillas)
  • excited about leftovers
  • economical
  • family favorite recipe
Cooking Winner Dinners is essential to how I meal plan. Winner Dinners allows me to stretch meals (save a lot of money), double recipes, plan ahead and freeze. Today I’m going to share another Family Favorite that happens to be a Winner Dinner. It’s adapted from this favorite cookbook:
The Best Make-Ahead Recipe

My sister was making this last week and I asked her to take pictures – she made half for her family and brought the other half to a family with a new baby. It’s both of our family’s favorite recipe for baked pasta – it’s definitely a Winner Dinner. (Printable recipe is at the bottom of the post.)   You’ll see how we both prepare ahead with this meal by assembling it in two 8×8 foil pans. I’ve found that an 8×8 foil pan is perfect for a family of 4 for two nights. So with this recipe, I make two pans, toss one in the freezer, have one for dinner that night and have leftovers the next night. I have doubled this recipe and made 4- 8×8 pans – watch for pasta and sauce coupons and you’ve got cheap meal.
use a chunkier pasta sauce for better texture and taste  (I like Barilla and Classico brands)

 prep ingredients – grate cheese, undercook pasta and mix with sauce, make ricotta mixture 
 layer according to directions

top with grated cheese
write baking instructions on the top of foil – make sure you spray the top of the foil with non-stick cooking spray so you don’t lose your cheese

Easy, peasy, cheesy.

 Want this recipe? Here is the download link for the recipe via Scribd – or you can email me and I’ll send you a pdf file of it.
Ready for the next step in Clean Mama’s Menu Planning Month? Make sure you’ve read this first post and this post

Step #2 is later this week.