I need your help this week. I’m really excited about something I have planned for the blog, but I definitely can’t do it by myself. This past week, through some conversations with friends, I’ve been thinking about meals that you take to other families. It can be for a variety of reasons – a new baby, a death in the family, a hard time, etc. But in general people seem to respond the same way – offer to take a meal to ease some of the burden. It’s a great idea! But what in the world do you make? After all, we can’t all take lasagna. If you’re like me, you have one “go-to” meal you tend to make over and over. And sometimes I wish I had some other ideas.

This is where you come in! I’ll share my go-to recipe with you, and you share your favorite recipe with me! How does that sound?  I’d love to take your recipes and feature them over the coming weeks and create a section of my blog dedicated to these types of meals. Is anybody interested? I’m really excited about this  – imagine if you were looking for a meal to take to a friend or family member, weren’t sure what to make, and knew that you could just stop by here and have a whole list of tried and true recipes to choose from! It makes me happy :)

Details:  Leave me a link in the comments if you’ve already posted your favorite recipe on your own blog. Otherwise, feel free to send me an email – whatmegansmaking[at]gmail[dot]com, and include a picture if you have one. If you leave a link or send a recipe, I’ll assume that means it’s ok if I repost the recipe (giving you credit and linking to your blog if you have one of course). Some of them I’m sure I’ll make myself, but I’m hoping I get more recipes than I have time to make :)   Also, be sure to include freezing/thawing instructions if you have them. One of the worst things is having a frozen meal and then not being sure how to cook it! Ideally these will be meals that travel well, and are perfect for new moms, people going through hard times, etc.

So what do you guys think? Are you interested? Are you willing to help me out and share your “meals to take”? Please? :)

My recipe contribution is below - Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage. It’s originally from My Kitchen Cafe (Mel has a ton of amazing recipes on her site!), but it’s so good that it’s become my default “meal to take”. It’s warm, comforting, creamy, healthy and delicious. Plus it’s freezer friendly and it makes a ton, making it ideal to take to a family that needs it. This is what works for me!

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Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound penne pasta
9-oz. bag fresh baby spinach
12 ounces precooked smoked chicken sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic. Cook for another minute. Stir in tomatoes, oregano and basil; simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add cream; cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Add spinach to the pot of boiling pasta right at the end and cook until wilted. Drain, and return contents to pot. Add tomato sauce, sausage, and half of mozzarella to the pot; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Scoop pasta into lightly greased 9X13-inch pan (or divide evenly between two 8X8-inch pans). Top with rest of mozzarella and grated Parmesan. Bake until browned and edges are crisp, 20 to 30 minutes.

*Makes a heaping full 9x13 pan

*To Freeze: Prepare recipe up until the baking step and then cover with a double layer of aluminum foil. Freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. To bake, increase baking time to 1 to 1 1/4 hours. If baking from frozen, bake covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes, uncover and bake 30 minutes longer.

Adapted from My Kitchen Cafe