Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pizza Casserole

I'm not a good cook. Well, actually, I've never TRIED to be a good cook. But one of my goals is to cook more for my husband and myself.

I thought I'd start with something simple--pasta. Anybody can cook pasta, right? Here are my ingredients.

I started by boiling my water and adding some salt. Easy enough task... but so time-consuming. It took about 25 minutes just to get my 4 quarts of water to boil. And yes, I had my burner on high.

FINALLY! Time to add the rigatoni.

I let that cook for awhile, keeping an eye on it and stirring every few minutes.

I drained the pasta and stirred in the sauce.

I sprayed my glass casserole dish with cooking spray. Then I put half the pasta in the bottom of the dish. I sprinkled mozzarella cheese over the pasta, then placed 15 pepperonis on top of the cheese. Then I layered the second half of the pasta.

I put another layer of cheese and pepperonis on top.

Time to bake! I put it in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

While my pasta was baking, I washed the lettuce. (Yeah, that salad in a bag always says ready to eat--I don't take chances, though.) I let it drain for awhile. I also used a paper towel to blot off the excess water. I don't like wet lettuce in a salad.

Meanwhile, my pasta finished baking. Looked good to me!

I changed the oven temperature to 425 degrees and put in my garlic knots. I baked those for 5 minutes.

Needless to say, I think the oven was a bit too warm from the pasta. The tops got a little crispy.

My husband didn't want a salad, so instead of making the whole salad at once, I got out a little bit of lettuce for myself and put it in a bowl. I mixed in some of the leftover mozzarella cheese, drizzled some Caesar dressing, and added some croutons.

Our food was ready. Bon appetit!

The verdict? Pretty darn tasty!

We had a LOT of leftovers, so I gave them to my parents. My "cooking for two" turned in to a "cooking for four"--plus another meal for later! I'm glad my first meal was a success--that makes me motivated to try something new next week.

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