Fresh Family Meals Made for Everyday Life

Bakey Cheesy Pasta

Share this post:

Life has been crazy recently.

Between camping, vacation, my trip to Philadelphia and our trip to Chicago, traveling has been the norm for the past two months. Finally, things are starting to calm down (well, until the holidays come around) and we’re starting to return to our routine. We haven’t made a menu and gone for a full grocery shop in weeks, and finally, today, I got to pull together a menu and take a list to the store.


It is amazing how comforting routine can be. To me, peace of mind is a stocked fridge and pantry. I am at my happiest when the cars have full tanks of gas, the checkbook is balanced, and the fridge is full of food. I find comfort in readiness. I’d always rather be over-prepared than to be without something. This is probably why our grocery budget is so out of hand (look for a future post on this).

You know what else I find comfort in? Pasta that is baked with a ton of cheese and a delicious, flavorful tomato sauce.

Bakey Cheesy Pasta

As you can see from the above menu, we call this dish “Bakey Cheesy Pasta” mostly because it is fun to say. But you are welcome to call this whatever you’d like. This is one of the dishes that has made the transition from back when we were first married and living on a pretty wimpy paycheck. A box of pasta, a jar of sauce and a bag of mozzarella baked in the oven makes for a delicious, comforting and cheap meal. Now that the funds are little more open, we supplement our Bakey Cheesy Pasta with veggies and meat.

Pasta Sauce

We have also upgraded from $0.99 canned pasta sauce from Aldi (yeeeeesh) to organic sauce from Muir Glen, which I happened to get on super sale with some coupons and obviously stocked up on.

Muir Glen

If you are so destined, go ahead and make your own sauce. You’re a better person than I, because I use canned pasta sauce like it is going out of style. Truthfully, I think the sauces in jars are so good now. And let’s be honest, I’m a child of the early 90s, where jarred pasta sauce was king. Ain’t no hatin’ on the jar.

Baked Cheesy Pasta

Saute up some veg (as Mr. Jamie Oliver would say) in a little olive oil. Onions, red and green peppers and garlic.


Meanwhile, get your pasta going. Go ahead and salt the water. I used a 12 ounce box of whole wheat penne. I think this recipe is particularly well suited for whole wheat pasta because the time in the oven helps break down the slight grainy-ness of the whole wheat (which I love, but I know a lot of people don’t).

Ground Beef

You could do this recipe vegetarian (I have many times), but I think adding a little bit of high-quality ground beef adds a nice heartiness and dimension of flavor. I only use 1/2 pound for about 6 servings. Once the veggies have softened, add the meat and brown. Since it is such a small amount, go ahead and leave the drippings.

Bakey Cheesy Pasta

Embrace the drippings. Fat = flavor. Also, embrace your oven and turn it on to preheat at 375°.

Bakey Cheesy Pasta

In goes the sauce. About half a jar. Store the other half in the fridge to use as pizza sauce for Friday Night Pizza Night (FNPN).

Cheesy Bakey Pasta

Drain the pasta well and toss it into the sauce mixture. Remove from heat and stir so all the pasta is coated in the lovely, veggie-filled sauce.

Cheesy Bakey Pasta

Mmm. You could definitely stop right here, put it in a bowl with some Parm on top and have a delicious dinner. But we’re moving on. Because we have bakey and cheesy to get to.

Cheesy Bakey Pasta

Into a square casserole. I usually put half of the pasta mixture, then a layer of cheese and then the remainder of the pasta and top with some more cheese and beautiful basil ribbons.

Into the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the pasta has absorbed any excess sauce.

Bakey Cheesy Pasta

Top with some fresh Parm. Cheesy people, chees-y.

Bakey Cheesy Pasta

Bakey Cheesy Pasta

1 T. olive oil
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 pound ground beef
12 ounces whole wheat penne (or other medium-sized pasta), cooked per directions
1/2 jar pasta sauce
1 c. shredded mozzarella
Handful basil leaves, chiffonade (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Saute peppers, onions and garlic until just softened. Add ground beef and brown, keeping beef drippings in the pan for flavor. Remove from heat, add pasta and pasta sauce and stir until well-coated. Spoon half the mixture into a square baking dish, cover with half the cheese. Repeat with remaining pasta and cheese. Sprinkle top with basil ribbons. Baked for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and pasta has absorbed most of the sauce.


This goes quite well with a Caesar salad made with my Silken Tofu Caesar Dressing.


And a nice hunk of crusty garlic bread.

Bakey Cheesy Pasta

Bakey Cheesy Pasta also makes it into the leftovers hall-of-fame. It is hands down, one of my favorite dishes to have for lunch at work and will certainly make Monday much easier to stomach tomorrow.

Bakey Cheesy Pasta

Speaking of lunches, I’m off to go pack them for tomorrow. Hope you had a fantastic Sunday, friends!

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

Leave a Reply

17 Responses
  1. Wahnita Yinger

    I make this last night for my husband. Got ready to make it and was out of hamburger, so used sausage in place of it. Was really good! Husband Loved it! Thanks. This dish will be on our menu quite often.

  2. Becky

    I had to laugh when you said you’re at your happiest with cars full of gas and full pantries. I thought I was the only one!! Great recipe, and I’m happy to have found this site!

  3. Samantha

    Yum. I’m adding this to my dinner plan for this week. Sounds quick, easy AND healthy; exactly what a college kid needs! Great photos too!

  4. My 1 yr old is a HUGE fan of pasta and that is the only way to get something into her so I keep hunting for great pasta recipes. I make something similar but not exactly this. So thanks for sharing and adding one more recipe to my pasta list.

Meet Cassie
Meet Your Host

Hello. My name is Cassie, and I’m a healthy home cooking expert.

I'm a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I've been developing healthy recipes professionally for over 15 years. Food is my love language, and my kitchen tips and nourishing recipes are my love letter to you!

Learn More About Me →

Close up of the finished cake on a cake stand with orange glaze and sugared cranberries on top.

No-Stress Holiday Cooking, Simplified!

Tips, recipes and time-saving secrets to magical holiday meals